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Fact Sheet: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: Impacts for California Families

August 01, 2013

America has always been a nation of immigrants, and throughout the nation's history, immigrants from around the globe have kept our workforce vibrant, our businesses on the cutting edge, and helped to build the greatest economic engine in the world. However, America's immigration system is broken and has not kept pace with changing times. Today, too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living and working in the shadow economy. Neither is good for the U.S. economy or California families.

Attached is a report by the National Economic Council about the economic benefits for California by fixing our broken immigration system.

Commonsense immigration reform will strengthen California's economy and creates jobs.

  • According to Regional Economic Models, Inc., a set of reforms that – like the Senate bill – provides a pathway to earned citizenship and expands a high-skilled and other temporary worker programs would together boost California's economic output by $7.3 billion and create approximately 77,070 new jobs in 2014. By 2045, the boost to California's economic output would be around $35.8 billion, in 2012 dollars.
  • Immigrants already make important contributions to California's economy. For example, California's labor force is 34.4% foreign-born. In 2009, immigrants accounted for 34% of total economic output in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Commonsense immigration reform fosters innovation and encourages job creation in California.

  • 36.6% of California business owners are immigrants. These businessmen and women generate $34.3 billion in income for California each year.
  • In California, 38.3% of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates at the state's most research-intensive schools are foreign-born. Also, 56.5% of the state's engineering PhDs are foreign-born.

Commonsense immigration reform increases workers' income, resulting in new state and local tax revenue.

•      Providing a pathway to earned citizenship and expanding high- and low-skilled visa programs will increase total personal income for California families by $29.1 billion in 2020, according to Regional Economic Models, Inc.

•      Commonsense immigration reform would have increased the state and local taxes paid by immigrants in California by approximately $327 million in 2010, according to one study.

Commonsense immigration reform will contribute to the recovery of California's housing market and will strengthen California's technology, agriculture, and tourism industries, among others.

  • Immigrants significantly increased home values in California between 2000 and 2010 - in Los Angeles County, the increase was $3,278 for the median home.
  • There are 81,033 farms in California that sell approximately $33.9 billion in agricultural products. Noncitizen farmworkers accounted for 73% of all farmworkers in California between 2007 and 2011. According to one study, in 2020 an expanded temporary worker program – like the one provided by the Senate bill – would mean 9,426 new jobs for U.S. citizens and immigrants (including jobs not only in agriculture, but also retail trade, construction, and other sectors) in California, and increase California's real personal income by $489 million in 2012 dollars.
  • These provisions will increase tourism to the U.S., including to California - which saw approximately 6,134,000 overseas visitors in 2011.

Many California residents and stakeholders support comprehensive immigration reform.

  • President of the California Farm Bureau, Paul Wegner: He warns that if House GOP members block comprehensive immigration reform it would be bad for California business, in part because the current immigration system does not provide enough work visas to meet California's farm labor needs.
  • President of California Chamber of Commerce, Allan Zaremberg: "comprehensive immigration probably more important to California's economy than that of any other state. Now is the time for California's congressional delegation to take the lead to ensure California's critical industries have the workers and talent they need to create necessary California jobs. Technology, agriculture, and tourism, among others, must have comprehensive immigration reform to survive."

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: Impacts for California Families Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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