If the Senate immigration reform bill becomes law, the United States – and Washington state – could see billions of dollars in economic gains and new productivity, according to a Washington state group made up of business, immigration, faith and law enforcement organizations.
The umbrella group, known as the Washington Compact, released a study, “Immigration Reform: Towards a Stronger Washington,” on Friday with a forecast that the state’s economic productivity could grow by more than $21 billion and that there would be more jobs.
“Contrary to longstanding arguments against immigration, new immigration creates jobs in periods of both growth and recession,” the group said in its study.
“In the short-term, an economy in recession experiences a small negative impact on job numbers through a period of adjustment (one to two years); however, new immigrants increase an economy’s size and productivity in the long-term (four to seven years).”
The Washington Compact cited the Migration Policy Institute for that observation and maintains that the country’s economy could soar by $832 billion over 10 years under the Senate bill.
“Our economy is being stifled, in part, because of a climate where undocumented immigrants work in the shadows,” the group said in its study.
In May, though, the Heritage Foundation unveiled a report that says the Senate immigration bill would bring a net price tag of $6.3 trillion for the next five decades. The money, the think tank said, would go to pay for benefits for the millions of people who are in the country and lack documents.
As The Associated Press reported, elected officials and analysts criticized the report, which has the support of groups that want lower taxes.
The Congressional Budget Office, which is nonpartisan, found that the U.S. economy would grow under the Senate immigration reform bill and that the federal deficit would drop by about $175 billion after the first 10 years, according to ABC News.
In its study, the Washington Compact talked about immigrants with different backgrounds.
In Washington state, Microsoft, Boeing, the University of Washington, Google, Sun Microsystems and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center rely on high-skilled, foreign-born workers, according to the group.
“These employees bring valuable knowledge and skills to U.S. companies, helping them compete in a global market,” the group said.
“…Many undocumented immigrants fill low-paying low-skilled positions, whereas legal workers who do not fear apprehension or deportation can work in more suitable and productive occupations.”
The Washington Compact supporters include: Association of Washington Business, OneAmerica, Washington Growers League, Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Chris Vance, a former Washington state Republican chairman.
While the Senate has approved its immigration bill, lawmakers in the U.S. House have yet to vote on the topic. Instead of considering one immigration bill, lawmakers in the House are considering several pieces of legislation that address the topic.