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The Economics of Legalizing the Undocumented: What a Path to Citizenship Means for the U.S. Economy

March 20, 2013, 11:00am ET - 12:30pm ET



As Congress develops legislation to reform the U.S. immigration system, the debate regarding a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants will undoubtedly receive substantial attention. While the politics of immigration reform may be a tempting topic for pundits and policymakers, the economic implications of legal status and citizenship should be stealing the headlines.

CAP’s forthcoming report “The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants” examines the economic impact of three possible scenarios regarding the treatment of undocumented immigrants. First, the impact of granting immediate citizenship; second, the impact of granting legal status and citizenship that follows in five years; and finally, postponing citizenship and granting only legal status for 10 years. The numbers tell the story of gains in GDP, added tax revenue, and job creation—all making a compelling case for swift and certain citizenship.

Please join us for a presentation by the report’s principal author, Robert Lynch, as he reviews the findings of the report and maps out how the different timeframes and immigration status translate into different economic outcomes. He will be joined by experts Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute and Adriana Kugler of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute who will discuss why legalization and citizenship will increase the earnings of all Americans.