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Idea of the Day: Immigrants Are Good News for the Economy

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With immigration reform heating up in Congress and the White House putting its muscle behind legislative action, immigration opponents are already campaigning against common-sense reforms. Their current line of attack is an unsubstantiated claim that legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States will be too costly for our nation. Playing to ignorant prejudice, these groups falsely suggest that immigrants are “takers”—people who use more public benefits than other groups—and that as a result, legalization would cost the United States trillions of dollars.

Mainstream economists have thoroughly debunked this general stereotype of immigrants as takers, finding that immigrants are a net positive for the economy and pay more into the system than they take out. In fact, immigrants’ contributions have also played a key role in prolonging the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund. And the truth is that the cost-benefit analyses that immigration restrictionists have used to make their wild cost projections simply are not well-rounded or accurate. Immigrants are in fact “makers,” not takers.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
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Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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