Report

Deportation vs. Legalization in Nevada

Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda examines the effects of mass deportation and legalization of Nevada's undocumented immigrant population.

Cientos de manifestantes se reúnen  para una manifestación en el ‘Fremont Street Experience’ en contra de los cambios propuestos en la ley de inmigración de EE.UU. en el centro de Las Vegas. (AP/Jae C. Hong)
Cientos de manifestantes se reúnen para una manifestación en el ‘Fremont Street Experience’ en contra de los cambios propuestos en la ley de inmigración de EE.UU. en el centro de Las Vegas. (AP/Jae C. Hong)

Read other state reports in this series here.

Debates about the economic and fiscal benefits and drawbacks of immigrants typically oversimplify the role that immigrants play in our economy. When one looks more closely, they will find that the impact that immigrants (or any group for that matter) have on the economy is multifaceted and complex.

Immigrants are not just workers; they are also consumers and taxpayers. The effects of their labor and consumption on economic growth and fiscal health must be factored in as we consider how to address the situation of a large undocumented workforce.

In this report we describe the direct impacts of either deporting or legalizing undocumented workers in Nevada. In reality, the effects would be much larger. Mass deportation, for example, would result in an indirect negative impact on local businesses because there would be less money circulating in the local economy, which would lead to further job losses. The estimates reported here should thus be considered conservative rather than exhaustive.

We estimate the economic contributions of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, for Nevada. The state has one of the largest populations of unauthorized immigrants, and it has played and will continue to play a pivotal role in elections as a swing state. We then report the negative fiscal impact of four different deportation scenarios—namely what would happen if 15, 30, 50, or 100 percent of undocumented immigrants were removed from the state. Finally, we explore the positive economic outcomes that would result from legalizing undocumented immigrants. (For a detailed explanation of the methodology used, please see the appendix on page 9.)

effects of mass deportation in nevada
Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda is the founding director of the North American Integration and Development Center.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

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