As Congress and the Biden administration look to enact a major part of the Build Back Better agenda through the budget reconciliation process, one critical aspect of the House Judiciary Committee’s proposed legislation would put Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)-eligible individuals, and essential workers—including farmworkers—on a pathway to citizenship. The Center for American Progress and the University of California, Davis’ Global Migration Center have previously estimated that doing so would bring big benefits to both the U.S. economy as a whole and ordinary Americans all across the country. Indeed, providing citizenship to these groups would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, create 400,000 new jobs, and raise the annual wages of all Americans by an average $600 over the next decade.
In support of including such measures in a budget reconciliation package, a group of the nation’s leading economists recently underscored the benefits of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants: “Granting a pathway to citizenship for millions of aspiring Americans will bring expansive economic benefits to communities across the country—while having a significant impact on the federal budget—not only for the individuals directly affected, but for the larger systems—families, and the workforce—that they comprise.” Given the huge benefits to the economy and to Americans across the country, it is crucial that Congress pass this legislation as soon as possible.
This fact sheet breaks down the number of people who would qualify for a pathway to citizenship, by state. In total, CAP estimates that 6.9 million people would qualify. (see full Methodology below)
Nicole Prchal Svajlenka is the associate director for research on the Immigration Policy team at the Center for American Progress. Claudia Flores is the associate director for policy and strategy on the Immigration Policy team at the Center. Philip E. Wolgin is the acting vice president for Immigration Policy at the Center.
Authors’ estimates are based on analysis of 2018 and 2019 1-year American Community Survey (ACS) microdata, accessed through the University of Minnesota’s IPUMS USA database.
Dreamers include undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States prior to January 1, 2021, were 18 or younger upon arrival, and have either earned a high school diploma or equivalent—or are enrolled in school. TPS- and DED-eligible individuals include those who meet the following country and arrival date criteria: El Salvador (arrival by February 13, 2001), Guinea (arrival by November 20, 2014), Haiti (arrival by January 12, 2011), Honduras (arrival by December 30, 1998), Liberia (arrival by November 20, 2014), Nepal (arrival by June 24, 2015), Nicaragua (arrival by December 30, 1998), Sierra Leone (arrival by November 20, 2014), Somalia (arrival by May 1, 2012), South Sudan (arrival by January 25, 2016), Sudan (arrival by January 9, 2013), Syria (arrival by August 1, 2016), Venezuela (arrival by March 8, 2021), and Yemen (arrival by January 4, 2017).
Essential workers are defined using version 4.1 of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s “Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.”