Washington, D.C. — A new column released today by the Center for American Progress confirms that a pathway to citizenship would increase stability for undocumented immigrants and their families, translating to better educational and employment opportunities for these individuals and economic benefits for the United States as a whole.
Immigration relief is long overdue for the 10.4 million undocumented immigrants living and working across the United States. Over the past two years, they have worked on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, risking their personal safety and that of their families as they faced substantial barriers to accessing health care and relief programs. Despite their contributions, undocumented immigrants were excluded from federal pandemic relief efforts, preventing them from receiving stimulus checks or qualifying for federally funded safety net programs.
Approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants are essential workers, performing jobs that are necessary for maintaining public health and safety across the country. Data show that during the next decade, creating a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrant workers would boost U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by an estimated $1.7 trillion and lead to the creation of 438,800 new jobs.
This column demonstrates that for all these reasons, Congress must work to create a pathway to citizenship and protections for undocumented immigrants in the United States. And if those efforts fail, the Biden administration must take immediate executive action to promote stability for undocumented immigrants, their families, and their communities.
“Creating a pathway to citizenship is a key part of honoring the rich contributions of undocumented immigrants to this nation, and it is also a matter of health and economic justice,” says Trinh Truong, research assistant for Immigration Policy at CAP. “Giving permanent protections to undocumented immigrants would allow them to live free from the fears of deportation and family separation, while also reinforcing their important contributions to the country and ensuring a robust post-pandemic recovery for all Americans.”
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