Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The Economic Impact of Legalization Versus Deportation in California
Press Release

RELEASE: The Economic Impact of Legalization Versus Deportation in California

Read the report.

Listen to the press call featuring Mayor Villaraigosa. (mp3)

Lea la introducción y resumen en español aquí.

Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress and the Immigration Policy Center released the report “Revitalizing the Golden State: What Legalization Over Deportation Could Mean to California and Los Angeles County” by UCLA professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda and CAP’s Marshall Fitz. The report analyzes the economic and fiscal impact of legalization versus deportation in California and Los Angeles County.

Among other things, the report finds that:

Mass deportation in California would:

  • Decrease total employment by 17.4 percent
  • Eliminate 3.6 million jobs
  • Shrink the state economy by $301.6 billion
  • Reduce state’s tax revenues by 8.5 percent

Legalization in California would:

  • Add 633,000 jobs
  • Increase labor income by $26.9 billion
  • Increase tax revenues by $5.3 billion

Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at CAP, said:

This is an important analysis as states consider varying immigration proposals, and a timely analysis as we are only days away from May 1, Workers Day, when the labor and contributions of America’s workers are recognized. Immigrant labor to the Golden State is substantial and indisputable. As the report convincingly demonstrates, in these tough economic times, our nation should be pressing proposals to maximize all workers’ contributions, not the self-destructive proposals being passed in Arizona and Georgia and pending in Florida. We can’t afford to let politicians pass unconstitutional and unworkable state proposals that pick the pocket of American taxpayers.

CAP and the IPC released a similar report last month that focused on Arizona. The analysis in today’s report finds that the economic and fiscal consequences of widespread deportation for California and Los Angeles County would be even more devastating than in Arizona. Our analysis demonstrates unequivocally that unauthorized immigrants don’t simply “fill” jobs—they create jobs. Through the work they perform, the money they spend, and the taxes they pay, unauthorized immigrants sustain the jobs of many other workers in the U.S. economy, immigrants and native-born alike.

Additional resources:

To speak to one of our experts on this issue, please contact Raúl Arce-Contreras at [email protected] or at 202.478.5318.