New Analysis: Immigration Relief Could Help 7 Million People, Boost Economy by Billions

WASHINGTON, DC – New analysis released today makes clear the tremendous positive impact that expanding immigration relief would have on millions of American families and our economy: if Senate Democrats fight to pass transformative immigration relief in budget reconciliation, nearly 7 million undocumented people could see relief in the form of work authorization and protections from deportation, and would increase their contributions to the U.S. economy by $17 billion every year.

Roughly 6.8 million undocumented people have lived in the United States for at least a decade – nearly 68% of the total undocumented population – and would be eligible for immigration relief if January 1, 2011 were the qualifying date. Critically, allowing these individuals to access relief would help keep millions of families together, including an estimated 3.4 million U.S. citizen minor children with undocumented parents and 1.4 million immigrants married to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It would also allow for some 5.3 million undocumented workers already in the U.S. labor force – including an estimated 4.2 million essential workers who have helped keep millions of people safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery – to apply for lawful work authorization.

With work permits, people who were previously undocumented would increase their contributions to the national economy by $17 billion annually, including expanding several state economies by billions of dollars – and they would also increase their federal, state, and local tax contributions by $10 billion annually.

The tremendous success of existing policies and programs like DACA and TPS make clear how work authorization and protection from deportation is transformative: it provides security and opportunities, allowing millions of individuals to better support themselves and their families by helping them to access better jobs, potentially expanding their access to vital federal benefits, and enabling them to contribute even more to our communities and our country. Nearly 69% of DACA recipients found a better job with better pay thanks to DACA, with 5% reporting that they had started their own business. And respondents’ wages rose about 69% since receiving DACA, with 69% saying that DACA has helped them become more self-sufficient. Benefits like these could be replicated at an even greater scale by expanding access to relief.

Millions of undocumented immigrants need relief now, and Senate Democrats can deliver on their promises while also significantly boosting the economy and government revenue, by including transformative immigration relief in the budget reconciliation process. While critical, this relief represents only one step forward, and Congress must continue its work in the months and years ahead to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. However, the current reconciliation bill offers a concrete step toward that long-term goal – and Congress should get this done without further delay

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