UCLA CAP IPC deceptive study: immigration reform would increase GDP by $1.5 trillion over 10 years

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Earlier today, the Center for American Progress, the Immigration Policy Center, and professor Raul Hinojosa Ojeda of the University of California at Los Angeles released a study making the deceptive and fantastical claim that legalizing all illegal aliens would increase Gross Domestic Product by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Exactly how deceptive the study is remains to be seen, once professional economists weigh in. In the meantime:

1. Angela Kelley of CAP offers a juvenile Q&A at americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/av/kelley_transcript.html, Andrea Nill of ThinkProgress deceives her readers about the issue at
wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/01/07/legalization-immigration, the main study page is at americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/raising_the_floor.html, and the OC Register has a report here.

2. The immigration wage floor page describes how newly-legalized workers would swamp the labor market, lowering wages for Americans through an increased labor supply at the same time as allowing former illegal aliens to compete in job categories for which they weren't previously eligible. For instance, there might be tens of thousands of illegal aliens who were nurses in their home countries but who aren't able to work as nurses due to their status. Once legalized, they'd be able to compete for nursing jobs with American citizens. That would be good for them, but not good for American nurses. Those behind studies like this don't care about things like that.

3. The immigration economics page discusses other studies that ignore the major costs of comprehensive immigration reform, such as giving more power inside the U.S. to the Mexican government. That's a very large cost, but it's not included in the study's result.

4. The report and those promoting it (Nill of ThinkProgress) mislead about the popularity and cost of mass deportations. Despite the fact that no political leaders are calling for mass round-ups, Nill says: "Hinojosa also predicted the effects of an enforcement-only strategy that several right-wing politicians and anti-immigrant activists are advocating for in the place of immigration reform. Hinojosa found that while native-born workers would experience a wage increase, any mass deportation strategy would reduce U.S. GDP by $2.6 trillion over ten years. This number doesn’t take into account the additional $206 to $230 billion it would cost just to physically deport undocumented immigrants over a five-year period." Note that she's discussing two separate proposals: "enforcement-only" and "mass deportation" are not the same thing. And, the last sentence is a reference to an earlier, highly-deceptive CAP study.

5. Hinojosa-Ojeda is a Chican@ studies professor who in 2005 started a company that tried to profit from the money that legal and illegal immigrants send home. According to this, it's share price is $0.0006, i.e., you could buy over 1600 shares for a dollar. Whether they're effectively out of business isn't known. In any case, he clearly isn't an unbiased researcher.

6. Libertarian extremist Dan Griswold of the Cato Institute agrees with the study (Register report in 1 above).


If low-wage earner immigration from (mostly) Mexico is such a great benefit, why does Mexico not have a strong economy? The United States does well (or, has done well) DESPITE massive levels of illegal immigration.

24ahead, I saw your comment in the LA Times. I agree we have to discredit this open borders nonsense.

Yes maybe....but unfortunately we dont have a GDP tax, neither does China nor India, GDP unlike penis size doesn't matter, what matters is tax revenues versus expendictures, assets versus debts and the accumulation of unfunded liabilities (which are also debts, future debts). Over the Bush immigrant bonanza our unfunded liabilities increased by TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS (Now well over $100,000,000,000,000.00)

did any one say that with massive race and chain migration of over 100 million in 10 years and 30 million who will get right on welfare and 20 percent that will get social security almost at once and other state and local welfare and many other benefits which will be well over 20 trillion over the next 10 years who will pay for that? after all obama did say we would not be taxed? its time for people to see the light before the monkeys eat you alive, but i do think the monkey will have one hell of a banquet soon on you all. Buy Guns and get your ass moving.