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For Immediate Release: April 3rd, 2010

The Fiscal Bottom Line on Immigration Reform

For Immediate Release

The Fiscal Bottom Line on Immigration Reform
Enforcement-Only Strategies Tax the System
While Comprehensive Reform Nets Economic Benefits


April 13, 2010

Washington, D.C. - With Tax Day just around the corner, we are reminded of the fiscal implications of immigration enforcement and immigration reform. Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases a fact check, The Fiscal Bottom Line of Immigration Reform, which finds that the federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars on costly border and interior enforcement measures which ultimately hurt American families and communities and don't deter unauthorized immigrants.

Instead, IPC points to a different approach to addressing unauthorized immigrants - implementing a legalization program through comprehensive immigration reform - which would generate billions of dollars in additional tax revenue as newly legalized immigrants' wages and tax contributions increase over time. The IPC has also synthesized a number of state studies which assess the economic impact of immigration on state and local economies through federal and state taxes.


Highlights from the fact check include:

  • Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, the budgets of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) - the border-enforcement and interior-enforcement components of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - have increased dramatically. CBP's budget grew from $6 billion in FY 2004 to $11.4 billion in FY 2010, while ICE's budget increased from $3.7 billion to $5.7 billion over the same period.
  • A January 2010 study by Dr. Raśl Hinojosa-Ojeda, conducted for the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, estimates that during the first three years after legalization, the higher earning power of newly legalized workers "would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue."
  • A January 2010 study from the University of Southern California estimates that because unauthorized immigrants earn less than they would if they had legal status, the California state government lost out on $310 million in income taxes in 2009, while the federal government missed out on $1.4 billion.

To read these fact checks in their entirety, see:

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For press inquiries contact Seth Hoy at shoy@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7509.