Update on Immigration Reform - August 2013

As Congress continues their summer recess, attention is turning to members of the House of Representatives to see what, if any, action they will take on immigration reform when they return in September. Bipartisan immigration reform passed the Senate at the end of June on a 68-32 vote, however the House of Representatives has yet to consider the legislation.

The economic benefits of passing commonsense immigration reform were touted on a recent call with White House staffer Cecilia Munoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the GDP could be increased by 3.3% in 2023 and 5.4% in 2033 if commonsense immigration reform is passed. This approximately equals an increase of $700 billion in 2023 and $1.4 trillion in 2033, demonstrating the economic importance of enacting this legislation.

Karen Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration, spoke of the four objectives of commonsense immigration reform as presented by President Obama that they are encouraging the House to consider. Those four areas are:

1) Continue to strengthen border security

2) Streamline legal immigration

3) Hold immigrants accountable to earn U.S. citizenship

4) Crack down on employers hiring undocumented workers.

In addition to the economic benefits our country will see from enacting commonsense immigration reform, it could also be a boon for local, state, and national tax revenue. Approximately $300 billion will be added to Social Security and an additional $200 billion in state and local taxes. Bringing undocumented workers out from the shadows will increase the tax base; thus benefitting schools, emergency services and other local government operations, as well as lowering the tax burden for current taxpayers and businesses.

During the call, the White House staff asked that business owners continue to tell their story on how immigration reform will impact their operations. There is even an opportunity on the White House website to share immigration stories here.

On August 1st, the White House released state by state reports that described specifically how Wisconsin’s middle class families and businesses will be impacted by immigration reform. It found substantial benefits for our state:

  • Temporary worker programs will boost Wisconsin’s economic output by $490 million and create approximately 5,782 new jobs in 2014.
  • Commonsense immigration reform would have increased state and local taxes paid by immigrants by approximately $33 million in 2010.
  • Immigrants, on average, increased median home values in Wisconsin by $1,928.

To read the full report, click here.

Wisconsin has a rich tradition of immigration that has strengthened our state and driven innovation, and our hope is that the passage of comprehensive immigration reform will improve Wisconsin’s economy and strengthen Wisconsin business.