Experts: Immigration Relief = Economic Boost
Monday, December 22, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Worker security, a larger tax base and increased productivity are just some of the benefits immigration experts say people across Michigan and the nation stand to gain from President Barack Obama's executive order to grant work permits to some undocumented immigrants.
Ruben Martinez, director of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University, says not only will tens of thousands of Michiganders no longer have to deal with the stress of living in the shadows, the plan will improve stability for one of the state's biggest industries.
"Employers won't find out that some of their employees have been detained, and deported, and now they have the problem of revolving labor forces they're having to contend with,” he points out. “And this is particularly problematic in agriculture."
The plan would award temporary work permits and lift the immediate threat of deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including as many as 150,000 in Michigan.
Opponents of the order fear it will encourage another wave of illegal immigration.
University of Michigan economics professor Thomas Weisskopf takes issue with those who claim immigrant workers will steal jobs from U.S. born workers.
He says the two groups typically do not compete for the same jobs, and thus he believes the plan will serve as an economic stimulus by increasing productivity and the tax base without reducing wages.
"It strengthens the finances of the Social Security system, since payments from active immigrant workers more than offset payments to the aging U.S. born population," he points out.
The Center for American Progress estimates Michigan stands to collect close to $50 million in additional taxes over the next five years as a result of the plan.
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