NC Budget and Tax Center

The cost of doing nothing on federal immigration reform

We all pay a higher price as the U.S. House continues to drag its feet on comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship, according to the American Immigration Council. This price comes in three forms: dollars, lives, and missed opportunities. The authors co-released this infographic to illustrate the cost of doing nothing.

The authors determine that a significant share of the monetary cost stems from the “enforcement only” approach that has cost billions of dollars since the early 1990s but hasn’t slowed down the number of unauthorized immigrants coming into the United States. The human cost results from people literally dying as they attempt to cross the border as well as from breaking up and shattering families—causing many children to end up in the child welfare system. And, the missed opportunities come in the form of forgone tax dollars and consumer buying power that can support the economy and public investments.

First and foremost, the U.S. House needs to end the shutdown and pass a budget for 2014, without conditions, that includes a responsible mix of new revenue and smart spending cuts. Their next priority should then be to tackle comprehensive immigration reform. Check out the report for more details.

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