Giving undocumented immigrants legal status benefits the economy, even Republicans are starting to understand that (see Principles on Immigration Reform). Why does Citizenship matter in immigration reform? In “The Economic Case for a Clear, Quick Pathway to Citizenship,” Pieter Bevelander and Don J. DeVoretz make just that argument.
So how can Citizenship for undocumented immigrants help America’s economy? The authors call it human capital investment, where immigrants invests in themselves in language, education, training, and experience in the labor market. They argue that immigrants who don’t plan on staying don’t make the same investment.
Citizenship also brings two important economic benefits.
- It opens new job opportunities, such as government positions, those with security clearances, and certain professional positions; and
- Citizenships communicates to employers that they can invest in these immigrants since through naturalization they show an intention of staying in America.
Combined these two benefits result in increased wages and greater tax revenue. Both higher wages and tax revenue result in greater spending which grows the economy.
If a path to citizenship benefits the economy, how can we maximize the benefit? Stay tuned to my next article to find out.
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