The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Benefits of Providing a Path to Earned Citizenship

The Executive Office of the President has released a report titled, Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: The Economic Benefits of Providing a Path to Earned Citizenship.

The report highlights "the economic benefits of providing a path to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S. shadow economy."

From the report: "The bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) passed by the Senate is an opportunity for our country to finally fix its broken immigration system. This commonsense legislation, drafted and supported by both Democrats and Republicans, has four pillars: (1) continue to strengthen our borders; (2) crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers; (3) hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship by requiring them to pass background checks, pay penalties and their taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line; and (4) streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers."

"A majority of Americans support a path to earned citizenship. However, some in Congress have suggested that immigration reform should provide only legal status, without any opportunity for those who are getting on the right side of the law to earn their way to citizenship. This 'legalization-only' approach violates a basic principle of our country: that anyone, no matter where they came from, can become an American citizen if they’re willing to work for it and take on the responsibilities of citizenship. We cannot afford a system that creates a group which can never become fully American, denying equal rights to people who pay the same taxes and play by the same rules even after they've paid a penalty and gotten on the right side of the law."

The report argues that a pathway to citizenship for these 11 million undocumented individuals would "add 2 million jobs to the economy and boost gross domestic product by $1.4 trillion over the next decade."

Ultimately, the report concludes: "Our country is stronger when everyone has a stake, everyone pays their taxes and fulfills their responsibilities, and everyone is equally invested in our common future. It makes no sense to tell a major and sizeable group of people who are willing to work hard, learn English, pay taxes, and raise American children that they can never have access to full citizenship in this country. Indeed, this would undercut the very values that make our country strong."