The US economy would undeniably benefit from immigration reform on a wide range of levels, and proposals are currently working their way through Congress in order to try and offer a path to US citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the country, but it is a topic that always raises passions, and in many cases misunderstandings.
The economic perspective on immigration is a clear and straightforward one – it is a very good thing, although it is very important for policymakers that they not overlook making new openings at either end of the skill spectrum if they really want to reap the full benefits that could be provided by a thorough and comprehensive reform of immigration in the United States.
At the moment, the number of Americans who were not actually born in the United States is at its highest level in nearly 100 years, which puts the US at the higher end in terms of major economics. The great majority of this group are legal immigrants, although the hot topic of recent discussions in Washington has been focused on the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, with many wondering what the impact would be on the economy if they were given the chance to become legal residents.
Many do not realize that undocumented immigrants do, in fact, already pay taxes – such as property tax and sales tax, and around 50% pay income tax – although they would undoubtedly pay more if they had a green card, as they would be liable for Federal income taxes and payroll taxes.