US economy would be remade by immigration reform

The landmark immigration reform legislation that has been passed by the Senate would remake the workforce in the United States, allowing immigrants to enter more sectors of the economy, from rural fields and restaurant kitchens to elite technology firms.  Instead of the illegal workers that are currently commonplace in low-skilled jobs in the service or agriculture industries, most would become legal, with many holding green cards or even citizenship, while also having the effect of slowing illegal immigration from Mexico.

That is the prediction from a number of recent analyses of the immigration bill that was passed by the Senate last month with White House backing.  The bill is facing challenges, however, in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republican Party.

The bill offers a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants that already live in the United States, which is the legislation’s most contentious element, particularly for conservatives.  However, it will have next to no impact on the size of the population in the US, given that the people it concerns are already there.

While the bill has the intention of securing the borders of the United States, preventing employers from hiring illegal immigrants and tracking people who overstay their US visas, it is still likely to increase America’s population by as much as 15 million over the course of the next 20 years, the Congressional Budget Office claims – with opponents claiming Americans will be robbed of jobs.