Reality Check: Do Undocumented Immigrants Benefit the U.S. Economy? - NBC Bay Area
Reality Check

Reality Check

Vets the truthfulness of claims and measures the efficacy of public policy

Reality Check: Do Undocumented Immigrants Benefit the U.S. Economy?



    Do illegal immigrants benefit the U.S. economy? Sam Brock in this edition of Reality Check examines. (Published Monday, Dec. 8, 2014)

    Despite frequent claims by conservative politicians and pundits, the reality is that undocumented immigrant workers have a net positive contribution to the U.S. economy -- it’s something that economists of all stripes and the research (both government and academic) have found repeatedly.

    How big the benefit is and what kinds of immigrant workers contribute the most is up for debate, explained U.C. Davis economist Giovanni Peri, who has done extensive research on the economic impact of immigrants.

    Peri did affirm, though, that the answer to the following four questions was "yes," in short and with limited exceptions:

    • Have “undocumented workers increased the GDP of the U.S.?
    • Has their work decreased the prices we pay for food?
    • Has the tax revenue from immigrants outpaced the cost of government services they use?

    Extensive research supports the affirmative for each one of these questions. Below are links to the respective research papers.

    Immigrant Workers and U.S. GDP - Pew Research Center Report.
    Immigrants Impact on Food Prices - USDA Report
    Tax Revenue from Immigrants - Congressional Budget Office Report

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