Comptroller Susan Combs Says No Thanks to Updating 2006 Immigration Study

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Congressman Pete Gallego, (D-Alpine), received a no for a response from the state comptroller to update a study on the fiscal impact of Texas' population of undocumented immigrants.

The last time such a study was conducted was in 2006. The results showed that by deporting the then 1.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the state in 2005, Texas would lose a “$17.7 billion impact on the state's economy as well as state revenues generated by undocumented immigrants.”

Those numbers represent figures from nearly 10 years ago. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of undocumented immigrants in Texas increased to 1.55 million by 2007 and 1.8 million by 2010. The numbers were not statistically different in 2011, the last year for which numbers are available.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., our conservative elected officials continue to put up a fight against a comprehensive immigration reform. Essentially fighting against billions of dollars generated into our state's economy.

Read more after the jump.Gallego stated disappointment in Combs for unwilling to update a study previously done by the office.

Gallego is not requesting anything outside of Susan Combs' job duties. According to the official state site, the Comptroller is supposed to act as “chief steward of the state's finances, acting as tax collector, chief accountant, chief revenue estimator and chief treasurer for all of state government.”

Combs, whose term ends in January 2015, already announced earlier in May she would not be seeking another term in 2014.

In his original letter of request to Combs, Gallego pointed to a more recent study done by the Immigration Policy Center, further arguing the need for the state to update its numbers. Gallego quoted the study as showing, “[i]f all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Texas, the state would lose $69.3 billion in economic activity, $30.8 billion in gross state product, and approximately 403,174 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time.”

“The report would be vital to the 38 Texas members of Congress, and to other elected officials and decision-makers as they grapple with immigration reform,” Gallego further argued in the letter.

During the regular session of the 83rd Legislature, bipartisan advocates for immigration reform also advised it was time to update the analysis. The framework for a new analysis is already in place, the data only simply needs to be updated.

Immigration reform has largely been debated as a social issue by Republicans. But the impact immigration reform has on our state, and country, digs deep into our economy. It affects everyone, regardless of our citizenship status. These types of studies add a fiscal component to the conversation, focusing our attention away from very emotional and social aspects we may never agree on.

Continuing to shed light on the fiscal impact immigration has on our economy might convince enough fiscal conservatives to support reform.  If conservatives won't support immigration reform out of compassion toward other human beings, perhaps they will out of love to money.

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About Author

Omar Araiza

Staff writer Omar Araiza covers immigration, Latino voters, the U.S.-Mexico border, and LGBT issues. He is a proud South Texas native, born and raised in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Omar tweets from @AraizaTX.

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