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Cost of Doing Nothing: 193,000 Fewer Jobs in Texas Because of Failure to Pass Immigration Reform

by: Omar Araiza

Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 11:00 AM CDT

Whoever said Republicans only care most about fiscal matters and Democrats about social issues has not looked at the new data published by the Immigration Policy Center.

While Republican leadership recklessly leads the way to the first US government shut down in 17 years -- by virtually doing absolutely nothing on the issue of immigration reform -- it is costing our state alone 193,000 jobs Texas would otherwise have, had members of Congress passed a comprehensive immigration reform instead.

That's the cost of doing nothing.

In terms of jobs, anyway. Because the costs are more. Numbers show doing nothing concerning immigration reform is also costing us billions of dollars, thousands of lives being lost, and many other missed opportunities.

Take a look at the new data and just how much delaying reform is costing Texas below the jump.

The Cost in Dollars:
The budget dedicated to immigration-enforcement has been massively increased since 1990, yet this has had little impact on reducing unauthorized immigration.

The annual Border Patrol budget has increased ten-fold since 1993, from $363 million to more than $3.5 billion.

The budget of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has doubled from $5.9 billion to $11.9 billion per year, [Figure 2], since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in 2003.

While the country has continued to heavily invest in border security, this has yet to result the desired results of reducing unauthorized immigration.

The Cost in Lives:
Five thousand of migrants have died while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

5,570 migrants lost their life crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from 1998 to 2012 [Figure 3].

In Texas, Border Patrol reported 271 deaths during the FY of 2012.

The Cost in Missed Opportunities:
Also included in the report:

Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, founding director of the North American Integration and Development Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, estimates that in just the first three years following legalization, the "higher earning power of newly legalized workers translates into an increase in net personal income of $30 to $36 billion, which would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue. Moreover, an increase in personal income of this scale would generate consumer spending sufficient to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs."

In general, the study found that "removing the uncertainty of unauthorized status allows legalized immigrants to earn higher wages and move into higher-paying occupations, and also encourages them to invest more in their own education, open bank accounts, buy homes, and start businesses."

Texas would be the second most benefited state in the country, following only the state of California.

Passing immigration reform would mean the wages of unauthorized workers would increase by $9.7 billion. This would generate $4.1 billion in new tax revenue and help create 193,000 new jobs.

You can take a look at the complete numbers and figures by the Immigration Policy Center here.

Follow can follow me on Twitter at @AraizaTX

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