The US pays a price for keeping immigrants underemployed

*Let’s make this part of the conversation before Trump gets into office: “Undocumented workers generate 3% of US GDP, or $5 trillion over 10 years, according to a new analysis from two economists at Queens College in New York. If the US government granted them permission to legally work in the country, they would be able to land better jobs and boost the economy by another .6%.” VL


By Oliver Staley and Ana Campoy, Quartz (5.5 minute read) 

US president-elect Donald Trump pledged to get America’s economy growing by 4% a year. Legalizing unauthorized immigrants would take him a long way toward that goal.

Undocumented workers generate 3% of US GDP, or $5 trillion over 10 years, according to a new analysis from two economists at Queens College in New York. If the US government granted them permission to legally work in the country, they would be able to land better jobs and boost the economy by another .6%.

The US could extract another bump in growth from the untapped earning potential of highly educated immigrants, both undocumented and otherwise. One out of four immigrants with a college degree is in a low-skill job, or has no job at all, according to another study by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI). That’s $39 billion a year in squandered wages, and more than $10 billion in missed tax revenues.

Read more stories like this in NewsTaco. >> 

Together, the two studies underscore the often-overlooked complexity of the US immigration picture. Dealing with that picture will require far more nuanced policy than mass deportations or building a 55-foot tall border wall.

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[Photo by Richard “Dick” Morgan/Flickr]

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