White House: How Senate CIR Bill Would Benefit Maryland

As the former House Speaker, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, famously said: all politics is local. With that in mind, the White House is making a full-court press to show the positive local impact of the Senate comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill – the bill it hopes will set the terms of debate when the House of Representatives takes up the issue – assuming it does – after the August Congressional recess. To demonstrate the economic benefits of CIR, the White House recently released state-by-state reports that give more local color to their arguments. [See State-by-State Reports: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System, by Megan Slack, White House Blog, 01.Aug.2013.]

What would CIR mean to Maryland’s economy? According to the White House, if the House enacts immigration reform that is similar to the Senate’s – with a path to citizenship and expanded high-skilled and temporary worker programs – Maryland should expect a cascade of benefits.

  • More jobs and greater economic output
    Maryland’s economic output would increase by an estimated $740 million and create 8,521 new jobs in 2014; By 2045, the increased output, due to CIR, would be worth about $5.9 billion to Maryland’s economy, in 2012 dollars.
  • Increased personal income
    Maryland families would see their personal incomes rise by $2.9 billion in 2020, the White House says, citing the recent Regional Economic Models study.
  • Increased state and local tax revenue
    The White House notes that an earlier study shows CIR would have increased Maryland’s state and local tax collections from immigrants by $163 million in 2010, from $345 million to $508 million. According to the White House, “enacting the Senate bill will raise the ‘wage floor’ for all workers – particularly in industries where large number of low-wage, easily exploited, unauthorized immigrants currently work.” Higher wages paid through legal channels will lead to increased tax receipts.
  • More entrepreneurship and innovation
    As the White House report notes, 21.2 percent of Maryland’s business owners are immigrants, and they generated $2.8 billion in income for Maryland each year; foreign-born students account for a vast share – 26.6% – of Maryland’s STEM graduates at its most research-intensive schools. By eliminating backlogs for employment-based green cards, and by exempting STEM Ph.D. and masters’ graduates from annual quotas, more foreign STEM grads will be able to stay in Maryland, the White House report contends.

[See The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: Impact for Maryland Families, The White House, 01.Aug.2013.]

What would these benefits look like in a technology-intensive state like California? According to the White House, the Senate’s approach to CIR would “boost California’s economic output by $7.3 billion and create approximately 77,070 new jobs in 2014. By 2045, the boost to California’s economic output would be around $35.8 billion, in 2012 dollars.” Compared to Maryland, an even more staggering share of California’s business owners are immigrants – 36.6% – and generate $34.3 billion in income for the state each year. At California’s research universities, 38.3% of its STEM graduates are foreign-born. [See The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System: Impacts for California Families, The White House, 01.Aug.2013.]

The point here is not so much to compare Maryland’s economy to California’s, but to show that in states large and small, the local benefits of comprehensive immigration reform would be far-reaching and profound. Given the welter of economic evidence that supports the Senate’s approach to immigration reform, House members who prefer a piecemeal solution may find it harder and harder to defend their position in the court of public opinion – but that’s no guarantee that they’ll change their minds. We can only hope that a few weeks away from Washington will give House members a fresh perspective and the resolve to get immigration reform done, once and for all.

Copyright © 2013, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.