Study: Senate CIR Bill Would Create 14,000 New Jobs Per Congressional District

For years, support for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) was largely a matter of party affiliation: the vast majority of supporters were Democrats, and opponents were largely Republican. Now it’s more complicated. The demographics have shifted in recent months as more and more leading conservatives have gotten behind CIR, including several prominent GOP senators, not to mention the small army of right-leaning journalists and commentators who have been pushing from the sidelines. [See Norquist Study Makes Case for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, MurthyBlog, 01.Aug.2013, and David Brooks Makes Conservative Case for CIR, MurthyBlog, 24.Jul.2013.]

Until recently, many conservative opponents of CIR have attacked or simply dismissed the mounting evidence of CIR’s economic benefits, the reams of statistical analyses and scholarly studies all showing that immigration reform will improve the U.S. economy and create more jobs. Because many of these studies came from centrist or liberal think tanks, conservatives could easily wave them away with political ad hominem: however well-intentioned, their provenance made them suspect.

That position is getting harder to defend as new studies emerge from conservative sources, validating the economic claims CIR supporters have been making all along. The latest comes from the American Action Network (AAN), a conservative think tank that recently released a statistical search tool, showing how many jobs each congressional district would gain in the next decade if the Senate CIR bill were to be enacted. The answer? On average, about 14,000 new jobs per Congressional district, according to the study, which is based on data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) study – the one touted recently by Grover Norquist. [See Report: Immigration Bill Would Add Nearly 14,000 Jobs Per District, by Jordan Fabian, ABC News, 20.Aug.2013, and Methodology of the Immigration District-by-District Study, American Action Network, 19.Aug.2013.]

According to the AAN study, enactment of the Senate CIR bill would create 51,829 new jobs in Maryland, 161,935 jobs in New York, 221,629 jobs in Texas, and 366,056 jobs in California. [See How Many Jobs Will it Create? American Action Network.] In House Speaker John Boehner’s home district in Ohio, the Senate version of CIR would create 10,761 jobs; it would mean 11,759 new jobs to Congressman Paul Ryan’s home district in Wisconsin, according to the AAN’s numbers.

It remains to be seen how many – if any – House Republicans will be swayed by the American Action Network’s district-by-district breakdown of the economic benefits of CIR. The White House released its own state-by-state numbers a few weeks ago [See White House: How Senate CIR Bill Would Benefit Maryland, MurthyBlog, 14.Aug.2013.] but the AAN study claims to localize the benefits even further, down to the individual Congressional district. This could prove extremely valuable in a legislative battle that’s being fought on a district-by-district basis. For every House GOP member who comes to view CIR in a positive light – as something that will benefit the home district – the prospects for passage brighten just a bit more. To that end: the more local the data, the better.

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