Center for American Progress: Opportunity Costs Mounting for Inaction on CIR

There is broad agreement among academics and policy wonks – on both sides of the aisle – that comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) will produce a welter of economic benefits for the U.S. economy. Yet, in the months since June 2013, when the Senate passed its immigration reform bill (S. 744), the House of Representatives has largely sat on its hands, and House Speaker John Boehner continues to talk as if we should expect more of the same.

What happens if Congress continues to drag its feet on the issue, and CIR gets put off for another several months, even years? The Center for American Progress (CAP), a nonpartisan Washington think tank, seeks to keep the pressure on Congress by quantifying the mounting opportunity costs of its – read: the House of Representatives’ – failure to act on CIR. The CAP WebSite features a running total of these opportunity costs, growing ever larger, by the minute. The point: time is money, and further delay is very costly indeed.  [See The Cost of Inaction on Immigration Reform, Center for American Progress, 07.Nov.2013.]

As CAP points out, we already have lost billions in additional tax revenues by failing to pass CIR, and moreover, “with each additional day that passes, another $37 million in revenue is lost.” As of March 19th – 264 days since the Senate passed its immigration reform bill – the lack of resolution on the issue has cost upwards of $9.78 billion, a total that continues to grow. The obvious question: how much more money do we need to leave on the table before Congress finally gets around to modernizing and streamlining our immigration system, as our country clearly needs? What, exactly, are we waiting for?

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