Immigration Reform Bill would Add 13,992 Jobs per Congressional District

IDGA Editor

The Senate’s immigration bill would add, on average, 13,992 new jobs in each congressional district in the United States over the next decade.

This is one of the findings of an analysis offered by the conservative American Action Network (AAN).

The think tank, which lists former Republican lawmakers Norm Coleman, Jim Nussle, and Vin Weber among its board members, supports the reform of the U.S.immigration law (see, for example, its criticism of the May 2013 Heritage Foundation’s report on the supposed cost of immigration reform: Conservative Criticism of the Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Immigration Study).

ABCNews reports that the group is active in the effort to persuade GOPHouse members to support the Senate immigration reform bill.

There is an interactive Web tool on the AANWeb site which allows visitors to see how many jobs will be created in any congressional district as a result of the immigration reform bill.

ABCNews notes no district would see fewer than 7,000 jobs created by 2023, and an average of 13,992 new jobs would be created in each.

The figures in the AANanalysis were compiled using data from study of economic data and new worker visas by the Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), and a Congressional Budget Office report on the impact of the Senate immigration reform bill.

REMI study

The REMI study evaluates the economic implications of the Path to Legal Status, high-skilled (H-1B) visa expansion, and changes in lesser-skilled visa programs (H-2A, H-2B, and W-1 Visas).

The study’s writers use a REMIPI+ model of all fifty states and the District of Columbia to show the macroeconomic effects of the policy changes over the period of 2014 to 2045. PI+ is a multiregional macroeconomic model which has been used in thousands of national and regional economic studies, including studies of other elements of immigration reforms in the United States.

The study shows the macroeconomic effects of each policy on the national and state level. Key summary macroeconomic indicators include employment, gross domestic (state) product, and personal income. The study also provides employment effects by industry for the United States, and a complete set of state-level fact sheets which present results for each policy and all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The study’s major findings:

It estimates that the Pathway to Legal Status policy will increase total U.S.employment by 123,000 in 2014, increasing to 594,000 net new by 2018. Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to increase by $10.32 billion in 2014 and $49.93 billion in 2018 (all dollar figures presented in report are 2012 real dollars). Employment and gross state product increase for all states and the District of Columbia.

  • It estimates that as a result of the H-1B program expansion, employment will increase by 227,000 jobs in 2014, and will continue to expand, with a net increase of 1.3 million jobs by 2045. Gross domestic product will increase by $22 billion in 2014 and more than $158 billion by 2045. Employment and gross state product are estimated to increase for all states and in all years from 2014 to 2045 as a result of the H-1B program expansion.
  • The increase in H-2A visas results in total employment increases of almost 17,000 jobs in 2014, 51,000 jobs in 2017, and moderating slightly to a 39,600 job increase by 2045.
  • Fully utilizing the H-2B visas up to the cap will increase total U.S.employment by 25,000 in 2014, and cause employment to remain steady at about 24,000-25,000 over the baseline forecast to 2045.
  • It estimates that as a result of the W-1 Visa program, there will be a net increase in of more than 40,000 in 2014, and a total gain of 365,000 jobs by 2045. Gross domestic product is expected to increase by $2.67 billion in 2014 and to rise by $31 billion over the baseline by 2045.

"The impact of these components of immigration reform is net positive on the state and national economies and the labor force," the study report says.

ABCNews notes that the figures in the REMIstudy could offer more cover for GOPHouse members who may be leaning toward backing immigration reform, as it would allow them to explain their support for the bill to skeptical constituents as they talk with voters during August recess visits to their home districts.

Republican opponents of immigration reform, aware of the appeal of the job-creation argument, contend that immigration reform would not be a job-creation engine.

For example, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), the leading critic of the Senate bill, criticized the original REMIreport, saying that there is a finite number of jobs, and that these jobs would go to newly arrived work-visa immigrants rather than Americans.

"We don’t have a shortage of workers — we have a shortage of jobs," he said.

Also, some supporters of the Senate bill rely on analyses which, while suggesting that the bill would create many jobs, say it would create fewer jobs than the REMIstudy and AANanalysis suggest.

Thus, in a letter to Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), one of the authors of the Senate bill, the Office of the Chief Social Security Actuarysays that his agency estimates the number of jobs to be created by the Senate bill to be around three million by 2024.

This article first appeared at Homeland Security News Wire

Immigration and border security are among the many topics to be discussed at IDGA’s Homeland Security 2013 event in October. For full details, go to