Immigration reform would make it easier for highly-skilled immigrants and those who study at our colleges and universities to start businesses and create jobs right here in America. Foreign companies would be more likely to invest here. The demand for goods and services would go up – creating more jobs for American workers. Every worker and business would be required to pay their fair share in taxes, reducing our deficit by nearly $850 billion over the next two decades. And since a large portion of those taxes go towards retirement programs that millions of Americans depend on, Social Security would actually get stronger over the long-term – adding two years to the life of the program’s trust fund.
That’s what immigration reform would mean for our economy – but only if we act. If we don’t do anything to fix our broken system, our workforce will continue to shrink as baby boomers retire. We won’t benefit from highly-skilled immigrants starting businesses and creating jobs here. American workers will have to make due with lower wages and fewer protections. And without more immigrants and businesses paying their fair share in taxes, our deficit will be higher and programs like Social Security will be under more strain.
We’ve been debating this issue for more than a decade – ever since President Bush first proposed the broad outlines of immigration reform – and I think he gave a very good speech this past week expressing his hope that a bipartisan, comprehensive bill can become law.