Activists see benefits in citizenship

Immigrants are sworn in as new U.S. citizens at a ceremony in Mount Vernon, Va.


Bill Radke: Today, President Obama convenes a meeting of bipartisan lawmakers to talk immigration. There are activists calling for citizenship for the 12 million or so undocumented workers in this country. The president has distanced himself from that call. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler looks at the economic pros
and cons.

Jeff Tyler: Those opposed to giving undocumented workers a "pathway to citizenship" say foreign workers would steal jobs during a recession. Not so, says Demetri Papademetriou with the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute:

Demetri Papademetriou: The vast, vast majority of these people are already employed. So this isn't an issue of some sort of an open job where a native person and a foreign-born person competing for this job.

Supporters of citizenship see an economic upside.

Clarissa Martinez is with the National Council of La Raza:

Clarissa Martinez: The Congressional Budget Office estimate that doing a legalization could contribute $66 billion in revenue over 10 years.

That money -- from fines and extra taxes -- would benefit Uncle Sam. But the federal government would also spend more as newly-minted citizens would start to collect public benefits, like Social Security and Medicaid.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.


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