Stymied by a Congress that has been unable to pass comprehensive immigration reform, President Obama issued a set of executive actions on Thursday.
Its centerpiece is a new program providing protection from deportation and a possible work permit for unauthorized immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years and have children who are citizens or have green cards.
Patrick Oakford at the Center for American Progress says this will impact all sectors of the economy where unauthorized immigrants work, including construction and restaurants.
Economist Giovanni Peri says work permits will allow workers to apply for higher-wage jobs and provide employers with a larger pool of workers.
The White House’s Council of Economic Advisers says this could generate an increase in productivity that would boost gross domestic product by 0.2% over the next decade. But that depends on both employers and employees having confidence that the temporary status will be extended. Kristi Boswell of the American Farm Bureau Federation says the measure doesn’t go far enough.
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