Will deporting undocumented workers take us back to the Great Recession?

Rounak Maiti Sep 21, 2016
John Moore/Getty Images

Will deporting undocumented workers take us back to the Great Recession?

Rounak Maiti Sep 21, 2016
John Moore/Getty Images

Implementing a mass deportation of undocumented workers would reduce cumulative GDP over 10 years by $4.7 trillion — a similar decline in revenue and employment caused by the Great Recession, according to a new study released today by the Center for American Progress.

A move of that magnitude would erase 5 percent of U.S. labor and have a drastic impact on production rates of every industry, according to the study.

While America’s 11.3 million undocumented immigrants make up a mere 3.5 percent of the population, it is estimated that 7 million of them — or more than 60 percent — are workers, across the public and private sector.

The CAP’s study adds to a growing collection of data around the country’s reliance on undocumented workers. Last month, conservative policy group American Action Forum released another study that said the private sector alone would lose more than $300 billion and 2 million workers. 

The Center for American Progress’s study estimated that the federal government would lose nearly $900 billion in revenue over 10 years —- and this doesn’t even include the physical cost of transporting immigrants out of the country, which will be more than $100 billion itself.

Mass deportation would not just affect industries like agriculture, or construction — industries that commonly employ undocumented immigrants.

Some of the largest industries in the United States, which are often not associated with illegal labor, will also feel the effects. This, according to the CAP, is because of the varying sizes of industries and how removing large populations of labor will affect the national GDP. Finance, manufacturing, and retail and wholesale would each witness a loss of more than $50 billion.

These findings are especially bad news for states with large numbers of immigrant workers. The study suggests that a state like California would lose $8.2 billion, or 21 percent, of its agricultural industry GDP alone, and lose 5 percent of GDP, or more than $100 billion, across all industries.

A full interactive of the CAP’s state-by-state breakdown is available here.

CORRECTION: This article has been changed to reflect that the study compared these economic effects to the effects of the Great Recession, and that the estimated loss of revenue does not include the cost associated with the act of deportation.




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