Thoughts on immigration executive order

To the Editor:
Pope Francis speaks compassionately about the plight of immigrants and refugees across the world. Bishop Martin Amos and his brother bishops have written to us and to our legislators about the Scriptural basis for immigration reform. President Obama has issued an Executive Order (EO) that, although limited, is a step in the direction of reform. Here are some economic thoughts about the EO:
• Many of those affected will not be new workers. They are already working, albeit in a shadow economy. Many make less than minimum wage, frequently experience wage theft (unpaid overtime pay or off the clock) don’t receive compensation for workplace injuries, and suffer sexual abuse — all without a voice for fear of deportation and loss of family support.
• The EO will decrease or eliminate the financial advantage an employer might have in hiring an undocumented person over a native-born, resulting in new opportunities for unskilled native-born workers.
• Birth rates among the native-born have dropped to the point of too few replacements for baby boomer retirees. Declining school enrollments are hitting the economics of many school districts. Fewer workers support more retirees. More workers are necessary to pay into Social Security and other support for retirees.
More workers mean a growing economy as they seek housing, automobiles, clothing, appliances and other goods and services. A recent U.S. News and World Report article based on a study by the University of California estimates that the increases in the economy due to the EO would boost income by $7 billion, tax revenues by $2.5 billion and employment by 160,000. The same article indicates that comprehensive immigration reform would lift economic growth about $41 billion — for the next two decades and could also cut the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over the same period, increase home construction, lift wages and add 8.3 million workers to the economy.
Glenn Leach
St. Ann Parish, Long Grove

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