Immigration Relief Crucial to U.S. Economic Health

March 17, 2015

Gebe Martinez, [email protected], 703-731-9505

NILC Urges Congress to Keep Integrity of Tax Rules to Secure Economic Benefits of President’s Immigration Initiatives

Benefits from immigration relief will improve the economy for everyone, according to NILC testimony before House subcommittees

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s immigration initiatives will have a positive impact on the economy, and failure to carry them out “would severely harm the federal budget,” the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) stated in its comments today before U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittees on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules, and National Security.

Two components of the president’s announced immigration policy changes — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — “will provide a natural economic stimulus for everyone,” testified Avideh Moussavian, NILC’s economic justice policy attorney. The impact of the immigration relief extends beyond dollars and cents, by making communities “safer, more prosperous, and better integrated in ways that simply cannot be measured.”

Moussavian cited estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) showing that the president’s initiatives would generate $18.9 billion in revenues, including payroll and income taxes, over the next ten years. If the proposals are blocked, the federal budget deficit will rise by more than $6.3 billion during the same period, according to the CBO and JCT. Conservatives who oppose commonsense immigration reform legislation, and this initial step toward administrative relief, have wrongly claimed that people who are granted DAPA or expanded DACA would receive costly federal benefits.

“Although immigrants who qualify for DACA or DAPA pay taxes, they are nevertheless excluded from many economic supports. They are unable to purchase health insurance — even at full cost — in state or federally run health care exchanges. They are similarly excluded from programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, SNAP, and federal Medicaid, among other things,” Moussavian testified.

At the same time, working families who have Social Security numbers and pay taxes have the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else.

“It is a longstanding federal tax principle that the same rules apply to all taxpayers who are working lawfully in the U.S. This includes access to certain earned tax credit programs, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC),” Moussavian told lawmakers. “And while we may disagree on the president’s executive actions, we need to protect the integrity of the tax system.”

The written testimony that NILC’s Avideh Moussavian submitted to the House subcommittees is available at

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