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Policy Report Immigrant Rights

Undocumented During COVID-19: Essential for the Economy but Excluded from Relief

Posted → Aug 10th, 2020

A UCLA study published today found the exclusion of undocumented residents and their families from the $1,200 given to taxpayers a result of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a loss of $10 billion in potential economic output.

Pattern

Overview:

A UCLA study published today found the exclusion of undocumented residents and their families from the $1,200 given to taxpayers a result of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a loss of $10 billion in potential economic output.

The study found that the economic benefits outweigh the costs. The economic activity generated by undocumented immigrants spending the tax credits they would receive under the HEROES Act, currently being debated in Congress, would support 112,000 jobs nationally and produce $14 billion in economic output. These benefits exceed the $9.5 billion price tag them in recovery efforts.

 

Key Findings:

Undocumented workers are essential to the U.S. and California economies.

    • Undocumented workers contribute $1 trillion to the country’s GDP and more than $263 billion to California’s GDP. Mixed-status families, i.e, households with at least one undocumented immigrant and U.S. citizens, produce $1.67 trillion in national GDP and $425 billion to California’s GDP. They are deeply embedded in the US economy.
    • Undocumented workers generate economic activity that supports almost 20 million jobs in the country and 3.2 million jobs in California.
    • They generate $190 billion in government revenue nationally and $63 billion in California.

Undocumented workers’ unemployment rates and total wages have been particularly affected by the economic effects of the pandemic.

    • The unemployment rate for undocumented workers reached over 29% in the United States and more than 27% in California, the highest of any demographic group.
    • The total wage bill for undocumented workers fell by almost 25% across the country and by more than 18% in California.

Including undocumented workers and their families in relief and stimulus bills would lessen the economic damage, support recovery, and benefit all Americans.

    • Extending the CARES Act to undocumented taxpayers and their families would have added over $10 billion to the U.S. economy creating enough economic activity to support over 82,000 jobs nationally and 17,000 in California.
    • Providing undocumented workers with tax credits under the HEROES Act would add almost $14 billion to the economy and would support over 112,000 jobs nationally.
    • The economic benefits of providing relief to undocumented workers would outweigh the costs and would generate more government revenue than the total cost of the tax credits.

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