The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) shared its perspective with Congressional staff during a briefing that reviewed an important new study regarding immigration reform.
The study, conducted by UCLA economist Raul Hinojosa, looked at three possible immigration reform scenarios: comprehensive immigration reform, a temporary worker program only and an enforcement-only scheme based on deportation.
The study found that comprehensive immigration reform that includes legalization and flexible future visa programs will result in $1.5 trillion in economic growth over 10 years. By contrast, reliance on a temporary worker program alone would result in significantly less growth, and a deportation-only approach would bleed $2.5 trillion from the U.S. economy over the same 10-year period.
The study and implications were reviewed in detail in an afternoon Congressional staff briefing led by Hinojosa. Representatives from ANLA and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) then provided perspectives from business and labor.
ANLA vice president for government affairs, Craig Regelbrugge, emphasized three reasons why the Hinojosa study is an important contribution to the national discourse on how to fix America’s broken immigration system.
First, Regelbrugge says Hinojosa’s analysis is based not on hypothetical assumptions, but on actual historical experience with implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), signed into law by President Reagan in 1987.
Secondly, other economic experts with considerably different views and methodologies–notably, the conservative Cato Institute -have reached essentially the same conclusions.
Finally, the study acknowledges that “getting it right” and not repeating some of the shortcomings of the IRCA legislation requires both a robust legalization program, and a future flexible visa program that can expand and contract with the economy.
ANLA noted that most employers want an immigration and employment eligibility verification system that works, that has clear and bright lines for compliance, that achieves workforce stability now, accommodates growth in the future and ensures a level playing field.
“The Hinojosa study documents and affirms what employers have instinctively felt–that a comprehensive approach to immigration reform is the best way forward for American employers, American workers and the American economy,” Regelbrugge says.
Check out the full study at ImmigrationPolicy.org.