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October 19, 2007

Immigrants in Arizona: Fiscal and Economic Impacts

Policy Spotlight

Restrictionist messaging is, unfortunately, very loud and very effective. But is it accurate? For example, does immigration harm the U.S. economy, as restrictionists so often claim? Judith Gans, manager of the Immigration Policy Program at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at The University of Arizona, set out to answer this question in her report entitled "Immigrants in Arizona: Fiscal and Economic Impacts."

The report prepared by Professor Gans examines the costs and benefits of immigration in Arizona. It provides estimates of the incremental fiscal cost associated with immigrants – education, health care, and law enforcement – and measures their contributions to Arizona’s economy both as consumers and as workers. The two categories of immigrants [(naturalized citizens and non-citizens (which includes the undocumented)] are examined separately in order to disentangle the economic costs and benefits associated with each.

Based on Professor Gans' study, the total Arizona state tax revenue attributable to immigrant workers was an estimated $2.4 billion (about $860 million for naturalized citizens plus about $1.5 billion for non-citizens). Balanced against estimated fiscal costs of $1.4 billion (for education, health care, and law enforcement), the net 2004 fiscal impact of immigrants in Arizona was positive by about $940 million. In other words, far from the negative economic impact so often claimed by restrictionists, the presence of immigrants in Arizona accounted for a nearly $1 billion gain for Arizona's economy.

The complete study is available on the University of Arizona's website at; http://udallcenter.arizona.edu/programs/immigration/publications/impact_judy.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at October 19, 2007 06:33 AM

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