Joe Biden and His Bidenomics Program
Extending permanent legal status to unauthorized immigrants has also been an issue touted as an economic priority by the Biden administration. AFP

Latino lawmakers are calling on President Joe Biden to extend work permits for undocumented immigrants, adding their voices to business leaders who view immigration as a boon to the economy and an issue that will have substantial implications in the upcoming presidential election.

The most recent push comes from elected officials in pivotal swing states such as Nevada and Arizona, where the Latino vote is crucial.

At a press conference organized this week by the Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), Democratic leaders stated that they would seek to leverage their influence in state Senates and lower houses to urge President Biden to create programs allowing for the extension of work permits to this population group.

Specifically, legislators from Latino-heavy states such as Arizona and Nevada, as well as from Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Utah, primarily identify two cohorts of immigrants who should be recipients of work permits: those in the DACA (Dreamers) program and those who have been working in the country for many years, albeit without permits.

Additionally, legislators such as Angela Romero, a Democratic State Senator from Utah, have expressed concerns that immigrants, whether authorized to work or not in the U.S., are being used as an argument by some politicians to reinforce anti-immigration rhetoric for electoral purposes.

"What we're seeing at the state level right now is our communities being dehumanized, people using us as rhetoric," said Romero, who also presides the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.

In the case of the Dreamers (immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who haven't been able to regularize their status in the country), Romero said, "these are the children and families that I represent. There's nothing more heartbreaking than to see a young person who has done everything they can to achieve the American dream, yet still can't work because of their status."

Findings in an ABIC's survey underscore the widespread support for extending work permits to immigrants, especially in pivotal swing states. The survey reveals that 65% of respondents favor expanding permits, with a notable 86% of potential Democrat voters endorsing such initiatives. Adding weight to this cause are the majority of Democratic senators in the U.S. Senate.

The recent conference organized by ABIC is a continuation of efforts following a letter signed by 150 state and local Latino elected officials. This coalition urged the extension of work permits to several groups, including Dreamers ineligible for DACA due to age, undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens, and long-term undocumented immigrants.

It's the economy

ABIC emphasizes that their advocacy isn't solely aimed at rectifying a humanitarian issue; it's also about acknowledging the substantial economic contributions of undocumented workers.

Extending permanent legal status to unauthorized immigrants has also been an issue touted as an economic priority by the Biden administration.

In a report, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) acknowledges that there are more than 11.4 million unauthorized workers in the country, including beneficiaries of DACA and persons with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

According to the CEA, "Granting permanent legal status would also likely raise tax revenues, increase productivity, and have additional benefits for the children of these immigrants, generating substantial economic value for the country."

Salient findings from an essay by members of the CEA

  • Labor Market Efficiency: Immigrants are found to be more mobile than natives in response to local economic conditions, which helps labor markets function more efficiently.
  • Innovation and Productivity: A study has shown that a 1 percentage point increase in the population share of immigrant college graduates increases patents per capita by 9% to 18%, indicating a boost in innovation.
  • Tax Revenues: Legalizing unauthorized immigrants can lead to an increase in tax revenues as more immigrants start paying taxes or contribute more as their incomes rise.
  • Economic Growth: Granting legal status and citizenship to undocumented immigrants is projected to significantly expand economic growth, boost incomes, create jobs, and increase tax revenues.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.