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Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers Would Cause Harm at Federal and Local Levels Say Two Queens College Economists

 -- Their Report Analyzes the Severe Economic Impact of Deporting Immigrants --

FLUSHING, NY, November 1, 2016 – If the United States were to adopt an immigration policy of removing the estimated seven million unauthorized immigrants who are currently working, it would cost the federal government nearly $900 billion in lost revenue over 10 years. Declines in income would be larger than the national average in the states with the most unauthorized workers, such as California, Nevada, Texas, New York and New Jersey. 
These are just two of the findings of Queens College (CUNY) economics professors Ryan D. Edwards and Francesc Ortega in a recent report done for the Center for American Progress.
For full details, and a link to data on the impact on all 50 states and the District of Columbia, visit:
Below are other highlights of their report:

   A policy of mass deportation would immediately reduce the nation’s GDP by 1.4 percent, and ultimately by 2.6 percent, and reduce cumulative GDP over 10 years by $4.7 trillion.

●   Agriculture, construction, and leisure and hospitality, which have the highest concentrations of unauthorized workers, would be hardest hit and see double-digit reductions in their workforces.

●   The largest declines in GDP would occur in the largest industries--financial activities, manufacturing, and wholesale and retail trade.

The economic and fiscal harm from mass deportation is severe,” wrote Edwards and Ortega.  “…And there are also likely to be harmful noneconomic consequences felt by communities and families that would have to adjust to the removal of millions of people.

“…with current unemployment rates low in most industries, the incentives for remaining residents to work more in order to fill in any gaps left by deported workers would most likely be small and temporary. Viewed in this context, our results suggest that a policy of mass deportation faces a high bar in terms of a cost-benefit calculation.”   

Ryan D. Edwards holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in public policy from Princeton. He was a post-doctoral scholar at both the RAND Corporation and Stanford University, and has served as staff economist on the Council of Economic Advisors. Edwards was also a visiting scientist at Harvard’s School of Public Health and is currently a faculty research fellow in health economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Francesc Ortega, the Dina Axelrad Perry Associate Professor in Economics, holds a PhD from New York University and his MA and BA degrees from universities in Barcelona, Spain. With his strong interest in international and labor economics, he has written widely on immigration in the workforce for leading professional journals. He has also held fellowships at the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Spanish Ministry of Education, the University of Michigan and the National Science Foundation.
About Queens College
Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its nearly 19,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year in the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Learn more at


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