Trump-Backed Immigration Bill Would Nix 4.6M Jobs: Study
An immigration bill praised by President Donald Trump could result in 4.6 million jobs being lost by 2040 along with a small dip in per-capita GDP, according to a study released by the University of Pennsylvania on Aug 10.
The analysis from Trump’s alma mater, Penn’s Wharton School, found the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act would raise per-capita GDP by 0.02 percent by 2027 but lower it 0.30 percent compared to current policy by 2040. The bill would also cost the country 1.3 million jobs in 10 years and 4.6 million by 2040, the business school’s study said.
“We project that the RAISE Act will lead to less economic growth and fewer jobs than otherwise,” the report concluded. “Job losses emerge because domestic workers will not fill all the jobs that immigrant workers would have filled. While in the short run the RAISE Act leads to a small boost to per capita GDP, in the long run per capita GDP dips slightly.”
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., introduced the RAISE Act last week, which would eliminate family-based immigration for adult sons and daughters, as well as brothers and sisters, and redefine “immediate relatives” to exclude parents. The study said those changes would have blocked 215,498 immigrants last year. The bill would also institute a “skills-based points system” that favors immigrant applicants with English language proficiency, education and job offers, while also considering age.
It would also end the diversity visa lottery – which granted more than 45,000 green cards in 2016, the study said – and limit the number of refugees able to get permanent residency to 50,000 per year after 85,000 were granted in 2016. It also caps a merit-based visa system at 140,000, among other changes expected to dramatically reduce the roughly 1 million total green cards issued annually.
Last week Cotton and Perdue as well as the White House stumped for the bill, similar to a bill Cotton introduced in February. Cotton said the immigration system has been “divorced from the needs of our economy” for decades, and that the bill will improve wages and create jobs. Perdue said the skill-based system will welcome “talented individuals” who “wish to come to the U.S. legally” to make a better life.
But the study found that losing immigrant worker contributions and savings will undo and reverse initial per-capita gains resulting from initially stable capital stock split among fewer workers. It estimated the RAISE Act would lead to a 50 percent net immigration decrease with a 75 percent increase in the proportion of immigrants with a college degree.