WASHINGTON — Immigration reform would boost Oklahoma's economic output by $290 million next year and create nearly 3,500 new jobs, the White House states in a report intended to spur action in the U.S. House on the issue.
Grabbing statistics and assumptions from a number of studies, the White House report about the state impacts of immigration reform says the boost to Oklahoma's economic output by 2045 would near $1.7 billion, measured in 2012 dollars.
White House economic adviser Gene B. Sperling told reporters Wednesday that immigration reform that expands temporary worker programs and provides a path to earned citizenship would lower the deficit and create broad economic growth for the country.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the legislation passed by the Senate in June would reduce the deficit by $850 billion over a decade. That would “swamp” the costs of additional benefits or costs associated with the bill, Sperling said.
House Republican leaders have said they would not consider the comprehensive Senate legislation and would instead approach the issue with several different bills. However, it's not clear when the House will take up the matter; lawmakers are leaving Washington this week and won't return until after Labor Day, when they'll be confronted by pressing budget deadlines.
Among the Oklahoma-related statistics contained in the White House report:
Providing a pathway to earned citizenship and expanding high- and low-skilled visa programs will increase total personal income for Oklahoma families by $537 million in 2020, according to Regional Economic Models, Inc.
Immigration reform would have increased the state and local taxes paid by immigrants in Oklahoma by approximately $14 million in 2010.
Immigrants significantly increased home values in Oklahoma between 2000 and 2010; in Oklahoma County, the increase was $2,430 for the median home.
In 2020, an expanded temporary worker program would mean 786 new jobs for U.S. citizens and immigrants in Oklahoma, and increase Oklahoma's real personal income by $49 million in 2012 dollars.
Oklahoma's labor force is 7.4 percent foreign-born; noncitizen farm workers accounted for 17 percent of all farm workers in Oklahoma between 2007 and 2011.
Of Oklahoma's business owners, 6.9 percent are immigrants.
About 55.1 percent of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates at the state's most research-intensive schools are foreign-born. Also, 70.3 percent of the state's engineering Ph.D.s are foreign-born.