Report: Immigration Bill Would Add Nearly 14,000 Jobs Per District

Conservative group's report provides cover for GOP on immigration

Aug. 20, 2013— -- The Senate’s immigration bill would add nearly 14,000 new jobs on average in each congressional district over the next decade, according to a new report.

The new analysis is from the center-right American Action Network (AAN), which backs an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. It’s being distributed to lawmakers’ offices as pro-reform groups seek to convince GOP congressmen to vote for immigration reform proposals this fall.

District-by-district data is available through this web tool. No district would see fewer than 7,000 jobs created by 2023, and an average of 13,992 new jobs would be created in each. The figures were compiled using data from a Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) study of economic data and new worker visas and a Congressional Budget Office report on the impact of the Senate bill.

The figures could provide more cover for Republican House members who are considering backing reform. It could allow them to explain their position to skeptical constituents during August recess, when immigration has been a hot topic at town hall meetings.

Pro-reform conservatives have long framed immigration reform as a job-creation effort, dovetailing with the GOP message on jobs and the goals of party leaders to broaden that message to Latino voters.

But Republican opponents of reform don’t believe immigration can be a job-creation engine. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the leading adversary of the Senate bill, criticized the original REMI report, arguing that a finite amount of jobs would go to newly arrived immigrants on work visas rather than Americans.

“We don’t have a shortage of workers — we have a shortage of jobs,” he said in a statement earlier this month.

And some estimates have predicted that the Senate bill would create fewer jobs than the AAN’s estimate. Judging by the per-district average, the bill would generate over 6 million jobs over the next decade. But a Social Security actuary’s report on the bill predicted that it would create over 3 million jobs by 2024. That’s still a significant increase, but just not as much as the AAN report.