Guest Opinion: Immigration reform will boost state

May 31, 2013. The California state controller’s op-ed on why immigration reform matters, citing some research of the Fiscal Policy Institute, appears on the Calaveras Enterprise web site.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office determined that comprehensive reform would increase both investment and the productivity of new workers brought to our labor force. Overall GDP would increase between 0.8 and 1.3 percent as early as 2016. Given California’s population and economic mix, we are likely to experience growth at a rate higher than the nation. Assuming the state benefited by just one-tenth of the nation as a whole, California’s 10-year gain could be $80 billion to $140 billion.

The Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that immigrant-owned small businesses employed 4.7 million people in 2007, 500,000 of them in California. With sound immigration reform, we could see more people opening small businesses. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, extending legal status or citizenship to current residents can lead to an annual job increase between 121,000 and 203,000, depending on how fast the reforms are implemented. California stands to expand employment by at least 12,000 jobs annually.