Based on the latest research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonprofit organization that looks into the state and federal policies and its effects on low-income families and communities, states have taken it upon themselves to act on immigration rather than wait on Congress to act on a federal level.
Erica Williams, assistant director of state and fiscal research at CBPP, said their latest paper, titled “For States, Inclusive Approach to Unauthorized Immigrants Can Help Build Better Economies,” illustrates how state tax and budget policies, among others, are affecting different communities but particularly those in a lower income bracket. Williams said state-based immigration legislation, as a result of the lack of federal comprehensive immigration reform, has been more positive in recent years as many states are looking at how to address undocumented immigrants and bring them into the “mainstream economy,” which benefits both immigrant and state economies.
“The most important takeaway is that by taking a sort of commonsense, inclusive approach to unauthorized immigrants, states really can better their economies by producing a more educated workforce, ensuring that more employers are paying their workers fairly — regardless of their immigration status — and help to generate additional revenues to pay for the schools and other public services that build a strong foundation for a state economy for broadly shared prosperity,” Williams told Latin Post.
“All of that is good for everyone.”
In regards to why several U.S. states have been apprehensive to develop or adopt pro-immigrant legislation, Williams said the topic is still a “political issue,” and there people with some fears that granting immigrants with certain benefits would somehow reduce incomes or employment for native-born workers. She said the “real truth,” however, is that native-born workers will benefit from states bringing in undocumented immigrants into the mainstream economy.
“These are folks that are already living here in the United States. They live and work in communities across the country… if they are doing better, we all do better,” Williams said.
“It’s particularly true in the case, for example, of labor law enforcement and making sure people are paid the wages that they earned and that they’re making at least the legal minimum wage.”
Williams noted enforcing labor law enforcement would also benefit native-born workers in ensuring they, too, receive appropriate wages.