New Analysis Shows Proposed Public Charge Rule Could Affect Up To 7 Million Immigrants

Total Cost of Proposed Rule Change to U.S. Economy Could Amount to $164.4 Billion

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Today, following the Trump Administration’s move to open public comment on a proposed rule change regarding the inadmissibility of immigrants on public charge grounds, New American Economy released a new analysis of the potential economic impact of this proposed rule.

The Trump Administration has proposed a new regulation that would potentially bar millions of working-aged, aspiring immigrants in key industries from being able to come to America and gain permanent residency, and potentially bar millions more who are working legally in these industries now from being able to stay. Under the proposed rule change – which dramatically expands the definition of what it means to be a likely “Public Charge” – anyone who uses more than 15 percent of the poverty line in public benefits ($2.50 per person daily for a family of four) would be considered a public charge and deemed inadmissible. NAE’s analysis finds that this new rule would impact millions of legal immigrants and could cost the United States up to $164.4 billion.

“America’s great history is defined by immigrants – many of them initially poor – working hard, building a better life, and watching their children go on to succeed even more,” said John Feinblatt, President of New American Economy. “Rewriting our immigration rules to close the door to the next generation of strivers won’t improve America’s prospects, it will only damage them.”

Key Findings:

  • Almost 91 percent of all adults active in the labor force who would be affected by the public charge rule are employed.
  • More than 1.4 million people likely to be affected by the public charge rule have at least some college education, including:
    • More than 220,000 workers in the trade, transportation, and utilities industries,
    • Almost 150,000 workers in the education and health services industries, and
    • More than 125,000 workers in the professional and business service industry.
  • The total annual income of workers who would be affected by the public charge rule is more than $96.4 billion. Should they leave the United States, our economy would suffer negative indirect economic effects of more than $68 billion dollars. The total cost to the U.S. economy could therefore amount to $164.4 billion.
  • By encouraging or forcing workers to leave or go underground, the public charge rule change could have a destabilizing effect for several major industries in particular, including:
    • Construction, where about 5 percent of all workers (almost 540,000 people) are likely to be affected.
    • Natural resource and mining industries, where more than 6 percent of all workers (more than 200,000 people) would be affected.
    • Hospitality, recreation, and food services, where about 4.4 percent of all workers (more than 525,000 people) would be affected.
    • Professional and business services, where nearly 3 percent of all workers (about 515,000 total) would be affected.
    • Manufacturing, where more than 2.6 percent of all workers (more than 450,000 people) would be affected.
    • Trade, transportation, and utilities, where more than 2 percent of all workers (more than 650,000 people) would be affected.
  • In 2017, there were nearly 7 million non-citizens who reported receiving monetary or non-monetary aid for themselves.

Read the full analysis here.

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…