As Lutherans, we advocate for and support comprehensive immigration reform on the basis of our moral obligation to uphold justice and our prophetic mission to welcome the stranger and love our neighbor. But seeking justice for the millions of undocumented immigrants is also directly connected to the economic health of our nation. Lately, this connection has been made both in research by the Center for American Progress (CAP), and by the people of South Carolina.
A new report by CAP, The Economic Effects of Granting Legal Status and Citizenship to Undocumented Immigrants, concludes that allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens will give a big boost to our national economy. The rationale for this argument is simple and compelling. Legalizing undocumented immigrants and creating an earned pathway to citizenship will enable these people to come out of the shadowy economy into the regular labor force. This will allow them to get better jobs and earn higher pay. Higher earnings by a legalized workforce yield more tax revenues at both federal and state levels, as well as more purchasing power and more jobs. The overall ripple effect of this on the economy will be increased consumer spending and growth.
CAP’s report is the latest in a series of studies which demonstrate the economic gains from legalization and a clear pathway to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring citizens in our country.
The economic benefits of immigration reform are not lost on local and state officials. It is therefore not surprising that a coalition of religious, agriculture, and business groups in South Carolina recently came together to push for comprehensive immigration reform. The coalition includes chambers of commerce from Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston, the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, the Carolinas Associated General Contractors, the Palmetto AgriBusiness Council, and the Columbia Urban League.
South Carolina is one of LIRS’s priority states in our quest to educate and mobilize Lutherans to support comprehensive immigration reform. South Carolina is also fast becoming a key battleground state in the fight for immigration reform. For more information and action opportunities around immigration reform, please visit http://lirs.org/cir/. To speak out for comprehensive immigration reform, please visit our Action Center.