As President Barack Obama hits the road Friday to sell his executive order to grant as many as 5 million unauthorized immigrants temporary reprieve from deportation, his top economic advisers published a paper suggesting it will have only a modest economic benefit.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers said in an analysis that the order would boost economic growth by 0.4 percent over 10 years under a conservative estimate. Its less-conservative estimate suggested a growth bump of 0.9 percent over a decade.
“These estimated effects are significant but are a fraction of the economic benefits that would occur if these actions were superseded by Congressional action on commonsense immigration reform,” the CEA report said.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, it noted, has estimated that an immigration-reform bill that has passed the Senate but was not taken up by the House of Representatives would boost growth by 3.3 percent or $700 billion over 10 years.
Some labor economists question whether the administration plan will actually draw workers out of the shadows and into three-year temporary work permits.
The White House’s more-conservative economic estimate said that the executive order would boost the labor force by about 150,000 over a decade, slightly improve per-worker output and raise wages for U.S.-born workers by $170 in current dollars in 2014.
Under the report’s more-optimistic estimate almost all of the improvement in per-hour output by workers would come from changes in programs that encouraged greater immigration by high-skill workers.