Polis to Obama and Boehner: Immigration reform could be worth billions

Rep. Jared Polis (Kersgaard)

Congressman Jared Polis today called for the inclusion of comprehensive immigration reform in any negotiated package presented to Congress to raise the debt limit and cut the deficit. In a letter to President Obama and Speaker Boehner, Polis outlined how he thinks immigration reform could increase federal revenues by billions of dollars, helping to close the budget deficit.

β€œ[I]mmigration reform would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue over three years,” the letter says. β€œThe nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office scored the bi-partisan 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that was proposed in the Senate as increasing federal revenues by $15 billion over the 2008-2012 period and by $48 billion over the 2008-2017 period.”

The text of the letter is below:

July 8, 2011

Dear Mr. President and Speaker Boehner:

Given your call to reach a budget agreement that will avoid a debt default, I am writing to encourage you to consider including in any negotiated agreement a comprehensive immigration reform package, which would increase tax revenues without increasing federal income tax rates.

Studies from groups across the political spectrum have proven the economic and fiscal benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. By requiring illegal immigrants to register with the government, pay fees and back taxes, and correct their status, we can drastically expand our tax base. A report by the Center for American Progress found that passing comprehensive immigration reform would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue over three years. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office scored the bi-partisan 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that was proposed in the Senate as increasing federal revenues by $15 billion over the 2008-2012 period and by $48 billion over the 2008-2017 period.

In addition to expanding our tax base, economists have proven that comprehensive immigration reform would also increase wages for native workers, thereby boosting tax revenues generated by all workers. The CATO Institute found that forcing undocumented immigrants to get right with the law by registering with the government would boost the incomes of U.S. households by $180 billion in 2019, which would also lead to increased government revenues, without increasing tax rates.

Just like our budget deficit, immigration reform is an issue that we cannot afford to ignore. Bipartisan proposals that are tough, fair, and practical have garnered support from across the ideological spectrum in Congress, as well as from President Bush and the current administration. Comprehensive immigration reform would clearly help us reduce our deficit and debt, and would do so without raising tax rates. Therefore I strongly encourage you to include an immigration reform package as part of the larger compromise.

Sincerely,

Jared Polis
Member of Congress

cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Eric Cantor, Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Steny Hoyer, Minority Whip of the United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Harry Reid, Majority Leader of the United States Senate

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader of the United States Senate

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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