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Economist explains impact of President Biden’s immigration plan

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local economist is giving perspective on the impact President Biden’s immigration plan could have on the economy. It would create a path to U.S. citizenship for almost 11 million immigrants.

Kyle Anderson, with IU Kelley School of Business, says when the country makes policy decisions like this, it creates small changes over time. He clarified that immigration tends to be good for the economy. It increases labor force, allows for economic growth and says people that come to the U.S. do so because job openings are available.

The assistant professor of business economics says there are two different paths that have an impact on the economy. He says high-skilled workers, like engineers and doctors, fill necessary parts of the economy and tend to have an easier path to citizenship. While lower-skilled workers, who fill valuable areas, have a more difficult time with documentation.

Anderson says Baby Boomers are starting to retire and increasing the workforce will then help programs for every American.

“Our population grows anyway, but it grows pretty slowly so expanding the labor force through immigration really helps again support retirees and helps those programs like Medicare and Social Security remain solvent for longer,” Anderson said. “Now that alone isn’t going to solve those problems, they still have funding shortfalls and even with immigration it’s not some magic bullet that will make those problems go away but it helps.”

Another thing to think about is DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, people who grew up in the U.S. but have an unclear status. Anderson says if they were able to get a clear path to citizenship, there’s potential for them to be more productive in the economy.

In total, the bill would need 60 votes to make it through the Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie breaker. The Biden administration would have persuade at least 10 Republican senators to cross the aisle.

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