Conservatives say they want economic growth. The Senate immigration bill is the biggest pro-growth item on the agenda today. Based on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate bill would increase the gross domestic product by 3.3 percent by 2023 and by 5.4 percent by 2033. A separate study by the American Action Forum found that it would increase per capita income by $1,700 after 10 years.
This is a selective account of the CBO report, though. The CBO says that the bill “would cause the unemployment rate to increase slightly between 2014 and 2020,” and that “wages would be lower than current law through 2024.” Eventually, the CBO sees a rosier picture. What’s the upside? “Relative to what would occur under current law, S. 744 would lower per capita GNP by 0.7 percent in 2023 and raise it by 0.2 percent in 2033” (under the full range of its estimates, the CBO says that the bill could actually reduce per capita GNP by 0.2 percent in 2033, or increase it by 0.7 percent). In other words, there is no compelling economic case for the bill.