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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 5, 2014 at 5:00 PM

End of unemployment benefits: Immigration reform and the economy

It is not a happy new year for more than a million people who start 2014 with the loss of their unemployment benefits [“Long-term jobless voice fears as unemployment checks end,” NWFriday, Jan. 3]. The program was created to help millions of U.S. citizens who lost their jobs in a recession. In most states, the benefits expire after 6 months.

So, what has this to do with immigration reform?

Immigration reform would bring financial growth to the country. It would cause the U.S. economy to grow an additional 4.8 percent over a 20-year period, including 2.8 percent in the first, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. Cumulative deficits would fall by nearly $1.2 trillion over a 20-year period. About $180 billion of this reduction would occur in the first decade, and $990 billion in the second.

In Washington alone, immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally contributed $14.5 billion in economic activity, $6.4 billion in gross state product and approximately 71,197 jobs in past years, according to the Immigration Policy Center.

With immigration reform, those unemployed people would likely have more job choices and the U.S. would have more money for those who need financial help.

Tahmina Watson, immigration lawyer, Seattle

Comments | More in Immigration | Topics: economy, Seattle

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