By Alexandra Forter Sirota
Director of the Budget & Tax Center
Federal immigration reform will allow the immigration system to keep up with a changing economy and migration patterns, while also providing economic benefits to the nation and state. Immigrants have always been a vital part of our economy, bringing a wider range of skills than is generally understood to our workforce, and creating new businesses that help employ North Carolinians and bring new life to main streets around the state. There is widespread agreement that our current immigration system is broken, with violations by both immigrants and employers. The result is an economic context that is not good for immigrants, creates an unlevel playing field for employers, and introduces costly problems for the growth of the economy in the long run.
To fix the immigration system, the federal government must first and foremost create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In so doing, federal immigration reform proposals would provide an economic and fiscal benefit to North Carolina by:
- Increasing access to skill training and education for North Carolina immigrants.
- Encouraging more North Carolina immigrants to become entrepreneurs and start or expand small businesses.
- Bringing more immigrants out of the economic shadows by ensuring they are working here legally and paying taxes