The White House is embarking on a public relations pitch to raise awareness about President Obama’s executive amnesty, which the administration claims will provide a boost to the economy and have no negative impact on American workers — a claim which Obama himself has disputed in the past.
To help sell Obama’s unilateral action, which he announced in November, the White House has published a U.S. map which shows how much economic output will increase for each state due to amnesty. The amnesty will provide temporary relief from deportation and legal work status to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.
The White House is also creating a series of eye-catching flash cards for each U.S. state with the hashtag #ImmigrationAction, which show how each will supposedly benefit from amnesty.
California is the first state the White House is highlighting. Texas is next.
The stats are based on an analysis conducted by White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, which found that Obama’s executive action will increase U.S. GDP by 0.4 percent over the next decade. That increase will cut the federal deficit by $25 billion by 2024, the advisers predict.
The report also asserts that U.S. workers will not be displaced from their jobs due to Obama’s unilateral effort.
But in what is perhaps the most disputed claim — or the one most lacking in context — CEA claims that wages for U.S.-born workers will increase by an annual average of $170 by 2024 due to amnesty.
High-skilled immigration would lead to more innovation and “positive spillovers” for native workers, CEA asserts. “Better task specialization and occupational reallocation” would be a positive consequence of work authorization for illegal immigrants and would cause greater productivity and higher wages for U.S.-born workers, the advisers claim.
But other research has indicated that immigration causes a decline in U.S. workers’ wages. What’s more, the research finds that it is low-skilled, blue-collar American workers who bear the brunt of more immigrant workers.
Harvard University economist George Borjas found that between 1980 and 2000, immigration caused a 4.8 percent decrease in wages for U.S.-born workers without a high school degree. In research published in 2013, Borjas found that immigration caused a $1,396 annual decrease in U.S. workers’ wages in the short-term.
He also found that high-income Americans benefit the most from illegal immigration, contributing further to economic inequality, which Democrats usually oppose.
“Illegal immigration reduces the wage of native workers by an estimated $99 to $118 billion a year, and generates a gain for businesses and other users of immigrants of $107 to $128 billion,” Borjas found. (RELATED: Immigration Boosts Economy, Widens Wealth Gap, Analysis Finds)
In its report, CEA dismissed research conducted by Borjas and two other colleagues which showed similar negative effects for low-skilled U.S.-born workers.
But Obama himself has indicated that he subscribes to the same argument Borjas and others have made.
“If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net,” Obama wrote in his 2006 autobiography “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.” (RELATED: Obama: Illegal Immigration Hurts ‘Blue-Collar Americans’)
The White House’s analysis of the long-term economic impact of Obama’s amnesty also fails to consider the argument made by Obama’s opponents who argue that the effort will spur more illegal immigration in the future.