Undocumented Workers Add 8.2%, Or $29 Billion, To Arizona Output

Ryan Randazzo, Arizona Republic, July 11, 2007

If all undocumented workers were removed from Arizona’s workforce, economic output would drop annually by at least $29 billion, or 8.2 percent, according to a University of Arizona report released Wednesday.

The study is based on Census Bureau and other data from 2004, the most complete year available, and assumed most non-citizens in the state are undocumented.

It also found that Arizona’s documented and undocumented immigrants generate nearly $44 billion in output annually.

“Output” includes the value of goods produced in industry, wages and profits.

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However, the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., research group that advocates slowing immigration, said such studies don’t pay enough attention to the basic services that undocumented immigrants in Arizona cost the state.

“What about roads, fire protection, police?” research director Steven Camarota asked. “There should be some benefit for the native-born population (from immigrants working in the economy), it just appears to be very small and comes at the expense of less-educated natives.”

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Without most non-citizen immigrants, the simulations showed:

o $6.56 billion in lost construction output.

o $3.77 billion lost in manufacturing.

o $2.48 billion lost in service sectors.

o $600.9 million lost in agriculture.

“Filling the specific jobs in question would require large numbers of low-skilled workers, and the U.S. education system produces relatively few of them,” Gans said. “There simply aren’t enough additional workers in Arizona to fill the jobs.”

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A new study from the University of Arizona measured the economic costs and benefits of immigrants, documented and otherwise, on the state’s economy. Following are some key figures based on 2004 data:

$43.77 billion: Economic output from all immigrants in state.

$29 billion: Economic output from non-citizens, mostly undocumented workers.

$1.41 billion: Costs to state for all immigrants for English education, health care (including bad debt for hospitals) and law enforcement.

$1.64 billion: State tax revenues attributable to all immigrants.

$222.6 million: Net gain to state from all immigrants.

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