According to the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, there were 8.4 million unauthorized immigrants employed in the U.S.; representing 5.2 percent of the U.S. labor force (an increase from 3.8 percent in 2000). Their importance was highlighted in a report by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs that stated, “Without the undocumented population, Texas’ work force would decrease by 6.3 percent” and Texas’ gross state product would decrease by 2.1 percent.  Furthermore, certain segments of the U.S. economy, like agriculture, are entirely dependent upon illegal immigrants.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that, “about half of the hired workers employed in U.S. crop agriculture were unauthorized, with the overwhelming majority of these workers coming from Mexico.” The USDA has also warned that, “any potential immigration reform could have significant impacts on the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry.” From the perspective of National Milk Producers Federation in 2009, retail milk prices would increase by 61 percent if its immigrant labor force were to be eliminated. 

Echoing the Department of Labor, the USDA, and the National Milk Producers Federation, agricultural labor economist James S. Holt made the following statement to Congress in 2007: “The reality, however, is that if we deported a substantial number of undocumented farm workers, there would be a tremendous labor shortage.”

In terms of overall numbers, The Department of Labor reports that of the 2.5 million farm workers in the U.S., over half (53 percent) are illegal immigrants. Growers and labor unions put this figure at 70 percent

But what about the immense strain on social services and money spent on welfare for these law breakers? The Congressional Budget Office in 2007 answered this question in the following manner: “Over the past two decades, most efforts to estimate the fiscal impact of immigration in the United States have concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the cost of the services they use.”  According to the New York Times, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration claims that undocumented workers have contributed close to 10% ($300 billion) of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/203984-illegal-immigrants-benefit-the-us-economy#ixzz34MDbRpo9 

Statistics & Charts from Pew Hispanic

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