CSII Publications

What's at Stake for the State: Undocumented Californians, Immigration Reform, and Our Future Together

By Manuel Pastor and Enrico Marcelli
With Vanessa Carter and Jared Sanchez

May 2013

Building off a methodology originally pioneered by co-author Enrico A. Marcelli (Demographer, Department of Sociology, San Diego State University), What’s at Stake for the State painted a multi-hued picture of the 2.6 million unauthorized people living in California – demographics, potential income gains, and how they could make the most of authorization.

The report also estimated the economic benefit of legalization and naturalization for undocumented Californians by state and region. The authors estimated that annual aggregate income of the currently undocumented would increase by $4.6 to $7.9 billion. And, since undocumented workers tend to be lower-income, they would spend their paycheck rather than put it into savings – meaning a strong multiplier effect on local economies.

Finally, the report posited that if and when Comprehensive Immigration Reform passes, investments would need to be made in programs to raise education levels, increase English fluency and improve job skills as a way to maximize the potential of undocumented Californians and build a stronger state. 


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