August 10, 2017

Research Paper: The Economic and Fiscal Benefits of the RAC Act



Executive Summary

The Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL26), grants a path to conditional permanent residence to young immigrants who came to the United States under the age of 16, provided they choose to serve in the military, enroll in higher education, or work in the United States. After five years as a conditional permanent resident, RAC participants are eligible for legal permanent residence status provided they maintain a clean criminal record, do not become dependent on public assistance, and pay owed back taxes to the U.S. government, among all other requirements necessary for conditional permanent resident status. After an additional five years as a permanent resident, RAC participants are eligible to naturalize.

The analysis that follows includes a state-by-state breakdown of RAC-eligible participants, their estimated economic and fiscal contributions under the RAC Act, as well as the economic consequences of passing the RAC Act into law.

Overall, our findings suggest that 2.5 million immigrants will be eligible to apply for legal status under the RAC Act and, if passed:

  • RAC-eligible individuals will contribute $721 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) over a decade;
  • The net present value of RAC-eligible individuals’ long-term fiscal contribution to federal, state, and local governments is $200 billion;
  • Would increase GDP by more than $79 billion over ten years and increase net federal government revenue by $21 billion over the same period; and
  • Would create 115,000 new jobs.

Immigration legislation is complex, and requires consideration of several issues. Among the most relevant should be an analysis of the contributions of potential participants and the economic and fiscal impact of legalizing this population of individuals. We hope this analysis will inform that discussion.

The full text of the report can be found here.

The same methods used to generate the estimates in this report can be used to generate estimates at the congressional district level, although with a greater relative margin of error. District-level estimates may be found here. Please consult the original report to interpret the estimates.