This Is Winning? Progressives Tout 2 Million Illegal Immigrant Jobs as a Victory 


The U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) has surged 8.2% since the final quarter of 2019. According to a newly released report, a substantial portion of this growth, at least one-fifth, can be attributed to the increase in the immigrant population since the end of 2019.  

Former White House economist Ernie Tedeschi emphasized that without immigration, the U.S. labor supply would have shrunk by 1.2 million since 2019. Instead, it expanded by 2 million.  

The data presented in Tedeschi’s report relied on information from the annual Current Population Survey findings released by the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report encompassed immigrants, both those with legal status to be in the country and those without, such as individuals released from the southern border, those who crossed without being caught, and individuals possessing green cards or visas.  

The Brookings Institution analyzed Congressional Budget Office (CBO) findings, confirming that unexpected net population growth in the U.S. had “bolstered the economy by increasing the workforce.” Initially projected to be 1 million people in 2023, net immigration exceeded expectations, reaching over 3.3 million individuals.  

Brookings authors Wendy Edelberg and Tara Watson noted that CBO’s figures align with border activity and other immigration data. They highlighted that the accelerated population and labor force growth allowed for faster employment expansion without contributing to inflationary pressures.  

The Brookings Institution report indicated that immigrants who entered the workforce illegally or overstayed visas constituted the largest segment of new workers added in 2023. Additionally, it noted that while increased immigration may stimulate economic growth, U.S. workers might not directly reap the benefits if it results in lower wages and missed employment opportunities. 

Eric Ruark, from the immigration-focused organization NumbersUSA, criticized the two reports, calling them incomplete. He argued that while immigration might boost the overall GDP by adding more people to the population, it can also reduce the GDP per person, which means individual workers may lose out. Ruark suggested that economic growth from mass immigration primarily benefits immigrants and those who employ them. Ruark said, “Tedeschi admits as much in his report, although begrudgingly in a footnote.” 

It’s an annoying little detail that the Biden administration leaves out of job reports, especially during an election year. Former federal immigration Judge Andrew R. Arthur emphasized that any recent economic growth comes at a cost. He argued that the loosening of immigration enforcement policies, while perhaps intended to promote equity for marginalized groups, has inadvertently driven down wages for both American workers and legal immigrants. 

However, claiming these tainted job increases looks good on paper and allows Team Biden to insist that Americans benefit from his “unprecedented” job growth. It’s factually and intellectually incorrect, but his supporters refuse to understand that they, and other Americans, are all victims of the Biden administration’s unintended border consequences.