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Undocumented Aliens Contribute $300 Billion To US Economy


A New York-based coalition of labor and immigration activists has released a study showing that undocumented immigrants in the United States contribute $300 billion a year to the U.S. economy. The report is part of the group's efforts to convince U.S. officials to legalize undocumented workers.

The Coalition for Immigration Reform says the United States' economy would benefit from the legalization of illegal immigrants.

Coalition leaders say evidence comes from a new University of California at Los Angeles study, which examines the economic contributions of illegal aliens. The report estimates that undocumented workers contribute at least $300 billion - and perhaps as much as $440 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

The Coalition for Immigration Reform is an umbrella organization for dozens of New York groups that work with immigrants and refugees.

The Bush administration is discussing the possibility of legalization for some of the three million Mexicans living illegally in the United States. Hector Figuero, an officer with the local branch of the Service Employees International Union, whose membership includes a large number of immigrants, says legalization and amnesty should be granted to undocumented workers from every country, not just Mexico. "Legalization is morally right," he said. "Legalization is good for working people and legalization is good for the economy."

The Coalition for Immigration Reform, highlights the findings in the UCLA report that legalization would increase the taxes immigrants pay and boost their productivity. The increases, according to the report, would offset any rise in the use of social services by immigrants.

Veronica Thronson, the Coalition's director of legal services, says the group wants to send a clear message to President George Bush, before he discusses immigration issues next week with Mexican President Vicente Fox.

We expect President Bush to realize the enormous contribution that undocumented workers make to the economy when he meets with President Fox next week and to come back with a very good legalization plan that will help all the undocumented workers who are living in the United States.

Ms. Thronson says the Coalition is also calling on the U.S. Congress to permit undocumented immigrant workers to remain in the United States with their families while they seek to legalize their status.

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