Dominguez-Villegas on Bill to Support Immigrants and the Economy

Rodrigo Dominguez-Villegas, director of research at the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative at UCLA Luskin, spoke to Marketplace about new legislation aimed at overhauling the American immigration system. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would update family-based immigration and work visa programs, protect workers from exploitation, and provide a path to citizenship for some unauthorized immigrants now living and working in the country. Dominguez-Villegas weighed in on the impact of the “earned roadmap” to citizenship. “There is a 35% income gap between documented and undocumented immigrants,” he said. “So we refer to this as the undocumented wage penalty.” That penalty doesn’t just lead to hardship for individuals. It also translates into reduced spending and economic activity overall, he said. Supporters of this reform argue that bringing these workers fully into the legal workforce will boost wages for both them and their documented peers.

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