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World

Study: Trump's Deportation Plan Could Slice 2 Pct Off U.S. GDP

The American Action Forum analysis used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate the value of the output from undocumented immigrants

Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hold their hands to their chest as the national anthem is played at a campaign rally in Concord, photo: Reuters/Gretchen Ertl, File
By Reuters Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
1 year ago

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s vow to round up and deport all of the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. if he is elected president could shrink the economy by around 2 percent, according to a study to be released on Thursday by conservative think tank the American Action Forum.

The research adds to concerns about the Republican presidential nominee’s policy proposals, which range from tearing up international trade agreements to building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

A staff member of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign wears a Trump button at his victory party after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

A staff member of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign wears a Trump button at his victory party after Trump spoke to supporters following the results of the Indiana state primary, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

About 6.8 million of the more than 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally are employed, according to government statistics. Removing them would cause a slump of $381.5 billion to $623.2 billion in private sector output, the Washington-based non-profit said in its analysis.

The study added that removing those workers could leave potentially millions of jobs unfilled due to a lack of legal workers willing to do them. Industries with the highest share of undocumented workers include farming, construction and hospitality, according to the research.

“The things Donald Trump has said are utterly unworkable,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the forum’s president, and the top economic adviser to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Asked about the study on Thursday, Trump said he thought the analysts misunderstood his immigration policy, adding he wanted people to come into the country if they came “through the system.”

“I saw that report and they don’t even have it right,” Trump said in an interview on CNBC. “We certainly don’t want to shrink our economy.”

Trump, who effectively locked up the Republican nomination this week, has called for the deportation of anyone living in the United States illegally, arguing foreign workers hold down salaries and contribute to unemployment.

That position has drawn strong opposition from business leaders like the conservative billionaire Koch brothers as well as from human rights advocates. Trump has further angered opponents by saying Mexico was sending rapists and drug dealers to the United States, and by calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country to shore up national security.

But his hard-line stance on immigration also has triggered strong support among many U.S. voters.

A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump texts on his mobile phone as workers clean up after Trump's victory party at Trump Tower in the Manhattan Borough of New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

A supporter of Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump texts on his mobile phone as workers clean up after Trump’s victory party at Trump Tower in the Manhattan Borough of New York, U.S., May 3, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Some 52.6 percent of respondents to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in September said they want to see most or all undocumented immigrants deported, compared with 34.6 percent who want to see most or all of them stay.

The American Action Forum analysis used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate the value of the output from undocumented immigrants.

The study did not factor in potential impacts of mass deportations on consumption, investment and other economic factors, the group said.

The U.S. economy is projected to produce some $18.7 trillion worth of goods and services in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund. A loss of $400 billion in output would amount to about 2 percent of that figure.

LUCIANA LOPEZ

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