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A new study conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California finds that immigration reform won't hurt or help the economy. The study finds that offering an amnesty to the nation's 11-18 million illegal aliens won't improve their individual financial situations.

Amnesty supporters claim that illegal aliens are paid below average wages, but by offering them a path to citizenship, their wages will increase. The study by the non-partisan institute, however, says that's not the case.

"We're finding there's not this really large gain in wages among those who are becoming green-card holders," said lead researcher Laura Hill.

The study further found that illegal aliens who have overstayed their visas are more likely to benefit financially than those who enter the country illegally. The Center of Immigration Studies estimates that 40% of illegal aliens have overstayed their visa.

"When they get the green card, they catch up," Hill said. "What we think is driving this difference is the way employer sanctions might differ for employers at low skill levels than employers at high skill levels."

The study also concludes that offering an amnesty will not hurt the economy by negatively impacting underemployed and vulnerable Americans. But the study did not consider the impact of increasing the population and the fact that an amnesty would allow 11-18 illegal aliens to sponsor their extended family members for citizenship.

"NumbersUSA has never argued that amnesty is bad because it would hurt the economy," Roy Beck responded. "What we argue is that an amnesty would give some 7 million illegal aliens locks on jobs that 7 million less-educated unemployed Americans would love to have in construction, service, manufacturing and transportation.

"In addition, an amnesty would eventually cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of extra dollars in services and welfare to which low-wage and unemployed illegal aliens are not currently entitled.

"And the millions of amnestied illegal aliens would soon be able to apply for tens of millions of their (mostly poor) relatives to come join them, adding even more burdens on the infrastructure and other beleaguered taxpayer-supported elements of our society."

You can view the study in its entirety at the Public Policy Institute of California's website.

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