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'American Dream' tied to immigration reform

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'American Dream' tied to immigration reform

President Barack Obama was in Arizona on Tuesday, again talking about “the American Dream.” It was a bit different this time, though, with the president making the direct connection between home ownership and immigration reform.

“It would actually help our housing market,” he said. “It’s pretty simple: When more people buy homes and play by the rules, home values go up for everybody. And according to one recent study, the average homeowner has already seen the value of their home boosted by thousands of dollars just because of immigration.”

Such a change in immigration law could be a boost in future years, too.

If Congress approves legislation for a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented residents, the number of U.S. homebuyers could increase by 3 million and generate $500 billion in new mortgages, according to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

A Morrison Institute Latino Public Policy Center report in April used “a reasonable, conservative estimate … that a path to citizenship could mean about $174 million to $246 million in additional individual income a year in Arizona, and these additional earnings would go mostly to low-income families, making them more financially secure.”

No doubt many of these new citizens would be looking to buy homes.

Figuring in the state multiplier effect of $1.17 economic impact per additional $1 in income, the actual impact for Arizona would be closer to $300 million per year as a result of U.S. citizenship, according to Citizenship or Something Less? Economic Implications for Arizona.

As a result, the ripple effect would mean perhaps many more Arizonans could afford homes or see their home values increase, as well.

Yet another economic connection.

Morrison Institute for Public Policy is a leader in examining critical Arizona and regional issues, and is a catalyst for public dialogue. An Arizona State University resource, Morrison Institute uses nonpartisan research and communication outreach to help improve the state's quality of life.

The director of communications for the Morrison Institute of Public Policy at ASU, Garcia is a longtime, award-winning journalist whose experience as a top editor, columnist and reporter included positions at The Arizona Republic, The Daily Times, Tucson Citizen, USA Today and The Associated Press.

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