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Immigration Law

The Budgetary and Economic Tradeoffs of Reducing the Immigration Backlog

Gordon Gray, American Action Forum, Sept. 29, 2022

  • "There are about 8.6 million immigration benefit applications pending before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, of which 5.2 million are considered part of the agency’s backlog.
  • While the agency has faced backlogs before, disruptions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic substantially increased benefit application backlogs.
  • Eliminating the backlogs will require significant and sustained additional congressional funding; examining a number of different staffing scenarios, eliminating the backlog could take as little as two years or as long as eight years and could cost between $3.0–$3.9 billion.
  • Eliminating the backlog would add new workers and immigrants to the U.S. economy and could contribute as much as $110 billion per year in additional real gross domestic product; this new national income would likely have a modest but positive budgetary effect over the next decade.
  • The positive budget effects from these new workers could potentially more than pay for the estimated cost of backlog elimination."