The White House released a report Tuesday indicating that naturalization of undocumented immigrants would be a boon for the US economy as it pressed the House to approve immigration reform.
The bill, already passed by the Senate, would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, an act the White House says would boost US GDP by $1.4 trillion over 10 years, citing outside estimates.
The White House report showed an increase in total income for all Americans by $791 billion, $184 billion in additional state and federal tax revenue and the creation of two million jobs over the same period.
Legal status without the option for citizenship, as proposed by some members of Congress, would result in less economic benefits, the White House claimed.
The report said the "'legalization-only' approach violates a basic principle of our country: that anyone, no matter where they came from, can become an American citizen if they're willing to work for it and take on the responsibilities of citizenship."
Immigration reform faces an uncertain fate in the Republican-led House, where some members are reluctant to pass what they call amnesty for those who broke the law by entering the country.
In a bid to win over conservatives, the bipartisan bill prescribes a 13-year transition period for any illegal immigrant seeking citizenship and includes a vast expansion of border security.
It requires immigrants to pass background checks, pay fees, fines and back taxes, learn English, gain employment and, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "stay out of trouble."
The Senate adopted the bill, which has been praised by President Barack Obama, on June 27.
Immigration reform was a major campaign promise of Obama, who was swept into his second term last November with overwhelming support from minorities.
In recent weeks, the president has insisted on the benefits that naturalization would create for the economy, particularly in the consumer and real-estate sectors.
© AFP 2013