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The economic repercussions of Trump's plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants is tested through a Wharton model.

Credit: Guyrandy Jean-GIlles

Donald Trump has said he would deport 11 million undocumented workers in the United States. But his alma mater predicts large economic repercussions based on his immigration plan.

An online simulator created by the Wharton School predicts that Trump’s immigration reform would result in the loss of nearly 4 million jobs. This online tool, the Penn Wharton Budget Model’s Immigration Policy Simulator, allows users to better understand the predicted economic impact of future immigration reform in the nation.

“A lot of undocumented workers are taking on jobs that frankly no one else wants, so it’s unlikely those jobs are going to be filled,” said Wharton economics professor Kent Smetters said in a CNN interview. Smetters led the team that created forecasting tool by using census data.

Sociology Professor Amada Armenta — who researches how government bureaucracies respond to the presence of Latino immigrants and how Latino immigrants adapt to life in the U.S. — was not surprised that the model would predict that Trump’s plan would devastate the U.S. economy.

“We are talking about people who have built their lives here, and who have kids and who have families and are very much a part of American society, and so Trump’s immigration plan of enforcement first is part of a long tradition of failed immigration policies,” Armenta said. “Border enforcement and deportation for example, they don’t stop people from coming, but they trap people in place once they get here.”

The simulator allows users to adjust for changes in factors such as the nation’s net legal immigration, the percent of skilled and educated immigrants, rates of deportation, new paths to citizenship for current and then view the probable effects on the U.S. gross domestic product.

If Trump were to deport 10 percent of undocumented workers per year during two terms in office, based on the limitations of the model, the U.S. would have about 156 million jobs in 2030, compared to the 160 million jobs that the country would have with the its current immigration policies.

Sociology professor and research associate at Penn’s Population Studies Center Chenoa Flippen said the national debate over the impact of immigration and wages is about whether people who immigrated to the United States compete or complement people who are native to the United States. Flippen said that immigration into the country can also bring more jobs and services.

“There’s an argument that they create what we would call upstream jobs, so not only more low-skilled jobs, but also create highly skilled jobs like teachers, accountants, dentists, doctors, etc.” Flippen said. “They consume a lot of services, especially because they are a relatively young population and tend to have children in the U.S.”

Hillary Clinton’s current immigration plan focuses on simplifying the path to citizenship for undocumented workers in America. If she were to offer legal status to 10 percent of undocumented immigrants, the model predicts the nation would lose 400,000 jobs by 2030.

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