Critics of America’s immigration system point to many flaws and shortcomings within it, but here’s one critique that has gotten relatively little attention: It’s an expensive and burdensome regulatory labyrinth.
Now a new light is about to shine on that argument for reform. The American Action Forum, an economic think tank founded by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and onetime economic adviser to Sen. John McCain‘s presidential campaign, has prepared an analysis of more than 150 immigration-related regulations.
Its conclusion: Individuals and businesses devote 98.8 million hours to immigration-related paperwork annually, at a cost of approximately $30 billion.
The assertion that dealing with immigration matters involves filling out lots of forms and devoting many hours to the task probably won’t come as a shock to any individual or any business with direct experience in the area–and those who want to slow down immigration actually may like things that way. Still, the AAF study may be the first comprehensive effort to quantify the burden, and its cost to the economy.
The study finds, for example, that there are 234 government forms related to immigration, emanating from seven different agencies, including 116 forms produced by the Department of Homeland Security alone.
Immigration Immigration Reform