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A conservative think-tank is warning that Donald Trump's plan to remove all undocumented workers from America would cut deeply into U.S. employment and productivity levels.

The American Action Forum, a group dedicated to promoting "free-market solutions to create a smaller, smarter government," looked at what would happen if all of these workers were to be deported, and no future undocumented immigrants were allowed to enter.

Their two main conclusions:

  • Private sector employment would fall by 4 million to 6.8 million workers
  • This worker decline by itself would reduce private industry output by between $381.5 billion and $623.2 billion.


"We find that even if native and lawful foreign-born residents were to fill jobs left by undocumented immigrants, there were not nearly enough unemployed workers in 2012 to offset a loss of all 6.8 million employed undocumented workers," they write. "As a result, the U.S. private sector would face a substantial labor decline.

They provide two charts to illustrate the situation. First, the show what percentage of undocumented immigrants are laboring in each of America's 12 major industries.



They then project the minimum and maximum employment decline each industry could experience in the absence of undocumented workers, showing two scenarios where workers fill in the vacuum to the point that the given industry reaches the U.S. "natural" unemployment rate of 5.1%, or if none come to fill them in.


"Even if native and lawful foreign-born workers replaced undocumented immigrants until the unemployment rate falls to 5.1% in each industry, private sector employment would still decline by approximately 4 million workers," they write. "If native and lawful foreign-born workers do not fill any of the jobs left by undocumented immigrants, then U.S. private sector employment would decline by 6.8 million workers."


The study did not look at the effect increased wages would have on the employment data.

The American Action Forum is the sister organization of the American Action Network, which in the past has supported efforts to improve the GOP's image among Hispanics.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.