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PHOENIX -- Granting an undocumented immigrant citizenship instead of legal residency would benefit all Arizona residents, said an analyst from Arizona State University.

"If this population is allowed to eventually become citizens, that produces an economic impact that affects everybody in Arizona," said policy analyst Mike Slaven from the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU. "It's not just those people, it's not just those families, it's everyone who participates in the economy."

The report authored by Slaven, titled "Citizenship or Something Less: Economic Implications for Arizona" notes that "there are 190,000 workers in Arizona," and that:

A reasonable, conservative estimate is that a path to citizenship could mean about $174 to $246 million in additional individual income a year in Arizona, and these additional earnings would go mostly to low-income families, making them more financially secure."

While the Morrison Institute does not take a stance on issues like comprehensive immigration reform, "the evidence is strong that having more people be citizens has a positive economic impact and that should be something informs the debate," said Slaven.

The analysis shows the first five years after a person is granted citizenship represents a $500 million impact to the state and $200 million to $300 million per year after that.

"Obviously immigration reform has a lot of objectives, there a lot of different issues that are at play -- the economy is one of them -- but the research is very strong that a state like Arizona would experience a positive economic impact if citizenship is part of the bill," said Slaven.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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