President-elect Trump campaigned on his policy of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants and building a wall to prevent more from entering. In his first interview this past week as President-elect, he revealed his priority to deport at least 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records once he's inaugurated.
The mass deportations will have an outsized effect on the building industry. The construction industry employs 1.1 million undocumented immigrants, the second largest employer of the demographic just behind the leisure and hospitality sector. An analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research states a mass deportation of 3 million undocumented immigrants could result in an 8% decline for the construction industry. What's more, these workers are responsible for roughly $47.6 billion in the construction industry.
For his part, Trump has argued that removing immigrants will benefit U.S. workers who compete with them for employment. “The truth is, the central issue is not the needs of the 11 million illegal immigrants or however many there may be,” Trump said in August. “There is only one core issue in the immigration debate, and that issue is the well-being of the American people.”
“Such a policy would have significantly adverse effects on the economy,” the researchers wrote. Unemployment would decline at first as employers hired legal workers to replace their unauthorized workers, but many positions would have to remain vacant. As the economy's overall capacity to produce declined, unemployment would increase again, and so would prices.