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Trump’s Immigration Ban Could Cost US Economy as Much as $71 Billion

In the chaotic days following Donald Trump’s sudden ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, industry leaders from across the US economy have decried the policy’s potentially-devastating costs to America’s bottom line.

Criticisms of the policy from Google, Facebook, Apple, Ford Motors, along with colleges and universities across the country has suddenly framed Trump’s political move in terms of potential job and revenue losses, showing that it’s not merely human rights advocates or faith communities who are upset about the ban.

Here, by the numbers, Global Citizen takes a look at the potential economic impact of Trump’s hallmark new policy.

77.5 million

The number of international visitors who traveled to the US in 2015. The money they spend in the US helps support about 1 million American jobs in the travel and tourism industry, or about 14 percent of that industry’s total jobs, according to CFR’s report. A loss of visitors could seriously damage the industry and lead to job losses.

$246.2 billion

The amount of money foreign visitors spent in the US in 2015, representing 11 percent of total US exports.

974,926

The number of international students studying in the US at colleges and universities. Iran, one of the seven countries on the banned list, is among the top 25 countries for sending graduate students to the US. Foreign students contribute $30.5 billion to the economy and support 373,000 jobs, according to CFR.

$700 million

The amount US colleges could lose per year in revenue if the ban becomes permanent. About 16,000 students from the banned countries are currently enrolled in the US.  

44 %

The number of engineering and tech startups in Silicon Valley founded by immigrants.

60 %

The percentage of patents filed by immigrants to the US. That means that of all the new inventions that get to the patent level each year, more than half of them are the ideas of immigrants.

$71 billion

The high-end estimate of potential cost to the US economy that an immigration ban could cause, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report prepared ahead of Trump's announcement. The CFR estimates were based on the decline in US-bound travel that occurred after 9/11, when the industry saw a 12% drop-off, and predicted a similar drop that could result in a $30 billion decline in travel spending that would be made worse by indirect consequences.  Some industries that do businesses in the banned countries, including oil producers, have not yet commented on the ban. 

1.6 billion

The number of Muslims in the world, just under a quarter of the entire world population. The executive order didn’t call for an outright ban of Muslims, though it did make exceptions for religious minorities from the banned Muslim-majority countries (i.e., Christian and Jewish people) and Trump said it could be expanded to other countries. But if Muslims from other parts of the world feel unwelcome coming to the US because of the limited ban, the economic effects of Trump’s new policy could ripple out with innumerable, unforeseen consequences.