I want to express "If mass deportation becomes a true plan, the positive economic effects of undocumented immigrants will no longer exist".

To make the sentence more concise, I wrote:

Mass deportation confiscates the positive economic effects of undocumented immigrants.

However, I think "confiscate" is a wrong verb here. Are there any word can be used to mean "stopping an effect"?

Thank you for any suggestions!

  • 2
    the word you want is "stops" or "ends". So, "Deportation would end the economic benefits of undocumented immigrants."
    – Fattie
    Jul 29, 2016 at 16:45
  • Perhaps another option is "halts"
    – Ovi
    Jul 30, 2016 at 7:01
  • 1
    "Were mass deportation ever implemented, it would undermine [or eliminate] the positive economic contributions of undocumented immigrants." Jul 30, 2016 at 13:45

5 Answers 5


Mass deportation nullifies the positive economic effects of undocumented immigrants.



  1. to render or declare legally void or inoperative


: to cause (something) to lose its value or to have no effect

  • It seems like the OP is asserting that undocumented immigrants bring positive economic effects. If mass deportation nullifies the positive effects of immigrants, that would imply the assertion no longer holds; that immigrants are still around, but no longer providing benefits. Mass deportation simply reduces the number of immigrants, and therefore the positive effects they bring. I don't think this wording conveys the OP's actual intent. Jul 30, 2016 at 0:18
  • @Carl Leth ~ the "nullification" isn't referring to the presence of immigrants so much as their economic effect, which is nullified, i.e. caused to lose all its value. That's why the object of the verb in OP's sentence is "effects" and not "immigrants".
    – user180089
    Jul 30, 2016 at 0:32

While the answers above (eliminate and nullify) would work just fine for this sentence, the word I would use would be negates.

Mass deportation negates the positive economic effects of undocumented immigrants.

  • a fine choice indeed. I think "nullify" has more of a legal connotation which may make it better suited to the OP's particular requirements.
    – user180089
    Jul 29, 2016 at 2:21
  • I'd say nullify has more of a scientific connotation. Negates on the other hand seems right to me when speaking of the opposite of a positive effect.
    – Ash
    Jul 30, 2016 at 0:08
  • ~ it literally says in the definition I posted: "declare legally void or inoperative" :/ @Ashwin Nair
    – user180089
    Jul 30, 2016 at 0:12

Depending on the tone of the rest of the writing, you might try "wipes out" (more provocative) or "eliminate" (more formal).

  • +1 I like eliminate the best here because it connotes the removal of something while negate and nullify connote an opposite reaction such that the "positive effects" are still there, they're just being countered by some other effect making the net result zero.
    – Jim
    Jul 29, 2016 at 2:31
  • @Jim ~ I think the OP slightly misused "no longer exist" in his description, because in his example the positive economic effects aren't eliminated so much as they are stunted from growing. This is because you can't eliminate what's already there, i.e. all the already-accomplished work that the illegal immigrants have already completed. You can't eliminate that, but you can nullify its future.
    – user180089
    Jul 29, 2016 at 2:58
  • @Bobby''V0ight''Peru-------- I read it as "there is an economic effect being applied to the economy, when the immigrants leave that effect is eliminated. If undocumented immigrants have a net positive effect of $1.6 trillion on US GDP, then when they are deported the GDP will go down by $1.6 trillion. I.e., $1.6 trillion is eliminated it's not just stunted from growing to say $1.8 trillion- all $1.6 trillion goes away. And it's not negated or nullified by maintain $1.6 trillion in positive effects but incurring $1.6 trillion in negative effects.
    – Jim
    Jul 29, 2016 at 5:39
  • @Jim ~ the thing is, you can't eliminate the positive influence that Mexican immigrants have already had on the economy; I mean to do that you'd have to go back in time. Also "nullify" doesn't necessarily have to mean to "negate" but it essentially just means to invalidate something, i.e. to rob it of its future effects, which applies to OP's example.
    – user180089
    Jul 29, 2016 at 5:51
  • @Bobby''V0ight''Peru-------- I understand what you are saying, but economists don't measure what's already there. Like when you say you make $100,000 a year and just got a pay cut where you lost $10,000 year so you make only $90,000. Nobody cares that you've made $1,000,000 lifetime income so far, the company has eliminated $10,000 from your salary. So I get what you're saying, it's just not how people typically work with GDP figures.
    – Jim
    Jul 29, 2016 at 5:57

Surprising "Cancels out" was not mentioned yet.

To cancel out - wipe out the effect of something; "The new tax effectively cancels out my raise"; "The ' will cancel out the C on your record"

Mass deportation cancels out the positive economic effects of undocumented immigrants.

  • 1
    I think "cancels out" fits better when the other effect is still there but is offset by a new effect in the opposite direction. In the present case, the effect is removed; deporting undocumented immigrants doesn't create new economic effects that cancels out their positive economic effects; it simply removes all their effects.
    – joriki
    Jul 29, 2016 at 16:57

How about, "Mass deportation deprives America of the positive economic effects of undocumented immigrants"?

  • +1 because this is the only answer so far that maintains the assertion "undocumented immigrants bring positive economic effects", which I believe is OP's intent. Jul 30, 2016 at 0:20
  • 1
    Do not answer questions which should be closed. Writing advice requests are out of scope.
    – MetaEd
    Jul 30, 2016 at 19:30

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