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Moody's Zandi: Clinton's immigration policies will be positive for economy

Hillary Clinton's immigration policies will be better for the economy than Donald Trump's, said Moody's Analytics' chief economist, Mark Zandi.

"Mr. Trump is obviously no fan of immigration (while) Secretary Clinton is just the opposite, she's all in on immigration," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Friday.

Clinton's perspective would be positive for the economy as more immigration would be "a big plus," Zandi said.

Trump, in what was billed as a key policy speech in Arizona on Wednesday, doubled down on a harsh anti-immigration stance, vowing to deport "millions" in his first hour in office and insisting he could force Mexico to pay for a wall along the two countries' nearly 2,000-mile-long (3,200 km) border. Mexican officials have repeatedly said the country won't be paying for the wall.

In contrast, Zandi noted Clinton's support for the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, which passed the Senate, but failed to clear the House of Representatives.

A report from Australian bank ANZ last month said that bill would increase family-based and skill-based immigration and increase the number of temporary immigration visas for skilled and unskilled workers, citing a Congressional Budget Office estimate that it would boost the number of immigrants by around a million a year over ten years.

"(Clinton's perspective on immigration means) more educated, skilled workers coming into the country, which is what the country desperately needs, given the slowing in the working age population. And it also empowers those undocumented workers, who now are very nervous and scared, (who) can't move around because they are illegal and undocumented, to find jobs that are more suited to their skill sets and that should improve their wages and tax revenues and productivity, which is very depressed," Zandi said.

In June, Moody's released an analysis that was highly critical of Trump's economic policies, writing at the time that if all of the real estate mogul's policies were adopted, the economy would suffer a "lengthy recession," with 3.5 million fewer jobs.

Hillary Clinton
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Hillary Clinton

Trump called the analysis "ridiculous" and suggested it was politically biased.

In response, Zandi said his reports were not influenced by his personal politics.

Zandi is a Democrat and has contributed to Clinton's campaign, but he has also advised on previous Republican campaigns.

His analysis of Clinton's policies wasn't entirely positive. Zandi noted that both Clinton and Trump have stepped away from free trade policies, with neither supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact. Zandi said not supporting the pact was a "bad idea" as the deal was positive on many levels, including economic and national security.

"The U.S. needs to embrace the world through these various trade deals, not walk away from them," he said.

Based on Moody's election model, Clinton was expected to win the November polls, he added.

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