In the post immediately below this one, John notes how immigrants from Eastern Europe have taken advantage of the combination of EU immigration rules and the British welfare system to live “high off the hog” at the expense of the taxpayers of Great Britain. As John suggests, this phenomenon has relevance to the debate over immigration reform in the U.S.
In 2007, welfare expert Robert Rector estimated that the McCain-Kennedy amnesty proposal would cost roughly $2.6 trillion due to the eligibility of illegal aliens turned citizens for transfer payments. As Daniel Horowitz points out, the price tag on the Gang of Eight proposal is even steeper due to the easing of welfare reform requirements and the significant eligibility expansions brought about by President Obama.
It would be interesting to hear John McCain, Lindsey Graham, or Marco Rubin explain to conservatives just why U.S. taxpayers should foot this sort of bill for the benefit of folks who entered this country in violation of its laws.
Rather than offering an explanation, however, Rubio chooses to pretend the problem doesn’t exist. According to Horowitz, Rubio claimed on talk radio that amnestied immigrants would not be eligible for welfare (except for Obamacare, a provision he says is concerning). But this is true, says Horowitz, only during the probationary period. After that period, formerly illegal aliens would be eligible for a green card and citizenship. And once they obtain citizenship, they could receive welfare.
Under these circumstances, and given our fiscal woes, it’s difficult to understand why any fiscal conservative would support the Gang of Eight immigration reform proposal.