The true monetary cost of immigration reform

The Washington Times, in an editorial, demonstrates the misleading nature of the Congressional Budget Office report on the costs of the Senate Immigration bill. The CBO estimates that during the first decade, this legislation would increase discretionary spending by $43 billion, while new workers would produce $48 billion in additional revenue to the government. But this estimate is misleading because the illegal aliens granted amenesty (or a path to citizenship) do not become eligible to benefit from most federally-funded programs until 2018 and beyond, which is eleven years after enactment. Senator Kennedy and his Republican allies drafted the bill that way knowing that the CBO only looks at budgetary impact over a ten year period.
What happens after the first ten years? According to the Times, roughly 9 million adult illegal immigrants will receive amnesty and 7 to 8 million of them will live to retirement age. Given their low employment skills few will ever pay substantial taxes. But they will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare, and many will be owed benefits starting at about the time these systems are in danger of going belly-up.
Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation estimates that the net cost of amnesty over the next four decades will be approximately $2.5 trillion. Keep that in mind when you hear proponents of the legislation citing the misleading CBO figures they contrived to manufacture.


Books to read from Power Line