Thursday, May 9, 2013

Heritage Study Estimates Amnesty will Cost $6.3 Trillion

The Heritage Foundation released a report earlier this week that put the cost of amnesty at a minimum of $6.3 trillion. Here's the key paragraph from the Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrantsand Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer:
Over a lifetime, the former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes. They would generate a lifetime fiscal deficit (total benefits minus total taxes) of $6.3 trillion. (all figures are in constant 2010 dollars.) This should be considered a minimum estimate. It probably understates real future costs because it undercounts the number of unlawful immigrants and dependents who will actually receive amnesty and underestimates significantly the future growth in welfare and medical benefits.
The legislation would also disproportionally impact low-skilled American workers, as the Heritage report notes:
A final problem is that unlawful immigration appears to depress the wages of low-skill U.S.-born and lawful immigrant workers by 10 percent, or $2,300, per year. Unlawful immigration also probably drives many of our most vulnerable U.S.-born workers out of the labor force entirely. Unlawful immigration thus makes it harder for the least advantaged U.S. citizens to share in the American dream. This is wrong; public policy should support the interests of those who have a right to be here, not those who have broken our laws.
The key to crafting public policy is making sure that it helps the public. The immigration reform legislation pending in Congress simply does not do that.

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