Pressure from the White House to rush an immigration bill isn’t stopping Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.) from forcing his colleagues to pay attention to the $50 billion per year economic drain the Senate’s amnesty bill would put on Americans.
This afternoon Sen. Jeff Sessions held a media roundtable with Heritage Foundation’s Senior Research Fellow of Domestic Policy Studies Robert E. Rector and the Center for Immigration Studies Director of Research Steven A. Camarota to discuss the fiscal impacts of the Senate’s pending immigration bill.
Sessions said, “The White House view is they would like to get something to conference and they’ll worry about trying to fix the problem there. He explained, “A lot of our senators that are going to justify voting for this bill are going around saying ‘Let’s just pass it and the House will fix it’ which is odd and amusing when just a few weeks ago they were attacking the House for having an extreme position…at this point the House is standing as a solid bulwark for sanity on immigration.”
Rector asserted that the Senate’s immigration bill, which converts a low-skilled, uneducated population into legal citizens will cost taxpayers at least $50 billion per year in the coming decade
Rector said, “An unskilled illegal work force is a drain, but an unskilled legal workforce is a disaster.”
He explained that current welfare benefits are focused on providing assistance for a low-income, uneducated population with children, which largely resembles that of the illegal workforce. Rectors said giving illegal workers legal status will also give them constitutionally guaranteed access to those benefits.
Congressional Budget Office estimates that are being used to project immigration-related costs are faulty because the CBO is only authorized make economic forecasts 10 years into the future. Welfare benefit spending for newly legalized low-income workers won’t peak until at least a decade in the future.
Rector said, “The simplest reason is that the people do not become eligible for government welfare services until they have achieved citizenship and under the amnesty provision that doesn’t occur for eleven years…and if you’re looking at the ability to bring in parents and put them on the Medicaid system that would not occur until at least the eleventh year, maybe fifteen years downstream.”
Sessions called the bill “the worst piece of legislation to come before the Senate since I’ve been here” and that the final bill would have to be rewritten to gain his support. He said “The bill is not fixable as presently written.”