Immigration Bill Breakdown

In a Monday Capitol Hill press conference, Republican leaders detailed the negative fiscal impact that last week’s so-called compromise immigration reform bill would have. Senators Jim Bunning (R.-Ky.) and Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.), along with Rep. Brian Bilbray (R.-Calif.),  Chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus,  and Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Robert Rector presented statistics on the huge budgetary impact that legalization of low-skill immigrant workers would have on the federal budget, meaning the cost legalization will impose on American taxpayers.

“There is no year that [immigrants] pay more in taxes than they do in benefits,” said Rector. “By the time these individuals reach retirement…how could they be anything other than a fiscal disaster?”

According to a special report by The Heritage Foundation, the immigration bill will rack up $2.4 trillion in total net governmental costs of all amnesty recipients during their expected 18 years in retirement. Because the majority of immigrants are high school dropouts, it is unlikely they can compensate for the governmental benefits provided them. In fact, immigrant households headed by those without high school diplomas, receive more than three dollars in benefits for every dollar paid in taxes.

Broken down, the immigration bill will cost legal, taxpaying Americans an average of $30,160 per immigrant family (headed by those without high school diplomas) to house, health, feed, educate, protect, and transport. There are at least 9.3 million adults that benefit from the bill. Bill sponsors and supporters refuse to label it “amnesty,” but those at the press conference argued that’s exactly what it is.

After referring to the bill as a “sham and deception,” Rector continued, saying, “It’s not only an amnesty bill, it’s an amnesty with a blank check written on the U.S. taxpayer.”

In essence, immigrants are rewarded for their behavior while law abiding Americans dish out the prize money. “While this amnesty bill is an incredible deal for low-skilled immigrants, our border countries, and certain special interest groups, it gives the American people the short end of the stick,” said Bunning.

Still, others in leadership bypass the irritating paper work and unsuccessfully blast the conservative watchdogs. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, “I understand there’s some people who expect anything other than capital punishment is an amnesty.”

Bunning referred to the bill as the “great compromise…[that] no one is talking about. Not one person on the talk shows this weekend talked about the costs,” he said.

Rector claimed that, after working in Washington for 25 years, this was the most expensive bill to U.S. taxpayers he’d ever seen. For something so outrageously costly and certain to implement significant long-term effects, lawmakers refuse sufficient time to review the lengthy provisions.

In addition to the immediate benefits received by those illegal immigrants who crossed the border any time prior to January 2007, they can also earn eligibility to welfare, social security and Medicare after 10 years. These programs risk funding losses already, so piling millions more onto the feeding tube only raises taxes and deprives legal citizens their due.

“This is a long-term commitment that vests rights…that can’t be retracted,” said Bilbray. “You won’t be able to build a fence high enough if you give the amnesty in this bill.”

Emphasizing the unnecessary haste in which the bill is being pushed through the Senate, Bilbray said, “If it is such a good bill, why not take the time to allow everyone to read it?” The bill, which was not complete until just this weekend, is about 1,000 pages long and lawmakers like Senators Edward Kennedy and John McCain hope to pass it by the end of the week.

Politicians and citizens have not had time to properly analyze and understand the bill, yet Bilbray said that “Democrats and Republicans who initially thought this was a good idea are having second thoughts.”

The Heritage Foundation’s detailed, fiscal distribution analysis provides comprehensive evidence of the negative effects this bill will have on the country.  In his concluding remarks, Rector asserted the bill was a “really good payout for breaking the law.”

The insistence of some to make this decision so rashly proves they know the American people will react in opposition when the truth comes out. An AP story reported late Monday that Senate leaders agreed to wait until June to take final action on the plan due to widespread criticism. The report quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirming his agreement with many Republicans that the action was being taken too quickly.

Readers can learn more about the bill in an easy-to-read format set up by blogger N.Z. Bear.