Granting a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants would cost the country $6.3 trillion, according to a report issued Monday by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Authors Robert Rector and Jason Richwine argue that the massive influx of newly legalized immigrants who are given so-called amnesty will strain the system by creating millions more households that consume more benefits than they contribute in taxes.
“Those who claim that amnesty will not create a large fiscal burden are simply in a state of denial concerning the underlying redistribution nature of government policy in the 21st century,” Rector and Richwine write in an executive summary provided to The Washington Examiner.
The hefty price tag suggested by the report come as Congress attempts to tackle comprehensive immigration reform in both the House and Senate.
The Senate version, known as the Gang of Eight plan because it is authored by a bipartisan group of eight senators, would provide instant legal status to those who arrived here illegally no later than 2012. Under the legislation, legalized immigrants could obtain a green card within a decade or in some cases sooner. At that point, they could tap into nation’s many means-tested benefits including Medicaid and Obamacare.
Senators who co-authored the bill say they believe the legislation will cost nothing, and advocates argue that it will be “revenue-neutral,” because newly legalized immigrants will add to the nation’s tax base.
But the authors claim that if a pathway to citizenship is signed into law, the average adult immigrant would use $592,000 more in government benefits than he would pay in taxes, in part because many would be less educated, would hold lower paying jobs and would pay fewer taxes.
The report also claims a pathway to citizenship will result in wages dropping for lower-skilled U.S. born workers by 10 percent, or $2,300 per year, and drive “many of our most vulnerable U.S. born workers out of the labor force entirely.”