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Immigration Costs and Politics Fuel the Debate

June 24, 2013
Plain English Version

Supporters of immigration reform got a big boost from a new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The report says that changes in the immigration law will reduce the federal deficit by billions of dollars over the next ten years.

The revenue from immigration reform will equal about $460 billion, most from income and payroll taxes. The cost from immigration reform will be about $260 billion, most for tax credits, health insurance and Medicaid.

The report does not address certain other important questions. For example, the cost of immigrants to state and local governments. Police, fire, education, housing and many health and welfare programs are funded by state and local governments.

And the report does not look at the impact of low-wage immigrants on the job prospects of American workers. It is generally believed that low-wage immigrants will take some jobs from the least-educated American workers.

The report is much better news than other reports, mostly written by conservative groups, which say immigraton reform will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

It is likely that politics, not facts, will decide if immigration reform passes. The Speaker of the House of Representatives says he will not let an immigration reform bill be voted on unless the majority of Republican House members support it.

As things stand now, the majority of House Republicans do not support the bill that is being debated in the Senate. So it is possible a bill will pass the Senate and go nowhere in the House.

What is ahead is a fierce political debate. Advocates and opponents will do all they can to make their views known. And each will claim a mandate from the American people.

Source: The New York Times

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