CBO: Immigration Reform
Would Boost US Economy, Finances
June 19, 2013
report estimates that reforming
America's immigration system and legalizing 11 million undocumented
immigrants would boost U.S. economic growth and shrink the federal
deficit. The report was seized upon by senators debating an overhaul to
federal immigration laws.
of unauthorized immigrants would have an almost entirely positive effect
on America’s economic fortunes, according to the non-partisan
Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO says the immigration reform bill before the Senate would, if
implemented, add more than five percent to economic growth and trim
deficits by about $900 billion over the next 20 years.
Backers of immigration reform pounced on the news.
“I have been saying all along that bringing 11 million people out of the
shadows and fixing our broken immigration system will increase the gross
domestic product and decrease the deficit," said Democratic Senator
Robert Menendez. "And now we know by how much."
For months, critics of the Senate bill have argued a sudden surge in
America’s legal workforce would depress U.S. wages and overburden the
nation’s social safety net, necessitating a boost in government
In fact, the CBO report does predict a slight initial dampening of U.S.
wage growth, but higher wages thereafter. And it directly contradicts
predictions of a net drain of public resources, something Senator
Menendez was eager to trumpet.
"The opponents of this legislation could not be more wrong," he said.
Senator Jeff Sessions responded by arguing that the full costs of
legalization may extend beyond the 20-year window studied by the CBO.
Fellow Republican John Cornyn highlighted a different CBO conclusion:
that the Senate bill will not end illegal immigration in the United
“Despite all the promises, and perhaps I might say the hopes and the
dreams and the good intentions of the authors of this underlying bill,
this bill will have only a minimal impact on illegal immigration," said
Cornyn. "Does that sound like the kind of solution that we owe to the
American people to solve this broken system?”
Cornyn is one of several Republicans seeking guarantees of near absolute
U.S. border security before any undocumented immigrants could be
legalized. Republican amendments to that end have all been defeated in