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September 02, 2006

The Real Cost of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

When the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its revised cost estimates for the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (S. 2611) on August 18, opponents of the bill seized upon the $126 billion in total costs estimated by the nonpartisan office. The media played into the hands of CIR's opponents, misrepresenting the CBO's conclusions and running the $126 billion price tag in headlines across the nation.

Yet opponents of CIR--and much of the media--downplayed and at times completely overlooked several crucial pieces of information. According to the CBO report, the cost of S. 2611 over ten years can be broken down into approximately $78 billion for enforcement measures and $48 billion for legalization. Yet the report also found that, in addition to costs, the legalization component would generate $44 billion in revenue – almost entirely offsetting the costs of legalization. With these revenues, the net cost of S. 2611 shrinks to $83 billion, and 94 percent of that cost stems from the bill's enforcement provisions, which even opponents of the bill overwhelmingly support.

To help correct misrepresentations of the CBO report, AILA produced a fact sheet that explains the CBO estimates and outlines the importance of immigrants to the U.S. economy.


Posted by VisaLawyer at September 2, 2006 07:35 AM


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