ICYMI: Senate getting down to the wire on immigration “reform”
CNS News reports on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) assessment of the Senate’s immigration bill, which won’t do much to stop illegal immigration:
This will be the case, in part, argues CBO, because of people who overstay temporary work visas that will be authorized by the bill.
This revelation that 75 percent of illegal immigration would continue if the Senate immigration reform proposal were enacted is included in a section of the report headlined, “Future Unauthorized Residents.” The section is on page 23 of the 63-page report.
“CBO estimates that, under the bill, the net annual flow of unauthorized residents would decrease by about 25 percent relative to what would occur under current law,” says the report, “resulting in a reduction in the U.S. population (including a reduction in the number of children born in the United States) relative to that benchmark of 1.6 million in 2023 and 2.5 million in 2033.’
And supporters of the bill say it does enough on national security. Clearly, this is a false claim, and CBO expects this false claim to carry over into very bad results for the country.
And that’s not all. CBO’s analysis only goes out 20 years, so the bill looks good financially. However, as Tea Party Patriots noted yesterday, this is misleading:
The burden on Social Security alone would be enormous in the long-run. According to James Agresti, President of Just Facts:
According to Pew Research, the median age of an illegal immigrant in 2011 was 36 years old, a full decade younger than the median age of legal immigrants and native adults. While Social Security would benefit from having more younger people working legally, and thus paying more taxes, illegal immigrants tend to be low-income workers who live long lives. Thus, in the long run, they will take more from Social Security than they add, and therefore the major cost of illegal immigration won’t be seen until current illegal immigrants reach retirement age – nearly three decades from now. The Congressional Budget Office report is thus not examining the total financial impact of the Senate’s immigration bill on the federal government’s finances.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has spent months trying to convince the American people the Gang of Eight’s bill is good for the country. The CBO’s report shows it clearly is not – and that’s not even talking about the loopholes for social welfare programs CBO highlighted. And with the Hoeven/Corker amendment in the bill, the cost of border “security” – 20,000 agents on the border — just went up pretty significantly, even though that won’t do much for visa-related issues, which is where CBO expects most illegal immigration to take place.
Tea Party Patriots reached out to Senator Rubio’s office with a series of questions about these issues. We asked if the Senator was concerned about the CBO report’s relatively short-range projection as opposed to a longer period of analysis (especially since this is the same budget trick pulled to make Obamacare look affordable), as well as whether the aforementioned implications of amnesty for Social Security were of issue. Finally, we asked if the Senator was comfortable with the CBO’s projection that illegal immigration would still be very high under the bill as it existed before the Hoeven/Corker amendment.
Regarding the last question, the Senator’s spokesperson said it is believed the Hoeven/Corker amendment “will dramatically reduce future illegal immigration.” Looks like the Senator has the political cover he needs to finally come out in support of this travesty of a bill.
Regarding questions about Social Security, the spokesperson directed us to a letter the Senator received from the chief actuary of Social Security. According to the spokesperson, the letter “says that the long-range impacts of immigration reform will be positive.”
In looking at the letter, two things stand out against the spokesperson’s assertion:
The report itself is preliminary. Yes, the chief actuary is optimistic that the Senate’s bill will beneficial, as stated in the letter:
Over this longer time frame, benefits will become more significant for those with additional earnings taxed and credited. However, over this same longer time frame the additional births for the increased population under this bill will have substantial positive effects. Overall, we anticipate that the net effect of this bill on the long-range OASDI actuarial balance will be positive.
The preliminary report only goes out a decade for analysis. Senator Rubio should not rely on this report for presumed help with making Social Security last longer.
Second, it’s not amnesty that is going to be beneficial in the long run for Social Security. The letter expects illegal immigration to drop by 500,000 immigrants per year once all elements of enforcement are implemented – this was before the Hoeven/Corker amendment – and the financial costs to the nation to go up because formerly illegal immigrants are going to use benefits. However, it is the other parts of the bill that will actually benefit the nation financially. Page 3 of the letter notes, for example, it will be those with Visas who will allegedly help put the bill’s finances in the black.
While the spokesperson’s comments referenced “immigration reform” in its entirety, Tea Party Patriots asked about the cost of amnesty, not amnesty plus other aspects of the bill. This is avoidance of the real question we asked.
Finally, the spokesperson claimed the Social Security Administration’s letter answered Tea Party Patriots’ question about the short length of CBO’s analysis, but it does no such thing. Instead, Senator Rubio has an optimistic assertion – with no hard-and-fast data to examine – from the chief actuary that immigration “reform” will help in the long run. That’s not the same as answering our question whether CBO’s analysis was too short to be a believable assessment.
As the Senate nears its endgame on immigration “reform,” it looks like Senator Rubio has political cover lined up. However, things are set in stone yet – the Senate still has a chance to respect the rule of law and fiscal responsibility.