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May 6, 2013

Amnesty Cost to Taxpayers: $6.3 Trillion

Washington, D.C., May 6, 2013 -- Granting amnesty to an estimated 11 million unlawful immigrants will cost taxpayers at least $6.3 trillion, according to a new report by Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector. The highly anticipated report, released today, becomes available as a Senate committee is set to mark up a “comprehensive immigration reform” bill May 9.

“No matter how you slice it, amnesty will add a tremendous amount of pressure on America’s already strained public purse,” said Rector, Heritage’s senior research fellow in domestic policy studies. 

The vast majority of the fiscal costs examined are long-term – including costs associated with Obamacare, Social Security and other entitlements, plus more than 80 means-tested welfare programs. Among the major findings of Rector and co-author Jason Richwine:

  • Over the course of their lives, former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes, for a lifetime “fiscal deficit” – at minimum -- of $6.3 trillion (total benefits minus total taxes).
  • The typical unlawful immigrant is 34 years old, has a 10th-grade education, and already receives $14,387 per household in government benefits in excess of taxes paid. After the bill’s “interim” period of about 13 years, when former unlawful immigrants become eligible for welfare and Obamacare subsidies, that “fiscal deficit” would double to $29,500 per household.
  • After amnesty, the typical unlawful immigrant will receive government benefits for 50 years, meaning his household would receive $592,000 more in government benefits during his lifetime than he would pay in taxes. At retirement, he would draw more than $3 in Social Security and Medicare for every dollar he paid in FICA taxes.

Heritage President Jim DeMint joined Rector to outline the findings of the report at a news conference at 11:30 a.m. in The Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium. Joining them was Derrick Morgan, Heritage’s vice president for domestic and economic policy.

Read the entire report (“The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer”) here.

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