Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Immigration Reform Would Shave $200 Billion From Deficit

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Your afternoon immigration-reform update: The Gang of Eight's comprehensive immigration reform bill will cut the deficit by nearly $200 billion over the next 10 years, according the Congressional Budget Office. Talking Points Memo reports:

The so-called Senate Gang of Eight immigration reform bill, which includes a path to citizenship for millions of the nation's undocumented immigrants, would increase U.S. population by 10.4 million and would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the next ten years, according to a new report published Tuesday by the independent Congressional Budget Office.

CBO projects that about 8 million undocumented immigrants would seek to obtain legal status if the bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The legislation is also projected to decrease federal budget deficits by about $700 billion over the 2024-2033 period, as well as spur a net increase of 16 million to the U.S. population.

In other news: Mother Jones is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will soon allow a vote on an amendment that Texas Sen. John Cornyn to ratchet up the security requirements in the bill. (More on all those details here.) From MoJo:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has called an amendment floated by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) a "poison pill" that, if passed, could kill the immigration bill. Nevertheless, Reid will allow the controversial border security measure, which his fellow Gang of Eighter Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently called "very reasonable," to come to a floor vote as early as Wednesday before he moves to end debate and bring the full bill to a vote.

Cornyn's amendment would require the implementation of four security measures before undocumented immigrants could be granted provisional legal status: complete surveillance of the southern border, a 90 percent apprehension success rate for people who cross the border illegally, a mandatory national E-Verify system, and an operational biometrics security system—typically fingerprint identification—at United States air and sea ports. The amendment is strongly opposed by Democrats, as well as some Republicans, who say it would be overly expensive and logistically difficult to implement, and would therefore effectively cripple the 13-year path to citizenship that is the centerpiece of the Senate bill.

"If [the Gang of Eight doesn't] take reasonable measures to deal with the border security concerns of the American people, I don't think we're going to get an immigration bill," Cornyn told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "So that itself will be a poison pill." Reid said Tuesday that he believed the bill, as currently written, already has enough votes to surmount a filibuster. However, the Gang of Eight wants the bill to pass with at least 70 votes to put pressure on the GOP-led House to take action.

Elsewhere: Jonathan Chait muses over whether immigration reform benefits the Republican Party or the Democratic Party:

It may be the case that Democrats just win the politics, regardless — they win if Republicans kill reform, and they win if they accede. Even if that were true, passing reform would at least take the issue off the table. If Republicans kill a bill, Democrats can run on it again in 2016, and basically every future election, and the underlying dynamics will get continuously better as the nonwhite share of the electorate rises every cycle. CNN’s poll shows that the Gang of Eight bill is narrowly popular, but it also creates a huge generational divide, with senior citizens strongly opposed and young voters strongly in favor. Eventually something will pass, and there’s no reason to think conservatives can get a better deal four, eight, or twenty years from now. The main question is how much political damage they will incur in the meantime.

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