How the Immigration Policy May Affect the Budget
The immigration policy is such a hot button issue, and one that has the power to affect many other facets of the government. The budget, for one, will be altered due to the high number of immigrants that would be allowed to legally stay and work in the United States. But how exactly will the budget be affected, and will it be for better or for worse? Here we look at both sides of what could happen.
With the immigration reform bill will come about 11 million immigrants, a number of which already work illegally in the U.S. These individuals will become legal and have to pay taxes. This added revenue for the country will generate billions of dollars for Social Security and Medicare.
It will also allow these individuals to participate legally in the United States economy, creating even more jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, it has been estimated that the reform bill will result in the addition of about 3.2 million jobs over the next 10 years, which would increase the gross domestic product by 1.63% by the year 2024.
Another positive that could come from passing the immigration bill is that immigrants who came to the U.S. tend to be more entrepreneurial than other U.S. workers, creating their own businesses that create even more jobs. Other studies have shown that immigrants who work tend to be younger, and therefore are less likely to rely on public benefits such as free health care and Social Security.
On the other side of the debate comes the price tag of the reform, which has the potential to wreck the budget. The Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973 with the goal to promote conservative public policies, has released a report claiming that giving the 11 million immigrants the right to citizenship will ultimately cost the U.S. $6.3 trillion when it is all said and done.
The Heritage Foundation factored in the costs associated with granting immigrants benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance. They also took into account benefits offered to low-income Legal U.S. residents such as food stamps. According to the report these additional benefits would be a huge drain on the country’s finances.
According to the Heritage Foundation and their report, passing the immigration bill will eventually make the economic problems we face even worse. They state that in 2010, each illegal immigrant household collected over $24,000 in free benefits from the U.S. government, from taking advantage of public education for their children to using law enforcement services. The same immigrant families also paid only $10,000 in taxes, leaving legal taxpayers to front the remaining $14,000 per year.
While Senate’s immigration proposal won’t actually allow immigrant to gain access to many of these benefits until they have been legal for 13 years, Heritage claims that after those 13 years are up, the same immigrants will most likely start applying for the free benefits available.
With the immigration reform bill, the proponents and the detractors of the bill respectively point to the potential for either massive gains or tremendous losses. Allowing the large number of illegal immigrants to become legal would require them to start paying taxes, which could greatly increase revenue. However, there is plenty of talk going around that the legalization could cost the U.S. much more than it would gain. Only time will tell.
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