Thursday, June 20, 2013

When It Comes to Immigration Reform, Republicans Prove That Numbers CAN Lie

The U.S. Senate began hearing debate on immigration reform this week.

what eye thynk:   Anyone who knows me knows that I am conflicted over immigration reform.  I whole-heartedly support the Dream Act, an amnesty program that would open the road to citizenship to young people brought here illegally as children.  These young people grew up as American as you or I.  If they completed high school and now want only to move on with their lives--whether that be further education or a job, they should be allowed a chance to do that here, in the only country they know.  

Amnesty for adults who knowingly chose to break the law by coming here illegally is a much grayer area in my mind.   I have no easy answers.

But Republican opposition to immigration doesn't seem to take into account any of the human aspects of immigration reform.  One of their main opposition talking points has been the cost of immigration amnesty programs.  The Heritage Foundation, a self-described, "conservative research think tank supporting free enterprise, limited government and individual freedoms", boasts this claim at the top of their website:
 Tell Everyone You Know"
Their point being, that amnesty is too expensive, and they are justified in rejecting it.  To support that argument, The Heritage Foundation put out a report that claimed amnesty would cost the U.S. $6 Trillion.  As with so many Republican talking points, this turned out to be baseless hyperbole.

On Tuesday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, (the official scorekeepers for federal lawmakers), published very different findings:
"The Congressional Budget Office found that the benefits of an increase in legal residents from immigration legislation currently being debated in the Senate--which includes a pathway to citizenship--would outweigh the costs...
...The report estimates that in the first decade after the immigration bill is carried out, the net effect of adding millions of additional taxpayers would decrease the federal budget deficit by $197 billion.  Over the next decade, the report found, the deficit reduction would be even greater--an estimated $700 billion, from 2024 to 2033." 
Again, beyond the Dream Act, I have no easy answers; but, if immigration reform is to be rejected, it should not be for purely monetary reasons--especially when the opposition's figures are so blatantly false.

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