Members of the Senate Gang of Eight (some Senators in front row) (Photo/Getty Images )

Gang of 8: Economic benefits of immigration reform one more reason to support bill

As soon as the Congressonal Budget Office report came out, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said the report “further confirmed what most conservative economists have found: reforming our immigration system is a net benefit for our economy, American workers and taxpayers.”

The CBO report finds that if the Senate bill were to become law, the U.S. population would increase by over 10 million due to the influx of new foreign workers.  The report also estimates about eight million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. would gain citizenship. The earnings and taxes paid by these millions of newly-legalized immigrants would add about $459 billion dollars to the federal coffers, concludes the CBO.

In all, the deficit would be decreased by almost $200 billion in the first 10 years after an immigration law is passed and it would decrease by $700 billion by 2033, according to the report.

The question is whether this will be enough to sway Republicans who have been opposing immigration reform.

Democratic proponents of the bill, such as New York Democratic Senator and Gang of 8 Chuck Schumer, say this robs the bill’s opponents of some powerful ammunition. “This debunks the idea that immigration reform is anything other than a boon to our economy, and robs the bill’s opponents of one of their last remaining arguments,” said Schumer in a statement.

Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the bill’s fiercest critics, was not convinced by the report — though he was one of the legislators who asked for it.  Sessions said “the score effectively conceals some of the biggest long-term costs to taxpayers contained in this legislation, including providing illegal immigrants with Medicaid, food stamps, and cash welfare.”

The report disputes this by saying that the $259 billion in spending and tax credit following an immigration law would be offset by the more than $450 billion in additional revenues.

Democrats are not the only ones trying to convince the GOP the CBO report is another reason to support the immigration bill.

A former CBO director and adviser to Republican Arizona Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign said “With Washington broke and America stuck in a jobless recovery, the CBO report proves that immigration reform would be an unambiguous policy trifecta: higher growth, significantly reduced deficits, and a rational labor policy. This should put to rest any legitimate debate about the economic and fiscal implications of responsible immigration reform.”

Whether this will sway Senate and House members when it is time to vote on an immigration bill remains to be seen.

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