Heritage’s highly anticipated report on the cost of amnesty, released earlier today, puts the price tag at $6.3 trillion—a figure that becomes available as the Senate prepares for a May 9 markup of the “comprehensive” immigration reform bill proposed by the “Gang of Eight.”

Heritage, the only organization that has done an analysis of the cost of amnesty, advocates for immigration reform that inspires economic growth, attracts workers, and encourages patriotic assimilation. But “amnesty for those who are here unlawfully,” Heritage President Jim DeMint said, “is not necessary to capture those benefits. Our analysis shows that taxpayers, including immigrants who have come here lawfully, will be saddled with $6.3 trillion in costs over the next 50 years.”

According to Heritage expert Robert Rector, if amnesty is enacted, formerly unlawful immigrants would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes, for a lifetime “fiscal deficit” of $6.3 trillion. That’s a price “that has to be paid by someone else, by the U.S. taxpayer,” Rector said at a press conference this morning.

Rector said that households in the United States headed by someone without a high-school degree currently receive about $46,000 a year in government benefits and services.

“That basic fact that a household that does not have a high school degree gets about $30,000 to $45,000 more per year in benefits than they pay in taxes, has enormous implications because essentially, that is what the unlawful immigrant household will look like once they receive amnesty,” Rector said.

The United States already has an extremely expensive “cradle-to-grave” welfare state, government retirement system, and public education system.

“Putting unlawful immigration into our current welfare state would be disastrous,” said Derrick Morgan, vice president of domestic and economic policy.

DeMint, Morgan, and Rector each referred to the immigration reform of 1986, which also included amnesty while promising border security and workplace enforcement—a law that “has never been enforced for a single day since 1986,” Rector added.

Those broken promises show that Congress can’t be trusted to address immigration reform in such a way, with an amnesty-first proposal. “Amnesty is unfair to those who come here lawfully and those who are waiting,” DeMint said. “It will cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars over the next several decades, and it will make our immigration problems worse.”


The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer