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For many people, creating a path to citizenship for individuals who came into the United States illegally seems counterproductive. But U. S. Rep. David Cicilline says that it makes economic sense.
During an appearance from Washington on the WPRI-TV program "Newsmakers," which aired July 21, Cicilline said passing the bipartisan immigration bill already approved by the Senate would save the country billions.
"The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan office, did an analysis and said that passing comprehensive immigration reform will reduce the federal deficit by $200 billion over the next decade," said Cicilline.
Roughly $20 billion per year?
When we inquired, Cicilline's office sent a link to the CBO report.
It does indeed offer that as an estimate. The actual projected savings: $197 billion from 2014 to 2023.
The legislation would increase the deficit in 2014 by $2.5 billion but beginning in 2015, as new income and payroll tax revenues from the new workers start accumulating, it would cut away at the deficit by an ever-increasing amount, according to the budget office, starting at $4.7 billion and shaving as much as $55.9 billion in the final year of the projection.
The savings will come despite the government having to pay an additional $82 billion over 10 years for health insurance subsidies, $29 billion for Medicaid for adults and children, $6 billion more for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly known as food stamps) and $5.1 billion more for unemployment insurance.
Why the savings?
Passage of the law would increase federal revenues by $459 billion from 2014 to 2023, the report said. "That increase would stem largely from additional collections of income and payroll taxes, reflecting both an increase in the size of the U.S. labor force and changes in the legal status of some current workers."
The report estimates that passing the immigration proposal would increase the number of permanent U.S. residents by 10.4 million and the number of temporary workers and their dependents by 1.6 million. (There would also be 1.6 million fewer unauthorized residents.)
During that time, none of the immigrants who entered the country illegally would be eligible for Social Security or Medicare.
And after that?
The CBO estimated that immigration reform would reduce the deficit by $700 billion from 2024 to 2033, but those longer-range projections are less certain.
PolitiFact usually doesn't offer rulings on predictions such as the ones in the CBO report. But we can say that Cicilline is correctly quoting the federal nonpartisan report.
We rate the claim True.
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WPRI.com, "Newsmakers 7/19: Mayor William Flanagan, Congressman David Cicilline," aired July 21, 2013, accessed July 24, 2013
Email, Richard Luchette, spokesman, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, July 25, 2013
CBO.gov, "Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate - S.744 - Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act," June 18, 2013, accessed July 25, 2013
WashingtonPost.com, "CBO:Senate immigration bill would cut deficits by $200 billion over decade," June 18, 2013, accessed July 25, 2013
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