Billions on the line in immigration debate

congressThe Republican Party appears to be fighting its own rhetoric when it comes to government spending, as well as battling President Obama over the issue of immigration reform. The budget deficit would be widened over the course of the next ten years if the immigration clauses attached to the Department of Homeland Security bill by Republicans in the House of Representatives were to be passed, the Congressional Budget Office claims.

If the bill is passed and the president is unable to veto it, the cost of deporting the millions of undocumented immigrants protected from deportation by the deferred action from Obama’s most recent executive action, and his executive action in 2012, could be anything from $20bn to $25bn, according to POLITICO’s best estimates.

The Republicans have been keen to reduce government spending, making such a cost seem somewhat hypocritical; however, the famously anti-immigration senator Jeff Sessions says that the fight is about enforcing the law and not about money. A spokesman for Sessions claims that the Obama administration has not requested the money that would be needed to enforce current immigration laws.

The president’s new budget assumes that enacting comprehensive immigration reform would cut the deficit by as much as $158bn over the course of the next decade; however, Republicans claim that this figure is essentially an illusion, given that it does not to take into account the costs to the government and the taxpayers once these immigrants reach retirement age.