Refreshing: CBO Admits That Amnesty Will Cost $100 Billion-Plus

By David North on November 22, 2021

After spending a lifetime hearing from Open Borders types that immigration is an unmixed financial boost to this country it was refreshing to see the Congressional Budget Office agree that the proposed amnesty in the reconciliation bill, passed by the House on November 19, will cost taxpayers $133 billion.

That amount of spending appears on the front page of the New York Times on November 20, above the fold and in bold-face type. It says: Immigration, $133 billion.

If you opened (unfolded) the paper you would learn that this is the gross expenditure, and that the bill will also cause the payment of $22 billion in visa fees, so that the net cost of the amnesty will be lower, or about $111 billion, still a thunderous figure. The number is more prominent in the print version than in the electronic one.

On page 15 of the print edition the main part of the gross costs, $124 billion, is spelled out in a non-useful way:

Protection and work permits

Five-year grants of deportation protection and work permits for most undocumented who entered the U.S. before Jan.1, 2011.

As my colleague Jason Richwine has reported, the cost would be much higher if the long-term expenses to the Medicare and the Social Security program were added to the total, as they should be.

Will the amnesty remain in the huge reconciliation bill after the Senate’s Parliamentarian sees it? (She has vetoed the inclusion of two earlier, and broader, amnesties; Democrats will likely point to this latest cost figure as an argument to keep the amnesty in the bill, since it shows the amnesty has an impact on the budget.) Will the bill itself pass in its present form, including amnesty? Will the Senate pass a different version of the bill, leading to still more negotiations with the House?

There is still a possibility of a major amnesty. Were I a betting man I would bet against it.