The president’s plan to expand legal immigration into the United States could cost the federal government up to 1.5 times as much over 10 year periods as originally thought, a Congressional Budget Board report said Thursday.
The analysis, released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), found that expanding legal immigration could cost $1,037 per household, an increase of almost 2.5 percent from the previous estimate.
The cost would be even higher if immigrants were paid more.
That’s because many of the undocumented immigrants who would be eligible for the new benefits would be paid less than the current level of wages, the CBO said.
In addition, many of those receiving benefits would also be more likely to drop out of the labor force because of the cost.
In contrast, CBO found that the total number of legal immigrants in the country would increase, with a net increase of about 2 million people.
Immigration policy experts say that the CBO’s report should serve as a wake-up call to lawmakers about the costs of legal immigration and whether the president’s proposal is a smart way to address them.
A separate report released last week by the Office of Immigration Statistics at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) estimated that about 6.6 million immigrants would be granted legal status under the new plan.
The Obama administration has said it would require about 6 million additional legal immigrants to qualify for citizenship, but advocates have warned that this is a tall order and that the numbers won’t be accurate.
A Congressional Budget Study in 2013 found that a large number of people living in the United State, who have a green card, would be denied the opportunity to obtain a green-card if they received benefits under the Obama administration’s current immigration law.
Advocates for immigration reform say that this number is too high.
They argue that the law’s legal immigrants who have green cards should not be penalized for leaving the country and that Congress should not penalize those who are already legal immigrants for their efforts.