Conservatives Respond to the Heritage Foundation Immigration Study
Senator Marco Rubio
“The study is not a legitimate study. It overestimates the number of people that are going to be counted in the system…it includes four million kids that are already living here now…a quarter of the costs are for traffic and police and…public services that are already being provided.
The bottom line is, I think the study is deeply flawed.” (CBS News, 5/9/13)
Representative Paul Ryan
“The Congressional Budget Office has found that fixing our broken immigration system could help our economy grow. A proper accounting of immigration reform should take into account these dynamic effects.” (Rep. Paul Ryan, Statement to Press, 5/6/13; David M. Drucker, “Ryan Critical of Heritage Immigration Study,” Roll Call, 5/6/13)
Senator Jeff Flake
“Here we go again. New Heritage study claims huge cost for Immigration Reform. Ignores economic benefits. No dynamic scoring.” (Twitter, @JeffFlake, 5/6/13)
Governor Haley Barbour
“The @Heritage #immigration study is misleading & designed for headlines. The study isn't a serious analysis for good policy. @BPC_Bipartisan” (Twitter,@HayleyBarbour, 5/6/13)
“This study is designed to try to scare conservative Republicans into thinking the cost here is going to be so gigantic you can’t possibly be for it.” (Stephen Dinan, “Report: Legalizing illegal immigrants to cost $6.3 trillion,” Washington Times, 5/6/13)
Conservatives Extol the Positive Benefits of Immigration Refom
Immigrants are also generally productive, entrepreneurial and highly motivated. They have a higher labor-participation rate than native-born Americans, and they also create new businesses at a higher rate. Some have specific technical skills the U.S. needs, while even workers with lesser education or lower skills bring a strong work ethic and a willingness to fill low-wage jobs.
Faster economic growth would in turn drive down the budget deficit over the next 10 years by at least $2.5 trillion. Think of it this way: A more generous and more skill-based immigration system would lower the budget deficit three times more than President Obama's fiscal-cliff tax increase enacted in January.
This isn't to say that all immigrants will provide a net economic boost. But on balance U.S. businesses and the overall economy would benefit from a growing supply of younger immigrants who would have decades of more productive, creative work to contribute to American prosperity.
Mr. Holtz-Eakin modestly refers to his numbers as "ballpark" estimates. But even if the benefits are half what he projects, immigration reform would offer an economic stimulus far superior to anything Mr. Obama has come close to delivering in his first four years.