5 Immigration Falsehoods from the White House
by Jessica Zuckerman and Ken McIntyre, Heritage Foundation, September 6, 2013
Congress gets back to its regularly scheduled work on Monday—and there’s plenty of immigration propaganda greeting them.
The falsehoods from the White House just keep on coming, and Catholic leaders have called for clergy to preach in support of the Senate-passed immigration overhaul this Sunday.
On the White House blog, Cecilia Muñoz, assistant to the President and director of the Domestic Policy Council, laid out the Obama Administration’s take on the benefits of “commonsense immigration reform.” The blog, complete with “fact sheets” and the reposting of an animated video, made numerous claims about what the Senate-passed immigration bill (S. 744) would do for U.S. citizens and immigrants alike.
Here is how five of the White House’s latest claims stack up against the facts.
1. CLAIM: The Senate-passed bill would reduce the deficit.
FACT: It would explode the deficit.
While a properly functioning immigration system could indeed help reduce the deficit and grow the economy, the amnesty portion of the Senate bill would be extremely costly for American taxpayers, particularly in the long run. As Heritage senior research fellow Robert Rector has explained:
Amnesty and citizenship would make 11.5 million illegal immigrants eligible for Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and more than 80 different means-tested welfare programs such as food stamps and public housing. The average illegal immigrant is 34 years old and has a 10th-grade education. At that age, education levels would increase very little after amnesty.
Under the Senate-passed amnesty bill, each current illegal immigrant would receive more than $900,000 in government benefits over his lifetime while paying around $300,000 in taxes—a net cost of more than $600,000 to taxpayers. Even if the wages of amnesty recipients were to soar by 25 percent, the long-term costs per recipient would be more than $500,000—costs ultimately borne by the American taxpayer.
2. CLAIM: The Senate-passed bill would increase wages.
FACT: Many workers’ wages would decrease.
The wages of formerly illegal immigrants would likely increase, as Heritage has also projected, under the bill. However, many legally present workers would find their wages lower, as immigration expert George Borjas of Harvard found.
3. CLAIM: The Senate-passed bill would eliminate visa backlogs and reduce wait times.
FACT: It would overwhelm the current immigration system.
The current immigration system is slow and overly complex. Yet rather than address these problems, S. 744 would thrust millions of additional people into the system by granting amnesty to those who are in the U.S. illegally and unrealistically requiring our immigration services to first clear the backlog of those waiting to enter the country legally.
This is certainly a commendable goal. Without real reform to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, however, arbitrary mandates to clear the backlog are only likely to overwhelm the system.
4. CLAIM: The Senate-passed bill would provide a “lengthy but fair” path to earned citizenship.
FACT: Amnesty itself is inherently unfair.
Amnesty is deeply unfair to all those who waded through the complex and convoluted immigration system to come and remain here legally, and the approximately 4.4 million who at this very moment are waiting in line to come.
Indeed, amnesty comes in many forms, but in all of its variations, it discourages respect for the law, treats law-breaking aliens better than law-following aliens, and encourages future illegal immigration.
5. CLAIM: The Senate-passed bill would improve employment-based visa programs.
FACT: It would make the process worse.
Take the H-1B visa program, which allows employers to hire qualified immigrant workers to fill highly skilled positions. Through this program, employers may draw from a larger hiring pool of qualified applicants to fill vital positions. The idea is to keep jobs in America while also encouraging job creation and employment opportunities.
However, the Senate bill would impose a list of new restrictions on employers of H-1B visa recipients. These include requiring employers to pay higher wages to most H-1B workers than current U.S. workers and other requirements that would create a bureaucratic nightmare for employers and put them in legal jeopardy.
For more FACTS, check out a better path forward.
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