Mike Scruggs

Amnesty’s $2.5 Trillion plus price tag: should Republicans drink the poisoned chalice?


By Mike Scruggs –

According to the Heritage Foundation’s top policy expert, Robert Rector, either one of the two amnesties being proposed by the U.S. Senate “Gang-of-Eight” and President Obama would cost U.S. taxpayers trillions of dollars over the next decade. Based on Rector’s previous cost estimate of the defeated 2007 McCain-Kennedy Amnesty, either new amnesty proposal will cost taxpayers more than $2.5 trillion in increased Medicare and Social Security costs ALONE. This is after accounting for any increases in tax revenues paid in by amnestied workers. There are also other formidable costs associated with amnesty.

Are our annual fiscal deficits and the national debt not already high enough? Are we a ship of fools? We risk enormous catastrophe by keeping politically correct silence on the costs of amnesty.

McCain admits that the Gang-of-Eight Amnesty Proposal is almost identical with his 2007 amnesty proposal, and the Washington Times has confirmed this by laying out the two plans page by page. Rector is now researching the likely cost of a 2013 amnesty and believes either amnesty proposal will far exceed the 2007 estimate due to larger illegal immigrant numbers and inflation since 2007. Obama’s amnesty is the more sweeping and costly of the two potentially nation-destroying proposals.

I cannot find anywhere that the sponsors of the 2007 Amnesty made any realistic estimate of its costs that were released to the media or public. The degree of stealth in hiding the cost of the 2007 Amnesty has only recently been surpassed by Obamacare. Don’t expect things to change in 2013. Expect emotional, not factual, emphasis. The public will be in serious need of a horse manure detector.

I am sure the proponents of these amnesties will not mention that amnesties always cause more illegal immigration. As Senator Sessions (R, AL) has pointed out, the record of the 1987 Amnesty indicates that over a 20-year period we can expect two to three additional illegal immigrants for each amnesty given. Amnesties beget more illegal immigrants and more amnesties. The annual net fiscal drain from the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants now here is over $100 billion per year. Are we willing to see another $200 to $300 billion annual fiscal drain? And that does not count the huge negative impact of displaced American workers, downward pressure on American wages, and difficult-to-quantify factors such as increased costs of educating bilingual students and higher crime rates associated with illegal immigrants.

Rector estimates that 75 to 80 percent of illegal immigrants have no more than a high school education. They are considerably less skilled than the average American worker. In past generations, immigrants were actually more skilled than the average American worker. Workers with low skills and less than a high school education draw more welfare expenses than taxes paid. Rector’s 2007 analysis showed that non-high school graduates used about $20,000 more in government benefits than the $10,000 in taxes paid during their working life. Rector expects that this gap has increased and will make amnesty costs even higher.

Should Republicans drink the amnesty chalice? Many are saying that they must favor amnesty or continue to alienate Hispanic voters, who were 10 percent of the total electorate in 2012. From 1980 to 2012, Hispanic voters gave an average of only 31 percent support for Republican presidential candidates. The high mark was 40 percent for George W. Bush in 2004. McCain, a primary sponsor of the 2007 amnesty attempt, got only 31 percent of their vote in 2008. The 1987 Amnesty signed by Reagan performed no miracles for George H. W. Bush in 1988. The elder Bush got only 30 percent of the Hispanic vote, down from Reagan’s 37 percent in 1984.

Reagan, by the way, was reluctant to sign the 1987 Amnesty. He was persuaded by more liberal Republicans that it was a trade for the stronger border security and workplace enforcement necessary to shut down most illegal immigration. But these promises were broken, and illegal immigration raged out of control thereafter. Asked what was the biggest mistake in his presidency, Reagan told his close friend and Attorney General, Ed Meese, that it was signing the 1987 Amnesty.

Border security is necessary but not sufficient for immigration control. Workplace enforcement is absolutely necessary and more effective.

Will agreeing to amnesty turn many Hispanics to the Republican Party? No! Hispanic voters place social-welfare legislation in far higher priority than amnesty. As many academic studies have shown, what they vote for is generous government paid healthcare and social benefits. Amnesty means more Democrats and bigger social spending.

A Pew poll in May 2012 of over 1,503 potential voters indicated that 49 percent of Hispanic voters wanted to expand Obamacare—the highest support of any ethnic group. Only 26 percent of whites wanted to expand it. A total of 69 percent of Hispanics wanted to expand it or leave it as is. This was revealingly close to the 71 percent who voted for Obama in the November election. A Fox News exit poll revealed that Obamacare was the most telling issue motivating Obama voters. Ninety-two percent of those wanting to expand Obamacare voted for Obama. Obama ran ads in both English and Spanish. His Spanish ads emphasized Obamacare, not immigration issues. His English language ads did not mention Obamcare or amnesty directly.

Voting for amnesty will not gain Hispanic votes for Republicans. It will only make conservative voters who normally vote Republican stay at home. Republicans cannot out-liberal the Democrats on immigration, healthcare, or anything else. Time Magazine, indisputably one of the most powerful liberal political influences in America, has Gang-of-Eight member, Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) on its prestigious cover this week, calling him the Republican Party’s “savior.” Are we a ship of fools? Amnesty is Republican suicide, and the Democrats and liberal media hope enough wobbly and clueless Republicans can be found to stampede their party into drinking a deadly potion from which they could never recover.

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