WASHINGTON – Future illegal immigration to the U.S. could be cut in half by the Senate-approved bill to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, according to a new analysis Wednesday from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The new estimate reflects changes in the bill made last week, including the $46 billion “border surge” amendment proposed by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., which won over several Republican senators.
The Senate’s final version of the legislation would cut federal deficits over the next decade by $135 billion as immigrants and their employers pay new fees and taxes, the budget office estimated. The extra spending called for by the border surge plan meant that the bill did not reduce deficits as much as the version of the bill the budget office analyzed last month.
In return for the greater spending, the country would have fewer illegal immigrants, the budget office projected. The original version of the bill was projected to cut illegal immigration by about 25 percent. Now the budget office estimates the bill would reduce illegal immigration by one-third to one-half.
The legislation is the most comprehensive overhaul to immigration law in a generation, but faces an uncertain fate in the House, where the Republican majority is largely opposed to its main element: a 13-year route to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country without legal status.