The groundbreaking immigration reform legislation that was expected this week from the bipartisan Senate 'Gang of Eight' has been delayed until at least next week, as the gun control bill has eclipsed most other issues in Washington with today's vote. The postponement comes amidst growing concerns for what the overall plan will cost as it relates to entitlements.
An increasing number of lawmakers, notably Sen. Jeff Sessions and Chuck Grassley, want the proposal to be very clear about how the influx of new legal residents will impact entitlement and government assistance programs, welfare in particular. The implication is that these millions of new American residents would likely have negative consequences taxing an already overburdened system, as Conn Carroll writes in The Washington Examiner:
Illegal immigrants do not come to this country for welfare. They come to American for jobs. But once they are here, they do avail themselves of the welfare state. And because they are less educated, and are less likely to speak English than the native population, they will use more welfare than native Americans too.
Writing on Bloomberg View this week, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia challenges the assumption that immigrants come to the U.S. primarily for government benefits rather than jobs. Based on a 2008 study, her conclusions suggest that a greater pool of non-skilled, non-english speakers pushes up low-skilled native borns into the middle class and that immigrants move where there is work, not where there are welfare programs. Dalmia also cites studies that find that lower average utilization and smaller average benefits for low-skilled foreigners and their U.S. born children indicate an overall cost of public benefits that is substantially less for low-income non-citizen immigrants than for comparable native-born adults and children.
The presence of non-English-speaking foreigners makes physical skills more plentiful relative to demand, and language and other cultural skills scarcer. Hence even the most basic acculturation of the native-born starts commanding a higher premium in the labor market.
Restrictionists are trying to torpedo immigration reform by scapegoating poor foreigners for the overextended U.S. welfare state and the country’s job troubles. If these forces succeed, all Americans will pay the price.
On 'Real News' Friday S.E. Cupp discussed with Rep. Steve King the status of immigration reform in Washington today, and what the true cost of such legislation could be for American jobs, federal spending and the Republican Party.