When the Center for Individual Freedom began calling the U.S. Senate immigration bill scamnesty, some thought we were just engaging in over-the-top rhetoric.  Now, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not called the bill scamnesty; it has proved it.

The Cost of Scamnesty: $126 Billion

When the Center for Individual Freedom began calling the U.S. Senate immigration bill scamnesty, some thought we were just engaging in over-the-top rhetoric.  Now, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not called the bill scamnesty; it has proved it.

CBO is often referred to as bipartisan.  It doesn't take sides.  It just crunches the numbers to calculate the financial crunch imposed on taxpayers by Congress, which seems more and more oblivious to such petty details.

In the case of the Senate immigration bill – also referred to as bipartisan because so many there just fell in love with Senator Kennedy's desire to have a statue of himself erected in Mexico City – CBO estimates the crunch at $126 billion over a ten-year period.  Yes, that's $126 billion with a b, which rhymes with see, we told you so.

Government revenues, based on how the bill is actually written, would decrease by $78.5 billion for the ten-year period.  If the bill had been drafted as it should have been, government revenues would supposedly increase by $43.6 billion.  We're supposed to have confidence in that?

The bill will impose costs of $2.6 billion just for new "detention facilities" for 20,000 folks who presumably will still want to violate our immigration laws, such as they are and may be, despite such "comprehensive" reform. 

Given the almost $50 billion that the bill's entitlement programs will cost, we can't understand why anyone would get in the prison line rather than the entitlement line.  Oh, right, maybe there are some who don't really want to do those jobs that Americans won't do.

You already knew about the entitlement programs – the earned income tax credits and child credits ($24.5 billion), the Medicare and Medicaid benefits ($15.4 billion), the Social Security benefits ($5.2 billion), the food stamps and child nutrition programs ($3.7 billion).  You just didn't know how much those programs would cost you.  Now you do.

We bet you didn't know about the program to reduce rural poverty in Mexico.  That's going to cost $18 million, apparently to be distributed to U.S. and Mexican universities.  Yeah, that's going to be effective.

Then there's the $2 million annually to "assist Mexico in improving security at its southern border with Guatemala and Belize."  After all, it is a comprehensive program.

So-called passport cards required to travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda (in lieu of a passport) would cost $270 million.  That's because only $34 would be charged to the individual, but the card would cost $40 to process at the State Department.  You get to pay for the shortfall.  Requiring the new card means you have to make sure folks know about it, but that will merely cost an additional $50 million.

It's going to cost $200 million over five years just to cover the administrative costs of a provision that would allow individuals "to block and unblock inquiries on their Social Security number," whatever that means.

Then there's the $132 million for establishing an "Office of Intercountry Adoptions" with the State Department.  While we do not know details, we suspect that's a program that could be subject to considerable manipulation and abuse.

There is lots of other weird cost stuff, and a lot more that is not broken out in the new CBO report, but you get the basic idea.  CBO estimates a $126 billion price tag on a Senate bill that is supposed to take care of all our illegal immigration problems, since the last time this was done in the 1980s, it didn't work out all that well.

Your government lied to you, then stuck you with the price of that lie, stuck you with the massive illegal immigration problems caused by that lie and now wants to stick you with the price tag for the even bigger lie that is the Senate immigration bill.  Oh, and by the way, don't worry too much about the $3.3 billion that CBO estimates the border security fence would cost.  Since the fence can't be built until after consultations with Mexico, your grandchildren will probably get to pay for that if it ever happens at all.

Meanwhile, CBO conveniently estimates total U.S. population expansion resulting from the Senate bill's various provisions at 16 million by 2016 and 24 million by 2026.  The largest factor contributing to that population increase would be the so-called guest worker program.

It being, ironically, Labor Day recess for the Congress, you might find yourself at some public gathering in proximity to a U.S. Senator in the next weeks.  You might want to have a word with her or him.  That word would be NO to scamnesty, and NO to each and every one of them who doesn't get what people want and what they are willing to pay for.  The same would go for any member of the House, just wandering around trying to kiss your baby or bite your fried Twinkie.

August 24, 2006
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