Monday, September 13, 2021

Amnesty in the Reconciliation Bill Could Cost Social Security and Medicare $1 Trillion

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a "Markup" work session this morning on an amnesty for illegal immigrants that is contained within the Democrats' budget reconciliation bill.

By granting eligibility for benefits amnesty would transform illegal immigrants from net contributors into net beneficiaries, imposing steep costs on the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.

In a detailed report published in April, the Center estimated that amnesty would impose a lifetime net cost on Social Security and Medicare Part A of about $129,000 per amnesty recipient.

Extrapolating from the results above, an amnesty for 8 million illegal immigrants would generate a total cost to Social Security and Medicare Part A of roughly $1 trillion in present value.

Some of the illegal immigrants who would receive amnesty are already eligible for Social Security and Medicare due to their current "Deferred" or "Temporary" status.

Whether the proposed bill adds new entitlement costs for those particular amnesty recipients depends on whether we consider such status to be effectively permanent.

In any case, because most of the entitlement costs associated with amnesty would occur outside the typical 10-year budget window of the Congressional Budget Office, it is imperative that Congress ask the CBO to do a special analysis of long-term entitlement costs when it scores the amnesty provisions of this reconciliation bill. 

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