Hidden Costs of Gang’s Immigration Bill
Andrew Stiles explains the reality behind the Gang of Eight claim that illegal immigrants won’t be eligible for public benefits until 13 years after being legalized:
“A notable loophole in the Gang’s legislation explicitly prohibits DHS from considering the likelihood that an applicant for provisional legal status will become a “public charge” — defined as any individual who is “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” Critics fear that if a significant number of immigrants meeting that definition are given legal status, state and local government could face an immediate financial burden, and one that could worsen over time.”
Moreover, as I explain in my column this week, the Gang’s prohibition against using federal law’s “public charge” criteria to decide whether illegal immigrants should be legalized undermines claims from Gang members and their allies that mass legalization won’t lead to big government spending increases.
The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector is still studying the impact of the Gang’s legalization effort on government spending, and my hunch is that he, unlike the Gang, will include the probable increases incurred by state and local governments if the public charge prohibition becomes law.
If so, the American people will get a clearer picture of the actual costs of legalization. Only then can we have an honest debate about what to do.