At Stake in Immigration Debate: Billions of Dollars

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. meets with reporters  on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. McConnell will take over as the new Senate majority leader when the 114th Congress convenes in January. McConnell says approving the Keystone XL pipeline will top the Senate agenda in January. Congressional Republicans have been pushing for approval of the pipeline for years. Obama has resisted because of environmental concerns. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


(Politico) – In Congress’ standoff over immigration policy, Republicans seem to be battling not only President Barack Obama but their own rhetoric on government spending.

Immigration riders attached to the Homeland Security spending bill by the House GOP turn out to actually widen the budget deficit over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. As a result, the $39.7 billion measure will need a supermajority of 60 votes under Senate budget rules, even if Republicans get past the Democratic filibuster.

Faced with a Feb. 27 deadline and the Presidents Day recess next week, time is short. And the CBO report never addressed an added cost implicit in the Republican position: How much would it cost for the government to deport all the undocumented workers who stand to benefit from Obama’s most recent executive order?

That could be upward of $20 billion to $25 billion, according to the best estimates collected by POLITICO.

It’s a sum hard to find these days, given the Republican-backed spending caps imposed on the House and Senate appropriations committees. Indeed, just last week, the GOP leadership ridiculed Obama’s proposal to amend the law to increase discretionary funding — including money for DHS — above the freeze set for fiscal 2016.


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