Jeff Sessions Speaking Against Amnesty NOW, and "The Cost Of Amnesty"
December 12, 2014, 03:52 PM
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Jeff Sessions is on the floor of the Senate now, speaking  against amnesty. Watch him on C-Span. (UPDATE: He's yielded to Marco Rubio, who had started talking about his hardworking immigrant father before I firmly switched off.) In his floor speech, Senator Sessions quoted David Frum in The Atlantic on the costs of Obama's illegal program. Just the Social Security numbers Obama's going to issue them are worth thousands of taxpayer dollars per family.

Frum's piece is actually pretty good. It's also highly duplicative of work we've done, but I suspect that for the Atlantic's readers it's the first time they've heard of EITC, ITINs, or the 1997 study  The New Americans.

In a statement announcing his executive amnesty, President Obama reassured doubters that formerly illegal aliens would not qualify for “the same benefits that citizens receive.” As federal agencies begin issuing Social Security numbers to millions of new residents, however, it’s becoming clear that the president’s words were seriously misleading.

Formerly illegal aliens may not qualify for “the same benefits that citizens receive,” but they will very likely qualify for tens of billions of dollars worth of many of the most generous benefits available to citizens. How much, precisely, will become clearer in the coming weeks.

Start, for example, with the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. These two means-tested benefits “top up” the wages of low-paid workers. Both are first applied to offset any federal tax liability a worker may have. The remainder of the credit is then refundable in cash to the worker. In the 2011 tax year, the average EITC payment to a family with children was $2,905, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The Additional Child Tax Credit works in much the same way, paying an average of $1,800 to qualifying households. [More]