Monday morning, the Heritage Foundation is releasing its long-anticipated study of the fiscal impact of providing illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship. Over their lifetimes, the newly legalized immigrants would add a net $6.3 Trillion to the public debt. Heritage notes that this is a minimum estimate.
The Heritage study reports that newly legalized immigrants will receive $9.4 trillion in government welfare and retirement benefits over their lifetime. Heritage estimates they will pay $3.1 trillion in taxes, adding over $6 trillion to the national debt. Each amnestied immigrant would receive $592,000 more in benefits than he paid in taxes.
Heritage notes that the debate over the fiscal consequences of amnesty is hampered by a general misconception about the extent of government benefits. The average US household receives more than $31,000 a year in government benefits. One silver lining to the debate over amnesty could be confronting how large America’s welfare state has become.