CBO: Legalizing ‘Dreamers’ Would Cost US Nearly $26B Over 10 Years

Friday the CBO announced that legalizing 2 million young undocumented illegal immigrant “Dreamers” would cost the U.S. government $25.9 billion over a 10-year period.

Those costs would come from the tax, education and other benefits for which they would be eligible. In addition, the CBO said newly legalized Dreamers would be able to sponsor another 80,000 people from a process called chain migration. That allows non-nuclear family members to be eligible for immigration.

Immigration-rights activists have argued that legalizing Dreamers would be an overall benefit to the U.S. economy by the higher taxes they would pay because of their legal status. But, the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) reported that legislation before Congress could be costly to the government.

“In total, CBO and JCT estimate that changes in direct spending and revenues from enacting [the bill] would increase budget deficits by $25.9 billion over the 2018-2027 period,” officials said in their analysis.


The CBO also said of the 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants estimated to be in the U.S. presently, approximately 3.25 million of them would be eligible under the Dream Act.

The Dream Act is a bill before Congress that allows for minors brought to the U.S. who had worked towards an education and kept a mostly clean record to apply for legal status. They would then be able to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.

The CBO numbers only reflected taxes paid and benefits granted and did not include a “dynamic” scoring which takes into account the broader benefits of the effects that could take place on the economy.

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