Immigration Reform for Deficit Reduction?

Roll Call, a Washington, DC paper focused on Congress, reports on September 6 that Rep. Xavier Becerra is pushing the Senate’s S.744 immigration legislation as a deficit reduction measure. He cites the Congressional Budget Office estimate that in the first ten years the bill if enacted would reduce the deficit by $158 billion. The trouble with that argument is that the CBO estimate attributes that reduction to the increased collection of Social Security wages – which are not available for general budget expenditures.

In addition, the net benefit to the Social Security Trust Fund from adding illegal aliens and new immigrant workers to the workforce is only in the short term. In the long term, as those new workers retire, they draw down on the Trust Fund and the benefit would disappear. Further, as those former illegal aliens and many of the new foreign workers would be working in low-wage jobs, they will contribute less to the Trust Fund and be a larger net deficit to the already shaky retirement system than would be the case for higher wage workers.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar
    cynthia curran on

    Its actually true about lower rates of formal education. In many parts of Santa Ana where about 30 percent of the population is illegal, 9th and lower is between 25 to 40 percent of the population. In fact take Garden Grove where the Mexican population is a little more 2nd and 3rd along with Koreans and Vietnamese it ranges are not as bad between 10 to 25 percent 9th and lower. The current Mexican President is talking about cutting the business loopholes and making the pension plan in Mexico available through out Mexico and same does for unemployment. Mexico also now makes at least some of the Medical care free, so its finally developing a welfare state that will kept some of the poor at home.

  2. avatar

    As noted, most of those amnestied will be in low wage jobs. That’s because their education levels are extremely low. Most did not even finish high school. So their SS payments will be small, and their income taxes paid will be nothing. In fact, sooner or later, most will be getting the earned income tax credit. A check from the government for up to five thousand dollars even if you owed nothing in taxes. That helps the deficit how?

    Since Becerra is from California, he must not have talked to his Senate counterparts, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Because just a couple months ago they were crying the blues about the burden it will place on California in increased state benefits to those amnestied and how the feds should pick up the tab. Not that they don’t support amnesty, and lobby for their state to provide those benefits, they do. They just want you to pay for it.

    Supposedly no federal benefits will be paid for a period of years, but you know that will be the next immediate demand to be catered to in a never ending stream of them. You can hear it now: they pay taxes, they deserve blah, blah, blah. There is one thing and one thing only you can count on these liars for. And that is, their word is worth nothing.

  3. avatar
    Living With Open Eyes on

    If our government would just stop sending money overseas we wouldn’t need illegal immigrants to prop up our government expenditures AND we could fund Social Security. With the military might that we possess we don’t need to buy friends. We need to mind our own business, take care of our own citizens, kick all illegal foreigners out of our country, and let the rest of the world take care of itself. To do anything else is insanity.

  4. avatar
    John Winthropp on

    Jack down to the truth,,,,,,the fact is that we find ourselves with a moral issue and our fault to fix…………………..we need Immigration Reform,…..

    • avatar

      We’re responsible for the fact people choose to break the law? We’re at fault because people applied for a visa and failed to leave by the date they agreed to leave by? I don’t think so.

      • avatar

        The first part of your sentence YES………….the 2nd YES/NO…… for those who came to stay and yes fro those whose lawyers and legal situation WE CREATED……

        • avatar

          If we’re responsible for what our government does, then illegal aliens are every bit as responsible for the failures of THEIR governments. We’re trying to fix our problems. Let them stay home and fix theirs.