One of the sweeping plans by Democrats to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants would add more than half a trillion dollars to the deficit by 2041, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis published late Tuesday.
Democrats have been seeking to include some form of pathway to citizenship or legal status for illegal immigrants in its budget reconciliation bill, which is working its way through both the House and Senate. However, multiple plans have so far been rebuffed by the Senate parliamentarian, who ruled that such a change in the law is a "tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact" and is therefore inappropriate for a reconciliation bill.
The first of those plans was the plan looked at by the CBO, which would grant a pathway to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, those who are protected by Temporary Protected Status (TPS), farmworkers, and those deemed "essential workers." It was rejected by the Senate parliamentarian in September.
On legal immigration, it would also significantly increase the number of green cards made available both via employment, family-based connections and the green card lottery.
That plan, according to the CBO analysis would punch a hole in the annual federal deficit that would steadily increase over the next 20 years and beyond.
"The legislation would increase unified budget deficits by $123.9 billion over the 2022-2031 period...by $565.4 billion over the 2032-2041 period, and by larger amounts after that," the analysis says.
Democrats have since moved onto other plans, including a "Plan B" to update a registry to allow for amnesty to illegal immigrants who arrived before 2010 -- which was also rejected by the parliamentarian.
This week, Democrats are presenting a "Plan C" which would allow expanded parole powers -- used on a case-by-case basis for "urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit" -- to grant legal status, including work permits, to an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants for up to 10 years.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported that House Democrats are looking at a narrower version of Plan B that would give a pathway to citizenship for TPS recipients, DACA recipients and farmworkers who had arrived before 2010.
However, some progressive Democrats have also urged their colleagues in the Senate to bypass the parliamentarian completely -- which could potentially put broader amnesties like "Plan A" back on the table.
"In denying any possible pathway to citizenship or lawful permanent residents status, the Parliamentarian, an unelected official, is denying the economic impact of such legislation and the tributes that millions of undocumented individuals have paid to this country," dozens of progressive House Democrats said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last month.
"This is a critical moment for out nation's history, and we strongly urge the Presiding Officer to use their authority to disregard the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling," they wrote.
Republicans have been furiously opposing any move to give legal status to illegal immigrants, noting the continued crisis at the southern border and warning that any such move would exacerbate the crisis.
However, by using the budget reconciliation process, the bill can pass the Senate with just the 50 Democratic votes in the chamber and avoid a Republican filibuster. In the House, meanwhile, Democrats hold a slim majority so don’t need Republican votes there either if they can keep their caucus united.