Immigration Reform 2013: Obama's Plans Would Have Severe Financial Consequences

A bipartisan effort is under way to improve our nation's immigration system. However, as President Obama and Congress are pushing to provide a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million illegal immigrants, it's important to recognize that there are significant consequences associated with such large-scale immigration reform.

It is important for our Congress and mainstream media to provide truthful and insightful analyses regarding how this Immigration Reform could potentially change our nation’s fiscal circumstances within the upcoming decades, so that Americans can examine this issue carefully and thoroughly before making a long-term commitment to support such a political measure.

I believe it is going to be beneficial for the US to improve the current immigration system, which would make it easier for those who are highly talented and educated to stay.  I agree with Ms. Jessica Zuckerman at the Heritage Foundation that many immigrants are highly skilled in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). For instance, about 30% of the Nobel Prize laureates are foreign-born. Therefore, it is not wise to deport these prospective immigrants as soon as they have received their education in the U.S. Overtime, these highly intelligent and self-reliant immigrants can become valuable assets of this country. 

President Obama and Congress also propose to allow 11 million illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens after they pay taxes and fines.  However, working as a tax professional, I often see families with an annual income of $10,000 to $20,000 barely pay any taxes at all.  It is common for them to receive six or seven thousand dollars every year as a government tax refund which includes Additional Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), as well as other refundable tax credits.  In addition, these low-income families may also rely on government welfare programs including food stamps, housing assistance, as well as medical care, which could easily cost American taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars every year to support each low-income family.  Depending on the number of children they have, families with household income of up to $50,270 may potentially qualify for EITC in year 2012.

American taxpayers will be responsible for paying for all this additional spending; therefore, they should have the right to know the truth regarding how many of these 11 million illegal immigrants are considered low-income and low-skill laborers who would likely demand government welfare once receiving their legal status.  Americans deserve to know how much it would eventually cost, so that they can make informed decisions based on their economic realities. 

A sensible immigration reform should help U.S. maintain its young and productive workforce before slowly turning into an aging society just like many Asian or European countries.  However, this can also become a devastating approach if our nation would reward those who came to the U.S. voluntarily and illegally with easy access to both social welfare and voting power. It would inevitably attract new waves of illegal immigrants who would expect and demand exactly the same thing by breaking laws.  Therefore, instead of granting citizenship to all 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., a moderate immigration reform package which includes separate pathways to non-immigrant status, temporary visas, or citizenship would likely make the most economic sense and serves the best interest of this country.