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Over 5,000 immigrants take the oath of citizenship during a naturalization ceremony to become new citizens of the U.S. in Los Angeles April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
New American citizens swearing in.
Not a good day for opponents of comprehensive immigration reform, who have been arguing that legalization would explode the deficit. The reality? It's one of the best deficit-cutting measures on the table.
The immigration bill under consideration in the Senate would reduce federal deficits by nearly $200 billion over the next decade, and continue generating savings in the years beyond, even after millions of new citizens became eligible for health-care and welfare benefits, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.
Everyone assumed immigration reform would cut the deficit over the first decade, as newly legalized workers paid more into the Treasury. But there was also an assumption that legalization would explode the deficit over the second decade as those immigrants became citizens and eligible for entitlement benefits.

Instead, the CBO projects further savings in that second decade, completely eliminating a chief talking point of the xenophobic brigade. Like chief Senate foe Jeff Sessions, who had originally demanded the second-decade scoring back in late May:

Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, has urged the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider the costs of immigration reform beyond the next decade.

Sessions is concerned the CBO will dramatically underestimate the costs of comprehensive immigration reform by only projecting its costs over the next decade.

He argues that the biggest costs will kick in after the 10-year window typically used in CBO cost analyses.

“It is crucial that your fiscal and economic projections extend well beyond the current 10-year budget window,” Sessions wrote in a letter to CBO Director Doug Elmendorf.

Oops. Oh well. Without a budgetary argument against immigration reform, the haters will have to stick to good old-fashioned xenophobia. And they've got plenty of that to go around.

Originally posted to kos on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 03:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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