U.S. think tank's immigration study draws conservative fire

WASHINGTON Mon May 6, 2013 4:42pm EDT

Demonstrators carry signs during an immigration rally on May Day in the Mission District in San Francisco, California May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Demonstrators carry signs during an immigration rally on May Day in the Mission District in San Francisco, California May 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S. think tank headed by former Republican Senator Jim DeMint drew fire from fellow conservatives Monday for concluding that the citizenship proposals in a sweeping immigration reform bill would cost taxpayers trillions.

The clash underscored divisions within the Republican Party over bipartisan immigration legislation in the Senate backed by Democratic President Barack Obama.

The Heritage Foundation, in a report, warned that a proposed pathway toward U.S. citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants would cost $6.3 trillion over the next 50 years.

During their lifetimes, these immigrants-turned-citizens would take far more in federal services and benefits than they end up paying in taxes, the foundation said.

Conservative critics countered that the Heritage Foundation failed to consider the economic advantages of immigration reform, such as improvements in obtaining needed high- and low-skilled workers, while focusing solely on the costs.

"This study is designed to try to scare conservative Republicans into believing that the cost will be so giant that you can't possibly vote for it," former Republican Party Chairman Haley Barbour said in a conference call with reporters.

Derrick Morgan, a Heritage vice president, responded in a conference call of his own, saying, "We are a research institution here. We can't necessarily speak to the motivations of other people."

"But we very much want the fiscal costs to be part of the debate because it protects the American taxpayer," Morgan said.

While supporters of an "earned pathway toward citizenship" argue it would help create order, foes charge it would amount to unwarranted "amnesty" drawing more undocumented immigrants.

DeMint, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, served in the Senate from South Carolina for eight years before stepping down in January to head the Heritage Foundation.

DeMint said the U.S. immigration system is "broken," and that "amnesty will only make the problem worse."


Heritage has assumed a leading role in opposing the Senate bill and its study is expected to be the first of many on it.

Coming three days before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin debating the immigration measure, the Heritage Foundation study estimated that legalizing the 11 million would put a severe strain on government programs, from healthcare to education.

The Heritage Foundation report was blasted by other conservatives even before it was issued.

Cato Institute, in a website posting over the weekend, said that the Heritage Foundation study was an update of a "fatally flawed" analysis it issued in 2007.

Grover Norquist, a leading anti-tax activist influential in Republican circles, has joined in supporting the Senate's bipartisan immigration bill, testifying in favor of it last month before the Judiciary panel.

Norquist has argued that the measure will boost economic growth, as has Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former aide to Republican President George W. Bush. Holtz-Eakin and Norquist both criticized the Heritage Foundation study.

In a memo to fellow Republicans in Congress, Norquist wrote that the study "does not speak for the conservative movement."

Following the 2012 elections in which 71 percent of Hispanic-American voters supported Obama, many Republicans began re-examining their opposition to immigration reforms.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Fred Barbash and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (40)
jeff81201 wrote:
Of course the Heritage Foundation would say as much.

May 06, 2013 1:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dreamymiss wrote:
Gone are the days of seeking talent that might not have the exact skills you need, and training that talent, I suppose.

May 06, 2013 1:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AdamSmith wrote:
Immigration, both legal and illegal, is destroying the American middle class.

Ann Coulter, the conservative TV guest, wrote the following last week, and I quote her:

The people of Boston are no longer being terrorized by the Marathon bombers, but amnesty supporters sure are.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” last weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s response to the Boston Marathon bombers being worthless immigrants who hate America — one of whom the FBI cleared even after being tipped off by Russia — was to announce: “The fact that we could not track him has to be fixed.”

Track him? How about not admitting him as an immigrant?

As if it’s a defense, we’re told Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (of the Back Bay Tsarnaevs) were disaffected “losers” — the word used by their own uncle — who couldn’t make it in America. Their father had already returned to Russia. Tamerlan had dropped out of college, been arrested for domestic violence and said he had no American friends. Dzhokhar was failing most of his college courses. All of them were on welfare.

(Dzhokhar was given everything America had to offer, and now he only has one thing in his future to look forward to … a tenured professorship.)

My thought is, maybe we should consider admitting immigrants who can succeed in America, rather than deadbeats.

But we’re not allowed to “discriminate” in favor of immigrants who would be good for America. Instead of helping America, our immigration policies are designed to help other countries solve their internal problems by shipping their losers to us.

The problem isn’t just illegal immigration. I would rather have doctors and engineers sneaking into the country than legally arriving ditch-diggers.

Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration act so dramatically altered the kinds of immigrants America admits that, since 1969, about 85 percent of legal immigrants have come from the Third World. They bring Third World levels of poverty, fertility, illegitimacy and domestic violence with them. When they can’t make it in America, they simply go on welfare and sometimes strike out at Americans.

In addition to the four dead and more than 100 badly wounded victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, let’s consider a few of the many other people who would be alive, but for Kennedy’s immigration law:

– The six Long Island railroad passengers murdered in 1993 by Jamaican immigrant Colin Ferguson. Before the shooting, Ferguson was unemployed, harassing women on subways, repeatedly bringing lawsuits against police and former employers, applying for workman’s compensation for fake injuries and blaming all his problems on white people. Whom he then decided to murder.

– The two people killed outside CIA headquarters in 1993 by Pakistani illegal immigrant Mir Qazi. He had been working as a driver for a courier company. (It’s nearly impossible to find an American who can drive.)

– Christoffer Burmeister, a 27 year-old musician killed in a mass shooting by Palestinian immigrant Ali Hassan Abu Kamal in 1997 at the Empire State Building. Hassan had immigrated to America with his family two months earlier at age 68. (It’s a smart move to bring in immigrants just in time to pay them Social Security benefits!)

– Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis, killed in 1997 by 18-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Mikhail Markhasev, who had come to this country with his single mother eight years earlier — because we were running short on single mothers.

Markhasev, who had a juvenile record, shot Cosby point-blank for taking too long to produce his wallet. He later bragged about killing a “n*gger.”

– The three people murdered at the Appalachian School of Law in 2002 by Nigerian immigrant Peter Odighizuwa, angry at America because he had failed out of law school. At least it’s understandable why our immigration policies would favor a 43-year-old law student. It’s so hard to get Americans to go to law school these days!

– The stewardess and passenger murdered by Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet when he shot up the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport in 2002. Hesham, a desperately needed limousine driver, received refugee status in the U.S. because he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Apparently, that’s a selling point if you want to immigrate to America.

– The six men murdered by Mexican immigrant Salvador Tapia at the Windy City Core Supply warehouse in Chicago in 2003, from which he had been fired six months earlier. Tapia was still in this country despite having been arrested at least a dozen times on weapons and assault charges. Only foreign newspapers mentioned that Tapia was an immigrant. American newspapers blamed the gun.

– The six people killed in northern Wisconsin in 2004 by Hmong immigrant Chai Soua Vang, who shot his victims in the back after being caught trespassing on their property. Minnesota Public Radio later explained that Hmong hunters don’t understand American laws about private property, endangered species, or really any laws written in English. It was an unusual offense for a Hmong, whose preferred crime is raping 12- to 14-year-old girls — as extensively covered in the Fresno Bee and Minneapolis Star Tribune.

– The five people murdered at the Trolley Square Shopping Mall in Salt Lake City by Bosnian immigrant Sulejman Talovic in 2007. Talovic was a Muslim high school dropout with a juvenile record. No room for you, Swedish doctor. We need resentful Muslims!

– The 32 people murdered at Virginia Tech in 2007 by Seung-Hui Cho, a South Korean immigrant.

– The 13 soldiers murdered at Fort Hood in 2009 by “accused” shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, son of Palestinian immigrants. Hasan’s parents had operated a restaurant in Roanoke, Va., because where are we going to find Americans to do that?

End of excerpt.

Ann Coulter had even more examples.

May 06, 2013 1:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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