Regarding the Los Angeles Times news story “Study: Bill could slash number of illegals by half” in the July 4 print edition of the Trib: How much confidence can we have regarding the new estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the vast Senate immigration bill will decrease illegal immigration by one-third to one-half instead of by 25 percent, its estimate under the original bill? Even with this revision, CBO projects 3 million to 4 million new illegal immigrants within 10 years of the bill's enactment.
The CBO sullies its credibility as a source of responsible fiscal analysis with such guessing about matters that are more the province of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, points out that the original Senate immigration bill would actually increase the federal “on-budget” deficit by $14 billion over 10 years. Only when $211 billion in payroll taxes — which should be directed to the Social Security trust fund — were counted as extra revenue was the deficit “reduced.” But these payroll taxes are “off-budget” — money obligated for future claims on Social Security by immigrants.
We would request the Trib, in forthcoming articles, to make clear that such “unified” budget accounting procedures can be optimistically deceptive.