Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Heritage Foundation Study: Senate Immigration Bill Would Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants over the Next Twenty Years

(ed. Updated with video link and moving to top)

Robert Rector's study for the Heritage Foundation (Senate Immigration Bill Would Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants over the Next Twenty Years) was brought up yesterday during the White House Press Briefing (video, transcript) (ed. emphasis added):
...Q Tony, the Heritage Foundation has done a study on the Senate bill and concluded it would authorize legal -- not illegal, but legal -- immigration of 100 million over the next 20 years. The math seems pretty simple, five times 20 is 100 million. Is that a level of legal immigration that the President would support?

MR. SNOW: Before you do the -- you're talking about a Heritage Foundation study that talks about a Senate bill that may or may not be passed in its present form. And you also have the dangers of trying to do straight-line projections where human beings are cussedly unpredictable. We are talking a look right now at the methodology of the Heritage study, so I don't want to -- I don't want to get too deep into the details. But we are taking a look at it. I mean, those are serious allegations.

But, again, what the President has talked about is figuring out a way to guarantee national security, to strengthen national security by, A, going ahead and securing the borders; B, doing interior enforcement; C, doing assimilation, and making sure that we have a solution that's going to hold up over time. And finally, the last piece of the guest worker program is designed to make sure that people have a legal path, and a predictable legal path, for getting into the country, and after that, using that as a way to try to prevent the kind of scrambling over the borders that we've seen.

Q But -- does he think there should be a legal --

MR. SNOW: I don't think -- I'm sorry, what?

Q What is the appropriate number of legal immigrants coming into this country?

MR. SNOW: That is something that Congress decides every year....
"Serious allegations" indeed. Here are the study's conclusions:

If enacted, CIRA [Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611)] would be the most dramatic change in immigration law in 80 years. In its overall impact on the nation, the bill would rival other historic milestones, such as the creation of Social Security or Medicare.

The bill would give amnesty to 10 million illegal immigrants and quintuple the rate of legal immigration into the U.S. Under the bill, the annual inflow of immigrants with the option of becoming legal permanent residents would rise from the current level of one million per year to more than five million per year. Within a few years, the annual inflow of new immigrants would exceed one percent of the current U.S. population. This would be the highest immigration rate in U.S. history.

Within 20 years, some 103 million new immigrants would enter the U.S. This number is about one-third of the current U.S. population. All of these immigrants would be permanent residents with the right to become citizens and vote in U.S. elections. CIRA would transform the United States socially, economically, and politically. Within two decades, the character of the nation would differ dramatically from what exists today.
Mr. Rector was on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning discusssing his study (video, Robert Rector's segment starts at 58 minutes into the broadcast.)

Here's one sane senator's reaction to this study:
Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican who conducted a separate analysis that reached similar results, said Congress is "blissfully ignorant of the scope and impact" of the bill, which has bipartisan support in the Senate and has been praised by President Bush.

"This Senate is not ready to pass legislation that so significantly changes our future immigration policy," he said yesterday. "The impact this bill will have over the next 20 years is monumental and has not been thought through."
More than likely, Senator Sessions is referring to senators like DeWine and Voinovich.


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