According to the Heritage Foundation, the cost to grant more than 11 million illegal immigrants amnesty through the Gang of 8 plan amounts to $6.3 trillion. More from FoxNews:
The cost would arise from illegal immigrants tapping into the government's vast network of benefits and services, many of which are currently unavailable to them. This includes everything from standard benefits like Social Security and Medicare to dozens of welfare programs ranging from housing assistance to food stamps.
"No matter how you slice it, amnesty will add a tremendous amount of pressure on America's already strained public purse," Robert Rector, the Heritage scholar who prepared the report, said in a statement.
The numbers could raise additional concerns for Republicans as a Senate committee prepares to consider the legislation later this week.
The comprehensive study also factored in the cost of public education and other services like highways and police. The government is already providing some of those services to illegal immigrants, so the $6.3 trillion figure would not represent all new costs.
But most of that cost would be new spending, according to Heritage, as illegal immigrants gain access to additional government benefits. The study acknowledges that, for a 10-year period, illegal immigrants seeking a reprieve would be barred from these benefits. After that window, though, Heritage forecasts the costs skyrocketing.
From the executive summary of the report:
Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers. Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue:
-Direct benefits: These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
-Means-tested welfare benefits: There are over 80 of these programs which, at a cost of nearly $900 billion per year, provide cash, food, housing, medical, and other services to roughly 100 million low-income Americans. Major programs include Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
-Public education: At a cost of $12,300 per pupil per year, these services are largely free or heavily subsidized for low-income parents.
-Population-based services: Police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, as the National Academy of Sciences determined in its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, generally have to expand as new immigrants enter a community; someone has to bear the cost of that expansion.
The cost of these governmental services is far larger than many people imagine. For example, in 2010, the average U.S. household received $31,584 in government benefits and services in these four categories.
Gang of 8 supporters are accusing Heritage of using "the same flawed scoring method routinely employed by liberals to argue against all tax cuts as 'budget busters.'" Townhall reached out to Senator Marco Rubio's office for comment, they do not have one at this time.
"We believe that the only approach that can work at this point is a piece by piece approach," Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint said during a press conference Monday.
UPDATE II: It is important to point out the Heritage study and assessment of $6.3 trillion only covers the amnesty/citizenship cost of the Gang of 8 bill, not the entire cost of the bill.