Border Bill to Cut Illegal Immigration By Up to One-Half

The Senate’s immigration bill would cut illegal immigration to the U.S. by one-third to one-half over a decade, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The net increase in the U.S. population would be 9.6 million by 2023, according to an estimate by the CBO, Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper. Today’s estimate takes into account $46.3 billion in border-security measures added to the bill, including the doubling the number of Border Patrol agents.

The reduction in illegal immigration “would not be immediate, as it would take several years before” the Department of Homeland Security “could hire the full number of Border Patrol agents called for in the act,” the CBO said.

The Senate bill, passed June 27, would combine the border-security provisions with a path to citizenship for about 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. House Republican leaders say their chamber won’t pass the Senate bill. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, has said he prefers a piecemeal approach to immigration legislation.

The CBO said the Senate bill’s reduction in illegal immigration would be larger than the 25 percent reduction projected by the scorekeeper under an earlier version of the bill, before the border-security provisions were added.

The additional border-control spending -- part of an agreement that secured the votes to pass the bill -- reduces the estimate of how much the plan would cut the U.S. budget deficit. The Senate-passed bill would trim the federal budget deficit by about $135 billion, compared with $175 billion in the earlier estimate.

The Senate passed the bill, S. 744, on a 68-32 vote.

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