Last Friday the Congressional Budget Office released their cost estimate for the Senate’s immigration and border security bill, S. 2611. The CBO estimates that the bill would increase direct spending on discretionary programs (assuming that authorized funding is appropriated) by $33 billion from 2007-2011, and $78 billion from 2012-2016, largely for border security activities. They also estimate that it would increase direct spending (i.e. for health, social services, Social Security) by $16 billion from 2007-2011, and $48 billion from 2012-2016. These latter costs assumed in the Senate bill derive from expected increases in outlays of benefits to people who are now illegally in the country (and are already paying many types of taxes) but cannot today receive certain federal benefits.
By contrast, CBO estimated that the House bill, H.R. 4437, would cost only $1.9 billion over the 2006-2010 period, although that estimate is somewhat deceiving. This estimate is for the manager’s amendment, not the final bill that passed the House after dozens of amendments were added to it. The estimate is for the authorization of certain border security and enforcement programs, and does not include any authorized funding for additional Border Patrol and construction along the border.