President Barack Obama claimed on Thursday that an immigration boost would increase the nation’s economy by five percent after 20 years — but he declined to mention that the extra money would go to the 16 million new immigrants, and to employers and the government, but not to American workers or current immigrants.
“A five percent growth in GDP and a five percent growth in population, mathematically means zero net gain” to Americans and current immigrants, said Steven Camarota, the research director at the Center for Immigration Studies.
“It’s not rocket science — it has to come out that way,” he told The Daily Caller.
Obama’s forecast of a 5 percent economic was unusual, because his speeches and White House statements generally avoid using numbers or percentages.
“Economists estimate that if that bill becomes law, our economy would be 5 percent larger two decades from now. That’s $1.4 trillion in new economic growth,” he said.
Obama made his forecast during a speech intended to capitalize on his partisan victory in the October government shutdown battle. He used the event to urge Democrats and Republicans to rally around his goals of increased spending, higher taxes and more immigration. (RELATED: Obama spokesman promises more taxes, spending and immigration)
But he generally avoids using statistics that might allow his critics to undermine his forecasts and claims.
For example, Obama also used his Thursday statement to push for a fairer tax system, and for more government spending on schools and infrastructure. But he declined to put any dollar numbers on his tax and spending increase goals.
Similarly, Obama also said the nation’s deficit is decreasing, but he declined to say how much the deficit is now, how much it was in 2010 or how much it would be increased by extra federal spending he’s trying to win.
Obama’s forecast of a five percent economic boost from immigration comes from a June report by the Congressional Budget Office.
The office also predicted the bill would increase the population would rise by 4.2 percent, or by 16 million, in 2033.
The CBO forecast, however, may understate the population growth, because it assumed that only half of the current 11.5 million illegals would stay in the country.
When combined with existing immigration rules, the Senate bill would provide residency to 33 million illegal and new immigrants over the next 10 years, according to estimates by groups that favor and oppose high levels of immigration. Current immigration rules annually bring in 1 million people, very few of whom have any technical skills.