In Washington, thousand-page “reform” bills are frequently passed before anyone knows what’s in them. The latest is supposed to fix our broken immigration system. The bill, which was cobbled together by the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight, would grant legal status to those in our country illegally before securing the border — and it’s not clear it would really secure the border at all.
But the biggest problem with the bill is the way its authors seem to have ignored the economic impact amnesty will have on law-abiding, taxpaying citizens for decades to come.
I don’t believe the Gang of Eight’s claim that this plan will be deficit neutral, despite the recent Congressional Budget Office estimate. After all, when was the last time the government correctly estimated the cost of legislation? Common sense suggests that the tax revenue collected from the newly legalized low-wage workers will not offset the cost of the benefits to which they will be legally entitled. According to a recent Heritage Foundation study, the bill would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion. And even the CBO concluded that the bill would decrease wages and increase the unemployment rate, at least in the short term.
Moreover, rewarding illegal immigrants sends a terrible message to those working hard to earn citizenship the right way. We simply can’t reward those whose first act in our country was to break the law.
The notion of “comprehensive” immigration reform reminds me a lot of “comprehensive” healthcare reform. It will be years before we understand the true cost of Obamacare and the burden it will have on businesses and taxpayers. Likewise, if the Senate immigration bill becomes law, it will be years before we understand its full impact.
On Thursday, 14 Republican senators joined with the Democrats to vote for this bill. It is a shame that one of them — Lindsey Graham — represents my home state of South Carolina.
South Carolina needs a senator who will put border security first, not just pay lip service to it. South Carolina needs a senator who will work for the people he represents and not for the leftists who crafted this bill. South Carolina needs a senator who will not subsidize or incentivize more illegal immigration, who will not support legislation that will increase unemployment, and who will not support pork-laden legislation drafted behind closed doors.
Most of all, South Carolina needs a senator who will put forth solutions that help our economy. We should secure the border, fix our broken visa program, and then work toward finding a way to address illegal immigration without encouraging more of it.
Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina, is the author of “In the Company of Men,” published by Simon and Schuster. She is the owner of a public relations and marketing firm, The Mace Group.