Americans For Tax Reform: Heritage Immigration Study ‘Flawed’

Americans For Tax Reform, the conservative advocacy group led by Grover Norquist, is out with a broadside against a “flawed” new Heritage study claiming immigration reform would boost the deficit by $6.3 trillion over the next several decades. According to ATR, the study doesn’t factor in economic growth created by immigrants and exaggerates the number of individuals who would be affected by the bill. Norquist has been a leading backer of immigration reform and ATR is one of several prominent conservative groups criticizing Heritage this week, which usually is closely aligned with their stance on fiscal policy. 

The full statement:

“The Heritage Foundation is a treasured ally in the conservative movement and a pillar of the conservative policy community. However, this study is every bit as flawed as its 2007 iteration.

“This static analysis takes into account none of the universally-accepted economic benefits of immigration, choosing only to focus on costs. But the costs estimates are unfairly inflated. The authors count overall household costs, which often includes benefits paid to native-born, low-income American spouses and children of immigrants. Those costs would exist regardless of the immigration status of one’s partner; this is an indictment of our current welfare state, not proposed immigration reforms.

“ATR has worked tirelessly to reform our unsustainable entitlements, and will continue to do so. We should not put a pro-growth reform of our broken immigration system on hold while we do so. In fact, America should welcome more legal immigrants to pay into the system without receiving benefits and boost the economy while we work toward sustainable reform.

“Lawmakers and the American public should rely on an accurate accounting of immigration reform’s costs and benefits. Unfortunately, this study inaccurately reflects only one side of the ledger. Even the establishment Congressional Budget Office, which Heritage, ATR, and others have excoriated for employing only static models, will take economic growth into account when it scores the bill. I had hoped the same of the conservative movement’s happy warrior for dynamic scoring, the Heritage Foundation.”