Heritage: Amnestied Illegals to Get $1.3T in Social Security, Medicare

Brittany M. Hughes | March 18, 2015 | 11:11am EDT
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(CNSNews.com) -- If implemented, President Barack Obama’s executive actions granting temporary amnesty and federal benefits to nearly 4 million illegal aliens in the United States will end up costing American taxpayers about $1.3 trillion in Social Security and Medicare benefits, and about $20 billion more in retroactive tax credits, according to Robert Rector, senior research fellow for Domestic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Robert Rector, senior research fellow for Domestic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. (Photo: Heritage Foundation)

Rector testified before the House subcommittees on National Security and on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules during a joint hearing on Tuesday, March 17. He focused on the cost that Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents Program (DAPA) would have on taxpayers.

At the hearing, Rector explained that the “fiscal consequences” of legalizing millions of illegal aliens, most of whom are low-earning and marginally educated, are “extremely large and run in the trillions of dollars.”

“If you assume that they, in today’s dollars, get the average Social Security and Medicare benefits that go to legal immigrants who are elderly, with that same level of education, the cost is they’re going to be getting over $20,000 in benefits in retirement in today’s dollars -- it’ll actually be much more than that, obviously -- and the total cost of that is $1.3 trillion,” Rector testified.

President Obama speaking about his unilateral action on immigration in Chicago on Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo)

“This is a system that is already completely bankrupt, and what the president has done is taken nearly 4 million people with a 10th grade education and given them benefits into that program,” he said.

Rector added that while amnestied aliens will pay some into the system through taxes, their income would not generate enough revenue to cover the cost of the benefits they will end up receiving.

“In general, they’re going to be getting three dollars in benefits for every dollar of FICA tax that they pay,” he said.

National Security Subcommittee Chairman Rob DeSantis (R-Fla.) said during the hearing that illegal aliens who qualify for Obama’s amnesty programs would be eligible for about $24,000 in earned income tax credits to be paid retroactively for the last three years, even though the work they did during these years was illegal.

Rector confirmed this would be the case, if Obama’s amnesty programs are implemented.

“Is it your understanding that an illegal immigrant who is amnestied by the president’s executive actions will be able to file retroactive tax returns for three years?” DeSantis asked.

“That is correct,” Rector said.

(AP Photo)

“And so they would be able to claim the earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit for work that they performed that was illegal when they performed it?” said DeSantis.

“Yes, although they don’t even really have to do that, because in order to get those two credits, all they have to do is assert that they performed work,” Rector said, adding that “the IRS does not actually check” whether the work was performed.

Rector estimated that even with minimal fraud, the retroactive tax credits would cost taxpayers around $20 billion.

“The bottom line is, you can’t take people with a 10th grade education, bring them to the United States, give them access to the largest and most expensive entitlement system, the largest and most expensive welfare system on the globe, and expect that there will not be negative fiscal consequences,” Rector warned. “The fiscal consequences are extremely large, and run in the trillions of dollars.”

Obama's executive action on immigration was halted in mid-February by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas, who issued an injunction, which allows "a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the [executive] orders," reported CNSNews.com.

"The ruling puts on hold Obama's orders that could prevent more than 4 million people who are in the United States illegally from deportation."

Robert Rector's prepared remarks on Mar. 17 before the subcommittees (under the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) can be read here.

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