NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 18, 2006

The Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) would allow up to 193 million new legal immigrants -- a number greater than 60 percent of the current U.S. population -- in the next 20 years, according to a new study by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation.

This bill would give illegal aliens who have been in the United States two years or longer a right to citizenship; illegals who have been here less than two years would have to return to their home countries to apply for citizenship, according to Rector's report:

  • Although amnesty will be granted to about 10 million illegals, the real growth in the immigrant population will come later.
  • As part of the bill, the annual flow of legal immigrants allowed into the United States will more than double to 2 million annually; the guest-worker program in the bill will bring in 325,000 new workers annually who could later apply for citizenship.
  • The U.S. population will grow exponentially from there because the millions of new citizens will be permitted to bring along their extended families.

Opponents say one of the most alarming aspects of the bill is that it eliminates a long-standing policy of U.S. immigration law that prohibits anyone from gaining permanent status here who is considered "likely to become a public charge," meaning that they are likely to receive welfare or other government subsidies, says Charles Hurt of the Washington Times.

Furthermore, the bill also slants legal immigration away from highly skilled and highly educated workers to the unskilled and uneducated, who are far more likely to require public assistance, says Hurt.

Source: Charles Hurt, "Bill permits 193 million more aliens by 2026," Washington Times, May 16, 2006; based upon: Robert Rector, "Senate Immigration Bill Would Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants over the Next Twenty Years," WebMemo #1076 (Heritage Foundation), May 15, 2006.


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