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CBO: Immigration bill would decrease deficit by $197 billion over 10 years

In a boost for proponents of comprehensive immigration reform, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate would increase the U.S. population by 10.4 million and would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion between 2014 and 2023.

The much-anticipated report indicates that enacting the legislation would create new federal outlays of about $262 billion in the first decade but would increase revenues – largely from new income and payroll taxes – by $459 billion.

It also estimates that about 8 million undocumented immigrants would initially gain legal status under the bill’s provisions.

While the CBO does not typically provide estimates beyond the first decade of enactment, the report tackled estimates for the time period of 2024-2033, estimating that the federal budget deficits would decrease by an additional $700 billion over that time. By 2033, the net increase to the U.S. population as a result of the bill's enactment would be about 16 million, CBO says. 

The positive estimates are a boon for proponents of the reform effort, who argue that immigration is an economic imperative for the country as well as a moral and political one.

Bill sponsor Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the report "a huge momentum boost for immigration reform." 

The White House also lauded the CBO report, saying the numbers are "more proof that bipartisan commonsense immigration reform will be good for economic growth and deficit reduction."

And Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has worked to woo conservative support for the bill, said in a statement that the report "further confirmed what most conservative economists have found: reforming our immigration system is a net benefit for our economy, American workers and taxpayers." 

Opponents of the bill argue the influx of new foreign workers would hurt Americans still affected by joblessness. 

The Senate is currently debating the legislative language of the bill offered by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants a final vote on the bill in the upper chamber by the July 4 recess. 

But lawmakers are still making amendments to the legislation, which many Republicans say cannot survive to the president's desk without substantial changes to its border security provisions.