Media Take Note: Heritage Study Is Not An Analysis Of Immigration Proposal

Media outlets are reporting that a new immigration report from the conservative Heritage Foundation found that passing the proposed Senate comprehensive immigration bill will cost $6.3 trillion. In fact, the Heritage report is not an analysis of the entire Senate's “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” and does not take into account costs or savings of the proposal's broader reforms.

Media Report That Heritage Study Found Senate Immigration Proposal Will Cost Trillions 

Fox News: “Comprehensive Immigration Overhaul Being Taken Up In The Senate This Week Could Cost Taxpayers $6.3 trillion.” In an article on a Heritage immigration study headlined, “Study pegs cost of immigration bill's mass legalization at $6.3 trillion,” Fox News claimed that the “comprehensive immigration overhaul being taken up in the Senate this week could cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion if 11 million illegal immigrants are granted legal status, according to a long-awaited estimate by the conservative Heritage Foundation.” [, 5/6/13

Wash. Times: “The Senate Immigration Bill Will Cost Taxpayers At Least $6.3 Trillion Over The Next 50 Years.” In reporting on the Heritage study, The Washington Timesclaimed that the “Senate immigration bill will cost taxpayers at least $6.3 trillion over the next 50 years, according to a new report released Monday by the Heritage Foundation that argues legalizing millions of illegal immigrants will overload America's social safety net.” [The Washington Times5/6/13

NRO: Study Found That Under Senate Proposal, Undocumented Immigrant Household “Would Produce A Net Fiscal Deficit Of Nearly $600,000.” A National Review Online post on the study claimed that "[u]nder the Gang of Eight's proposal, the average illegal-immigrant household would produce a net fiscal deficit of nearly $600,000 over the course of a lifetime, the study found." [National Review Online, 5/6/13]  

Politico: Heritage “Warns That The Senate Immigration Reform Bill Would Cost Taxpayers $6.3 Trillion.” Politico reported that the Heritage study “warns that the Senate immigration reform bill would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion in new spending on entitlements and social programs.” Politico added: “Over their lifetime, Heritage says, newly legal immigrants would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits under the Gang of Eight bill - including Social Security and Medicare, social programs like Medicaid and food stamps, and new health coverage under Obamacare - while paying back $3.1 trillion in taxes.” [Politico5/6/13

In Fact, Heritage Study Is Not An Analysis Of The Full Senate Immigration Bill

Salon: Heritage's Robert Rector Admitted Study “Is Not An Analysis Of The Entire Immigration Reform Bill.” An article in Salon quoted Rector as admitting that “the organization's current findings are limited.” The article quoted the study's co-author, Robert Rector, saying the study “is not an analysis of the entire immigration reform bill, which is something I hope to do in the future.” [Salon, 5/6/13

Reuters: Heritage Study Does Not Score Senate Bill. In an article on the study, Reuters noted that Heritage only looked at the provision granting legal status to undocumented immigrants: 

Granting legal status to 11 million undocumented foreigners living in the United States would significantly add to government budget deficits, according to a study released on Monday by the conservative Heritage Foundation. 

Heritage, a think tank headed by former Senator Jim DeMint, has assumed a leading role in opposition to a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill being considered by the U.S. Senate. 


The legislation couples the legalization proposal with a new program to admit high-skilled and low-skilled workers to fill jobs that industry and agriculture say are going begging because of a shortage of available U.S. workers. The Heritage study did not look at the impact on the economy of those provisions. [Reuters, 5/6/13

Huffington Post: Heritage Report Ignores Facts Of Proposed Immigration Legislation. In an article outlining criticism of the Heritage study, the Huffington Post reported that “Rector acknowledged that the Heritage report leaves out some aspects of immigration reform that many expect to help the economy.” It further noted that the Heritage report cannot be an accurate scoring of the immigration bill as it ignores several provisions of the bill: 

Far from an amnesty, the “gang of eight” legislation would require even tighter border restrictions before legalization processes could move forward and would make it far more difficult for current unauthorized immigrants to become citizens. 

The difficulty and scope of a new path to citizenship under the bill is one of the many issues cited by critics of the Heritage report. Not all unauthorized immigrants will even be eligible for legal status under the “gang of eight” bill -- those who entered the country after Dec. 31, 2011, would be excluded, along with people who committed certain crimes -- and others might choose not to pursue it, either based on its high cost or other factors. [Huffington Post, 5/6/13

Buzzfeed: Heritage Study “Does Not Take Into Account Any Costs Or Savings Associated With” Senate Bill. In a post on the study, Buzzfeed reported that it “includes costs associated with local, state and federal benefits like social security and health care benefits that families headed by non-high school graduates would receive” but “does not take into account any costs or savings associated with the legislation's broader reforms to the immigration system and border security -- or the economic or tax benefits advocates for the bill hope will come with legalizing a vast gray economy.” [Buzzfeed, 5/6/13

Townhall: Heritage Study Does Not Cover “The Entire Cost Of The Bill.” In an article on the study, Townhall noted that “it is important to point out the Heritage study and assessment of $6.3 trillion only covers the amnesty/citizenship cost of the Gang of 8 bill, not the entire cost of the bill.” [Townhall, 5/6/13]