By Erik Wasson - 05/06/13 07:08 PM EDT
Sessions, one of the leading critics of the Gang of Eight plan, said the Heritage study — which put the cost of the bill’s path to citizenship at $6.3 trillion — must be heeded.
"The study puts to rest the contention that the bill will benefit American taxpayers, reduce our deficits, or strengthen our already endangered Social Security and Medicare programs,” he said in a statement.
“At a time when our nation’s major entitlements are already nearing bankruptcy, we cannot afford to add another $6.3 trillion in long-term net costs to already over-burdened state, local, and federal governments,” he said.
The Gang of Eight plan would allow illegal immigrants a 13-year path to full citizenship. Once the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants become citizens, they would be eligible for anti-poverty programs like welfare and Medicaid as well as Medicare and Social Security.
The Heritage study concludes that, given the low education status of most illegal immigrants, they will pay far less in taxes over their lifetimes than they will collect in benefits.
Critics of the study say the full economic benefit of legalization is not being accounted for, and the amount of taxes to be collected is far greater.
"Here we go again. New Heritage study claims huge cost for Immigration Reform. Ignores economic benefits. No dynamic scoring," Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) one of the bill's sponsors said via Twitter.
Sessions, however, fully endorses the findings.
“This bill may be good for the special interests who helped write it. But it’s bad for workers, bad for taxpayers, and fails to serve the national interest,” he said.