Immigration Center Estimates DREAM Act Tab at $6.2 Billion

Wednesday, 01 Dec 2010 12:36 PM

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A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies predicts that the so-called DREAM Act Congress is considering to provide the so-called "road to citizenship" for illegal immigrants could cost U.S. taxpayers $6.2 billion, partly because most of the immigrants who would take advantage of it would attend state universities and community colleges. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank’s report estimates that number at 1.03 million, and it describes the figure as conservative.

DREAM Act, billion, Obama, illegal, immigrantsThe proposed act would offer permanent legal status to illegal immigrants up to the age of 35 but who came to the United States before they were 16, provided that they complete two years of college. The controversial proposal would allow beneficiaries to receive in-state tuition.

“Given the low income of illegal immigrants, most can be expected to attend state schools, with a cost to taxpayers in the billions of dollars,” says the report, which center research director Steven A. Camarota wrote. “As both funds and slots are limited at state universities and community colleges, the act may reduce the educational opportunities available to U.S. citizens.”

Noting that the DREAM Act would not provide funding to states and counties to cover the costs it imposes, the report says, “Since enrollment and funding are limited at public institutions, the act’s passage will require some combination of tuition increases, tax increases to expand enrollment or a reduction in spaces available for American citizens at these schools.”

DREAM Act advocates contend it will increase tax revenue significantly, a claim the report rebuts.

The act failed in the Senate in September, but President Barack Obama is pressing to bring it back and pass it during the lame-duck Congress.

Some opponents, such as U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, also contend that, if enacted, the act would allow the students to sponsor their relatives as citizens, unleashing a flood of thousands of immigrants.

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