Heritage: Immigration bill costs $6.3 trillion

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By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The conservative Heritage Foundation is claiming in a new report that bipartisan immigration legislation pending in the Senate would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion.

The study from the Republican-led group opposed to an immigration overhaul is sure to come under fire. Already, the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute has decried it as "fatally flawed." Critics say it doesn't measure economic boosts from the bill.

Heritage says the costs come from more than $9 trillion in government benefits to newly legalized immigrants over their lifetimes — only partially counterbalanced by $3 trillion they would pay in taxes.

During Congress' last immigration debate, in 2007, a Heritage report said the bill under consideration at the time would cost $2.6 trillion. The conclusion was criticized, but carried weight with Republicans and the bill was defeated.

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