Senate Bill Could Slash Illegal Immigration by 50 Percent: CBO

Immigrants stand for the invocation during a naturalization ceremony to become new U.S. citizens at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts March 21, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder)
Immigrants stand for the invocation during a naturalization ceremony to become new U.S. citizens at Boston College in Chestnut Hill
Immigrants stand for the invocation during a naturalization ceremony to become new U.S. citizens at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts March 21, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder)

(Reuters) – A U.S. Senate-passed immigration bill would significantly reduce the flow of illegal immigrants, but increased U.S.-Mexico border security costs would eat into projected budget savings, the Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday.

The CBO concluded that the bill, which would double the number of federal agents along the border and complete the 700 miles of fencing, would reduce the number of people entering the United States from Mexico without documentation by one-third to one-half.

The Democratic-led Senate passed the sweeping immigration bill at the end of June, but the legislation’s fate is unclear in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Some House Republicans have complained that the Senate bill’s border security provisions are not strong enough and the majority do not want to provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants, which is at the heart of the Senate bill.

Before senators voted to strengthen the security measures, the non-partisan CBO had estimated that the Senate bill would shrink illegal immigration by about one-quarter.

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