(CNSNews.com) – A law professor and senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) argued at a panel discussion on Wednesday that Senate legislation to give amnesty to some 11 million illegal aliens would allow them to replace retiring Baby Boomers in the workforce and support them and other retired Americans.
CAP’s Robert Lynch said at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. that the immigration reform bill being pushed in the Senate (S. 744) is not just a benefit to the illegal aliens who would be given legal status and a pathway to citizenship.
“This is about benefits for the whole nation,” Lynch said, adding that some 60 million Baby Boomers are retiring over the next 20 years and only about 53 million U.S. citizens will be entering the workforce to replace them.
“We’re going to be short about 7 million people – just replacing the Baby Boomers who are retiring,” Lynch said. “The illegal immigrants who are here are on average 34 years old.”
“They are going to be paying into the Social Security system, Medicare, Medicaid, taxes in the U.S. system for the next 20, 25 years when the bulk of the Baby Boomers are retiring,” Lynch said.
“And they’ll be supporting all of us in our retirement age,” Lynch said. “And they will allow us to do exactly what we have done in the past – it is the workforce of the present that pays for the benefits of those who are in retirement today.”
“So it is elderly Americans who most need those 11 million immigrants to come in here,” Lynch said. “And once they come in here and we see this explosion in their productivity, it will be good for the economy, it will be good for the native born as well as the undocumented.”
Others on the panel disagreed.
Robert Rector, senior research fellow of domestic policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation, cited his May 6 report on the fiscal impact of the proposed immigration law, which he predicts will cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion.
Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, also argued that the cost to taxpayers would outweigh any benefits of legalizing 11 million people. He also said illegal aliens directly compete with American workers, millions of whom are unemployed.
Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum who led the Congressional Budget Office in the George W. Bush administration and was an advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, spoke in favor of the immigration bill, saying it would help illegal aliens and the U.S. economy.