The following editorial appeared Monday in the Los Angeles Times:
The Senate Judiciary Committee took up comprehensive immigration reform late last week. And, as expected, opponents are already rushing to derail it, arguing that any bill legalizing the vast majority of undocumented immigrants will place an unfair burden on taxpayers.
Such arguments are merely scare tactics. There's no doubt that granting citizenship to millions of immigrants 13 years from now, as the Senate bill would, will carry a cost, but how much is unclear. Without it, though, the U.S. will face serious problems. In fact, demographers have repeatedly warned that the country is on the verge of an epic transition as baby boomers retire en masse and birthrates decline. The U.S. needs immigrants to help cover the retirement costs of older Americans and to fuel economic growth.
Anti-immigration advocates are ignoring those findings, focusing instead on a report by the conservative Heritage Foundation that argues that legalization will cost more than $6 trillion in the coming decades. Its assumptions conflict with the foundation's own 2006 finding that "arguments that immigrants harm the American economy should be dismissed out of hand."
There are plenty of reasons to support immigration reform. Economic growth is one of the most compelling.