The Senate immigration bill would add 17 million new potential voters to the U.S. within 25 years, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, released Thursday that argues the influx could have a major effect on American politics.
That 17 million is in addition to the 15 million already built in from existing immigration levels through 2036, the researchers said. By comparison, the last four presidential elections were decided by an average of 4.5 million voters.
Not all of those 17 million will definitely become citizens. The center’s research looked at those who would be of voting age and eligible for citizenship, based on projections from the Congressional Budget Office.
Researchers said the most surprising finding is that the chief increase isn’t from the legalization part of the Senate’s bill, but rather from the sizable expansion of new green cards, or legal immigration.
The Senate bill passed that chamber in a bipartisan vote in June but has not been sent over to the House because it is unconstitutional. Instead, House Democrats have introduced a version that strips out the tough border security provisions senators added, but keeps the more generous legalization provisions for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.