Monday, June 4, 2007

DEVELOPING / 6:13 p.m.

The Senate’s immigration bill will only reduce illegal immigration by about 25 percent a year, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report, Stephen Dinan will report Tuesday in The Washington Times.

The bill’s new guest-worker program could lead to at least 500,000 more illegal immigrants within a decade, said the report from the CBO, which said in its official cost estimate that it assumes some future temporary workers will overstay their time in the plan, adding up to a half-million by 2017 and 1 million by 2027.

“We anticipate that many of those would remain in the United States illegally after their visas expire,” CBO said of the guest-worker program, which would allow 200,000 new workers a year to rotate into the country.

And in a blow to President Bush’s timetable, the CBO said the “triggers” — setting up the verification system, deploying 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents to duty and constructing hundreds of miles of fencing and vehicle barriers — won’t be met until 2010.

Those triggers must be met before the temporary worker program could begin, and Mr. Bush had hoped to have them completed about the time he leaves office in January 2009.

CBO’s report said the new bill’s effects on future illegal immigration were “uncertain.” The analysts said past enforcement measures have “historically been relatively ineffective,” but said but said new enforcement measures — extra agents, prosecutors and investigators, fencing and workplace sanctions — will have some effect.

“CBO estimates that those measures would reduce the net annual flow of unauthorized immigrants by one-quarter,” the report said. Still, with estimates of hundreds of thousands to one million illegal aliens per year, CBO is assuming a large problem will remain.

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