- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday disputed the recently released study from the conservative Heritage Foundation that warned comprehensive immigration reform would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion, saying the findings in the report are “deeply flawed.”

Mr. Rubio, a member of the bipartisan group of eight lawmakers that is ushering an immigration bill through the Senate, said that the study “is not a legitimate study” because, among other things, it is based over 50 years and overestimates the number of people who will be included in the system.

“The bottom line is, I think as everyone has pointed out, is the study is deeply flawed,” Mr. Rubio said during an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

The remarks put Mr. Rubio, a likely 2016 presidential contender, at odds with one of the nation’s most well-known conservative think tanks, which is now headed by former Sen. Jim DeMint, who is credited with helping Mr. Rubio get elected to office in the 2010 election.

The Senate judiciary committee on Thursday is scheduled to hold another hearing on the 844-page bill that the “Gang of Eight” introduced last month.

Mr. Rubio said the biggest obstacle now standing in front of comprehensive immigration reform is convincing the American public that the border will be secured as part of a comprehensive bill that stops another wave of illegal immigrants from coming into the country after a proposal is enacted.

SEE ALSO: Senate bill doesn’t stop most illegal immigration: Fed study

Mr. Rubio said that two dozen conservative groups have signed a letter in support of a comprehensive immigration fix and want to see something done akin to the bill now making its way through the Senate.

The Washington Times reported Monday that Heritage Foundation report said that the costs of the immigration reform are driven by demographics: Illegal immigrants are more likely to lack a high school education, and more than a third of households headed by illegal immigrants live below the poverty line, meaning those households consume more in services than they pay in taxes.

Heritage said legalizing them improves the situation in the short run but leaves a big hole over the longer term, when they access public health programs and, eventually, Social Security and Medicare benefits. Over the course of a lifetime, that works out to each illegal immigrant-led household taking $592,000 more in government benefits than would be paid in taxes, said Robert Rector, the report’s chief author.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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