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CBO To Provide Cost Estimates For Schuler Immigration Bill This Week

Monday, March 31, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

At the request of the House Judiciary Committee, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to provide informal cost estimates this week for an immigration enforcement bill sponsored by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C).

House Republicans are collecting signatures on a discharge petition to force a floor vote, but they are more than 30 signatures short of the 218 needed. The cost estimate could make it more difficult to bring the bill to the floor under pay/go rules.

Shuler's bill would require all employers to use the Homeland Security Department's "E-Verify" electronic verification system to check the authorization of all their workers.

Last year, when the Senate was debating a broader immigration bill, CBO declined to offer an estimate of how much a similar employment verification requirement would cost, saying much of the cost would depend on how regulations were drafted.

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) said last year that Homeland Security would need as much as $500 million annually to run the program, while the Social Security Administration would need up to $6 million a year.

Earlier, private estimates of a mandatory employment verification system put the total cost -- much of it borne by the private sector -- at more than $11 billion per year.

AMI will provide members with specific numbers once the CBO estimate is released.

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