CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have analyzed S. 534, the Immigration Rule of Law Act of 2015, as introduced on February 23, 2015. The bill would permanently prohibit the Administration from implementing a series of policy initiatives with respect to deferred action, immigration, and enforcement that the President announced in November 2014. For this letter, CBO is only examining the effects the bill would have on revenues and direct spending.
S. 534 would prohibit the Administration from both expanding eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which began in August 2012, and extending the deferral period from two years to three years. The bill also would prohibit the Administration from approving the parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents for deferred action.
CBO and JCT expect that enacting S. 534 would reduce both revenues and outlays for direct spending programs. Specifically, JCT estimates that, as a result of the bill, revenues would be lower by $18.9 billion over the 2016-2025 period, mostly because revenues from Social Security taxes would be lower. In addition, CBO and JCT estimate that direct spending would be lower by $12.6 billion over the same period, mostly because less would be spent for the earned income and child tax credits. On net, according to those estimates, the bill would increase deficits by $6.3 billion over the 2015-2025 period. Over that period, off-budget deficits would increase by $14.0 billion, whereas on-budget deficits would decrease by $7.6 billion.
S. 534 is similar to the immigration-related provisions of H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015, as passed by the House of Representatives on January 14, 2015. S. 534 would prohibit fewer people from being approved for deferred action than H.R. 240 because CBO expects that participation in the original DACA program would be largely unchanged by the Senate bill, whereas the original DACA program would be eliminated under the House bill.
In estimating the budgetary effects of S. 534, CBO and JCT used the same methodology that they applied in preparing the estimate for H.R. 240, with one exception. On February 16, 2015, a federal judge issued an injunction prohibiting the Administration from implementing the immigration initiatives announced by the President in November 2014. Given that injunction, for the purposes of this estimate, CBO has assumed that the Administration’s new initiatives with respect to expanding DACA and to approving deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents will not be implemented until 2016. Thus, we do not estimate any budgetary effects in 2015 from enacting S. 534.