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CBO: Illegal Immigrants Granted Executive Amnesty Would Be Eligible for Certain Federal Benefits

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2017, some 2 million currently undocumented immigrants will be eligible for certain federal benefits under the Obama administration’s executive amnesty.

In a report released Thursday, CBO considers how changes to immigration policy could affect the federal budget. Its estimates are based on President Obama’s expanded deferred action programs to provide legal status to undocumented immigrants.

The office estimates that between 2 million and 2.5 million undocumented immigrants will “have received approval for deferred action” by 2017.

The CBO’s estimate is less than the 5 million the Obama administration estimated its executive amnesty would cover when the president announced the unilateral changes in November.

While undocumented immigrants are ineligible for benefits, under Obama’s deferred action program many will become eligible for certain programs due to their new status and work authorizations, CBO confirmed in its report.

“Those who are approved for deferred action are considered lawfully present in the country but do not gain legal status. They can, and most do, receive authorization to work. Because they are lawfully present during the period of their deferred status, they are eligible to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits if they meet the programs’ requirements,” the report reads.

Additionally, undocumented immigrants granted deferred status and work permits are also eligible for the earned income tax credit.

“In addition, those individuals who are approved for deferred action and receive work authorization have Social Security numbers and therefore can claim the earned income tax credit if they qualify,” the report reads, but notes that, “they are ineligible for other federal benefit programs.”

This week the House approved a Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill aimed at defunding Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The legislation blocking the executive actions faces an uphill battle in the Senate and the Obama administration has said the president will veto a DHS funding bill that restricts executive amnesty.

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