Washington (CNN) – The immigration bill passed by the Senate last week would block between 33% and 50% more undocumented residents from entering the U.S. than current law, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office. That's an increase from the CBO's estimate of 25 percent for the original committee version.
It's not clear if that will mollify conservatives who insist any immigration bill must block virtually all illegal border crossings. But, meantime, supporters of reform are quickly celebrating the pre-Independence Day report.
"CBO once again vindicated immigration reform and shows how the amendment process improved the bill," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, in a written statement.
The largest amendment in the Senate bill was the Corker-Hoeven plan, which requires a doubling in the number of border patrol agents and billions of dollars in spending on fencing and high-tech security measures before anyone currently in the U.S. illegally can move toward citizenship.
Even after that increased spending, the new CBO report concludes that the Senate bill, as passed, would cut the federal deficit approximately $158 billion dollars in the next ten years. The original Senate Judiciary Committee bill was forecast to save more, $197 billion. Over 20 years, CBO concludes that the bill passed by the Senate would reduce the deficit $685 billion.
The agency calculates that the bill would save money by bringing in more in new taxes and revenues than it would spend in additional security and benefits to newly-authorized residents.
Those large-scale conclusions compete with the effect of the bill on some individual Americans.
Also Wednesday, the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank which opposes immigration reform, released a report concluding that the Senate immigration bill will lower wages and increase unemployment for current legal American residents. That syncs generally with the previous CBO forecast which predicted that the Senate immigration bill would slightly decrease wages per capita in the U.S. and slightly increase unemployment.
This is what conservatives stress. "The Senate immigration bill massively increases the supply of lower-skill foreign workers, which would producer lower wages and higher unemployment," wrote Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, in a statement Wednesday.
The immigration debate is now focused on the House of Representatives where Speaker John Boehner, insists that lawmakers will craft their own bill or series of bills, separate from the Senate legislation.