A Heritage Foundation study puts the total cost of the package being considered in the U.S. Senate at $6.3 trillion.

“It’s a terrifying number,” says Heritage Action Communications Director Dan Holler, “and I think one of the thing that we haven’t talked about in this debate is … what happens after the people are granted legal status and become eligible for all the entitlements and welfare benefits.”

A Senate committee starts consideration of the bill later this week. 

The study bases its estimate on the amount of money 11 million illegal immigrants would cost the government over the course of their lifetimes.  It takes into account the $3.1 trillion dollars in taxes they would pay the government. 

“This will change the debate,” Holler says.  “Nobody was willing to talk about the fiscal costs before, but now that’s all anybody will talk about.”

The comprehensive study also considered the cost of public education and other services, like roads and police protection.