Skip to comments.Counting the Costs of Amnesty
Posted on 05/18/2006 7:18:34 AM PDT by Irontank
With many of our nation's politicians pushing to give permanent residency and amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, Americans should know the costs of granting amnesty. Many politicians are planning to give permanent residency to millions of illegal immigrants. To achieve their end goals of granting this amnesty (amnesty is what all of their proposals boil down to), these politicians have been telling the public that the illegals bolster our economy. Using verbal sleight of hand, they conveniently ignore the formidable costs that the immigrants generate, preferring to pick and choose numbers that would seem to show that massive immigration is invaluable. Immigrants, both those who are legal as well as illegal, impact state and federal budgets and American citizens in many predictable ways.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a pro-immigrant organization that encourages economically sound policies, during the mid-1990s, all immigrants legal and illegal only provided a net contribution of two-tenths of one percent to our nation's economy. Moreover, the benefit they provided to the country was outstripped by their indirect costs. This isn't to say that all immigrants hurt the economy, but it does indicate that the majority of immigrants are poorly educated and have low-income jobs, mainly in the service industry.
In 2002, reports the CIS, "households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household." CIS also estimated that if an amnesty were enacted in 2002, "the net fiscal deficit [at the federal level] would grow to nearly $29 billion per year." This anticipated increase would occur even though the legalized persons would pay increased taxes because they would also heavily use services likely increasing the net annual fiscal deficit "from $2,736 to $7,668 per household."
The aforementioned estimates were made in 2002 when the approximate number of illegal immigrants was 8.7 million; it's now about 12 million.
Proponents of amnesty schemes claim that illegal immigrants will be the saviors of Social Security, but the facts indicate otherwise. It is, of course, true that illegal immigrants, though a drain on governmental coffers and the economy overall, are adding to Social Security's solvency by paying into the system on fraudulent S.S. numbers. But once the illegals are given legal status, they will be able to move prior earnings to new, legal S.S. numbers leading to further obligations on the S.S. system.
Social Security does not merely pay out to recipients an amount equal to what the recipients paid into the program plus interest; it pays a given amount. Low-wage immigrants do not pay as much into Social Security as they will derive from it. It takes only 10 years (40 quarters) of work to be fully vested in Social Security and obtain all the given benefits; hence, the winners of amnesty will speed the insolvency of Social Security. Even without the amnesty, the S.S. program is in serious trouble: over the next 75 years, actuaries estimate that Social Security will have a shortfall of $3.7 trillion. This estimate assumes a stable economy. A recession or depression or increases in life expectancy would exacerbate the problem greatly.
Illegal immigrants also account for many indirect costs to the federal government. First, they displace American workers, driving up social welfare costs. Those 2.7 million illegals given amnesty in 1986 displaced "an average of 187,000 citizen and settled immigrant workers from jobs each year. Costs of public assistance to those displaced totaled $9.9 billion for the [following] decade."
Second, they raise unemployment as a whole, meaning that we end up training displaced workers for new careers. Two periods of time were examined by the CIS: 1997-2000 and 2000-2003. During those periods, approximately half of all new arrivals into our country were illegal immigrants. The massive influx of immigrants legal and illegal had the odd effect of leading to more people being employed overall, yet higher unemployment. The number of native workers fell by 800,000, and the unemployment rate of the foreign-born rose from 4.9 percent to 7.4 percent.
Third, uncountable billions will be added to the national debt currently over $8.2 trillion as a result of the cost of the illegals and the increase in interest payments on the national debt. The increased national debt will also drive inflation, reducing the buying power of the dollar, causing especially serious problems for retirees on fixed incomes.
State and Local Costs
States will feel a burden similar to that felt by the federal government. In fact, they are feeling much of it already because the government has not enforced our immigration laws. Amnesty will only serve to make the problems worse.
Among the hardest hit of state programs is public education. In 2004, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) determined: "The total K-12 school expenditure for illegal immigrants cost states nearly $12 billion annually, and when the children born here to illegal aliens are added, the costs more than double to $28.6 billion." In 2002, about $1.4 billion of the cost for their education was paid with federal funds, leaving the states to pay somewhere in the area of $27.2 billion annually.
Frighteningly, this amount doesn't include "ancillary expenses" such as special programs for non-English speaking students, representing an "additional expense of $290 to $879 per pupil depending on the size of the class," or the supplemental feeding programs instituted because over 74 percent of illegal Mexican immigrants and their children are living in or near poverty. "In some states [this means] lay-offs for teachers, larger class sizes, fewer textbooks, and eliminating sports, language programs, and after-school activities." Nor does the amount include the taxpayer costs for the about 126,000 illegal immigrants under 21 enrolled in U.S. colleges (year 2000 estimate).
Healthcare costs are also increasing drastically as a result of the massive influx of immigrants. In a March 17, 2005 Fox News report, Mike Antonovich, the L.A. County supervisor, said, "Caring for illegals is siphoning money for other services and forcing clinics, trauma centers and emergency rooms to close." According to Madeleine Pelner Cosman, a lawyer who specializes in medical law, "Between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because of over 50% of unpaid services, and another 24 verge on closure."
Estimates indicate that illegal immigrants represent between 12.5 percent and 25 percent of all people in the United States without health insurance. In 2001, when we had millions fewer illegal immigrants than we do now, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies put the total uncompensated care for the uninsured at $35 billion, meaning that illegal immigrants ran up a bill of between $4.38 and $8.75 billion in unpaid care. Add to this number the billions that state programs pay for illegals' healthcare: FAIR estimates that California now spends over $1.4 billion on illegal aliens' healthcare annually. This figure largely does not include the healthcare costs of the American children born to illegal immigrants, whose healthcare is usually paid by Medicaid.
Legalizing these people will not solve the problem. A study done by the CIS showed that legal immigrants often do not obtain health insurance: "In 1998, 37 percent of immigrants who entered in the 1980s still had not acquired health insurance," and 27.2 percent of the immigrants who entered in the 1970s were uninsured, meaning that much of the $35 billion in uncompensated care went to legal immigrants.
The Hispanic masses flooding our country are also ratcheting up our crime rates, adding to state and local financial burdens. Two articles in the City Journal by Heather MacDonald, focusing on the cultural norms of Hispanics, tell of ripe conditions for breeding criminals: a school dropout rate that hits 50 percent in some areas (30 percent overall); very high rates of gang affiliation; and teen birthrates that are the highest in the nation. Between 1999 and 2002, gang crime went up 50 percent, "driven by the march of Hispanic immigration east and north across the country." This is violent crime: extortion, assassinations, assault, rape, and robbery. Notably, second and third generation Hispanics are not escaping the cycle of violence.
By 1998, Hispanics already represented 42 percent of the new entries to California prisons. Costs are exploding. At the beginning of this decade, it was estimated that incarcerating illegal immigrants in state prisons across the country cost $1.6 billion. Now, FAIR estimates, California alone spends over $1.4 billion a year on incarcerating them. "'This is beyond a regional problem. It is, in fact, a national problem,' said FBI assistant director Michael Mason, head of the Washington field office" as other states see Hispanic crime burgeoning as in California.
There are also tens of billions in costs each year that are not easily calculable but that must also be factored in. No one has determined how many police officers have needed to be hired to deal with immigrant crime, or the cost of the millions of investigative man-hours spent looking into immigrant crime, or the cost of replacing stolen items such as cars. Add to that the cost of treating the victims of violent immigrant crime, as well as the cost associated with fighting the diseases the unexamined illegal immigrants have brought into the country tuberculosis, Chagas disease, leprosy, Dengue fever, polio, and hepatitis.
Further penalizing Americans are the human costs of the hours-long waiting times generated by immigrants in hospital emergency rooms (there for "free" healthcare), and the treatment of the drug addiction and alcoholism of the illegals as well as the American victims of drug traffickers. Also, most, if not all, states have programs specifically set up to aid immigrants; immigrants incur costs as uninsured drivers in car accidents; and they use state and county housing allowances.
And we shouldn't forget the possible future costs of attacks committed by the terrorists who entered this country on the coattails of the illegal immigrants and who are now embedded in our society.
Our country cannot continue to absorb these costs without facing an economic implosion. We must enforce our immigration laws and send the illegal immigrants home.
That pretty much ensures billions of deficits for decades to come.
Plus, the proponents of illegal immigration claim that these people are already paying social security and medicare taxes, so making them citizens is not going to increase the trust fund revenue, but is only going to constitute an additional benefit drain.
The government loves to spend money they don't have.
Va a usted mexicano!
You think the current immigration amnesty will not increase the costs of SS? If you have one working guy who comes over and gets to bring all his family...wife, 2 kids, mom, dad, aunts, uncle..... and they are all legal the mom, dad, aunt, uncle will be eligible for social security. They don't have to have ever made a dime in this country. They sign them up under the social security disability program which is SSI/SSP which is essentially a welfare program run by social security.
That is why I do not believe the conspiracy that politicians want all the illegals to shore up SS. It will be a huge sucking sound. Add totalization with Mexico on top of that and you can kiss SS goodbye.