My previous three posts have been quite negative toward illegal immigration. I believe the things I’ve said, however I’ve recently changed my perspective quite a bit on what the real problem is, and the solution. I used to be angry that they would come here and consume, come here and commit crimes (by virtue of being here illegally they were criminals). One of them came here, drove without a license, and hit my car with my three children. Illegally here, illegally driving, endangering my family. I was angry.
But, I realized at some point that it’s not entirely their fault. This is a great country. An incredible, wonderful country that we are blessed to live in. Of course being in America, living in the most free, prosperous nation every, is going to be attractive. Someone else, born somewhere else, should have the opportunity to come here, work hard, be successful and take advantage of all the opportunities freedom provides. The problem is not that they come here. The problem is our government. Our government that, under the guise of compassion, makes it easier for people to come to America illegally than legally. The government makes illegal immigration attractive. The federal government does things like sue states that try to follow federal laws to protect its citizens. The biggest problem is, of course, the welfare state.
My ancestors came here legally. They immigrated from Ireland, Germany, and I have a great-grandmother who was a Cherokee. (So I have a right to talk about this, right? Since liberals seem to think that the Indians, who didn’t have immigration laws, are the only ones with a right to this land.) They came through government regulated ports and applied for citizenship. Most of them came in the late 1800’s, during the potato famine. They came because there was land to farm. They came here to work and provide for their children. They did not come here and collect welfare benefits. They did not come to this country to consume. They purchased land, they paid taxes, they contributed.
Illegal immigrants now work for cash. They are competitors that Americans can’t beat, because they are willing to work for less than minimum wage, while law abiding citizens want to, you know, abide by the law. Obviously, not all American’s are above illegal activity, and not all illegal immigrants engage in illegal activity. (Please take note of this, because I don’t want anyone falsely accusing me of making racist assumptions and blanket judgements. Plenty of Americans break laws, plenty of illegal immigrants try to follow the laws except the ones involving immigration. There are just disproportionate groups in each category. And those disproportionately high groups of illegal workers are who I am talking about.) I drive along Pulaski and Cermak and see dozens of hispanics selling fruit, flowers, ice cream, churros and balloons, and recognize that having such a job makes it easier not to file their taxes. If they happen to be here illegally, well, that makes it even harder to file their taxes. Not having a reportable income makes it easier to qualify for the multitude of benefits you and I are paying for.
Now, what if they could just come here legally? What if they could come here and just take advantage of freedom, a less corrupt government, and education for their children? That’s still an attractive offer. They come here legally, are documented, then they can more easily get legitimate jobs or file taxes on their own if they would prefer to sell products by the road. They wouldn’t collect government handouts, so their children wouldn’t be raised more likely to also collect benefits. (Children of welfare recipients are seven times more likely to also be on welfare.) I’ve thoroughly documented the negative effects of welfare programs and their unsustainability.
The government imposes ridiculous regulations on businesses. They require employers to pay a minimum wage, which disproportionally hurts the least qualified in this country. They have taxes on employees hired and require certain benefits be provided to employees. Then, if conservatives want to set up employee databases, or increase fines for hiring illegals, liberals fight it or declare such measures racist and unconstitutional. They are actively incentivizing hiring employees illegally.
The epiphany I had was that I’m not mad at illegal immigrants in America. I’m mad that our country is a welfare state that makes coming here and consuming so attractive. If the government didn’t give housing, medical care and food to everyone living within their borders and professing a need, using my money, I could care less that people immigrated here. I would welcome them. I sincerely want everyone to live in freedom, under an inspired constitution, with opportunities to grow, provide and improve. This is a great country; I want to share it! I don’t want to be forced to give what I have to everyone capable of entering this country. It is so obviously unsustainable I get headaches trying to understand how liberals can support such a thing. Recognizing that there are problems with current immigration is not racist. It’s common sense. Immigration should be easy enough that citizenship is preferable to living here illegally. Welfare benefits should barely exist at all, and should not be available in such a way that encourages people to come here and qualify. The welfare state is the problem. Government rules and regulations that make hiring employees illegally more advantageous than hiring them legally are the problem. The solution (surprise!) is the same solution to every problem in this country; Less government.
The costs to Americans continue. Although many liberals argue that (other than breaking immigration laws) immigrants are hard-working and law-abiding, there are a disproportionate amount of criminals among them. In 2003 the U.S. Justice Department estimated that 270,000 illegal immi- grants served jail time. The average incarceration costs are $25,000 a year. That is, of course, tax money. If you paid $25,000 in taxes one year every cent went to feeding, housing, and keeping healthy a criminal immigrant who shouldn’t even be in America. Wouldn’t you rather they simply hadn’t been let in America, and you had the choice of what to do with that money? Maybe you’re more altruistic than that, but most conservatives don’t like the thought that America is spending over $6.7 Billion every year on keeping illegal immigrants in jail. About 17% of federal prison residents are illegal immigrants, even though they only make up about 3% of the population.
The jail costs are just a fractions of the costs that criminals incur. The costs of damage to properties, the costs of lost labor when someone is mur- dered or damages, the hospital costs for victims of violent crime, the costs of therapy when someone is a victim of rape, the costs of families who need to go on Welfare or other government programs when they loose their head- of-household to a murder, the costs in police time investigating crimes, the costs of providing a lawyer, a judge, and a jury to a criminal. The list goes on. Every crime costs society money.
I don’t want to risk focusing on the money and perpetuating the idea that all conservatives care about is being wealthy. How about the costs in human rights?
In March 2000, Congress made public Department of Justice statistics showing that, over the previous five years, the INS had released over 35,000 criminal aliens instead of deporting them. Over 11,000 of those released went on to commit serious crimes, over 1,800 of which were violent ones [including 98 homicides, 142 sexual assaults, and 44 kidnappings].
In 2001, thanks to a decision by the Supreme Court, the INS was forced to release into our society over 3,000 criminal aliens [who collectively had been convicted of 125 homicides, 387 sex offenses, and 772 assault charges].
That is the Department of Justice information for just a couple of years. It is also just the criminals who ended up in jail. Thanks to criminal defense lawyers, who do their best to make sure human rights aren’t violated, most criminals do not end up in jail. How many people have lost their lives to illegal immigrants? How many women and children have been raped or beaten by someone who should not be in our country? How many children have lost their fathers, how many wives have lost husbands, to murderers who are in America because liberals don’t think it’s fair to keep them out? There is a disproportionately large percentage of criminals among the illegal immigrants. They are not all criminals, but leaving our borders open lets in more thieves, rapists and murderers than we already have. Do the human lives lost to the criminal illegal immigrants balance the compassion we are showing them letting them in?
There are other costs, of course. The 2006 Census Bureau data shows that 51% of all Mexican immigrant households use at least one major welfare program and 28% use more than one program. There are so many costs, it effects every facet of the government. Everything needs to be translated into Spanish now, all government brochures, mailings, welfare, Medicaid, WIC information. All the information is sent out in two languages, so the government can be sure that the illegal immigrants know exactly what benefits are available and how to get them. That is twice as much paper, the postage costs more. Someone is being paid to translate the information. All the WIC, Medicaid and other welfare offices (probably most government of- fices by now) are staffed by Spanish and English speakers. Websites have to be maintained in two languages. Think about everything you buy that has a Spanish translation on it. Think about every package you have opened that has two sets of instructions. Do you think that doesn’t cost the company anything? They are passing the extra costs on to the consumer. So, what is the total cost? Estimates range by billions of dollars. California alone is spending $7.7 billion on education each year, the rest of the country could easily double or triple that. The jail costs are over $6.7 billion per year, not including the investigation and prosecution costs. The welfare costs are at least $2,700 per illegal immigrant household at the federal level each year, and the Heritage Foundation estimates that the costs for a family headed by a high school drop-out (61% of Mexican families) could be as much as $20,000 per year. If there are 12,000,000 illegal immigrants (the low estimate), that would mean 3,000,000 four-member households, at $2,700 – $20,000 a year. That is 8.1 billion at the very lowest, and as much as $60 billion per year in government handouts. So, just looking at education, criminal costs and welfare programs illegal immigrants are costing at the very least $30.2 billion annually in tax money. It could easily be over $100 billion, and then we can throw in random other costs like hospital costs (which are the other most significant) and random things like postage for mailing every person collecting welfare benefits twice as much paper so they can receive Spanish and English copies. It adds up.
The counter-argument is that the immigrants are contributing monetarily, and that it evens out, maybe even contributes to America. I think the data and a logical look at the situation shows that this isn’t true. Lets start by stating the obvious. If 50% of the immigrants qualify for welfare, they aren’t making enough money to be eligible to pay income taxes. All the ones who don’t qualify for welfare probably aren’t making significantly more. Obviously some of them are, but if 50% are below the qualifying income than the other 50% are probably close, with just a few exceptions. The few that do qualify to pay income taxes probably aren’t making up for the rest that aren’t. There is also the fact that many illegal immigrants are working illegally, for cash, and don’t pay any income tax, social security tax, local tax, state tax, or anything else that shows up on your pay stub. Once again, it is impossible to know how many immigrants have cash paying jobs, because they aren’t being tracked! But I know they are out there. The summer before I started college I worked as a server at Perkins, a breakfast restaurant. There was a bus-boy there who worked for cash. Anytime a police officer came in for breakfast or lunch, he would disappear for a couple of hours. If it happens in a small city in Northern Indiana, I’ll bet it happens all the time in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and every other large city. So, I can’t give you an estimate, but I’ve seen it happen so I know it does. Those people don’t pay taxes. Some people say, well, they may not pay income taxes, but they are spending money, they are paying taxes, the money goes back into the U.S. economy. I’m sure some of it does. I also know that there are many Mexican markets and Mexican restaurants where the Hispanic community gathers. They spend their money there, and it doesn’t go back into the American economy at all. Many immigrants send all their spare money back to their families in their home countries, and so the money leaves America. The immigrants continue not paying taxes, and continue draining America tax dollars.
Do you see why this is a problem? If it costs the government more for someone to live here than they are contributing to the economy, then it results in a net loss. The more who come here the greater the loss. If the majority of their children also begin lifestyles of living in a welfare state, then the problem continues growing. If the first generation came here legally, worked hard, and trained all their children to study hard in school so they could grow up to be doctors and lawyers, then I wouldn’t have any kind of problem with it. Even if the first generation had to collect some welfare benefits, at least they would be doing it legally and we would know that they would be creating a generation that will contribute to America in the future. Does that sound familiar at all? I don’t know anyone complaining about the Asian immigrants.
Unfortunately, that is not typically the case for the Hispanic group. This is not racist. It is not hateful. It is simply a fact that they are a drain on the economy, they consume more than they create, they don’t contribute to the government, and the rising generation does not look to be any better. They rape, steal and kill at a disproportionate rate. They qualify for and use welfare benefits at a disproportionate rate. Some of them, obviously, do not fall into these categories. But the majority of them do. This is what I have seen, and research seems to confirm it. As a group, Hispanic immigrants are damaging America and costing Americans money. Because of this I believe the borders need to be sealed, illegal immigrants should be deported, government benefits should not be available to non-citizens and companies hiring illegal immigrants should be punished.
I am against illegal immigration because it drains America of needed resources. America has some socialist programs in place; mostly welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, social security and public education. The idea behind these programs is to help people who need it. They are, unfortunately, abused. I do not like the idea of being taxed so that a Mexican family getting paid cash working a minimum wage job can send their children to a free public school, collect welfare, get free health care and send all their spare money out of our economy and back to Mexico. I suppose that sounds callous, which is probably where people get the idea that conservatives are selfish and heartless. It is more than that, though. It isn’t my desire to force a family to live in poverty so I can go out to eat once a month or own a bigger home. It is the principle of the program. A system like that cannot support itself, which is self-evident in the fact that the government is trillions of dollars in debt. A government cannot endlessly tax to provide for a class that does nothing but consume. It will eventually implode on itself, and no one will have enough to support themselves.