Part 2 of 3
Notes on Understanding Immigration Issues
Both political parties have suppressed discussion of immigration issues. Thus relatively few American voters have an adequate understanding of the disastrous consequences that could result from following common misrepresentations and myths about immigration issues. Many of these are directly contrary to the truth and are often perpetrated and sustained by powerful special interests. It is time to beware of misinformation, myths, propaganda, analytical negligence, and deliberate misrepresentation that could bankrupt our country and destroy our freedoms. We continue the weasel checklist of part 1:
Beware of the common analytical error that making illegal immigrants legal benefits the economy.
Here are the grim statistics for the average annual net deficit of benefits and services received less taxes of all kinds paid, according to the 2013 Heritage Foundation Study on Illegal Immigration and Amnesty:
Unlawful Immigrant Households
$14,387 Deficit per year
Amnestied Unlawful Immigrant Households
$27,900 Deficit per year
Legalizing unlawful immigrants nearly doubles their net cost to taxpayers. This is because, once legalized, they are eligible for many more means-tested welfare and medical subsidies. They will also receive Social Security benefits upon retirement. Their tax contribution increases after legalization, but because of their low skill and education levels, they remain in a low tax bracket. The average illegal immigrant has only 10.5 years of schooling.
The Heritage Foundation estimates the cost of amnesty for an estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants to be $6.3 Trillion over a 50 year period, or an extra $126 Billion annual burden on taxpayers.
But this may not be the half of it. Amnesties don’t stop illegal immigration; they attract more illegal immigrants, especially relatives. Based on the 1986 amnesty experience, each amnesty resulted in two to three more illegal immigrants over the next 10-20 years.
It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out that the amnesty multiplier effect on illegal immigration could lead to huge deficit spending and colossal increases in the national debt. The U.S. economy produces $15 Trillion in annual production of goods and services (GDP), and our national debt is already over $16 Trillion. Amnesty and its multiplier effect on illegal immigration would place a heavy inflation and/or tax burden on the American people with especially painful consequences for those living on fixed retirement incomes.
Beware of shallow or deceptive economic analysis by special interests vastly exaggerating the value of foreign born labor to the U.S. economy.
Foreign born workers do produce annual goods and services valued at $1.6 Trillion, nearly 11 per cent of U.S. GDP. But GDP is comparable to the sales price of goods. What is the bottom line profit to the United States? Not very much, according to renowned Harvard labor economist George Borjas, himself a Cuban immigrant. It is only $30 Billion or just 0.2 percent of GDP. Moreover, the fiscal costs of illegal immigration alone were estimated by the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2010 to be nearly $84 Billion per year. So with all the hoopla from the U.S. Chamber about the value of foreign labor, the U.S. economy is actually being hurt. It is only the big Chamber members that are making money and making huge donations to political candidates and Political Action Committees.
Borjas points out the horrendous injustice of income redistribution that the Chamber and its allies are promoting in Washington and state capitols. The $30 billion net gain before government financial deficits is really a transfer of $405 Billion in income from American workers to employers of foreign labor, reaping a huge annual profit of $435 Billion for the businesses involved. Hence the Chamber and its members and allied associations can afford hundreds of millions of dollars in political donations and lobbying expenses to continue bending U.S. immigration policies and enforcement failures to profit themselves and rob American workers and their families. The robbery comes in the form depressing American wages by bringing in large numbers of cheap foreign workers. This costs the average American worker nearly $2,800 per year. The $84 Billion fiscal deficit of national, state, and local governments is essentially an invisible taxpayer subsidy assisting and promoting illegal immigration and displacement and income erosion for American workers.
Illegal immigration and excessive legal immigration is hurting all American workers, but it is hurting our poorest working Americans the most. Blacks and native born Latinos are hurt most of all, but the pain affects every ethnic and income group. It is spreading to higher paid fields, especially technology and engineering. For those without sympathy for their fellow Americans or patriotic feelings for their country, it is about 30 percent cheaper to hire a 25-year-old foreign engineer than to hire a 45-year-old American engineer. The eventual price such employers will pay, however, will be an electorate and statist government that no longer values economic freedom.
Be aware that illegal immigration is not the only immigration problem.
Excessive legal immigration and poorly controlled guest-worker programs have approximately the same economic impact on U.S. workers as illegal immigration. Lack of selectivity increases taxpayer burdens and endangers public safety and national security.
If the Republican Party is going to survive, it must start demonstrating sincere concern for American workers. No amnesties and no net increases in foreign workers!