Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Real Cost of Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigration is one of the most contentious and important issues facing this country today. A key aspect of the debate and disagreement on illegal immigration relates to its costs. Based on my review of six studies I came to the conclusion that no one really knows the cost of illegal immigration. There are two main problems. Almost all of the studies purporting to document the cost of illegal immigration are written by groups with a particular point of view. I will say more about this later. Secondly, the economic benefits of the illegal immigrants in this country have typically not been adequately addressed.

The Eagle Forum produced a well-documented report addressing many of the cost factors in illegal immigration. However, it is important to know that the Eagle Forum has been a leading advocate for the pro-family movement since 1972 and is therefore not without its biases. The report is worth reading if you are interested in more details about this issue. The Center for Immigration Studies sponsored a report written by Stephen Camorata written in 2004. This report focused on the "High Cost of Cheap Labor." It is important to know that The Center for Immigration Studies is a Pro-immigrant, low-`think-tank which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted. Therefore it too has its own particular point of view. The report is important because it addresses the cost-benefit aspect of illegal immigration, which has all too frequently been neglected.

Some of the costs of illegal immigrants are obvious and indisputable. Examples of these include costs incurred by hospitals, costs incurred by the states and federal government to incarcerate illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, and costs to local school systems.

Mr. Camorata documents important "benefit" issues such as the fact that, "On average, illegal households pay more than $4,200 a year in all forms of federal taxes. Unfortunately, they impose costs of $6,950 per household.” It is important to note that in addressing taxes paid by illegal immigrants Camorata neglects to factor in sales taxes paid for food, clothing and other purchases made by illegal immigrants and property taxes paid by the illegal immigrants. The reduced cost of services and products as a result of the cheap labor provided by the illegal immigrants has a significant but unknowable effect on the overall cost of living in this country. This is particularly true in the construction of housing where many illegal immigrants are employed.

What I have written resolves nothing, but hopefully puts the issue in a little bit clearer perspective.


Anonymous said...

Here is the UK immigration is so high its more like an invasion now. Our Capital city has almost no English children in schools any more, we have all fled to the country side, and most have put their heads in the hedges pretending that immigration is a good thing, where in fact it is at the root cause of lowing standards, pay, community cohesion, and the cause of the rise in drugs, prostitution, people trafficking, robberies, corruption, fraud, murder, and of course Terrorism.

Neil Benson said...

In America, white middle class and upper middle class people fled the city's decades ago, and are now returning in a process of re-urbanization as old houses are renovated and all neighborhoods revived.

The real issue in America is that of mainly Hispanic illegal immigrants, a portion of whom consider themselves temporary residents to move back to Mexico eventually. In many instances they do jobs that few if any white Americans would be willing to do. So businesses need them as people labor, but the costs are borne by the entire populace. The usual fragmentation in Washington prevents a meaningful solution.

Talisman said...

I'm from Arizona, I'm not going to post my opinion on this for fear of being labeled a crazy Republican. ;)

However, that said, I'm exceptionally glad Arizona is finally taking steps to deal with illegal immigration in my state. No more welfare for non-citizens, no more public school for non-citizens, and *gasp* they can't VOTE anymore! (Yep they used to be allowed to VOTE!) The community there is extremely upset by this new laundry list of "no-no's"

Dana said...

As much as I have serious issues regarding illegal immigration, I am also well aware that there will be a negative impact on our economy should the issue be addressed. I think many (most?) American's claim they take issue with illegal immigrants, but they also hire the least expensive housekeepers and landscapers without regard to their citizenship.