My own opinions about illegals? Which ones? The ones who try for a better life because they have a horrible one and can’t afford the legal entry means, and who come here to work, and who respect us while they’re here? Or the ones who come here only to take, and who treat our country and us like horsesh*t?
Either way, don’t blame us citizens for vigorously defending our borders, jobs, lower rents, educational system, health system… Do blame those of us who assume that all recent immigrants, legal or not, are scum, and treat them all like horsesh*t.
Just Their Being Here Affects Where Your Money is Spent
Census counts of population are used by the federal government to distribute more than $400 billion a year of your money. Cities use that money to help pay for police and fire protection, and other services. Illegal immigrants are included in the population counts used.
Just Their Being Here Affects How Much of Your Money is Spent
Census counts decide how many congressional representatives each district gets in the House of Representatives. Areas with more citizens get more representatives, and so they have more voting power. But it turns out that areas with more illegal immigrants get more representatives and votes, too. When deciding our country’s laws, illegals are counted as if they are citizens.
This definitely has a financial impact. The size of the impact depends on which issues get passed or vetoed.
Because illegal immigrants count as equal to citizens when choosing numbers of representatives, this is literally no longer a wholly-representative government. Therefore, regarding taxation without representation, taxes passed by a Congress made up of such representatives may then be suspect. How you feel about this probably will depend upon how the representatives vote on issues dear to your heart.
Citizen-Paid Funds Are Used Directly
It is theoretically illegal to use any citizen-paid funds to directly aid illegal immigrants. For example, they are not legally eligible for any forms of public housing or welfare (including Aid to Families of Dependent Children). However, with food banks, social services (counseling, battered women shelters), and medical arenas which receive all or part of funding from citizens, funds intended for poor citizens are often used for illegal immigrants instead. Visit any public health clinic or hospital emergency room and you will find citizens waiting while illegal immigrants use citizen dollars to receive treatment, including planned childbirths for their planned citizen children, and treatment for non-emergency minor ailments.
Per (a 2006 NYT article:) In California in 2006, hospitals spent at least $1.02 billion on health care for illegal immigrants that was not reimbursed by federal or state programs.
Per a 2008 NYT article: “In California, the Medi-Cal program spent about $20 million on about 460 patients last year. In New York City, illegal immigrants occupy about a fifth of the 1,389 beds in the public nursing home on Roosevelt Island.”
Per a 2011 NYT article: “Medicaid often pays for emergency care for illegal immigrants.”
And, when it’s time to discharge the patient and there is no family or nursing home willing to take them in because Medicaid benefits have run out, we citizens pay (unrecouped hospital costs are passed on to “the health system”–taxpayers). “This gentleman cost us millions of dollars,“ says a hospital administrator about one illegal immigrant long-term patient. Says the patient: “Here, I am very happy…This is very nice — No. 1.” The article appears to making a case for a solution involving discharge of these patients to nursing homes ($20,000/year) versus hospitals ($100,000/year). However, citizen taxpayers would still be footing the bill. The countries of origin refuse to accept their sickly citizens or their costs.
Indirect Financial Costs Are Harder to Assess But Exist
Some costs are similar to the costs of sending American jobs to non-U.S. countries (“outsourcing”):
Masses of people willing to work for extremely low wages drive down the pay and job availability for citizens. The loss of available summer jobs for teenagers has already been linked to illegal immigrant laborers.
The following excerpts from “A Drought of Summer Jobs” at The Center for Immigration Studies discuss the combined impact of both legal and illegal immigrants on teen labor:
“It is very difficult to reconcile the perspective of employers who argue that there are not enough seasonal workers with the huge decline in teenage summer employment. If workers were in short supply, then more teenagers should have been drawn into the labor market, the opposite of what actually happened.
…there is good evidence that immigrants (legal and illegal) are crowding out U.S.-born teenagers in the labor market. Perhaps employers perceive immigrants as better workers and therefore discriminate against U.S.-born teenagers. But the most likely reason immigrants displace U.S.-born teenagers is that the immigrants are overwhelmingly adults over age 20. It may be very difficult for teenagers, especially younger teenagers 16 and 17, to compete with mature workers. Perhaps it is due to a willingness by immigrants to work for less. Perhaps it is because immigrants have more effective social networks for finding employment.
The fall-off in teenage employment is similar for white, black, and Hispanic teens…(it) is similar for teenagers from higher income households and lower income households…(it) is similar for those enrolled in school and those who are not. Because teenagers from all backgrounds are affected, it strongly suggests that the cause of this decline is a change in the U.S. labor market rather than some change in the teenagers themselves.
Why Teenage Employment Matters So Much
(1)…many teenagers or their families need the money that employment provides. There are about 260,000 births a year to U.S.-born teenage mothers…most of these girls choose to keep their babies and thus must support them in some way…one in three lives in a low-income family. Even a few thousand dollars a year contributed by a teenager working part-time can significantly improve the well-being of such families.
(2) Teens employed in high school earn more than teens who did not work in the first year after graduation, with wage differences tending to increase over time. The biggest benefit of working as a teenager seems to be for those who do not go on to college. …minority youths holding jobs have higher success rates…
- Masses of people willing to live crowded together in order to stay in this country, some of whom wish to stay hidden from authorities, drive down the value of housing and neighborhoods–particularly when there is a slumlord involved, or when multiple unrelated families crowd together with no-one accepting responsibility for maintenance of the premises. Although housing quality can go down, rents can actually go up, because ten day-laborers sharing a one-bedroom apartment of wall-to-wall mattresses can pool more rent than any single student or mom.
- Masses of people living crowded together form an ideal breeding ground for disease, which places a drain on citizen-funded medical services for treating the illegal immigrants and the citizens they infect.
- Masses of people living crowded together form an ideal breeding ground for crime—especially if those people can be pressured to break laws because they do not have the law on their side, or are afraid of the police.
Increased crime and need for police presence places a drain on citizen-funded police, fire, and medical services.
Illegal Immigrant Crime Stats
(Careful: Unverified by me from any additional sources)
Per “Outrage” by Dick Morris, copyright 2007:
27% of federal prison inmates are illegal immigrants.
We spend over $1 billion per year on these folk
About 300,000 are in state prisons.
In Los Angeles, 95% of outstanding homicide warrants are for illegal immigrants..Illegal immigrants form the core of the worst gangs, including 60% of the notorious 18th St. gang, believed to number 20,000 or more.
You can find references purported supporting both sides of whether illegal aliens are more or less likely to commit crimes. But the best-documented research study I found was quite thorough. It illustrates the basis of the faulty conclusions of others (a lack of understanding of statistics), and it walks the reader through exactly how it arrived at its own conlusion. Which is:
Illegal aliens are over 50% more likely to commit crimes than legal residents and citizens.
(Personal aside: My illegal-immigrant Los Angeles gang-member next-door neighbor told me once “I know my rights! America means you can do whatever you want!” If this has become the perception of our country among his cohort, no wonder we attract his kind of illegal immigrant.
- In the case of Hispanics in particular, many of whom share identical names, illegal immigrants can easily borrow or exchange identification documents and residential billing statements with citizens or legal immigrants and “work the system” to obtain benefits they are not entitled to. They can even, and some do, borrow each others children to falsely qualify for higher benefits.
(Personal Aside: One of my sons attended highschool for a year with teens who used to laugh about this as they told him about swapping families.)
So, what about the money that illegal immigrants contribute? How do we measure that?
That is a tougher one. Because, if you are talking primarily about the awful, backbreaking agricultural harvesting jobs no one wants to do, they certainly do, but let’s also keep in mind that citizens used to do these jobs, and that legal government guest workers could do them now. And, for another example of the difficulty, by some estimates 40% of illegal alien workers in Los Angeles earn cash only, and pay no taxes, so how do they factor in?
These two references do a very good job of presenting both sides of the issue:
Pro-illegals (MSN Money) (Check out the linked video on apple harvesting, when farmers had to switch to legal harvesters in the guest worker program–and apparently did so, just fine.)
Con-illegals (Yahoo Answers’ Best Answerer (Make sure to check out some of his links)
Lastly, although I am clearly anti-illegal-immigration, while scouting around I did find a “pro” resource that was less rabid than many, and despite its name, not devoted solely to Latino or Hispanic issues. In particular, its “Causes” page contained what I thought were a lot of items that might be interesting and helpful to legal and illegal immigrants alike: “Causes“, from Latina Lista. Although, if you are in the potential audience for this, you probably haven’t read this far in the post…