The cost of low-skill immigrants

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Restating the obvious is usually considered tedious, but some NVTH visitors apparently require it, so here goes.

This is from Robert Rector's testimony before the House Subcommittee on Immigration the other day:


Looking at federal, state and local benefits combined, the average low skill immigrant household received $30,160 per household in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services in FY 2004. By contrast, as Chart 2 shows, total federal, state, and local taxes paid by low-skill immigrant households came to $10,573 per household in 2004. The average fiscal deficit per low skill immigrant household was $19,588.

That's about a Toyota Corolla per year for every household, courtesy of American taxpayers. Multiply that by 10 or 20 million and you get an idea why the current "comprehensive" immigration legislation being debated in the Senate might not be such a good idea.

By way of comparison, when a Humvee runs over a squirrel the squirrel can be considered "comprehensively" defeated. This is what the U.S. government is proposing to do to the financial well-being of American citizens. If the amnesty goes through, in 20 years you might as well just hand over your pension and life's savings.

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14 Comments

Noonan said:

That's per household, not per person. So don't multiply by 10 or 20 million. Maybe 2 to 4 million. That's a total cost, by your numbers, of roughly 60 billion. A large number in any context.

To be fair though, you should also subtract out the increased tax revenue generated by the businesses who are profiting from cheap immigrant labor. Right or wrong, they're part of this equation too if we're looking for total cost to the tax base. I'm not sure how you'd measure that, but that would likely be substantial. Those numbers would make this a more complete argument.

This of course ignores the pluses (and minuses) illegal immigrants cause on the economy separate and apart from their impact to the tax base. It seems likely though that mass cheap labor would tend to support an economic structure. I admit though, I have no numbers to back this up.

In terms of "handing over life savings and pension", I'm far more worried about the growing annual foreign trade deficit. Even without subtracting from the 60 billion figure, the foreign trade deficit is spiraling out of control much worse than that. I wish that issue were getting more national attention.

True, Brian. But if you look 20 years down the road with chain migration factored in the number of immigrants would be in the 60+ million range.

zimzo said:

There you go again, to quote Reagan. Now that Jack has admitted that he can't actually claim illegal immigrants harm the economy, you come up with yet another lame argument against illegal immigration. Of course, you are just making an argument as to why illegal immigrants should be legalized and brought into the system so that we can make sure they all pay their share of taxes (although many already do). So once again I ask you, why don't you support legalization in that case? Or is there some other reason, one you don't want to say?

"Lame" - methinks there is some projection at work here with your extravagant use of this term, Zimzo.

Legalizing millions of uneducated immigrants will bring a financial burden. That would be clear if you had read the post. This is not really a conservative argument, just a common-sense one.

Sorry, I guess that is asking too much.

zimzo said:

The statistics are from 2004 when illegal immigrants were illegal and most were not paying taxes so if they were legal the discrepancy would be much less. You also assume that this will continue or even grow in the future, which ignores the trends of past immigrants whose economic status has improved and whose children have added to the economy. You also ignore the fact that many Americans pay in more taxes than they take out in benefits.

So how exactly would legalizing illegal immigrants increase the financial burden? They would still be barred from collecting welfare, food stamps, etc. They would be paying more taxes. If anything, the burden would decrease.

"They would still be barred from collecting welfare, food stamps, etc."

No, they would not. That is the point, if they are made citizens.

What were you thinking, Zimzo?

zimzo said:

Gee, I guess I was thinking what the law actually is. What were you thinking?

"Substantial cuts in public welfare benefits for non-citizens were a major feature of the 1996 welfare reform law. Although the cuts were legally complex, one sweeping new rule governing welfare for immigrants emerged: non-citizens who legally enter the country after 1996 are subject to a five-year ban on some public benefits and permanent bans on others, including Supplemental Security Income and food stamps."
http://www.brookings.edu/es/research/projects/wrb/publications/pb/pb15.htm

So now that you know that, I'm sure you will concede that you don't really have an argument against legalization.

zimzo said:

Unless you were thinking that illegal immigrants would become citizens immediately. No one is proposing that.

Had Enough said:

I have seen the games and cons and scams the illegals play.

Whether they are legal or not, using a fake social security numbers or not, they are coached before they even get here on how to beat the system.

I have seen them from 18 years old and up put the exact same thing on tax withholding forms...11 dependants...

mexico has handed out booklets in comic book form to millions that were on their way here the booklets tell them how to blend in, how not to stick out, what to do if caught, if you don't make it the 1st time, try again.

Now the washington post is doing the same thing with casa de maryland.

I don't care how much they cost the taxpayers of this country, a penny is to much.

This is a planned invasion encouraged by mexico and our so-called president. We owe nothing to these people.

With millions of uninsured in this country, I think it really stinks that the hard earned tax money of these uninsured is being used for the free medical care of millions of leeches.

We never needed "REFORM!" bush, clinton, bush refused to enforce the laws we have had since 1986 and at the same time they encouraged and changed laws so they could even vote for them illegally.

What we need is to copy mexicos laws and this crap would end fast. Also arnie and all others would have to leave their jobs along with any law enforcement officer that was not born here, this also goes for many other professions.

mexico makes every law to protect their country, land, citizens and everything else from any foreign interference but all they do is interefere in our business.

We don't owe them anything except to send their people back.

Had Enough said:

The so-called five year ban means nothing. ex-gov Erlich in Maryland was advised of all the legal and illegal immigrants that were getting medicaid, food stamps, etc.

He tried to put a end to it last year and he was called everything in the book by the pro-give-them-everything- groups.

His changes and laws were not passed.


Had Enough said:

When bush started this bull in 2001, it started with a guestworker program and now has grown to citzenship.

There is no reason for us to give them citizenship. But mexico did change their laws so that they would be DUAL CITIZENS which is supposed to be against our laws.

All of a sudden everyone has dual citizenship. The media praised Peter Jennings for becoming a citizen but they never told that he kept his Canadian citizenship. Pam Anderson and many others have done the same thing. This is the new thing against our OATH.

zimzo said:

Thanks, HE. I think your series of rambling, incoherent, angry posts in which you called Mexicans "leeches" and attacked Peter Jennings and Pamela Anderson (!) as duplicitous lawbreakers pretty much sums up the state of mind of anti-immigrant zealots. I've always thought Pamela Anderson was dangerous. I just couldn't put my finger on why.

Sorry Zimzo, I should have been more specific: I was talking about the legislation being debated in the Senate right now.

Had Enough said:

You know the point is that everybody is doing exactly what they want to do.

Laws, Citizenship Oaths and everything else is being ignored today because no laws are being upheld or enforced and the country is no longer taken seriously.

Jennings was here for more than 30 years and never had the urge to be a Citizen. He only did it because his kids wanted him to before he died.

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