The Big Lie: Illegal Immigration Benefits Americans
by Jim Kouri, CPP
It's widely been reported that illegal aliens comprise upwards of 27 percent of the US prison and jail population. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection -- two agencies within the Department of Homeland Security -- claim in several reports that they've apprehended over 100,000 criminal aliens whose offenses go far beyond violation of immigration laws and regulations.
Sadly, only about 25 percent of expenses for imprisoning criminal aliens is reimbursed by the federal government to state and local governments. This creates a hardship for taxpayers in states with high incarceration rates for criminal aliens. The proponents of open borders or lax immigration enforcement always point to the benefits derived from illegal immigration such as the amount of taxes they pay into the government system. Evidence, however, exists that refutes those claims. For instance, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence that suggests a large number of illegal aliens are paid "off-the-books" therefore those wages are not taxed.
The National Research Council has estimated that the net fiscal cost of immigration ranges from $11 billion to $22 billion per year, with most government expenditures on immigrants coming from state and local coffers, while most taxes paid by immigrants who actually do pay taxes go to the federal treasury.
The net deficit is caused by a low level of tax payments by immigrants, because they are disproportionately low-skilled and thus earn low wages, and a higher rate of consumption of government services, both because of their relative poverty and their higher fertility.
This is especially true of illegal immigration. Even though illegal aliens make little use of welfare, from which they are generally barred, the costs of illegal immigration in terms of government expenditures for education, criminal justice, and emergency medical care are significant.
Californian officials have estimated that the net cost to taxpayers in order to provide government services to illegal immigrants approached $3 billion during a single fiscal year. The fact that states must bear the cost of federal failure turns illegal immigration, in effect, into one of the largest unfunded federal mandates existing today.
In addition, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, even with free trade, the United States continues to enjoy a higher real wage than other nations, due to the superiority of US technology. If taken to an extreme and the US removed all barriers to migration, most foreign workers would move to the United States, lured by the higher wages available here; Foreign labor would essentially cease to exist.
However, with all labor now in the United States, the prices of goods would return to their level of self-sufficiency, prior to the opening of trade. That is, perfectly free migration entirely eliminates the gains from trade that US natives had enjoyed. World income rose with the migration, but the natives of foreign countries in this case received more than all of this rise, since the income of US natives declined. With the world's majority of low-wage workers in the US, there would be tremendous damage to free trade and its benefits, with US middle and upper-middle class workers suffering the brunt of declining wages.
The urge for a utopian state of existence and a desire to make all things equal by the American Left has given way to a desire simply to make all things equal sans utopia. In their passion for a neo-Marxist level for the masses, they've decided consciously or subconsciously that if they could not bring the World's population up to the American level of prosperity and wealth, then they will bring US citizens down to the World's level of poverty and misery. For this is a result of seeing free trade as a zero-sum entity, and self-alienation of the American Left from their own country, the USA.
Sources: National Criminal Justice Research Service, Department of Justice, The Center for Immigration Studies, National Institute of Justice
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.