Amnesty & the Bankrupting of America

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Announce Major Agreement On Immigration Reformreport released by the conservative Heritage Foundation threatens to blow a big hole in the so-called Gang of Eight’s attempt to implement comprehensive immigration reform. An analysis of the costs associated with granting amnesty to 11 million illegal aliens is staggering: according to the report, taxpayers would be forced to shell out $6.3 trillion, even when the 10-year barrier preventing newly legalized individuals from seeking government benefits is factored into the equation. “No matter how you slice it, amnesty will add a tremendous amount of pressure on America’s already strained public purse,” Robert Rector, the Heritage scholar who prepared the report, said in a statement.

The study focuses on four types of government benefits considered relevant to the issue. These include “Direct Benefits,” such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation; “Means-tested Welfare Benefits” such as Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; “Public Education,” which is subsidized for low-income families; and “Population-based Services” that include police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, that must be expanded when the population of a community increases.

Heritage directly challenges some of the popular canards surrounding the debate, most notably the idea that illegals are a “net plus” for America’s economy. The report explains that in our “highly-redistributive” system of government “net tax contributors,” who pay more in taxes than they receive in government services, have higher levels of education. “For example, in 2010, in the whole U.S. population, households with college-educated heads, on average, received $24,839 in government benefits while paying $54,089 in taxes. The average college-educated household thus generated a fiscal surplus of $29,250 that government used to finance benefits for other households,” the report explains.

On the other hand, households with lower education levels tend to be “net tax consumers,” who use more government services than they pay for. “For example, in 2010, in the U.S. population as a whole, households headed by persons without a high school degree, on average, received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. This generated an average fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of $35,113,” says the report.

The report reveals the educational levels of illegals, noting that “the typical unlawful immigrant has only a 10th-grade education,” that 50 percent of illegal households “are headed by an individual with less than a high school degree,” and another “25 percent of household heads have only a high school degree.” As a result, Heritage reveals that in 2010, illegal aliens “received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes,” amounting to an annual fiscal deficit of “$14,387 per household.”

Taxpayers make up the difference. However, if an additional 11 million illegals are added to the system and they become fully integrated after the current waiting period of 13 years–the current version of the bill proposes 10 years for a green card, plus three more years to acquire full citizenship–the fiscal deficit for each immigrant household “would soar.”

However, the 13-year waiting period is hardly sacrosanct. The current bill has something called a “blue card” loophole in it. Someone who has passed a background check and can prove that he has engaged in 575 hours of agricultural work anywhere before December 31, 2012, can be granted a blue card. Furthermore, his spouse and children can be granted one as well, all on the same application.

Yet even that time period is flexible. The Secretary of Homeland Security has the discretion to grant an additional year-and-a-half if “additional time is required,” or for anything else determined to be a “good cause.” If the individual continues to work in agriculture after the rate of 150 days for 5.75 hours per day for three-of-the-five years after the bill passes, he can qualify for permanent resident status. That period can also be reduced to three years, if the individual can demonstrate he was disabled, ill or dealing with the “special needs of a child.”

In addition, another provision provides a fast track for those who entered the country before they were 16, aka the “Dreamers” who, along with their spouses and children, can also gain permanent resident status in five years.

The Heritage report fleshes out such realities. As an additional consequence of legalization, after amnesty recipients become citizens, “they would have the unconditional right to bring their parents to the U.S.” who would then be eligible to obtain citizenship in five years. “As many as 15 to 20 million parents would become eligible for legal permanent residence under an amnesty law,” it explains.

There is little doubt this is true. Both the Center for American Progress, which supports the bill, as well as NumbersUSA, which opposes it, estimate that more than 30 million illegals will be legalized over the next decade. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the Senate’s banking committee who agreed with that assessment, further noted that there will be an additional inflow of 25 million short-term and long-term low-skill and high-skill workers during the same period. Sessions believes that massive inflow could damage job prospects for Americans. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) disputes that assessment contending that not all of the 11 million waiting for the bill’s passage would be eligible. Yet Rubio omits the reality that it is unlikely those who remain ineligible will be deported.

In an explosive revelation during a Sunday interview with Breitbart News Sunday host Stephen K. Bannon, Sessions upped the political ante, claiming the Gang of Eight didn’t write the immigration bill. “The Gang of Eight claims they wrote it, but really if you saw the news reports Steve, it was always the unions and the Chamber of Commerce was working with La Raza and SEIU and they’re about to reach an agreement. I mean, like, who’s writing this bill?” Sessions asked.

After contending that Congress needs to be “serving the American interest,” Sessions posed the ultimate question. “If you have a choice, and there’s a job out here that pays an unskilled worker a decent wage with a retirement and healthcare benefit, should it go to somebody who came across the border illegally 18 months ago, or to an unemployed American who’s on welfare and food stamps right now and unable to take care of his family?”

Sessions has a point. Despite the media-generated hype surrounding immigration reform, the economy remains issue number one for most Americans. The Heritage Foundation report explains the economic consequences of passing the current bill. “Over a lifetime, the former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes. They would generate a lifetime fiscal deficit (total benefits minus total taxes) of $6.3 trillion.”

It then addresses the reality of the aforementioned “flexibility” regarding the number of people used to calculated their estimate. “This should be considered a minimum estimate. It probably understates real future costs because it undercounts the number of unlawful immigrants and dependents who will actually receive amnesty and underestimates significantly the future growth in welfare and medical benefits,” the report states.

Heritage further notes that the 1986 amnesty bill produced a fraud rate of 25 percent, and that the industry producing fraudulent documents “has grown vastly larger and more sophisticated.” If the same fraud rate applies to the current bill, an additional lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion would be added to the $6.3 trillion.

Economist and Wall Street Journal writer Stephen Moore contends many economists challenge the notion that immigrants are a net cost to the country, claiming immigrants eventually become more productive and entrepreneurial. Others claim that an aging U.S. population needs an influx of younger immigrants to keep entitlement programs such as Social Security solvent.

Heritage debunks both notions. “Unlawful immigrants, on average, are always tax consumers; they never once generate a ‘fiscal surplus’ that can be used to pay for government benefits elsewhere in society,” the report reveals. And while noting that illegals “currently pay FICA taxes and would pay more after amnesty,” the report contends that when those people retire, each individual on Social Security and Medicare is likely to draw out $3.00 for every $1.00 paid in FICA taxes.

Moreover, the report explains that “taxes and benefits must be viewed holistically,” and when an individual who “pays $3,700 per year into the Social Security trust fund but simultaneously draws a net $25,000 per year (benefits minus taxes) out of general government revenue, the solvency of government has not improved.”

Assuming what the report says it true, Americans might still be convinced that all of the potential economic hardships might be worth it, if the border was sealed once and for all. Unfortunately, as this version of the bill reveals, border security is a farce. In short the bill proposes “triggers” to achieve 90 percent security, “calculated by dividing the number of apprehensions and turn backs in the sector during a fiscal year by the total number of illegal entries in the sector during such fiscal year.” (How those who manage to elude apprehension can be accurately counted remains a mystery.) If the 90 percent figure isn’t achieved, in any year of the next five, a “Border Security Commission” will be established to find out why. In other words, a committee will attempt to determine why a bureaucracy came up short — during which time all of the other processes leading to the legalization of millions will continue to be implemented.

Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint offers an apt analogy regarding what comprehensive immigration reform legislation is really all about. “I think if people read the bill, that it will be blocked,” he said on ABC’s This Week. “Because once you get into it, just like Obamacare, it is not the way it’s been advertised.”

Americans are only beginning to grasp the travesty that “comprehensive healthcare” represents. Comprehensive immigration reform that would fundamentally alter the character of the nation, even as the rule of law is kicked to the curb for political expediency’s sake, would be far worse.

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  • Anamah

    Why in the world are we thinking on passing this bill? This is not the time, we have too much debt, We must resist the political pushing to accept this expensive project… Why in the world we are willing to act as suicidal? This administration is trying from it first day in power to bankrupt US… but we can stand and say NO!!! Or our America is going to collapse as Cloward and Piven theory predicted. Are we completely crazy?

  • dodo

    A country in Europe is paying immigrants to go home to their mother country. It would be cheaper to pay immigrants to go back to their mother country and work to improve it

  • Hotdigittydog

    Unfortunately the immigration problem is one of our own making…….No other country in the world has an "open border" policy like has existed in the US for decades. The American people need to wake up and understand what is at stake with the passing of this immigration bill. The borders need to be sealed once and for all, people entering this country illegally need to be dealt with just like you or I would be if we entered any other country illegally. If you tried to enter Mexico illegally you would be thrown in jail period. Ronald Reagan was bam boozled into believing the borders would be sealed off and we would have the situation under control once and for all…….we can see how that worked. Part of the plan to take this country down is to drain this nation by "milking" the social services system dry an this immigration bill will due the trick. We can't send them all back home realistically, but we sure as hell don't need to extend a helping hand to entire families.

  • Questions

    Predictably, The Heritage Foundation is finding itself under fire from certain fellow conservatives for whom economic growth is the only concern and by religious conservatives who swoon over Third World immigrants as a way of recharging Christian batteries (how wrong they are!). They don't think in terms of national identity, sovereignty or rule of law. They react angrily to the slightest intimation that mass immigration has a downside.

    I know the author of the report, Robert Rector, personally. He does very honest and thorough research. He'll find himself embattled by Left and Right alike. His report itself deals only with one aspect of the immigration debate — fiscal impact — and doesn't even go into areas such as crime, national security, linguistic balkanization, political separatism, racial antagonism and public health. That the reaction is this vehement shows you what we immigration patriots are up against.

  • watsa46

    The left promotes the notion of equality though impoverishment. There are numerous models out there to copy from. The one that work the best is through Islamization. A majority of Muslims is poor, uneducated fanaticized etc… but at least they are all equal.

    • mkat68

      "equality though impoverishment"

      The perfect definition of socialism.

  • hikerdude

    Amnesty and Obama Care are the final nails in America's coffin. There is no recovery from a future 40 trillion dollar debt. Thank you Demoncrats for destroying the hopes and dreams of the next four generations.
    Statistics show 47 million people on food stamps and 11 million on disability. Approximately one of five people are on the dole.
    Detroit 's destruction is the handwriting on the wall for the Nation.

  • Jim

    certain fellow conservatives for whom economic growth is the only concern

    That would be the US Chamber of Commerce .

    Number one financial backer of La Raza.

  • westie

    In addition to the Chamber of Communism, other Amnesty supporters include the WSJ Editors, Club for Growth Traitors, most of Conservative, Inc. All need to be disfunded and cast out!

  • Kimberly Nix Murray

    Obama and his crooked clonies need to be impeached. Americans are fed up with the influx of illegal immigrants and nothing done to deport them. Vote conservative in all future elections if you want a better America.

  • debby

    don’t use businesses that hire them.