Part 3: Long term impacts of immigration--solutions
In this three part series, you may enjoy Maria Fotopoulos, Senior Writing Fellow at www.capsweb.org as she examines amnesty for 20 million illegal aliens now residing within the United States. She addresses the key word ‘sustainability’ in “No home for amnesty in a sustainable America.”
“Open-border advocates often characterize those who enter or remain in the U.S. illegally as “just looking for a better life,” said Fotopoulos. “While many fit that description—if we choose to ignore the violation of our immigration laws—there are numerous examples to the contrary by those committing identity theft, driving while uninsured, driving while inebriated, failing to file income taxes and trafficking in drugs. Furthermore, there are multiple cases of individuals who have entered our country illegally with the clear intention of engaging in terrorist activity.
“The evidence indicates that a new amnesty, like the previous ones, will effect an increase in illegal immigration. Zogby International found that a majority of Mexicans (56 percent) thought giving legal status to illegal aliens in the U.S. would lead to more illegal immigration there. For Mexicans who had an immediate household member living in the U.S., 65 percent said an amnesty would make people they knew more likely to migrate to the U.S. illegally.
“An illegal population has a severe impact in the workplace where it drives down wages, inflicting its greatest damage on those at the bottom of the economic spectrum who can least afford it. By encouraging more workers to enter the country illegally, an amnesty would simply continue to feed the demand for cheap labor.
“The negative impacts of amnesty on the environment and sustainability of the country are patently obvious. More people equals more demands and strains on the natural environment in a country that many conservationists believe can sustain a population of 200 million, not 310 million, and certainly not more than 1 billion.
“Moreover, the economic costs attached to illegal immigration are staggering. A grant of amnesty to just 10 million adult illegal aliens could impose a net cost on the government of more than $2.6 trillion, according to a Heritage Foundation study.
“This analysis was completed before healthcare “reform,” so it does not include any additional costs from that program. An elderly, low-skilled immigrant would cost the taxpayer an average $17,000 per year in Social Security and Medicare benefits, or Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits. While mortality rates would reduce the total figure by roughly 15 percent by age 67, that would still yield 8.5 million people who would enter retirement.
“Because the average adult illegal immigrant is now in his or her early 30s, it would be 25 to 30 years before the majority of amnesty recipients retire. Nevertheless, when they do, they would increase the number of Social Security beneficiaries by 5 to 10 percent at a time when Social Security is projected to run annual deficits of more than $200 billion.
“Educational levels are also very low among illegal aliens: 49 to 61 percent of adults lack a high school diploma, compared to nine percent of American-born adults. Due to this lack of education, adult illegal aliens have double the poverty rate of adult native-born Americans, 27 percent versus 13 percent.
“Lower educational levels among the workforce will make it increasingly difficult for America to compete globally. In 1970, California had the seventh most-educated work force of the 50 states in terms of the share of its workers who had completed high school. Because of massive immigration, it ranked 50th in 2008, making it the least-educated state—a startling transformation for a state once iconic as the center of technological innovation. One in six workers in the state has not graduated from high school.”
“Amnesty is no answer to the problems caused by years of mass, unchecked illegal immigration,” said Fotopoulos. “The solution lies in developing the fortitude to enforce the laws we have passed. Any blanket or partial amnesty would be patently unfair to the many who have played by the rules of the legal immigration process and have entered legally or have been denied admission. An amnesty would be prohibitively costly and poses a threat to national security.
“An enforced ban on hiring illegal immigrants would cause
many to leave the country voluntarily—an approach known as attrition through
enforcement. Mandatory usage of the successful E-Verify program and penalties
for businesses who knowingly hire illegal employees would help unemployed
American workers, and discourage new illegal immigration.
“Secure U.S. borders are essential. After Arizona passed its immigration law, President Obama in May 2010 ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to protect the border, a paltry number, but an acknowledgment that he understands that border enforcement works. In summer 2006 and early 2007, when the National Guard was deployed to the U.S. border for the Jump Start border operation, there was a 60 percent decrease in illegal apprehensions. Fewer people attempted illegal entry because of the deterrence of the National Guard presence.
“Our nation must also tackle the other component of illegal immigration—those who enter our country legally for a specific time period, but then do not leave upon the expiration of their tourist, work or student visas. The government must develop procedures to guarantee that those who arrive with our permission depart when that authorization expires.
“Finally, we need to advocate for and fund family planning here and abroad. While the hard work of individuals and organizations has led to significantly lowered birthrates in many parts of the world, there remains a great, unmet need for family planning services. President Obama has his eye on an amnesty, but the best legacy he could leave for future generations is a sustainable America. Creating a sustainable country has multiple components, but a sound immigration and population policy is one essential piece. Encouraging those who are living and working here illegally to return to their home countries and discouraging further illegal immigration must be at the top of the agenda.”
For more information please contact:
Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS)
1129 State Street, 3-D
Santa Barbara, CA 93101