James Robb's picture


  by  James Robb

What a political season we're living in! Overseas, the entire Middle East is exploding into revolution. We can only hope it leads to an improvement . . .

And now right here in the U.S., state capitals are erupting in rancorous divisions over how to deal with huge budget shortfalls.

At first blush, it looks like the issue of immigration doesn't figure that high with all the budget upheavals and foreign government changes. Keep reading for a minute, however, and I'll show you how immigration is once again at the center of our national debate.

Here's my point. A Heritage Foundation study says that lower educated immigrant families cost taxpayers nearly $19,500 a year -- most of it at state and local levels. This DOES take account of all the taxes they pay into the system. Education alone costs several thousand dollars per child per year. Poor children born in this country of foreign parents immediately qualify for subsidized medical programs (medicaid) and free lunches at school.

How many people are we talking about in this category? More than 4.5 million households of lower-educated immigrants (and their children), or 19 million people in all. This represents about 5 percent of the entire U.S. population. How much money are these 4.5 million poorly educated immigrant families costing us?

The poorly educated immigrant households are costing taxpayers $87 billion a year. Note that some of these poorly educated immigrants are legal, some illegal -- but they're all a social burden.

$87 Billion adds up to a TRILLION dollars every 12 years. It's a ton of money.

NumbersUSA often emphasizes the long-term consequences of today's high immigration rates. But the consequence of bringing in millions of less educated workers is also costing us RIGHT NOW!

NumbersUSA is fighting the things that lead to the above situation by supporting a slew of excellent bills just introduced in Congress:

  • The bill we are most enthusiastically promoting would get rid of the noxious "family chain migration," which allows legal immigrants who may themselves be well educated to sponsor uneducated and poor distant relatives.
  • Rep. John Carter (R-TX) has just introduced a bi-partisan bill to make all U.S. businesses use the E-Verify web tool for all its employees. As you'll recall, E-Verify accurately and easily discovers if someone is legally allowed to work in the U.S.
  • And wouldn't this be wonderful! The new Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 requires at least one parent to be a legal resident or citizen before their child automatically becomes a citizen (putting us in line with most other nations).
  • We also are enthusiastically backing a new bill that would end the ludicrous "visa lottery" program, where tens of thousands of precious permanent visas to the United States are given away, literally, at random, and for no apparent reason.

You see, if we drop the number of immigrants, and crack down on the hiring of illegal aliens, we'll save billions in social costs. What are we waiting for? Why would anyone oppose these measures? ( . . .except for cheap labor, new church members, future voters, etc.)

NumbersUSA is already sending hundreds of thousands of faxes and organizing thousands of phone calls in support of these bills. Congress has changed! Our immigration "True Reformers" are now very strong in the House and gaining ground in the Senate. We expect some of these bills to move forward and receive votes.

Immigration is not the major cause of budgetary crises in the states. Reducing immigration won't resolve the crises. But reducing immigration will provide a significant assistance to the states. What can be the legitimate reason for not helping the states in this way?

JIM ROBB is Vice President, Operation at NumbersUSA

Legal Immigration
Illegal Immigration
state policies
Taxpayer Burden

Updated: Thu, Feb 24th 2011 @ 5:38pm EST

NumbersUSA's blogs are copyrighted and may be republished or reposted only if they are copied in their entirety, including this paragraph, and provide proper credit to NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA bears no responsibility for where our blogs may be republished or reposted. The views expressed in blogs do not necessarily reflect the official position of NumbersUSA.