Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Anti-Immigrant Hysteria

Hello gentle reader, I just wanted to say a few words about the Anti-Immigrant Hysteria that masquerades as legitimate information these days. Specifically these e-mails about Parkland Hospital in Texas see here.

Every legitimate economist who has tried to study the issue has said that the costs of illegal immigrants and the benefits even out. For every documented expense of an illegal alien there is a documented benefit. Employers pay less for workers, meaning they have more for investments. Illegal immigrants often pay payroll taxes, proof of which is the IRS suspense file in which more than $500 Billion has been paid into it in the last 20 years (yes, that's more than enough to pay for the Iraq war so far). Illegal immigrants pay sales taxes, alcohol taxes, gas taxes, cigarette taxes, etc. etc.

When I say "legitimate economists"I mean someone who studies the issue without a pre-determined conclusion. The only authoritative study cited by most newspapers is from the Center for Immigration Studies. The CIS's stated goal is less immigration. Not exactly a legitimate source for even handed analysis.

The CIS numbers also include those "anchor babies" who are not illegal aliens. Any legitimate discussion of the costs and benefits of illegal aliens should never include expenses chalked up to "illegal aliens" that are in fact U.S. citizens, no one is "technically" a U.S. citizen. When you see people point to having to pay for school for illegal immigrant children they're usually talking about U.S. Citizen children who's parents are illegal.

The numbers used in this e-mail are cherry picked. They paint a picture of a society "overrun" with illegal aliens. When you step back and look the macro-economic level the benefits and costs of illegal immigration appear to even out.

However, to date there has been no authoritative study on illegal immigration and it's costs and benefits. The reason there has been no study is because researchers cannot even agree on the number of illegal aliens. The number is estimated to be between 11 and 20 million. If you don't even know how many are here, there is no way to study the benefits and expenses of immigration. Any study would be speculation. However using hypothetical numbers (either 11 million or 20 million) leads everyone without an agenda who studies the matter to come to the conclusion that for every expense there is also a documented benefit in terms of costs.

So the question you have to ask youself when you see numbers thrown around in the immigration context is "for what purpose are they being used?" Do the numbers paint a picture of illegal aliens stealing money from hard working American Taxpayers? Then the numbers probably come from an anti-immigrant source who's motivation is usually racism and xenophobia.

When I see numbers like this I ask myself what is the alternative? Do we leave these women out on the street to have babies without medical care? After all they are having children who are U.S. Citizens. Should we allow these U.S. Citizens to die on the sidewalk in front of a hospital? They aren't just walking across the street to have a baby in the U.S. To get here is risky and dangerous and expensive and if you don't believe me ask why 300-500 people die trying to cross the border every year.

I think that what these people are really upset about is that THEY aren't getting free medical treatment. Maybe they are focusing on the wrong details. Shouldn't they be getting free medical care? Shouldn't we all? I personally think that when a human being needs medical treatment, immigration status be damned, we should have doctors able to help them. Why blame someone else? Demand it for yourself.

Oh, and every single problem this e-mail complains about would be solved if illegal aliens were granted "amnesty" because then they would be taxpayers just like the Americans and face the same red-tape and hurdles. So just legalize them and the problem goes away. They instantly become tax paying legal residents.

However people who send these types of e-mails don't want a solution, they want someone to blame for their problems and illegal immigrants are an easy target.

Just my thoughts, I could be wrong.

Hugs and Kisses,

The Punisher


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