1 December 2007:
While President George W Bush and Congress battle for the last word on tax cuts and stake a claim on success in Iraq with FOX and CNN news pundits, even more so as election 2008 approaches, illegal immigrants and their legal counterparts continue to flood into the United States from the south. The annual cost to taxpayers is about $22 billion a year according to Center for Immigration Studies and the tax burden will grow -- because 15 million more immigrants are set to arrive by year 2017 according to their latest research.
More than 10 million immigrants have arrived since year 2000; it is estimated that nearly 6 million are illegal. All told, the group of immigrants now account for 38 million at the moment according to the White House's own census bureau.
The children of immigrants (illegal and legal) account for 1 in 5 students across the nation.
"One-fourth of those [live] in poverty and nearly one-third of those live without health insurance," according to the report: Immigrants in the United States 2007 -
A Profile of America’s Foreign-Born Population, by the Center for Immigration Studies.
The authors concluded that the present situation of immigration creates enormous challenges for the nation’s schools, healthcare system, and physical infrastructure. The Center for Immigration Studies does not take a stand on the issue, but instead noodles over the numbers in order to bring light to the immigration effect upon taxpayers the United States. Think & Ask will add: President Bush and his fellow elected officials in Congress are 100 percent responsible for this growth -- and their goal is to take no action because immigration builds bigger government.
"Selection criteria can be altered, as can the total number of people allowed into the country legally. Moreover, the level of resources devoted to reducing illegal immigration can also be reduced or increased. With illegal aliens accounting for nearly one in three immigrants, their effect on the nation by themselves is now very large," authors wrote.
Lack of formal education (31 percent of immigrants overall lack a high school diploma) is the primary reason so many live in poverty the authors stated. The rate is higher for illegals. So, these immigrants actively use welfare programs at a cost to tax payers and natives. "A central question for immigration policy is whether we should allow in so many people with little education — increasing job competition for the poorest American workers and the population needing government assistance."
Even Their Legal Stay Increases Welfare Use
If the government allows immigrants to stay legally (add to that a continued stream of new immigrants) the welfare system would have to expand in the United States, according to the authors.
"Legalization will not solve the problems of welfare use or low income associated with illegal immigration," the Center researchers wrote. "In fact, legalization (giving illegal workers citizenship) will increase use of welfare programs.”
While the Center estimates 57 percent of illegal immigrants between the ages of 18 and 64 lack high school education, those with more education can be expected to do better than unskilled legal immigrants.
"Whether this is a better or worse situation depends on one’s point of view. Of course, not all illegal aliens are unskilled. On the other hand, legal unskilled immigrants in the CPS have lived in the United States significantly longer than the average illegal immigrant, the majority of whom have lived here for less than 10 years. Over time income rises with greater workforce experience. The estimates for unskilled legal immigrants reflect this fact. Thus, unskilled legal immigrants in the [census data] have higher incomes than would be expected for legalized unskilled illegal aliens, at least at the onset of any amnesty.”
Immigrants who have legal status, but little education, generally have low incomes and make heavy use of welfare programs. "If we decide to legalize illegal immigrants, we should at least understand that it will not result in dramatically lower welfare use or poverty for most illegal aliens," authors concluded.
"This does not mean legalization is necessarily a bad idea. But it does mean that those who advocate such a policy need to acknowledge this problem and not argue that legalization will save taxpayers money or result in a vast improvement in the income of illegal aliens. Legalized illegals will still be overwhelmingly uneducated and this fact has enormous implications for their income, welfare use, health insurance coverage, and the effect on American taxpayers."
Immigrants (illegal or not) are a fertile group of folks, the majority of which arrive from Mexico and Central America, yet it is evident by questions asked of 2008 presidential candidates of both parties by YouTubers that no one truly understands the immigration topic outside of discussing "a fence." Being a baby factory ensures an immigrant household qualifies for welfare.
The Center for Immigration Studies concluded that, ironically, immigrant households are more likely than native households to have at least one income (other than welfare) to live on. More than 90 percent of illegal immigrant households have at least one income -- only 73 percent of native households are as lucky the Center wrote.
"Some 31.1 percent of immigrant households, with at least one working person, still use the welfare system. This compares with 16.4 percent of native households with at least one worker. In particular, food assistance programs and Medicaid are often given to working families.
Most immigrant households have at least one worker. "But this in no way means they will not use the welfare system because that system is increasingly designed to provide assistance to low-income workers with children, a description of immigrant families given their education levels and relatively high fertility. In fact, a worker is present in 78 percent of immigrant households using at least one welfare program. For native households it’s 62 percent. Most immigrants work, but this does not make them self-sufficient," they stated.
The Center estimated 11.3 million of 37.3 million immigrants are illegal aliens. "Our estimates indicate that illegal aliens comprise 3.8 percent of the nation’s total population and 30.4 percent of the total immigrant population...While there is debate about the number missed, most research indicates that roughly 10 percent of the illegals are not counted.
"One of the most important characteristics of illegal immigrants is the very large share with little formal education. We estimate that 57 percent of adult illegal immigrants (25 to 64 years of age) have not completed high school, 24 percent have only a high school [education,] and only 19 percent have education beyond high school." The authors stressed that this was important as education has a direct correlation with socio-economic status.
The Center found that 15.2 percent of immigrants compared with 11.4 percent of natives lived in poverty in 2006. The higher incidence of poverty among immigrants as a group has increased the overall size of the population living in poverty. Immigrants accounted for about one in six living in poverty.
"Of the 36.5 million people in the United States living in poverty, 3.5 million (9.5 percent) are the U.S.-born children (under 18) of immigrant fathers," authors stated.
"The poverty rate for the U.S.-born children of immigrant fathers is 22.6 percent compared to 16 percent for the children of natives. Among persons under age 18 living in poverty, 27.1 percent are either immigrants or the young children of immigrant fathers. Overall, there are 8.4 million immigrants and their young U.S.-born children living in poverty and they account for 23 percent of total poverty population," the report concluded.
School-age children of immigrants (legal and illegal) have strained the public school system in the United States. "While it has been suggested that this increase is the result of the children of baby boomers reaching school age, the so called baby boom echo, it is clear from the [census data] that immigration policy accounts for the dramatic increase in school enrollment."
The figure is 20 percent of all school-age children, and their parents do not pay the same amount into the system as natives.
"While less than one-fourth (2.7 million) of these children are immigrants themselves, the use of public education by the U.S.-born children of immigrants is a direct consequence of their parents having been allowed into the country. The children of immigrants account for such a large percentage of the school-age population because a higher proportion of immigrant women are in their childbearing years, and immigrants tend to have somewhat larger families than natives. In addition, the effect of immigration on public schools will be even larger in the coming years because 22.6 percent of children approaching school age have immigrant mothers."
But public education would not be strained if tax revenue -- from income, property, and corporate taxes -- increased proportionately. "But as we have seen, immigrants themselves and immigrant households generally have lower incomes than natives, so their tax contributions are unlikely to entirely offset the costs they impose on schools."
"This is especially true because of the higher costs associated with teaching children whose first language is not English," the authors stated.
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