The War Over Immigration’s Cost
December 21, 2018
Donald Trump recently said that illegal immigrants cost Americans $250 billion each year. Well guess what? Liberal Democrats and the left wing media are apoplectic. They claim Donald Trump has disqualified himself from speaking about illegal immigrants because he has exaggerated their cost.
Really? I beg to differ.
First off, Democrats have told Americans for years that illegal immigrants don’t cost anything, that they are in fact a net positive contributor to tax revenues. We now know definitively that’s a lie. Every organization that studies illegal immigration admits illegals use a lot more services than they pay for, period. So if exaggeration were itself a reason for disqualification, Democrats would have disqualified themselves from the debate long ago.
Second, most studies estimate that illegals cost U.S. taxpayers at the federal, state, and local levels a combined total of somewhere between $100 million and $135 million per year. At the same time, most groups agree that illegal immigrants who pay taxes, pay a total of around $18 billion. So the net cost to taxpayers to support our currently illegal population tallies between $82 billion and $116 billion per year.
Now, I don’t care where you fall between those numbers, that’s a lot of money. And those estimates just cover what we know about and can easily count — welfare, housing, food stamps, education, and the health care that gets reported.
But wait! There’s more, a lot more. Because here’s what the estimates that purport to tell us the cost of illegal immigration do NOT count.
- They do no count the costs to investigate, arrest, prosecute, or incarcerate illegal immigrants who commit crimes. And they don’t include the monetary, or even worse, non-monetary pain and injury suffered by the victims of those criminal illegals.
- Likewise, they don’t include the havoc wreaked by gangs like MS13 which are made up largely of illegal immigrants among the most violent criminals in any city. Nor do they include the costs associated with the drug culture that those gangs facilitate.
- Those estimated costs do not include the impact low wage illegals have on the wages of regular Americans who must compete for the same jobs.
- The studies do not include things like the additional costs of an estimated 11 million uninsured illegal immigrant drivers on our roads and highways.
- Many costs of healthcare and Medicare are not included because hospitals often fail to track immigration status (and yes, I know illegals are not supposed to receive medicare, but recent studies show that many do.)
- They also fail to calculate the enormous amount of money illegals ship back to their countries of origin, a huge wealth transfer from the U.S. to other countries.
- Those estimates also fail to account for the normal costs associated with regular “wear and tear.” I’m talking here about the added congestion in our cities, the millions of gallons of precious water illegals use each year, the cost to maintain our roads and highways, the need to print signs and government materials in multiple languages. All these “hidden” costs are nearly impossible to estimate, but they’re enormous.
- Finally, those estimated costs of illegal immigration do not include the accelerator that occurs when illegal immigration continues to escalate each year. Rule of thumb? Add at least $1 billion each year to the cost of maintaining our EXISTING illegal population. That doesn’t include the cost to taxpayers for new arrivals.
With an honest and full accounting it’s not hard to see how the President and his staff could arrive at a total cost to Americans of some $250 billion dollars.
But whether it’s Trump’s $250 billion or some other lesser, but still huge amount, Democrats only want to argue over the size of the loss and not the principles on the line. Do our borders matter? Do the rights and earnings of taxpayers matter? Do America’s citizens come first?
Until Democrats start negotiating on those basic principals, then we taxpayers will continue to be little more than victims in their assault against border security.
John Philip Sousa IV is an entrepreneur, political activist, author and accomplished business person. John has worked in the financial services industry for over 40 years, built a highly successful marketing company, ran for congress at age 24, and in 2016 created and led the successful movement to draft Dr Ben Carson into his candidacy for President of the United States. John is author of John Philip Sousa, A Patriot’s Life in Words and Pictures and Ben Carson, RX for America.