A recent Quinnipiac poll confirms what most of us already know: Republicans favor a border wall, Democrats don’t. In April, 81 percent of Republicans favored a wall, while only 4 percent of Democrats did.
In the eyes of the Left, this makes Republicans “the bad guys.” They are portrayed as a stain on our national character — “That’s not who we are” — and a shameful blight on our heritage — “We’re a nation of immigrants.” Worst of all, they are portrayed as anti-immigrant.
But they’re not. They’re anti-illegal immigration, and there’s a big difference. It isn’t personal.
Any decent person’s heart breaks at the plight of Central American parents worried sick that MS-13 will recruit their children, if they aren’t killed by violence first. (Read up on what happens to unaccompanied minors once they get here, however. Out of 214 recent MS-13 gang arrests, 30 percent had crossed the border illegally as unaccompanied minors.)
Drug cartels in Mexico feed on broken families, poverty, and hopelessness, aided by rife government corruption and an astronomical murder rate (25,340 in 2017). We want to rescue as many of these people as we can, but there’s a limit to how many can join our country every year. We have a right to control who gets in, for our own survival.
It is not anti-immigrant to want to block illegal aliens from pouring into our country. Even if every single one were a squeaky clean Mother Teresa, the sheer fact of their presence robs citizens and legal residents of something precious. Some of the calculus is economic, some isn’t.
Illegal Immigrants Are a Big Net Economic Loss
How many times do we hear that illegal immigrants pay taxes? The inference is that they are adding money to the coffer. For the mere 40 percent of illegal immigrant households that pay any taxes, there are two problems with the money they’re adding. First, Americans working those jobs would be adding more money, and second, illegal immigrants take far more out of the system than they put in.
Illegal immigrants depress wages in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, meatpacking plants, dairy farms, the hospitality industry, and more. Employers take advantage of people to whom a mere pittance sounds like a king’s ransom. This is the truth behind “no Americans will do those jobs.”
Employers hope no Americans will do those jobs because then they’d have to pay a living wage. (As an aside, if a teenager isn’t willing to do any job out there, somebody’s not raising somebody right.) So, yes, illegal immigrants pay taxes, but taxes on a mere pittance are a mere pittance.
The general consensus is that illegal aliens pay $12 billion a year in taxes. Every job an illegal alien takes is a job an American would have and for which an employer would have to offer fair compensation. Ergo, if Americans were in those jobs, the taxes they would pay would add much more to the tax coffers. If you include tax subsidies enjoyed by illegal immigrant workers and their employers, lost tax revenue is estimated to be $30 billion annually.
Next, unless we also consider how much illegal aliens take out of the system in the form of government assistance, we aren’t talking real numbers. It is shocking how many benefits an illegal immigrant is entitled to receive, especially in California.
California is home to between 2.35 and 2.6 million illegal aliens, more than any other state in the nation. Illegal immigrants in California are entitled to in-state college tuition, scholarship assistance, emergency medical assistance, lab costs for indigent mothers who give birth in a hospital emergency room, outpatient dialysis, legal representation to fight deportation, drivers licenses, and law and other professional licenses. There is now a bill before the California legislature to extend full-scope Medicaid benefits to illegal alien adults.
As soon as an illegal alien has a baby on American soil, the new American citizen qualifies for a host of government services, most of which conveniently boomerang to benefit the entire family: WIC, free/subsidized lunch, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps, Medicaid, and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) education. It is estimated that 12.3 percent of California’s K–12 school children have an illegal immigrant parent.
The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 62 percent of all illegal immigrant households use some kind of welfare, including households with one or more workers present. Eighty-seven percent of illegal immigrant households with children use some kind of welfare. The Federation for American Immigrant Reform estimates that Americans are spending $135 billion a year in welfare payments to illegal aliens.
If we consider what we’re spending in welfare services to support illegal immigrant households, the $12 billion they’re paying in taxes is nothing. After accounting for taxes illegal immigrants pay, we’re still supporting them to the tune of some $123 billion. Don’t we need that money for the opioid crisis, infrastructure, and aircraft carriers?
Illegal Immigrants Are Crushing Our Public Schools
In California (always California), there were 6,228,235 K-12 students enrolled in the 2016-17 school year. If 12.3 percent of California K-12 students have an illegal immigrant parent, there were 766,072 students from illegal immigrant homes enrolled in California schools last year. That’s foreign citizens occupying money and other resources that American taxpayers contribute to educate American citizens.
Have all these kids been vaccinated against the measles and TB? Students who have come through the unaccompanied minors program have no documentation except that provided by federal immigration officials. How do we know they’re really younger than 19? The U.S. Department of Justice won’t let us ask.
What are the language barriers? Are there Central American children who aren’t even literate in Spanish? Can these students be taught alongside native students, or do they require extra (read: costly) assistance? What happens to the children of citizens and legal residents as this chaos ensues?
Immigrant households are more likely to live in poverty than native households are. As of 2000, more than 20 percent of children of immigrants were classified as poor compared to 15 percent of children of natives and only 9 percent of non-Hispanic white children. As discussed above, 87 percent of illegal immigrant households with children use some form of welfare. That’s nine out of ten illegal immigrant households.
The Center for Immigration Studies has found that low levels of education is the main reason welfare use is high. Children coming from these homes are both financially and educationally disadvantaged, and U.S. public schools are already ineffective at improving the life trajectory of disadvantaged children. These are not families who are set up for success in our country.
Children from disadvantaged households tremendously strain their learning environments because they require a great deal more support to be successful. Ironically, if a school enrolls a heavy proportion of disadvantaged children, the school’s property tax base is likely to be inadequate for the extra level of support needed.
Public schools face enough of a challenge trying to meet the needs of children from a variety of immigrant and non-immigrant backgrounds. Adding large numbers of children from illegal immigrant homes is wildly unfair to the children who have a right to be here.
It’s not personal. Republicans aren’t anti-immigrant. They’re anti-illegal immigration. It’s the basis of any society to prioritize its resources for its own members rather than diverting them to people in other societies. Our society is our responsibility, their societies are their responsibility. What’s wrong with a wall?