Sailing Full Steam Towards the Iceberg
In the case of the leading reform proposal, a measure sponsored by Sens. Mel Martinez (R., Fla.) and Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.), we have an answer: It would raise them substantially. The bill would grant amnesty to about 10 million illegal immigrants and put them on a path to citizenship. Once they become citizens, the net addi tional cost to the federal government of benefits for these individuals will be around $16 billion per year. The bill would also spur a rapid new flow of low skill immigrants through its program for “guest workers” (for life, that is) and other provisions.The White House is strongly behind the Hagel-Martinez bill and is currently strong-arming Republican members of the House of Representatives, hoping to persuade, bribe or threaten them into supporting some sort of compromise bill that would preserve the very worse aspects of Hagel-Martinez.
To make matters worse, once an illegal immigrant becomes a citizen, he has the right to bring his parents to live in the U.S. The parents, in turn, may become citi zens. The long-term cost of government benefits for the parents of 10 million recipients of amnesty could be $50 billion per year or more. In the long run, the Hagel-Martinez bill, if enacted, would be the largest expansion of the welfare state in 35 years.
The impact of legalizing millions of illegal immigrants from Latin America (and eventually from the rest of the Third World) will have a dramatically negative impact on American society. Rector examines the differences between immigrants and native-born Americans and finds that the current wave of immigrants constitute a significant financial burdern for the US - a burden that will only explode under the terms of Hagel-Martinez:
By the late 1990s, immigrant households were 50 percent more likely to receive means-tested aid than native-born households. Moreover, immigrants appear to assimilate to welfare use. The longer immi grants live in the U.S., the more likely they are to use welfare.The quality of new immigrants has been declining for decades for reasons that have to do with both US immigration law, and the advance of the world economy. However, Mexico's physical proximity means that migration to the US is fairly easy, making it an attractive option for the unskilled, uneducated and less intelligent of Mexico's people. The result is that most illegal immigrants now in America, or planning to come here, lack the skills and intellectual firepower to ever advance far above the most menial station. Since intellectual ability is hereditary, subsequent generations of these immigrants will remain intellectually behind the rest of the population, creating an massive IQ ghetto inside the US, fueling future racial and class strife.
The picture for illegal immigrants, who would receive amnesty under the bill, is even more alarming. Roughly half of current illegal immigrants are high-school dropouts. Use of welfare among legal immigrants who are high-school dropouts is three times the rate for the U.S. native born population as a whole; the rate for low-skill immigrants granted amnesty would be similar. Overall, welfare costs added by this group would be quite high.
Illegal immigration is now a major cause of child poverty. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 4.7 mil lion children of illegal immigrant parents currently live in the U.S. Some 37 percent of these children are poor. While children of illegal immigrant par ents make up around 6 percent of all children in the U.S., they are 11.8 percent of all poor children.
This high level of child poverty among illegal immigrants in the U.S. is in part due to low education levels and low wages. It is also linked to the decline in marriage among Hispanics in the U.S. Within this group, 45 percent of children are born out of wedlock. Among foreign-born Hispanics the rate is 42.3 percent. By con trast, the out-of-wedlock birth rate for non-Hispanic whites is 23.4 percent. The birth rate for Hispanic teens is higher than for black teens. While the out-of-wedlock birth rate for blacks has remained flat for the last decade, it has risen steadily for Hispanics. These figures are important because, as noted, some 80 percent of illegal aliens come from Mexico and Latin America.
In general, children born and raised outside of marriage are seven times more likely to live in poverty than chil dren born and raised by married cou ples. Children born out of wedlock are also more likely to be on welfare, to have lower educational achievement, to have emotional problems, to abuse drugs and alcohol, and to become involved in crime.
The federal government currently operates a massive system of income redistribution: The upper-middle class is taxed, and money and services are transferred to the lower-income half of the population. In 2004, some $583 billion was transferred in this way. Current immigration in the U.S. disproportionately brings poorly educated individuals with a high probability of unwed births into the U.S. Over the last 20 years, around 10 million indi viduals without a high-school diploma have entered the United States. These individuals inevitably end up on the recipient end of the income-redistribution equation, providing an extra tax burden on the already hard-pressed middle-class taxpayers.The supporters of Hagel-Martinez say that the US needs this onslaught of young workers to offset the financial burden of an aging native population - young Latinos will provide much needed financial CPR to social security. Nonsense, Rector says. The exact opposite is the case:
There is a remarkably foolish idea now running through the Senate, that the key to solving the Social Security crisis is to import into the U.S. tens of millions of low-skill immigrants, earning perhaps $20,000 per year, along with their families. The folly of this should be apparent. For most of these individuals, receipt of the earned income tax credit alone will outweigh Social Security taxes paid. The overall costs such individuals will add to government programs throughout their lifetime (including welfare, social security, Medicare, education for children, transportation, and law enforcement) will greatly exceed taxes paid.The Hagel-Martinez bill would be an even worse disaster than the 1986 amnesty that produced this situation in the first place. It may even come to rival the unmitigated catastrophe of the 1965 immigration bill that has so radically changed the demography of the US.