Relying on a Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) report, presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed taxpayers spend in excess of $52 billion annually to educate illegal immigrants. “The root cause of all the welfare payments to illegal aliens is the so-called ‘anchor baby’ phenomenon,” he explains.
It’s that kind of tough immigration rhetoric that has made Trump the GOP frontrunner. The other, of course, is building a wall, “a big beautiful wall.” This piece of the immigration debate really resonates with middleclass American voters who believe the king of construction could actually follow through with promises to secure the southern border with a big fence.
According to the US Border Patrol’s August reports, 10,000 unaccompanied minors and families were apprehended of those illegally crossing the southern border, doubling last years’ statistics. The increased detentions highlight just how porous the southern border remains and demonstrates the lure economic opportunity holds for anyone willing to invade America. So far this year roughly 36,000 minors have risked their lives to illegally cross into the US. Keeping these figures in mind, Border Patrol says for every person apprehended another three escape without detection or background checks.
Between 2010 and 2014, 5.2 million new immigrants settled in the United States. Mexico had by far the largest immigrant population in the country, with 11.7 million legal and illegal Mexican immigrants living in the United States in 2014. After declining from 2010 to 2013, the number of Mexican immigrants in the United States rose by 130,000 by 2014.
In September 2015, the Census Bureau released some of the data from the 2014 American Community Survey (ACS). The states with the largest numerical increases in the number of immigrants from 2010 to 2014 were Texas (up 380,000), California (up 362,000), Florida (up 315,000), New York (up 168,000), New Jersey (up 116,000), Virginia (up 95,000), Maryland (up 87,000), Pennsylvania (up 83,000), Massachusetts (up 77,000), Arizona (up 63,000), Washington (up 59,000), Georgia (up 52,000), and Minnesota (up 50,000).
Countries sending more than usual numbers to the US the last five years include Saudi Arabia (up 93 percent), Bangladesh (up 37 percent), Iraq (up 36 percent), Egypt (up 25 percent), Pakistan, India, and Ethiopia (24 percent). A new PEW Research report points out that roughly 14 percent of the US population is foreign born.
Another report from the National Population Council estimates one of every 10 families in Mexico, or approximately 1.3 million homes, depends on US remittances. Perhaps more shocking is an Inter-American Development Bank finding that one in five Mexican adults receives money from relatives working in the US.
In a half-hearted attempt to stem the flow of migrants, the Obama administration has spent $1.2 million in advertising throughout Central America and Mexico warning migrants of the dangers of illegally entering the US. It’s been reported by Fusion/Huffington Post that coyotes (human traffickers) rape 80 percent of the women before they reach America. Despite warnings from US advertisements, illegal immigrants admit that they often bribe Mexican officials to skirt roadblocks that act as a deterrence.
Adding to the illegal immigrant complicity was a federal court ruling in California that stated detaining families violates a long-term court agreement against detention. “The uptick in apprehensions in August coincides with the housing facility ruling,” Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent in McAllen Texas and vice president of the local Border Patrol union told the Houston Chronicle. “And we’ve had people tell us they knew they were going to be released.”
The average cost to illegally enter the US varies. According to Competitive Enterprise Institute, unauthorized Mexican immigrants usually pay $4,000-10, 000 to cross the border. “The smuggling fee for unauthorized Central American immigrants is currently between $7,000 and $10,000. The smuggling fee for an unauthorized Chinese immigrant is about $75,000 The most recently compiled averages in 2005 show that unauthorized Asian immigrants pay $26,041 to come to America, Europeans pay $6,389, and Africans pay $2,200. The smuggled migrants do not have a green card, work permit, or other legal work authorization waiting for them in the U.S. when they arrive, but they still pay enormous sums of money.”
The rise in apprehensions is bad news for amnesty advocates who encourage open borders. It also draws voters to GOP presidential contenders who are using the illegal immigration issue to build support among a crowed GOP field. Leading the effort to curtail illegal immigration is Donald Trump. His unconventional campaign has tapped into middle class fears that opportunities and success are being squandered by illegal immigration.
Using Census Bureau numbers, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) found the US immigrant population, both legal and illegal, stood at 42.4 million as of last July. “The growth in the foreign-born population has accelerated over the past few years and immigrants now comprise about one out of every eight U.S. residents, the highest percentage in more than a century,” CIS latest analysis highlighted.
So, if the migrants are fleeing for economic reasons, where are they getting the travel money? According to a Pew 2013 research report, a total of $52.9 billion in remittances were sent worldwide, but the bulk, $41.9 billion went to Latin America. Those remittances leave the US economy and often end up in the hands of drug cartels and coyotes.
On top of the $52.9 billion remittance figure, a nonpartisan Washington DC group dedicated to researching legal and illegal immigration in the US found immigrants benefit from America’s vast social welfare programs. The report found “the majority of households across the country benefitting from publicly-funded welfare programs are headed by immigrants, both legal and illegal. States where immigrant households with children have the highest welfare use rates are Arizona (62%), Texas, California and New York (61% each) and Pennsylvania (59%). The study focused on eight major welfare programs that cost the government $517 billion the year they were examined. They include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the disabled, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a nutritional program known as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), food stamps, free/reduced school lunch, public housing and health insurance for the poor (Medicaid). Food assistance and Medicaid are the programs most commonly used by illegal immigrants, mainly on behalf of their American-born children who get automatic citizenship. On the other hand, legal immigrant households take advantage of every available welfare program, according to the study, which attributes it to low education level and resulting low income. The highest rate of welfare recipients come from the Dominican Republic (82%), Mexico and Guatemala (75%) and Ecuador (70%), according to the report, which says welfare use tends to be high for both new arrivals and established residents.”
Every time the “Amnesty or pathway to citizenship” argument arises, lawmakers stakeout their territory—the left plays the compassionate card and the right says secure the border. But didn’t Congress already pass the Secure Fence Act of 2006?
President George W. Bush proclaimed the “bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.” The Act set out to use 21st century technology to build a fence that would stem the tide of illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It authorized the construction of 700 miles of additional fencing along the southern border with Mexico, added vehicle barriers, checkpoints and lighting to prevent illegal immigration; it also authorized the Department of Homeland Security to use cameras, satellites and drones to reinforce the border infrastructure at a cost of $10.4 billion in 2007. The Act passed in the Democrat controlled House with a vote of 283-138 and Senate 80-19 (with then Senator Obama’s support).
Unfortunately, the political promises died in the appropriation process where the new secure border bill failed to be funded in the Congress’ infamous “bait and switch tactic” that allows lawmakers to campaign on border security knowing full well it will never be fully funded or completed.
Last year President Obama unveiled his version of amnesty by using his well-worn amnesty pen. The plan grants legal status to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants. “If you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes,” the President said, “you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country.” Obama neglected to mention that the majority of illegal immigrants are so low income that they would pay no net income taxes; moreover they are eligible for welfare benefits like Obama care and Earned Income Credit worth thousands in “free” money from taxpayers. A 2006 report from the left-leaning Century Foundation said, “It is likely that the undocumented workers will end up receiving rather than paying the Treasury money.”
With a net loss in the costs associated with illegal immigration, American voters seem drawn to a strong president that would actually enforce laws on the books and turn off the spigot of freebies. One program that could eliminate illegal immigrants from working in the US is E-Verify. The electronic program allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees. The program was authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) and allows employers to submit information taken from a new hire’s Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) through E-Verify. The Social Security Administration and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) then determine whether the information matches government records and whether the new hire is authorized to work in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security said, “we facilitate federal agencies and employers comply [sic] with U.S. immigration law.” This is the program the Mitt Romney referenced when he concluded that illegal immigrants would self-deport if they were unable to secure a job. While E-Verify is 98 percent effective, only a small fraction of employers use the program. Along with the Chamber of Commerce, Republican leadership also opposes mandating E-Verify and welcomes a pathway to citizenship.
Furthermore, support for Mr. Romney’s comments on the self-deportation of illegal immigrants was proven when Arizona, a state with tough illegal immigrations laws, limited benefits to illegals caused 110,000 of the estimated 360,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona to flee the state, according to a 2012 DHS report.
Experts told AZ Central News, “the primary factor behind the exodus was the lack of jobs during the recession, but tighter border enforcement and tough immigration laws also played a role.”
And finally an overlooked financial burden placed on Americans is the cottage identity theft industry. Millions of average Americans fall victim to identity theft by illegal job seekers who use their social security numbers to obtain jobs or access government benefits.
One case reported by the Associated Press involved a Kansas resident, Candida Gutierrez, whose total identity was allegedly stolen by illegal alien Benita Cardona-Gonzalez. The perpetrator used the identity to get a job; a driver’s license, a mortgage and medical care for the birth of two children. Gutierrez said, “When she claimed my identity and I claimed it back, she was informed that I was claiming it too. She knew I was aware and that I was trying to fight, and yet she would keep fighting. It is not like she realized and she stopped. No, she kept going, and she kept going harder.”
The common practice forces victims to spend many hours cleaning up their credit history. Mrs. Gutierrez tried to get the Social Security Administration to give her a new number only to find out that the illegal immigrant did this as well, so the agency ended up issuing a new number to the criminal and forced Gutierrez to file federal income tax forms using an ITIN, which illegal aliens normally use.
Officials say identity thieves become more confident when they remain undetected over time. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson, who is prosecuting the Cardona-Gonzalez case said, “And so that is a natural progression, and that is what we are seeing.” Anderson said more cases of total identity theft will be litigated “because we all know what is going on out there — which is thousands and thousands of people who are working illegally in the United States under false identities, mostly of U.S. citizens, and very little is being done about it. But we are doing something about it, one case at a time.”
If the majority of the traffic were the result of a porous border, logic dictate’s investing resources to build a fence would be the most cost-effective solution. The majority of voters favor securing the border, yet Congress continues to argue with one another and kick the can down the road.
Outgoing Speaker John Boehner was out of step with his caucus and GOP voters on immigration. While most Republican lawmakers and voters vehemently oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, in the past Boehner and his leadership team have supported the 2013 “gang of eight” comprehensive amnesty bill.
While most GOP members and voters want Congress to defund Obama’s executive amnesty programs, Boehner and his leadership team have repeatedly backed down from confrontations with the White House. Earlier this year, both Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to hold the president accountable by withdrawing provisions from a Homeland Security funding bill that would have squashed any funds to implement the president’s unconstitutional amnesty via executive order.
But GOP voters looking for a change in the House won’t get it from the frontrunner Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). As part of Speaker Boehner’s leadership team, McCarthy supported the Senate’s “gang of eight’s” comprehensive immigration reform that included a form of amnesty.
The claims that the US does not have an immigration law is misplaced in that the US admits a million legal immigrants each year after they file an application, pay a fee, submit to medical and economic scrutiny, study civics, take a language test, swear an oath to the US, and denounce their former homelands. Some immigrants wait years to obtain immigration in following the legal process, which oftentimes results in long periods of separation from their family members. Many illegal immigrant supporters claiming due process for border crashers forget or ignore the due process and hardship endured by legal immigrants in their rush to the border.