[Tweeters] RE: Border Wall - Outrageous post requires
Clarence C. Lupo
Gos at tds.net
Mon Nov 12 17:33:18 PST 2007
While I don't argue over the internet, I'll entertain this once, then
respond no more to this subject; not in private or in public.
I said nothing against any race, but rather the criminal element crossing
our boarders. I am talking about people who cross and enter illegally,
often with criminal intent. I could care less what color, race or gender
they are. The strain on the services of this country are stunning. If a
DMZ were set up I do believe that the problem would be solved. Not through
mass murders, but through the presence of a real and present deterrent to
crossing illegally. As I have stated before, that our government has waged
war in Iraq while ignoring the home issues of security is shameful.
The quote is from a cost study in 2002. The number have only gone up since
And finally, the pro email comments to my first comment are running better
than 5 to 1, so I am far from being alone in believing our boarders need
protecting. I saw once the numbers of rapes, murders and other crimes from
the DCJ that occur each week from illegal immigration; it was staggering.
No more comments.
This study is one of the first to estimate the total impact of illegal
immigration on the federal budget. Most previous studies have focused on the
state and local level and have examined only costs or tax payments, but not
both. Based on Census Bureau data, this study finds that, when all taxes
paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households
created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion
in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens,
the net fiscal deficit would grow to nearly $29 billion.
Among the findings:
a.. Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in
costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes,
creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal
b.. Among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the
uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC,
and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems
($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).
c.. With nearly two-thirds of illegal aliens lacking a high school degree,
the primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education
levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments, not their legal status or
heavy use of most social services.
d.. On average, the costs that illegal households impose on federal
coffers are less than half that of other households, but their tax payments
are only one-fourth that of other households.
e.. Many of the costs associated with illegals are due to their
American-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth. Thus,
greater efforts at barring illegals from federal programs will not reduce
costs because their citizen children can continue to access them.
f.. If illegal aliens were given amnesty and began to pay taxes and use
services like households headed by legal immigrants with the same education
levels, the estimated annual net fiscal deficit would increase from $2,700
per household to nearly $7,700, for a total net cost of $29 billion.
g.. Costs increase dramatically because unskilled immigrants with legal
status -- what most illegal aliens would become -- can access government
programs, but still tend to make very modest tax payments.
h.. Although legalization would increase average tax payments by 77
percent, average costs would rise by 118 percent.
i.. The fact that legal immigrants with few years of schooling are a large
fiscal drain does not mean that legal immigrants overall are a net drain --
many legal immigrants are highly skilled.
j.. The vast majority of illegals hold jobs. Thus the fiscal deficit they
create for the federal government is not the result of an unwillingness to
k.. The results of this study are consistent with a 1997 study by the
National Research Council, which also found that immigrants' education level
is a key determinant of their fiscal impact.
A Complex Fiscal Picture
Welfare use. Our findings show that many of the preconceived notions about
the fiscal impact of illegal households turn out to be inaccurate. In terms
of welfare use, receipt of cash assistance programs tends to be very low,
while Medicaid use, though significant, is still less than for other
households. Only use of food assistance programs is significantly higher
than that of the rest of the population. Also, contrary to the perceptions
that illegal aliens don't pay payroll taxes, we estimate that more than half
of illegals work "on the books." On average, illegal households pay more
than $4,200 a year in all forms of federal taxes. Unfortunately, they impose
costs of $6,950 per household.
Social Security and Medicare. Although we find that the net effect of
illegal households is negative at the federal level, the same is not true
for Social Security and Medicare. We estimate that illegal households create
a combined net benefit for these two programs in excess of $7 billion a
year, accounting for about 4 percent of the total annual surplus in these
two programs. However, they create a net deficit of $17.4 billion in the
rest of the budget, for a total net loss of $10.4 billion. Nonetheless,
their impact on Social Security and Medicare is unambiguously positive. Of
course, if the Social Security totalization agreement with Mexico signed in
June goes into effect, allowing illegals to collect Social Security, these
calculations would change.
The Impact of Amnesty. Finally, our estimates show that amnesty would
significantly increase tax revenue. Because both their income and tax
compliance would rise, we estimate that under the most likely scenario the
average illegal alien household would pay 77 percent ($3,200) more a year in
federal taxes once legalized. While not enough to offset the 118 percent
($8,200) per household increase in costs that would come with legalization,
amnesty would significantly increase both the average income and tax
payments of illegal aliens.
What's Different About Today's Immigration. Many native-born Americans
observe that their ancestors came to America and did not place great demands
on government services. Perhaps this is true, but the size and scope of
government were dramatically smaller during the last great wave of
immigration. Not just means-tested programs, but expenditures on everything
from public schools to roads were only a fraction of what they are today.
Thus, the arrival of unskilled immigrants in the past did not have the
negative fiscal implications that it does today. Moreover, the American
economy has changed profoundly since the last great wave of immigration,
with education now the key determinant of economic success. The costs that
unskilled immigrants impose simply reflect the nature of the modern American
economy and welfare state. It is doubtful that the fiscal costs can be
avoided if our immigration policies remain unchanged.
The negative impact on the federal budget need not be the only or even the
primary consideration when deciding what to do about illegal immigration.
But assuming that the fiscal status quo is unacceptable, there are three
main changes in policy that might reduce or eliminate the fiscal costs of
illegal immigration. One set of options is to allow illegal aliens to remain
in the country, but attempt to reduce the costs they impose. A second set of
options would be to grant them legal status as a way of increasing the taxes
they pay. A third option would be to enforce the law and reduce the size of
the illegal population and with it the costs of illegal immigration.
Reducing the Cost Side of the Equation. Reducing the costs illegals impose
would probably be the most difficult of the three options because illegal
households already impose only about 46 percent as much in costs on the
federal government as other households. Thus, the amount of money that can
be saved by curtailing their use of public services even further is probably
quite limited. Moreover, the fact that benefits are often received on behalf
of their U.S.-citizen children means that it is very difficult to prevent
illegal households from accessing the programs they do. And many of the
programs illegals use most extensively are likely to be politically very
difficult to cut, such as the Women Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition
program. Other costs, such as incarcerating illegals who have been convicted
of crimes are unavoidable. It seems almost certain that if illegals are
allowed to remain in the country, the fiscal deficit will persist.
Increasing Tax Revenue by Granting Amnesty. As discussed above, our research
shows that granting illegal aliens amnesty would dramatically increase tax
revenue. Unfortunately, we find that costs would increase even more. Costs
would rise dramatically because illegals would be able to access many
programs that are currently off limits to them. Moreover, even if legalized
illegal aliens continued to be barred from using some means-tested programs,
they would still be much more likely to sign their U.S.-citizen children up
for them because they would lose whatever fear they had of the government.
We know this because immigrants with legal status, who have the same
education levels and resulting low incomes as illegal aliens, sign their
U.S.-citizen children up for programs like Medicaid at higher rates than
illegal aliens with U.S.-citizen children. In addition, direct costs for
programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit would also grow dramatically with
legalization. Right now, illegals need a Social Security number and have to
file a tax return to get the credit. As a result, relatively few actually
get it. We estimate that once legalized, payments to illegals under this
program would grow more than ten-fold.
>From a purely fiscal point of view, the main problem with legalization is
that illegals would, for the most part, become unskilled legal immigrants.
And unskilled legal immigrants create much larger fiscal costs than
unskilled illegal aliens. Legalization will not change the low education
levels of illegal aliens or the fact that the American labor market offers
very limited opportunities to such workers, whatever their legal status. Nor
will it change the basic fact that the United States, like all
industrialized democracies, has a well-developed welfare state that provides
assistance to low-income workers. Large fiscal costs are simply an
unavoidable outcome of unskilled immigration given the economic and fiscal
realities of America today.
Enforcing Immigration Laws. If we are serious about avoiding the fiscal
costs of illegal immigration, the only real option is to enforce the law and
reduce the number of illegal aliens in the country. First, this would entail
much greater efforts to police the nation's land and sea borders. At
present, less than 2,000 agents are on duty at any one time on the Mexican
and Canadian borders. Second, much greater effort must be made to ensure
that those allowed into the country on a temporary basis, such as tourists
and guest workers, are not likely to stay in the country permanently. Third,
the centerpiece of any enforcement effort would be to enforce the ban on
hiring illegal aliens. At present, the law is completely unenforced.
Enforcement would require using existing databases to ensure that all new
hires are authorized to work in the United States and levying heavy fines on
businesses that knowingly employ illegal aliens. Finally, a clear message
from policymakers, especially senior members of the administration, that
enforcement of the law is valued and vitally important to the nation, would
dramatically increase the extremely low morale of those who enforce
Policing the border, enforcing the ban on hiring illegal aliens, denying
temporary visas to those likely to remain permanently, and all the other
things necessary to reduce illegal immigration will take time and cost
money. However, since the cost of illegal immigration to the federal
government alone is estimated at over $10 billion a year, significant
resources could be devoted to enforcement efforts and still leave taxpayers
with significant net savings. Enforcement not only has the advantage of
reducing the costs of illegal immigration, it also is very popular with the
general public. Nonetheless, policymakers can expect strong opposition from
special interest groups, especially ethnic advocacy groups and those
elements of the business community that do not want to invest in
labor-saving devices and techniques or pay better salaries, but instead want
access to large numbers of cheap, unskilled workers. If we choose to
continue to not enforce the law or to grant illegals amnesty, both the
public and policymakers have to understand that there will be significant
long-term costs for taxpayers.
Overall Approach. To estimate the impact of households headed by illegal
aliens, we rely heavily on the National Research Council's (NRC) 1997 study,
"The New Americans." Like that study, we use the March Current Population
Survey (CPS) and the decennial Census, both collected by the Census Bureau.
We use the March 2003 CPS, which asks questions about income, household
structure, and use of public services in the calendar year prior to the
survey. We control total federal expenditures and tax receipts by category
to reflect actual expenditures and tax payments. Like the NRC, we assume
that immigrants have no impact on defense-related expenditures and therefore
assign those costs only to native-headed households. Like the NRC, we define
a household as persons living together who are related. Individuals living
alone or with persons to whom they are unrelated are treated as their own
households. As the NRC study points out, a "household is the primary unit
through which public services are consumed and taxes paid." Following the
NRC's example of using households, many of which include U.S.-citizen
children, as the unit of analysis makes sense because the presence of these
children and the costs they create are a direct result of their parents
having been allowed to enter and remain in country. Thus, counting services
used by these children allows for a full accounting of the costs of illegal
Identifying Illegal Aliens in Census Bureau Data. While the CPS does not ask
respondents if they are illegal aliens, the Urban Institute, the former
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and the Census Bureau have
used socio-demographic characteristics in the data to estimate the size and
characteristics of the illegal population. To identify illegal aliens in the
survey, we used citizenship status, year of arrival in the United States,
age, country of birth, educational attainment, sex, receipt of welfare
programs, receipt of Social Security, veteran status, and marital status.
This method is based on some very well-established facts about the
characteristics of the illegal population. In some cases, we assume that
individuals have zero chance of being an illegal alien, such as naturalized
citizens, veterans, and individuals who report that they personally receive
Social Security benefits or cash assistance from a welfare program or those
who are enrolled in Medicaid. However, other members of a household, mainly
the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, can and do receive these programs.
We estimate that there were 8.7 million illegal aliens included in the March
2003 CPS. By design, our estimates for the size and characteristics of the
illegal population are very similar to those prepared by the Census Bureau,
the INS, and the Urban Institute.
Estimating the Impact of Amnesty. We assume that any amnesty that passes
Congress will have Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) as a component. Even
though the President's amnesty proposal in January seems to envision
"temporary" worker status, every major legalization bill in Congress,
including those sponsored by Republican legislators, provides illegal aliens
with LPR status at some point in the process. Moreover, Democratic
presidential nominee John Kerry has indicated his strong desire to give LPR
status to illegal aliens.
To estimate the likely impact of legalization, we run two different
simulations. In our first simulation, we assume that legalized illegal
aliens would use services and pay taxes like all households headed by legal
immigrants with the same characteristics. In this simulation, we control for
the education level of the household head and whether the head is from
Mexico. The first simulation shows that the net fiscal deficit grows from
about $2,700 to more than $6,000 per household. In the second simulation, we
again control for education and whether the household head is Mexican and
also assume that illegals would become like post-1986 legal immigrants,
excluding refugees. Because illegals are much more like recently arrived
non-refugees than legal immigrants in general, the second simulation is the
more plausible. The second simulation shows that the net fiscal deficit per
household would climb to $7,700.
Results Similar to Other Studies. Our overall conclusion that education
level is the primary determinant of tax payments made and services used is
very similar to the conclusion of the 1997 National Research Council report,
"The New Americans." The results of our study also closely match the
findings of a 1998 Urban Institute study, which examined tax payments by
illegal aliens in New York State. In order to test our results we ran
separate estimates for federal taxes and found that, when adjusted for
inflation, our estimated federal taxes are almost identical to those of the
Urban Institute. The results of this study are also buttressed by an
analysis of illegal alien tax returns done by the Inspector General's Office
of the Department of Treasury in 2004, which found that about half of
illegals had no federal income tax liability, very similar to our finding of
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stewart Wechsler" <ecostewart at quidnunc.net>
To: "tweeters" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 5:10 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] RE: Border Wall - Outrageous post requires
> Dear Fellow Tweeters,
> Some people suggested that I should have responded off the list to
> Clarence's public advocacy of murdering all immigrants caught entering the
> country without papers outside of official border crossings. Yes, his
> violated the rules of the list and technically my response also violated
> those rules. That said, I believe that to not respond on the list to this
> outrageous suggestion would be to leave the world with the impression that
> Washington birders are tolerant of his suggestion that all immigrants be
> murdered on sight if they are not at an official border crossing and are
> suspected not to have a visa. What is to stop these trigger happy "border
> guards" from shooting Mexican-American birders that look to the "border
> guard" like immigrants, but who are just near the border but were mistaken
> for having just crossed the border?
> This kind of outrageous suggestion on our list demands a public admonition
> on our list.
> Stewart Wechsler
> West Seattle
> mailto:ecostewart at quidnunc.net
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Clarence C. Lupo
> Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 4:44 PM
> To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
> Subject: [Tweeters] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Border Wall.
> We don't need a wall on our southern border. We need a DMZ with towers.
> Let wildlife cross. Shoot dead human invaders.
> One application would bring the illegal immigration surge to a halt. We
> the only country in the world that takes pride in being raped by foreign
> How about back to birding???
> Cinebar, WA.
> Tweeters mailing list
> Tweeters at u.washington.edu
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