Sunday, February 26, 2006

Probably a wash

United States General Accounting Office
Report to the Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives

Issues in Estimating State-by-State Costs

Texas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina multiplied their states’ average current per pupil expenditures for the 1999–2000 school year by estimates of the number of illegal alien schoolchildren. Specifically:

Texas state government staff told us that they first obtained an estimate of the number of school-aged illegal alien children younger than 18 living in Texas, from a nongovernment organization.28 The Texas staff then multiplied this figure by the upper and lower bounds
of a range based on alternative assumptions about the percentages of such children attending public schools—66.8 to 74.8 percent.29

The annual cost estimates that they provided to us ranged from $50 million to $87.5 million in Pennsylvania to $932 million to $1.04 billion in Texas.31

So Texas spends over a billion dollars educating the children of illegal aliens. But I'm sure that even when you factor in the costs of locking up the criminal offenders, giving out social services and having a good portion of wages earned go south via Western Union that the criminal aliens contribute enough to the economy to make it "a wash."


Sue K. said...

"one beel-yon dollars" and that's only for education in Texas! If you add up e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g else, I can't even imagine!! That's a lot of tax money! But let's go one step further and not talk about the money. Ask the American families who have lost someone that was involved in a car accident with an illegal alien (i.e not supposed to be in the United States) if they feel it can ever be a "wash." How about families who have been destroyed by marijuana and meth that comes from Mexico if they feel it will ever be a wash. I highly doubt it! So, in my opinion, it's not all about the money and economy.

Daniel said...

I'm with you Sue, my main problem with illegal immigration is cultural.

Rick Hickey said...

For that mis-informed Person who keeps quoting some twisted book, Here are FACTS from DHS;
2004 1.2 Million Illegal Aliens apprehened, 92% from Mexico.
Of 235,247 Detained 51% had a CRIMINAL Record (Drugs, Assault etc.), 77% of these CRIMINALS were from Mexico (a 10% Increase from 2003)
1.03 MILLION "accepted an offer of Voluntary Departure"
Your Book probably says they all left, as told.
And if you STILL think we are not open to Immigrants; 8 MILLION Alien's of Legal Permanent Resident status are qualified to become a Full U.S. Citizen (or Naturlized)this year! About 1 MILLION every other year bother to finish the paperwork.
BUT, You have to SPEAK, READ & WRITE English & know our laws & Constitution & give up allegience to any other Country.
ILLEGAL is a choice!

Anonymous said...

Rick -- I suppose you are talking about me. Here are the "twisted" books I am referring to:

Smith, James P. and Barry Edmonston. 1997. The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.

This book was commissioned by the National Research Council (
i.e., the Federal government. Call it twisted if you want. Nonetheless, they found that immigration did not have a negative effect, overall, on the American economy, and contributed to growth in the long-run. Sorry, Rick, I mean no offense, but I'll go with their numbers over yours.

Another "twisted" book: Bean, Frank D. and Gillian Stevens. 2003. America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of Diversity. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. See especially Chapter 9: "The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration". Again, findings point to positive rather than negative impacts.

A third "twisted" book, and this one comes from your own website's recommended reading list:

Massey, Douglas S., Jorge Durand and Nolan J. Malone. 2002. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. You might want to remove this from your propaganda list as it lucidly argues for a guest worker program.

I'm really not sure what I am supposed to make of your numbers. Are there illegal immigrants in Oregon? Sure. Are their numbers growing, of course, since the 1990s saw an unprecedented dispersion of the Mexican-origin population out of the American Southwest. Who cares that most legal permanent residents don't apply for citizenship? I don't. Most intend (and do) return to their home countries to retire. They can simply earn higher wages here, than in their country-of-origin.

So Rick, keep up your campaign, and I'll keep reading my twisted books. We can even all continue to call each other names. The reality of the matter is, policy-makers are likely reading the same "twisted" books, and not Rick's blog-posts, in order to make decisions about immigration policy, given that those books are written by economists and social scientists, whereas Rick, despite an obvioius aptitude for on-line research and the ability to drive home an argument with ALL CAPS, lacks comparable credentials.

What will you all do when the inevitable compromise is finally reached: an amnesty/guest-worker program along with beefed-up enforcement?

Daniel, what will you do then?

Kristopher said...

Didn't we do the amnesty thing already?

Didn't work very well, did it?

Scottiebill said...

Anon is showing his true colors: Being an apologist for the ILLEGAL immigrants. I have to wonder what part of ILLEGAL anonymous does not understand.

And, again, why cannot Kulongoski and Bradbury be indicted and procecuted for aiding and abetting these criminals after they get into our country and Oregon? I have always been led to believe that aiding and abetting criminal behavior is a crime in itself, as being an accessory before, during, and/or after the fact. If Oregon prosecutors do not do something along this line, then they are just as guilty as Teddy the K and Bradbury.

The Gentle Cricket said...

"They can simply earn higher wages here, than in their country-of-origin."-Anonymous

Translation: Meth has a higher street value here, than in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Cricket. If you want to assume that the bulk of Mexicans are meth dealers, go right ahead.

Scottiebill -- Becuase I argue that the existing evidence on illegal immigration counters what I see bandied about on this blog, in no way makes me an apologist. In fact, I think the presence of unauthorized migrants is bad for the country. We just disagree about the proper policy solution.

Kristopher mentioned the previous amnesty. Yes, it was a failure, but not because of a lack of expenditure on border enforcement, but rather because the program lacked any sense of infrastructure for enforcement of employers and subcontractors who continued to hire undocumented by being able to sign a piece of paper to have on file that said they saw some form of documentation. An amnesty program needs to be enacted in conjunction with a reliable system of ensuring legality that does not add cost or hassle to the employer, but which carries extremely stiff punishments of employers for knowingly hiring illegals.

The increased border enforcement of the 1980s and 1990s had huge impacts on illegal immigration. Operations Blockade and Gatekeeper deflected illegal flows into the Sonora desert away from Tijuana and El Paso. More importantly, a huge market opened up for coyotes who could command thousands of dollars to smuggle people across the borders. Building a wall will not deter those willing to risk smuggling human cargo. Do you want border enforcement to check every vehicle to see if people are in the trunk? How much will that cost in terms of man-hours and the inevitable slow-down in cross-border commerce?

Illegals should be brought above boards, so that the U.S. can derive the full benefits of taxing their wages, and making sure that competition is fair among employers (currently, those who hire undocumented have the advantage).

As for states issuing drivers' licenses to the undocumented, that is just another cost-benefit calculation. They're not in the business of immigration policy enforcement, but rather in the business of social and economic order. A huge population of undocumented (and therefore untraceable) poor people excluded from the mainstream labor market will undoubtedly lead to an underground informal economy that is beyond anything law enforcement in its current capacity could patrol.

Cutting them off from formal activities such as driver's licenses etc in anticipation that they would leave seems to me a huge risk, with major negative consequences if they did not return home. Among the undocumented are those who walked through a remote desert or stuffed themselves into a car trunk to get into the country. Most likely, denying them a drivers' license will be of little consequence when even in under the table work they can do much better than in Mexico. All that would happen is that under the table work would sky rocket beyond levels that we could enforce.

If all of this seems to you like so much liberal apologizing, consider the fact that no one has yet outlined how the deportation of an estimated 11 million unauthorized migrants is possible.

So, there seems to be two options:
(1) cut off illegals from all services and hope they go back to mexico, seal the border, and deport the ones we can


(2) give amnesty to those who are working, thus providing incentives to remain employed and law abiding. Institutionalize a high-tech, fool-proof verification system for employers (similar to that in Germany), and deport those with record of committing a crime in the U.S. (besides that of illegal entry).

The latter of these two seems a safer bet to me.