No policy debate is more filled with dishonesty and duplicity than immigration. The whine of political axes being ground is continually drowned out by Emma Lazarus sentimentalism, “we’re a nation of immigrants” clichés, promiscuous virtue-signaling, and the current weepy melodramas of children “ripped from their mother’s arms.” The whole sordid business exists, of course, to perfume some simple truths: Leviathan Dems want more voters and more dependents of the entitlement-industrial complex; Wall Street Republicans want plentiful cheap labor. The only thing missing are the facts about the reality of immigration both illegal and legal.
Start with imprecise numbers. We are told that there are currently 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. Others say it’s closer to 20 to 25 million. The point is, nobody knows. We do know that close to a third of federal inmates are illegals. But we don’t know much about the rest, except for those illegal alien “dreamers” on television lamenting how they have to “live in the shadows.” We don’t know the extent of the costs to taxpayers of illegal immigration, even as we are told by amnesty supporters that they are net contributors to the economy through payroll and sales taxes. But they don’t tell us if that sum subtracts the $26 billion sent back to Mexico. We do know that taxpayers spend $2 billion a year to provide medical services to illegal aliens just in emergency room visits. According to Christopher Conover, state and local circumventions of federal prohibitions against health care for illegals are indirectly costing taxpayers $17 billion a year in care for illegal aliens. And that’s just health care. Some estimates put the total cost of illegal aliens at $89 billion, while others go as high $135 billion.
People who do not live among concentrations of illegal aliens can easily dispute these estimates, even though they’re based on government data bases. Nor do they recognize the damage to the quality of life in communities filled with large numbers of people from different cultures, values, and mores. They don’t get that the “broken windows” theory of policing applies to immigration as well. Violent crimes reflect a larger disregard for the law seen in violations of housing, animal, garbage, and sanitation regulations, or violations of traffic laws on DUIs, driving without a license, and hit-and-runs. Only a fraction of these violations leads to arrests or fines. Law enforcement often do not even bother to cite offenders or search for them, since they know the system will spit them back out, given the lack of resources to prosecute and incarcerate offendeers. Then there’s the impact on public services like schools and hospitals and emergency rooms, where staff consume time tending to people who can’t speak English and who use the emergency room as their primary care physician. This degradation of a community that follows such daily disorder cannot always be quantified, but it has serious consequences. You have to live with it to really grasp the extent of this problem.