Heritage's Updated Study on the Welfare Costs of Immigrants: Garbage In, Garbage Out

The problem with many environmental studies, conservatives are fond of pointing out, is that they are too often “garbage in, garbage out.”  This means that the results of the studies are so dependent on their modeling assumptions that they will pretty much prove whatever the researcher wants them to prove. This same criticism can now be directed at an updated Heritage Foundation study released yesterday examining the welfare costs of low-skilled immigrants.

Conducted by Robert Rector and Jason Richwine, the study found that amnesty for illegals would impose a net fiscal cost of $6.3 trillion over the course of their (immigrants', not Rector/Richwine's) lifetime.  “Given the U.S. debt of $17 trillion, the fiscal effects detailed in our study should be at the forefront of legislators’ minds as they consider immigration reform,” Rector and Heritage President Jim DeMint wrote in the Washington Post yesterday.  Actually, as I noted here and here, what should be at the “forefront of legislators’ minds” is that a foreign-born underclass is a bargain for taxpayers compared to a native-born one and hence might help strengthen the safety net.

Be that as it may, these results are completely in line with Rector’s controversial 2007 study, which is credited with having derailed President George W. Bush’s immigration reform. That study found that low skilled immigrants imposed nearly $1 trillion in annual fiscal costs on American taxpayers.

However, it was riddled with methodological flaws most of which, unfortunately, the new study does not even acknowledge, let alone correct.

One big flaw that Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute points to is that in this study Heritage abandons its usual methodology of dynamic scoring. Heritage criticizes CBO and other government agencies for applying a static methodology when it comes to examining the fiscal effects of tax cuts. This approach counts the revenues the government looses from tax cuts, but does not factor in the revenues the government gains from the economic growth and productivity gains that these cuts engender, thereby greatly exaggerating the impact of tax cuts on government coffers.

But Rector does the exact same thing in his study. He counts the costs that welfare for low-skilled immigrants would impose on government coffers, but neglects the fiscal impact of the economic growth that these immigrants would spur. Studies that have done a fuller accounting suggest that the GDP-growth spurred is greater than the fiscal costs of low-skilled immigrants.

A 2006 analysis by the Texas comptroller estimated that low-skilled unauthorized workers cost the state treasury $504 million more than they paid in taxes in 2005. Without them, however, the state’s economy would have shrunk by 2.1 percent, or $17.7 billion, as the competitive edge of Texas businesses diminished.

Likewise, a 2006 study by the Kenan Institute at the University of North Carolina found that although Hispanic immigrants imposed a net $61 million cost on the state budget, they contributed $9 billion to the gross state product.

Furthermore, a 2012 paper for Cato Institute written by UCLA’s Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda that deployed a dynamic model found that immigration reform would increase U.S. GDP by $1.5 trillion in the 10 years after enactment. Hinojosa-Ojeda also ran a simulation examining the economic impact of the policy favored by Heritage: the removal or exit of all unauthorized immigrants. The economic result would be a $2.6 trillion decrease in estimated GDP growth over the next decade.

The other big problem with this version of Rector’s study, as with the last one, is that it compares the welfare costs of average American households with low-skilled immigrant ones to show how much more the latter consume in welfare. But if you compare the latter with lower-income American families, the advantage is on the side of immigrants.

Rector’s original study was also criticized for engaging in single-entry bookkeeping. This means he counted what the (American-born) children of low-skilled immigrants cost in welfare but not the taxes they’d pay when they grew up. Rector responds to this criticism this time by noting: “Even if all the children of unlawful immigrants graduated from college, they would be hard-pressed to pay back $6.3 trillion in costs over their lifetimes.” Perhaps, but that misses the point. If he doesn't want to count their contributions then he should remove them from the equation altogether.  Most of these kids are Americans anyway. Simply look at the welfare consumption of low-skilled immigrant adults. That number would be a lot, lot less than the eye-popping $6.3 trillion because these folks don’t qualify for the full panoply of means-tested benefits that natives do.

But Rector completely gives his game away with his claims about the wage and employment effects of immigration that have nothing to do with the core question of his study:

[U]nlawful immigration appears to depress the wages of low-skill U.S.-born and lawful immigrant workers by 10 percent, or $2,300, per year. Unlawful immigration also probably drives many of our most vulnerable U.S.-born workers out of the labor force entirely. Unlawful immigration thus makes it harder for the least advantaged U.S. citizens to share in the American dream. This is wrong; public policy should support the interests of those who have a right to be here, not those who have broken our laws.

There is a vast and rich economics literature on this subject that Rector seems to be quite innocent of. Plenty of studies have found that immigrants don’t depress but stimulate the labor market for natives because they allow more businesses to form. As for the wage effects, even restrictionists’ favorite economist George Borjas’ 2003 paper failed to find any. Borjas disaggregated the impact of low skilled immigration on different native groups and found that, over the long run, the overall impact on their wages was zero. Only one group, high school dropouts, felt a noticeable negative impact. However, a subsequent study by Giovanni Peri and Gianmarco Ottaviano failed to corroborate Borjas’ findings even for native high-school dropouts. They found a positive long-run effect of 0.3 percent. In other words, no one — not even high school dropouts lose in the long run due to low-skilled immigration.

 Rector managed to derail immigration reform last time because responsible conservative academics did not have time to take a close look at his claims. Not so now. Many respectable figures, including folks at the American Enterprise Institute and former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, are questioning Heritage and its methodology.  For a great round up of conservative reaction to the study, read this excellent piece by WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin.

(For more on this and other immigration-related issues buy Reason’s latest ebook, Humane and Pro-Growth: A Reason Guide to Immigration Reform, a compendium of Reason’s best work by its best writers over the last seven years for the bargain price of $2.99.)

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  • Cytotoxic||

    BUT CATO IS FASCIST BECAUSE E-VERIFY

  • Cytotoxic||

    There, nativists. I've spared you the effort.

  • rickraul102||

    just as Frank said I didnt know that some people able to get paid $7814 in four weeks on the computer. did you look at this webpage.... WWW.DAZ7.COM

  • Calidissident||

    DAMN COSMOTARIANS SHILLING FOR THE LEFTISTS! Don't you know REAL libertarians only believe in rights and welfare for White Americans!

    /American

  • Slammer||

    Yep, he arrived downthread

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    OT: A College-aged Environmentalist just knocked on my door. He quickly took note of my A&M t-shirt, and I heard him mumble to his scrawny ass intern "its one of them". About 15s into their anti-fracking(I'm visiting some family in Ohio) bullshit, I abruptly told them to shove their environmental religion up their collective arses.

    Did I say enough?

  • Calidissident||

    They're going door to door now? Who do they think they are, Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses? It really is becoming a religion for a lot of them

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    They were already walking away before I could bring that up.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    You forgot "You have five minutes to be off my property or I'm calling the cops and getting you arrested for trespassing".

  • CE||

    A real libertarian never calls the cops.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I might, if I had an old dog I wanted to put down and didn't feel I could do it myself. Of course, considering "professionalism" it might take two or three shots.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    and I heard him mumble to his scrawny ass intern "its one of them"

    Should have screamed MICROAGRESSION! at them. ;)

  • Paul.||

    Did I say enough?

    Did you run out the door, standing your ground and shooting at them with your high-cap magazine fed patrol rifle while screaming "The Kochs shall be avenged!"

  • Marshall Gill||

    "The Kochs shall be avenged!"

    I am now looking for the opportunity to do this.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Studies that have done a fuller accounting suggest that the GDP-growth spurred is greater than the fiscal costs of low-skilled immigrants.

    Isn't this a mathematical certainty since the fiscal costs are included in GDP? (not an economist, obviously)

  • DJF||

    Hurricane Katrina increased GDP so lets have more hurricanes

  • OldMexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Hurricane Katrina increased GDP so lets have more hurricanes


    Hurricane Katrina did no such thing. That's number one.

    Number Two would be what you're implying. Now, flush.

  • Paul.||

    So did stimulus. let's have more stimulus.

  • CE||

    To economists, there are no fiscal costs, just additions to GDP, and the multiplier effect. If new immigrants create new businesses and new customers, investment and consumption go up, and GDP grows. If some immigrants add to the taxpayer's welfare burden, government spending goes up and GDP grows some more.

  • Paul.||

    It's GDP all the way up.

  • OldMexican||

    a 2006 study by the Kenan Institute at the University of North Carolina found that although Hispanic immigrants imposed a net $61 million cost on the state budget, they contributed $9 billion to the gross state product.


    Those that want to restrict immigration often fall back to the argument that immigrants cost more to the state in benefits than what they pay in taxes. As the above studies show, however, the economic activity generated by the existence of these immigrants more than makes up for the supposed cost even if all immigrants were to apply for all the benefits they could enjoy under the law.

    And that is the main objection by the economists at the CATO Institute or the American Enterprise Institute (and the other free-market think-tanks) towards the Heritage study: that the Heritage Foundation only looks at one aspect of the economic activity of immigrants (or the supposed costs) without looking at the gains in other places such as goods and services that are provided. After all, immigrants do have to eat, wear clothes and use energy just like the rest of humankind.

    We have to be careful, however, when indicating these facts because the anti-immigration zealots are just as emotional and hysterical (and mendacious) as their brethren on the Progressive left.

  • DJF||

    Not all economic activity increases wealth and as pointed out above welfare is counted as economic activity, do you feel wealthier because someone gets to use your tax dollars to pay for their welfare.

    And Warfare is also a big generator of economic activity so do you think that Afghanistan, Iraq, and the War on Terror is making you richer?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Not all economic activity increases wealth


    Th Heritage study only looks at the "costs" (outlays) and not at the profits obtained by the employers of immigrants. Those profits ARE wealth creation.

    do you feel wealthier because someone gets to use your tax dollars to pay for their welfare.


    No, I feel wealthier because my local grocer does not have to sell a pound of tomatoes for $15.00 because the farmer doesn't have to do the harvest himself.

  • DJF||

    You do realize that the percentage of cost going to tomato pickers is a few percent of the cost of tomatoes at most and even if you doubled or tripled the cost of labor you would hardly notice it.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Not to mention that low cost farm labor is derived from illegal immigration and switching to legal immigrants will cause labor costs to increase.

  • Calidissident||

    The gains in GDP in the studies are not possibly large enough to be largely due to increases in welfare benefits (not to mention, government spending depresses economic activity elsewhere).

  • ||

    I notice again, a complete munging of "immigrants" and "illegal immigrants". I happen to be strongly in favor of more of the former and less of the latter.

    That aside, I agree with the ripping apart of the Heritage report study. The data I have seen is pretty compelling that ILLEGAL immigrants are not a welfare/cost burden on society.

    I think one can be against amnesty and/or open borders without demonizing illegal immigrants themselves, who on the whole, are wonderful salt of the earth people as far as I have seen. They are just trying to get a better life for them and their family. How can you possibly criticize that?

  • Acosmist||

    Art thou wroth?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I thought DeMint was going in to "turn thangs around". Looks like he is no better than the last top Heritage lobbyist.

  • OldMexican||

    For once, we agree.

  • SIV||

    The other big problem with this version of Rector’s study, as with the last one, is that it compares the welfare costs of average American households with low-skilled immigrant ones to show how much more the latter consume in welfare. But if you compare the latter with lower-income American families, the advantage is on the side of immigrants.

    Heritage screened out high skilled immigrants? Actually they were just comparing legal immigrant households to native-born households. Sounds like the answer is to allow the entry higher skilled/wealthier immigrants while barring all from collecting welfare.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Heritage screened out high skilled immigrants?

    How many high-skilled immigrants would be eligible for amnesty?

  • SIV||

    I believe the government doesn't classify skilled visa holders as any kind of immigrant at all, so very few to none.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Right. So why do you think Heritage screened them out?

  • SIV||

    I don't but Shikha implies Heritage did. US immigration policy screens them out and the proposed reform bill even more so.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Don't take anything Shikha says at face value.

    Heritage is comparing illegal undocumented alien immigrants, who also happen to be mostly low-skilled.

  • SIV||

    I don't. Heritage is actually comparing legal immigrant household welfare consumption to native household consumption. Shikha likes to lump illegal immigrant households in because they are eligible for far less welfare.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The title of the paper is "The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer."

  • SIV||

    When you give an "unlawful immigrant" amnesty he becomes a legal immigrant. That is where the huge spike in welfare/entitlements/tax consumption begins. Legal immigrants consume more government spending because they are eligible for it. Rector specifically says this in the paper.

  • Sidd Finch||

    We're on the same page.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Which implies that Shikha is fine with their 2nd class status, since legalization will include full eligibility for all welfare.

    And it ignores the welfare aspect of public education, which currently costs about $120,000 per kid.

  • Calidissident||

    "Sounds like the answer is to allow the entry higher skilled/wealthier immigrants while barring all from collecting welfare."

    Scratch out "higher skilled/wealthier" and there's your correct answer.

  • SIV||

    Why do you want to bar the entry of high skilled and wealthier immigrants? The "reform bill" Cato and now reason are shilling for puts even more restrictions on them.

  • Calidissident||

    Typical dishonesty from SIV. Removing the words I said to remove, the sentence reads "Sounds like the answer is to allow the entry (of) immigrants while barring all from collecting welfare." From that, how do you get that I was saying we should bar high skilled and wealthier immigrants? Are they not immigrants? And in case you missed it, Dalmia wrote an entire article criticizing the restrictive nature of the H1-B program. Criticizing Heritage's study is not the same thing as shilling for the "reform bill." I don't know why this is so hard to comprehend

  • Jerryskids||

    Well it sure would be nice to know whether or not immigrants are truly a net benefit to society since benefitting society is the primary function of the individual. Freedom's all well and good for the individual - but the collective comes first.

  • Calidissident||

    Sarcasm?

    If so, well done

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If they are a net cost, who picks up the tab?

  • Sidd Finch||

    individuals!

  • SIV||

    RTFA

    Shikha clearly explains the cost is picked up by the GDP multiplier effect.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Then they weren't "net costs" were they, genius?

  • Sidd Finch||

    I'm hoping "Shikha clearly explains" and "GDP multiplier effect" were sarcasm.

  • SIV||

    It seems to be flying over your heads.
    Y'all must not read my comments on Ms Dalmia's posts very often.

  • Sidd Finch||

    so sarcasm, right?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm actually quite sympathetic to concerns about immigration costing us more in terms of social and welfare programs. From where I'm standing, though, any excuse to slash social and welfare programs is a good one--so long as it works.

    If a critical mass of anti-immigration people will only support immigration reform if that reform is also accompanied by additional welfare reform, then by all means, we should reform EBT, etc. Anything wrong with making eligibility for citizen contingent on someone not being on any form of public assistance for at least five years?

    Forcing people to pay for each other more makes people more picky about who they're paying for.

    Stop forcing people to pay for each other so much (by way of whatever welfare program), and you'll see Americans become a whole lot more tolerant of immigration, really quick. ...and if they want to add on something making it harder for native born Americans to get onto those welfare programs, then that would be even better.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Her argument is that the new underclass will push the current underclass into lessunderclassness. And since underclass immigrants use less welfare than underclass natives, total welfare costs will go down.

    Yes, that's the actual argument. No, it doesn't make sense.

  • Calidissident||

    Is her argument that total welfare costs go down, or that those costs are outweighed by the taxes paid by immigrants and (more importantly) the economic growth that results from immigration (one effect of which would reduce the number of native born in poverty)?

    Also, you're agreeing with American. Just saying

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Is her argument that total welfare costs go down, or that those costs are outweighed by the taxes paid by immigrants...

    You do realize that this narrative requires accepting the socialist's premise that the welfare state is viable long term, right?

  • Calidissident||

    How so?

    Furthermore, it seems to me that the people here arguing against immigration, not for it, (aside from the flat out racists like American) are using the sustainability of the welfare state to justify their position.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Because you are saying that the taxes paid by newly legal poor people and the economic activity that they create will be greater than the welfare benefits that they will consume.

    This is very similar to the argument used by socialists to justify welfare in the first place.

  • ||

    this narrative requires accepting the socialist's premise that the welfare state is viable long term, right?

    How so?

  • Sidd Finch||

    The former.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I should add that it's not so much an argument as a thing she thought up a few months ago and now tacks onto all her immigration posts.

  • Calidissident||

    Is there another link you could give me to support that? Because I don't see her making that argument in this particular article

  • Sidd Finch||

    There's two links (haven't clicked) right before that quote.

    I think this is the inaugural appearance.

  • Calidissident||

    I would say that her argument in that article is a little unclear because she doesn't say at any point "Reduced welfare spending on natives due to immigration exceeds welfare spending on immigrants" but the point of the article is that immigrants reduce the strain on the welfare state. Had she added a sentence or two to the article mentioning taxes paid by immigrants and increased revenue from economic growth, then I think there'd be nothing wrong with the article. It's not clear if Dalmia thinks she doesn't need to include those two things or is she simply forgot. She did mention them in this article though, which makes me think that she believes nominal increases in welfare spending are cancelled out by increased revenues from both direct taxation of immigrants and as a result of economic growth. If not, her argument would be contradicted by those studies she cited.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I have another suggestion. Shikha has made both of those arguments. She doesn't have the mental capacity to separate them. She knows immigration is good. She also read the abstract of some paper showing broke foreigners use less welfare than broke natives. Now she just jams these two ideas together ad hoc, like a retard putting together a puzzle.

    One time she claimed Arizona had the lowest crime rate, and linked to a recent article, by her, saying that Arizona's crime rate decreased every year for thirty years. Immigration good - Arizona lots of Mexican - something good about crime. Like watching a retard try to fit two corner pieces.

  • Sidd Finch||

    What's the point of citing costs to state budgets to refute arguments about total costs? What am I missing here?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It is rather obvious from basic economic axioms that work-based immigration is generally economically beneficial to the participants. The economic studies done have dithered on the question of whether the current government structure makes an immigrant a burden or a help to the citizen taxpayer, but it is apparent that immigrants themselves are a net boon to the economy.

    More relevant are the non-economic concerns: specifically, culture. Having been born in (and having lived most of my life in) a culture that is not American, I can say that there are several aspects of American culture that are unique and worth defending (particularly the strongly individualist and work-centered components of American society). The good news is that immigrants are highly receptive to abandoning old paradigms when they decided to emigrate to another country for good, and generally pick up our values even if their hiatus from the mother country is temporary. (Compare, for example, the remarkably well-integrated Pakistani minority with its counterparts in Pakistan.) The bad news is that they are inculcated with anti-American grievance mongers day in and day out in schools, media, and the news, meaning that unlike in the past, immigrants themselves are not given reason to value American culture and their children grow up despising the culture.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    A loss of national identity wrt freedom is something I'd rather not see continue, and a potential positive in turning that trend around is instead used to accelerate this trend. Libertarians would do well in trying to understand and influence assimilationist tendencies for the better.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Collectivist!!!11!1!11

  • PapayaSF||

    Ah, Ms. Dalmia is again on her favorite horse, trying to prove that massive immigration of Third World poor people is a wonderful idea. Even Milton Friedman didn't think that open borders could coexist with a welfare state. Does she really know better?

    (And don't tell me that we just need to eliminate the welfare state. Eliminate the welfare state first, and then get back to me about open borders.)

    I realize that immigration has benefits, and that perhaps even adding millions more poor people to our welfare systems might still be a net positive (economically). But unfortunately, immigrants often come from countries where socialism is taught as a good idea, and then they enter our diversity-obsessed education system, where they are taught socialism and lefty racial politics. Thus: more voters who tend to vote for the most anti-libertarian candidates (i.e. Democrats). Libertarianism is not a suicide pact, folks.

    And is Dalmia counting the free medical care that illegals get? Is she counting the costs of imported diseases? I had a doctor at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic (hardly a right-wing source) tell me that TB was "epidemic" here due to illegal immigrants. In SF they also get subsidized housing and food stamps. Hispanic immigrant gangsters (MS-13 etc.) do not seem like a positive. And what's the total economic downside of of all those bilingual signs and voicemail systems and government translators? Are these things factored into her calculations?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Democracy, welfare state, and free immigration -- pick any two.

  • Calidissident||

    Clearly the sustainability of the welfare state should be the primary concern of libertarians. I don't know why so many people think libertarians should make their beliefs subject to the existence of the welfare state. And why is this the only issue where this logic applies? Should we sterilize people more likely to have kids that will get welfare? Should we make it illegal to have kids out-of-wedlock? Are all the nanny state laws regarding smoking, obesity, and other health issues justified in the name of lowering health care costs? Don't a lot of people justify the War on Drugs in part based on the "societal cost" of drug use?

    "Thus: more voters who tend to vote for the most anti-libertarian candidates (i.e. Democrats). Libertarianism is not a suicide pact, folks."

    "If only we elected Mitt Romney we'd have Libertopia!"

    "I had a doctor at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic (hardly a right-wing source) tell me that TB was "epidemic" here due to illegal immigrants"

    There are a ton of things more likely to kill you besides TB. Why should someone without TB have his rights restricted because some people from his home country have TB? I'm not opposed to screening immigrants for infectious disease, but keeping out entire population, encouraging illegal immigration from everyone, makes it harder to catch those with TB.

  • Calidissident||

    And I'm pretty sure the studies (which Dalmia didn't do if you didn't notice) took all costs into account. Maybe not the signs and translators, but I'm pretty sure those aren't bankrupting the country

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It would be nice if folks could figure out whether their problem with the process lies in 1) immigration, 2) assimilation, or 3) citizenship, since lots of those issues are conflated in a way that's not terribly useful.

  • Sidd Finch||

    And I'm pretty sure the studies (which Dalmia didn't do if you didn't notice) took all costs into account.

    Why? Two of the ones cited didn't even take the USG into account.

  • Calidissident||

    "Two of the ones cited didn't even take the USG into account."

    Why would they? They're state studies.

    Most, if not all, of the things PSF brought up were examples of things that wouldn't be paid for by the USG.

  • Sidd Finch||

    There were only 3 studies cited. Now we're down to the one for Cato. "Medical" and "hospital" don't turn up in a search. "Health" turns up once, preceded by "fiscal."

    And is Dalmia counting the free medical care that illegals get?

    Verdict: No

  • Calidissident||

    Given that uncompensated care in general isn't actually all that much, I don't think it drastically changes anything. Also, isn't the CATO paper just focused on economic growth rather than the budget, like the other two are (I don't have time to read through it)? And the "uncompensated care" argument was used by leftists to justify Obamacare and the insurance mandate.

  • Sidd Finch||

    This is Old You:
    And I'm pretty sure the studies (which Dalmia didn't do if you didn't notice) took all costs into account.

    New You is correct.

    And the "uncompensated care" argument was used by leftists to justify Obamacare and the insurance mandate.

    This is your second Heroic Mulatto-ism in this thread. It's not a good look on you, or anyone else.

  • PapayaSF||

    Uncompensated care was about 5.9% of total healthcare expenses in 2011. I don't know how much of that is illegal aliens, but it's a not-insignificant chunk, with economic consequences. The fact that leftists referenced it for their own purposes doesn't change the fact that it's a drain on resources.

  • Calidissident||

    It is insignificant in the bigger picture, when we're talking about trillions of dollars of debt and hundreds of trillions of unfunded liabilities.

  • PapayaSF||

    "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But it is largely insoluble in that it is driven by providing care to people that cannot pay for that care.

    It matters not, if that care is aid for via pseudo insurance or government expenditures or repudiated promises. All end with someone else paying for the care.

  • Paul.||

    As someone who believes in pretty darn near open borders, (and skirting by the details of the Heritag study specifically -- possibly an unforgivable sin in a post that talks about a Heritage study), to say that illegal immigrants don't really contribute to the costs of the social welfare state is somewhat dubious.

    Does it even out because they pay taxes elswhere in the system? Maybe.

    But here in Washington, we have aid programs specifically aimed at illegal immigrants.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/poli.....ove_1.html

    SEATTLE -- The Washington House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a measure making young illegal immigrants eligible for state college financial aid.

    The measure's bipartisan 77-20 vote was highlighted by impassioned speeches by Republicans who broke ranks with their party to vote in favor of the bill.

    NOw, I believe that in the end, students (illegal) receiving aid to go to college have a high chance of contributing in the long run.

    But one might just kind of be able to see the conservative viewpoint that a legal citizen might get a little miffed, or feel that he or she was cut out of financial aid because an illegal alien took her place.

    It's one thing when you allow illegals to live and work here, and wish them the best of luck. It's a little different when you aim aid programs directly at their illegalness.

  • PapayaSF||

    And there are many such programs. The total cost is huge.

  • Marshall Gill||

    The question, to me, about immigration is a natural rights one. While I feel I could be persuaded otherwise, at this time I do not see immigration as a natural right. Emigration, on the other hand, IS a natural right.

    Since I do not own property, or really have any claim on other countries, I do not believe that I have a natural right to immigrate to them. I have a natural right to emigrate as my leaving a place makes no claims upon others. Immigration, on the other hand, makes claims upon political entities to which I have no claim, and must demand entrance or access to even enter.

    While I am certainly sympathetic to the free association arguments about hiring illegal immigrants, I am yet to be convinced that this free association trumps what is basically property rights. Just because someone would hire me in Ohio does not imply some right to movement upon property which I do not own nor have leave to traverse. While a citizen or legal resident would have access to "public" places I have yet to see an argument to why the public in any sense refers to all of humanity.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Someone, or some group of individuals, owns almost, if not every, square inch of the country. I know this is so because I can not go and lay claim to it. Is "public" land the property of the human race? It is the property of the government of the United States or smaller governments like States or counties or it is privately owned by individuals or groups of individuals like families or corporations. I know this because I can usually even find the legal title holder. Unless I obtain permission from every single owner between the point of entry to the country and my destination, I would be trespassing. My natural right to free movement ends at the point of other people's property, doesn't it?

    I believe in immigration control because of simple self interest. The numbers that Shihka throws around are as massaged as the ones which she criticized. It isn't legal immigration which is a problem. It is the cycle of "amnesty" which encourages illegal immigrants. I have no problem with "wide gates and tall fences" but I feel that the government does have a right to control it. Giving political asylum to the Boston bombers families because of their unsupported claims of prosecution being a good example. I see absolutely no reason that the US should not restrict the entry of known members of M-13, for instance.

  • Calidissident||

    "It isn't legal immigration which is a problem. It is the cycle of "amnesty" which encourages illegal immigrants."

    What in turn encourages people to move here illegally versus legally? If they could move here legally, in a timely and affordable manner, they wouldn't do it illegally.

    "Giving political asylum to the Boston bombers families because of their unsupported claims of prosecution being a good example"

    This is hardly a comparable example to the one in the next sentence about a known MS-13 (not M-13) gang member. They were kids and didn't become radicals intent on terrorism until after growing up here. Keeping everyone out because some will become criminals is just as stupid as banning guns because some people with guns will use them to commit crimes.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Because immigration should be based upon self-interest. I didn't mean any association between the two, only that neither seem to have been offering much, but I don't claim enough information to know.

    My only point, apparently poorly made, is that we are not denying anyone's natural rights by restricting their immigration due to any criteria we decide. Which is not necessarily an endorsement of any current law. Basically just a point of opposition to unrestricted immigration.

  • Calidissident||

    "Because immigration should be based upon self-interest."

    Self-interest of whom? "Society" does not have the right to vote away people's rights because they deem it in their self-interest

    "My only point, apparently poorly made, is that we are not denying anyone's natural rights by restricting their immigration due to any criteria we decide."

    I disagree with this.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Self-interest of whom? "Society" does not have the right to vote away people's rights because they deem it in their self-interest

    Right,
    The extreme libertarian position is that everyone in the world has a right to live in the US and it is illegitmate for the US government to prevent that.

    Which means, among other things, that you reject the concept of nation-states. So, what do you think will replace that them? Or are you actually a full anarchist?

  • ||

    Everyone in the world has the right to migrate to the country of their choice. Many people (though certainly not all) choose the U.S.

    The concept of nation-states doesn't depend on immigration control. It's a boundary of the government's influence, not of where people are allowed to go.

    Being against border control doesn't mean being an anarchist. Nice job beating on that straw man though.

  • Sidd Finch||

    The concept of nation-states doesn't depend on immigration control. It's a boundary of the government's influence, not of where people are allowed to go.

    You should familiarize yourself with the words "should" and "ought."

  • Calidissident||

    Was the United States not a nation-state in the first 100+ years of its existence?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Cali, you're stooping to the level of the retards here. I'm sure you know the difference between normative and positive, but perhaps you should re-familiarize yourself.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Was the United States not a nation-state in the first 100+ years of its existence?

    So you think there was no control on immigration between 1789 and 1889?

  • ||

    Remember Cali, if you call your opponents idiots often enough, it means you win the argument.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Darius,

    [Obama voice]Let me be clear[/Obama voice]. In no way did I insinuate that Calidissent is an idiot. In fact, I think he's the clear #2 commenter here, behind only libertarian commenter extraordinaire John Thacker.

    What I've insinuated, and am now asserting, is that you're a dipshit. Relative to the genpop you're probably a pretty smart guy. But relative to commenters and pundits people care about, you're Special Ed. (Yes, I'm includeing Yglesias and Klein. I'm trying to be kind, after all.)Congratulations on not understanding anything and exercising your 1st Amendment right to comment on all that shit you don't understand.

  • PapayaSF||

    I don't want to keep "everyone" out. But the children of (say) an English-speaking Mexican engineer who immigrates legally are less likely to become gangsters than the children of an illegal immigrant day laborer from rural Mexico who doesn't even really speak Spanish.

    And given the world situation, I doubt if any Muslim immigration is a good idea. Much better to take Christian refugees being driven out of Muslim countries.

  • Calidissident||

    "But the children of (say) an English-speaking Mexican engineer who immigrates legally are less likely to become gangsters than the children of an illegal immigrant day laborer from rural Mexico who doesn't even really speak Spanish."

    So what? Rights are not dependent on probabilities. And the crime rates of immigrants are not high compared to natives. The incarceration rate of Hispanics, outside the northeast, is not significantly different than it is for whites of the same age. And most crime is intraracial.

    "I doubt if any Muslim immigration is a good idea."

    Because obviously Muslims are all terrorists intent on destroying Western civilization

  • Sidd Finch||

    They were kids and didn't become radicals intent on terrorism until after growing up here. Keeping everyone out because some will become criminals

    I respectfully submit that the percentage of Chechen kids named Tamerlan who will become murderous lunatics is a lot more than 'some.'

  • Calidissident||

    "I respectfully submit that the percentage of Chechen kids named Tamerlan who will become murderous lunatics is a lot more than 'some.'"

    What is the crime rate (and homicide rate) of Muslim Americans in the United States? Simple question

  • Sidd Finch||

    I'm not a fan of this reductionist 'Muslims are bad' thinking. Muslims are a product of their genetics, their secular culture, and their religious culture. In the US and modern Muslim countries (e.g. Turkey), the first two dominate the third IMO.

    That said, I don't know the crime or homicide rate of Chechens in the US. But the terrorism rate is clear: 1%.

  • SIV||

    There were reportedly only 200 Chechens in all the US so 1% have engaged in bombing foot races.

  • PapayaSF||

    I'll answer your question with a question: What percentages of non-Muslim Americans support suicide bombings, death for Muslim apostates, honor killing, and sharia law?

  • Calidissident||

    "Since I do not own property, or really have any claim on other countries, I do not believe that I have a natural right to immigrate to them. I have a natural right to emigrate as my leaving a place makes no claims upon others. Immigration, on the other hand, makes claims upon political entities to which I have no claim, and must demand entrance or access to even enter."

    How so? If a property owner sells or rents his property to someone in a different country, how does that person moving here violate anyone's rights?

  • Marshall Gill||

    If a property owner sells or rents his property to someone in a different country, how does that person moving here violate anyone's rights?.

    Unless you own each piece of property between the point of entry and your rental, or obtain a right of traversal, the right of private property/trespass is violated. Since the government owns all the land that is "public" they get to decide who traverses it.

  • Calidissident||

    "Since the government owns all the land that is "public" they get to decide who traverses it."

    Wow, that is statist. In a very literal sense. Government doesn't have rights. Democratic majorities can't legitimately vote away people's rights. If the government said "Hey you Marshall, you can't ever come on the roads or public property because fuck you that's why" are they not violating your rights?

  • Marshall Gill||

    Wow, that is statist. In a very literal sense. Government doesn't have rights. Democratic majorities can't legitimately vote away people's rights.

    I agree it is a simple question of individual rights. What right does an individual have to traverse property which he has not been given leave?

  • ||

    Whose property? Public property? Why do you get to veto other people walking over it?

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    Immigration is a moral issue.

    Restrictions on travel and immigration are essentially the same as holding someone prisoner in his home country. The right to leave one's country is nothing more than a legal fiction if one has no right to enter another one. Emigration and immigration are the same thing, and one cannot exist without the other.
    And without the ability to leave, a person is nothing but a prisoner at the mercy of whatever government he is unlucky enough to be trapped under.

    Freedom of Movement is one of the most essential freedoms there is, possibly THE most essential.

    Even if Heritage were right about everything (which they're not), it wouldn't matter. Restrictions on immigration are NEVER justified, even if the negative effects were to outweigh the positive. It's a moral thing.

  • PapayaSF||

    So having a lock on my door is "essentially the same" as "holding you prisoner" in the rest of the world? Nonsense. "Don't come here" is not the same as "Don't leave home and go somewhere else."

  • ||

    So having a lock on my door is "essentially the same" as "holding you prisoner" in the rest of the world?

    The country is not analogous to your house. You don't get to tell other people they can't walk here.

    "Don't come here" is not the same as "Don't leave home and go somewhere else."

    People don't have the freedom to leave a country if they don't have the freedom to enter other countries. Saying they can't come here infringes on that freedom.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You won't let me take a crap on your sofa, so you're totally infringing on my freedom enslaving me!11!1!!.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: VG Zaytsev,

    You won't let me take a crap on your sofa,


    Analogy fail, V. The whole country is NOT yours nor is it owned collectively by the people living inside the borders, and certainly does not belong to the government.

    A better analogy would be locking the door of your NEIGHBOR'S house to stop someone HE INVITED taking a dump on HIS sofa. Falls under the category of "mind your own business."

  • OldMexican||

    Re: PapayaSF,

    So having a lock on my door is "essentially the same" as "holding you prisoner"[?]


    Analogy fail. The country is not owned collectively by the people, first; and certainly not by the government, second.

    A BETTER analogy would be: locking the door to your NEIGHBOR'S house so he cannot receive visitors.

  • Azathoth!!||

    The country is not owned collectively by the people

    It isn't? The public lands do not belong to the people of the US?

    We are charged taxes for their upkeep and protection.

    And, theoretically at least, the people ARE the government.

    Who do you think owns this country, OM, if not it's taxpaying citizens?

  • Ray||

    If you'd bear with me for a little devil's advocate here, the punching bags have a point. The preexisting status quo of democratic elections and the incredible growing cradle-to-grave welfare state, neither of which are going anywhere, make mass amnesty much less desirable than it otherwise would be.

    The costs of the welfare state are absolutely enormous. Not just literal "welfare," TANF, food stamps, Obamaphones etc., but all the other components. You're going to make 11 million people on average already halfway through their working lives eligible for Social Security and Medicare, the costs of which *presently* reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per person, with exponentially rising medical costs on the way?

    How about, and this is where Heritage *undercounts* the costs, the burden on state and local governments? More impoverished people means more crime, more prisons, more cops, for that matter more public desire to be "tough on crime." The costs of incarcerating a prisoner are about $100,000/year, not counting the police work required to catch them and the economic, property value and tax loss associated with crime.

  • Ray||

    More importantly, the kids of the newly-legalized get public education, the costs of which in inner city districts is typically $15,000/year or more, and again growing exponentially. Including the costs of entitlements/welfare/children, the costs to the taxpayer per legalized low-skill worker could well reach into the seven figures, far, far more than whatever meager economic benefit they provide by cleaning bathrooms at $8/hour instead of $9/hour.

    What's more, the voting power of the illegal immigrants amnestied in 1986 and of illegal immigrant's children, and of the "chain-migrants" brought in by both those groups has made California into a horrific authoritarian hellhole, with the rest of the West moving in that direction. In a more abstract sense, the loss of California made the nexus of conservatism shift from West to South, into the arms of the Moral Majority types and allowing for the mantle of Republican "national security experts" to shift from relatively sedate Californian military-industrial-complex lobbyists to foaming-at-the-mouth neocons. Call me crazy, but I'd say Conservatism National Headquarters's move from Orange County to Branson set back the cause of freedom by 20 years.

  • Ray||

    And, the evidence is that a softening of the GOP's stance on amnesty wouldn't win many, if any, Latino votes in return. The 1986 amnesty was supported by Republicans from Mitch McConnell to Dan Quayle to Bob Dornan to even Pat Buchanan, and opposed by the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, and even Cesar Chavez, and yet Hispanics voted even more overwhelmingly for Democrats after its passage. Even if amnesty has become a more salient issue, the Democrats can always be for more amnesty, faster, as well as more affirmative action and more welfare.

  • WomSom||

    lol that dude jsut looks corrupt as the day is long lol.

    www.GotDatAnon.tk

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