Monday, September 26, 2005

Guard the Border Blogburst

I had originally wrote this piece in May and felt that in light of the current stuggle by everyday Americans to get our leaders to address this issue of border security I would republish it since the information in it is just as important now as it was back then. Enjoy and have a great day.

The impact of illegal immigration are felt across this nation in many ways, but the dirty secret that is only talked about in back alleys and dark rooms is the hidden cost of immigration. Before I talk about the “hidden costs” of illegal immigration here is some information about the most talked about costs associated with illegal immigration.

The spread of illegal immigrates is costing Americans billions of dollars and after you take a look at the numbers below, think about what it’s going to cost you and your community.

Cost of Illegal Immigration to Texas: 4.7 billion a year or an extra $725 to each resident in the form of taxes, higher education costs, higher law enforcement costs, and higher health care costs.

Cost of Illegal Immigration to California: 10.5 billion a year or an extra $1,183 to each resident in the form of taxes, higher education costs, higher law enforcement costs, and higher health care costs.

Cost of Illegal Immigration to Arizona: 1.3 billion a year or an extra $700.00 to each resident in the form of taxes, higher education costs, higher law enforcement costs, and higher health care costs.

Some of the factors that contribute to the hidden costs of illegal immigration can be directly attributed to the President’s plan for a guest worker program. Don’t get me wrong, I support the President in most of what he does but when it comes to illegal immigration he and Congress have continued the sad legacy of letting the American people down in regards to protecting this country and securing our borders. Let’s look at the proposed plan and identify the hidden costs of this plan to reward immigrates for breaking the law and coming here illegally.

In the plan proposed and sadly supported by too many in Congress, would grant temporary status to the estimated 8 to 12 million illegals in this country. Consider this, if these immigrates are granted amnesty and they are actually employed then who would pay their medical benefits since we are told that everyone “deserves” health care. We are told time and time again that most of the jobs that illegals take are the low wage ones that Americans will no longer do such as the agriculture, food service, landscaping, and construction. Only a small number of those jobs by default come with any health insurance thus we are left to wonder how the gaps in coverage will be met. After all since the illegals with now be properly documented “guest workers” they will no longer be able to walk into a hospital and get the free health care that illegals now enjoy to the tune of 200 to 300 million dollars a year. Most likely the shortfall in coverage will be made up by the American taxpayer in the form of Medicare or Medicaid. And yes I know that some illegals pay into those systems and under the “guest worker” their employers would be required to collect those taxes and contribute as well. The fact remains that employers are currently required by law to do so and yet some how fail to do just that. Strange how that works eh?

One of the ways we can measure the “hidden” costs of illegal immigration is be the widespread hiring of illegals by American employers looking to make a quick buck. I ran across this article recently by David Simcox written in 1999 and the points he makes about the hiring of illegal immigrates are even sounder now then they were back in 1999. The fact is that businesses large and small have an appetite for hiring illegal low cost labor that has been proven to drive down wages in whatever industry that the illegals are used. That’s the term I choose to use to describe the illegally hired illegals, used. They are used by businesses to generate a quick profit while denied the basic benefits of the employment they share will legally employed workers. Often they work in unsafe, unhealthy, unethical conditions without any recourse against the employers. Don’t get me wrong, I am now and always have been a capitalist but when the marketplace dictates that a group of employees is without recourse or options in regards to their employment, something must change that situation. Either market forces, the employees or in extreme cases the government must step in to fix the situation.

Since the government and the illegals seem to be powerless to fix the problem that leaves the forces of the market of which every consumer belongs to. In addition to depressing wages, employers hiring illegals also cheat taxpayers, artificially create a low cost expectation by consumers, and gain an illegal and unethical advantage over their competition. The fine, as of today, for employing an illegal immigrate was a mere $3,000 per illegal. Now that may seem like a lot of money to you and me but to large companies it is a drop in the bucket when measured against the savings of employing the illegal in the first place. And if that is not bad enough the companies usually can have their lawyers negotiate with the government and have the fines lowered even further with promises of community investment which they get to write off their taxes. As you can see the practice of hiring illegals can be very profitable even if the company is caught and prosecuted. Here is brief list of some employers that have either been caught employing illegals or continue to: Tyson, Smithfield Foods, Conagra, Wal-Mart, Northrop
Grumman, Continental Maritime, Sears Tower, Piedmont Triad International Airport, Julie’s CafĂ©, Orlando Federal Middle District Courthouse, Naval Coating Incorporated, Duane Arnold Energy Center Nuclear Power Plant, Logan International Airport, Pacific Maintenance, Inc, Home Depot, and Great Texas Employment Agency Inc. This information is available to anyone on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under their press release section, located here.

The fact is that the cheap labor that American companies and ultimately the American consumer crave is costing us in so many other ways as shown time and time again. Think that hiring illegals to pick oranges in Florida is providing you with cheap orange juice; think again after you read this. The same rules of economics apply to the cheap produce we enjoy from all over this country. According to Harvard economist George Borjas the impact of low wage illegal workers is felt hardest in the small communities with no other industries then agricultural to bare the burden of the “hidden” costs.

“In places like Palm Beach County that have huge agricultural holdings that draw migrant laborers, the impact on local taxpayers is even greater because there is no other large industry and most of the costs of services to immigrants – public education, health care, law enforcement – are borne by local governments.”

Some additional costs that may be “hidden” include the cost of an even increasing number of illegal immigration cases before our courts, and taxpayers footing the bill for Mexican children crossing the border everyday to attend school in the United States. By far in my humble opinion the most devastating “hidden” cost is the dirty little secret of illegals having kids here in the United States to cement their ability to stay in the country. Not only do they exploit a loophole in immigration law but they contribute to the coming collapse of our health care system in certain parts of the country. Illegals that come to this country to either intentionally have children or have children while here illegally are taxing public assistance and saddling medical facilities with even-increasing uninsured medical costs. Just because an illegal or anyone for that matter is uninsured does not mean that treatment is withheld, under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985, hospitals are obligated to treat the uninsured without reimbursement. The only difference between a citizen and an illegal is the hospital has a way to seek reimbursement from a citizen where they have no recourse against the illegal. Even the doctors are finally joining the battle against illegal immigration; of course we should expect them to since the medical debt racked up by illegals now threatens their very livelihood.

The fact is that illegal immigration touches each and every part of our lives in many ways and while there are certain ways we can measure the impact, the true cost of illegal immigration that we bear is hidden in many subtle ways. The only way we can reverse the trend and recoup some of our tax dollars is by continuing to pressure the government to reform immigration law and secure the borders, by identifying and taking our business away from companies that either support illegal immigration or directly hire illegal immigrates and by supporting the brave men and women that work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to kit.jarrell at gmail dot com.

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