Immigration Reform Failure, Economic Downturn Linked

01/24/2008
Immigration Reform Failure, Economic Downturn Linked
By: Joe Murray , The Bulletin
Faced with a 5 percent national unemployment rate in December, 1 in 6 manufacturing jobs vanishing since President George W. Bush took office, and an unimpeded flow of illegal immigrants into the country, immigration reform activists are calling on Washington to stave off a recession by passing the SAVE Act to secure the U.S. border with Mexico; thus protecting the American worker and taxpayer.

“In order to save the U.S. economy, we must change the equilibrium by permitting only those legally authorized to hold jobs to actually compete for employment,” stated Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. “Citizens do not want to keep working harder with fewer results and fewer benefits in order for our government to continuously reward the criminal behavior of illegal aliens successfully cheating the system.”

According to Mr. Simcox, once the illegal immigrant enters the United States he obtains an unfair advantage in his competition with the American worker because he is able to work for a depressed wage and is permitted to receive social welfare benefits without having to contribute to the public trust. Such a situation has placed the U.S. worker in a Darwinian competition with the illegal immigrant and has resulted in the taxpayer shouldering an increased tax burden.

Despite the conventional wisdom holding the free flow of illegal immigrants across America’s southern border is beneficial to the economy, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found the cost of illegal immigration outweighs the benefits, thus creating a net fiscal drain on the U.S. economy.

When the costs of illegal immigration are tallied against the benefits, most studies, including the NAS study, show there is, at minimum, an $87 billion fiscal loss. Such a loss is attributed to the following factors: 30 percent of those in federal prisons are illegal immigrants, in Los Angeles 95 percent of all warrants for homicide target illegal aliens, and diseases once all but eliminated from U.S. soil, like drug resistant TB, syphilis, and leprosy, are now reappearing in urban centers.

To immigration reform activists, the largest impact illegal immigration has on the economy centers upon the fact that the U.S. employers hiring such workers eliminate job opportunities for American workers, while increasing the financial obligations of the American taxpayer. Because of this Mr. Simcox is urging elected officials in Washington, D.C. to pass the SAVE Act, a measure securing the border and requiring all employers to participate in an E-verify electronic employment verification program. Mr. Simcox has begun an intense grassroots lobbying effort to pass the bill this year arguing the verification would make the U.S. less attractive to illegal immigrants and potentially create a reverse trend where such immigrants must leave the U.S., alleviating some economic pressure.

Mr. Simcox also stresses passage of the SAVE Act is crucial this year because failure to do so will result in “the possibility of a President Hillary Clinton having veto power over this bill.” But given the White House’s support of the failed McCain-Kennedy immigration plan this summer, it is questionable whether Mr. Bush would not veto the measure.

Joe Murray can be reached at jmurray@thebulletin.us

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