“Undocumented Americans.” This is how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently described the estimated 12-20 million illegal aliens living in America. What was once a Mark Steyn joke has now become the ideological orthodoxy of the Democratic Party.
Reid’s comment triggered an avalanche of outrage among commentators, bloggers, and the general public. Why? Because it strikes at the heart of the American people’s understanding of themselves as a nation and a civilization. Indeed, opposition to the ongoing push for “comprehensive immigration reform” — i.e., amnesty and a guest worker program — is being driven by a growing concern among millions of Americans that massive waves of legal and illegal immigration — mainly from Mexico, Latin America, and Asia — coupled with the unwillingness of our political and economic elites to mold these newcomers into red-white-and-blue Americans, is threatening to change the very character of our country. For the worse.
I share this concern. I agree with the political, economic, and cultural arguments in favor of sharply curtailing immigration into the United States, as well as refocusing our immigration efforts on admitting those foreigners who bring the greatest value to — and are most easily assimilated into — American society. (See generally here, here , and here.) But this essay is not intended to rehash these arguments. Rather, I wish to explore the question that underlies this entire debate: What does it mean to be an American? This may seem like an easy question to answer, but it’s not. The harder one thinks about this question, the more complex it becomes.
Clearly, Harry Reid has not given this question much thought. His implicit definition of “an American” is simply: Anyone living within the geopolitical boundaries of the United States. In other words, mere physical location on Earth determines whether or not someone is “an American.” Presumably, Reid’s definition is not intended to apply to tourists and other temporary visitors. Some degree of permanency — what the law in other contexts calls “residency,” i.e., a subjective intention to establish one’s home or domicile — is required. In Reid’s view, therefore, a Mexican from Guadalajara, a Chinese from Shanghei, an Indian from Delhi, or a [fill in the blank] become “Americans” as soon as they cross into U.S. territory and decide to live here permanently, legally or not. Nothing more is needed.
This is poppycock, of course. A Mexican or a Chinese or an Indian, for example, cannot transform themselves into Americans simply by moving to this country, any more than I can become a Mexican, a Chinese, or an Indian simply by moving to their countries. Yet contemporary liberals have a vested interest in believing that they can. This is not just a function of immigrant politics, which strongly favors the Democratic Party (hence the Democrats’ growing support for voting rights for non-citizens). It also reflects the liberals’ (and some libertarians’) multicultural faith, which insists that it is morally wrong to make distinctions among different groups of people, let alone to impose a particular way of life — what heretofore has been known as the American way of life — on those who believe, speak, and act differently. Even in our own country.
In short, diversity, not Americanism, is the multicultural touchstone.
What’s more, the principle of diversity, taken to its logical extreme, inevitably leads to a rejection of Americanism. Indeed, the ideology of multiculturalism has its roots in the radical — and anti-American — New Left and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Thus the sorry state of U.S. history and civics education in today’s schools and universities, which are dominated by adherents of this intellectual poison. Moreover, when it comes to immigration, multiculturalists actually prefer those immigrants who are as unlike ordinary Americans as possible. This stems from their deep-rooted opposition to traditional American society, which they hope to undermine through an influx of non-western peoples and cultures.
This, in fact, describes present U.S. immigration policy, which largely is a product of the 1965 Immigration Act (perhaps Ted Kennedy’s most notorious legislative achievement). The 1965 Immigration Act eliminated the legal preferences traditionally given to European immigrants, and opened the floodgates to immigration from less-developed and non-western countries. For example, in 2006 more immigrants came to the United States from Columbia, Peru, Vietnam, and Haiti (not to mention Mexico, China, and India), than from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Greece. And once these immigrants arrive here, multiculturalists believe we should accommodate our society to the needs and desires of the newcomers, not the other way around. Thus, our government prints election ballots, school books, and welfare applications in foreign languages, while corporate America asks customers to “press one for English.”
Patriotic Americans — those who love our country for its people, its history, its culture, and its ideals — reject the multiculturalists’ denuded, and ultimately subversive, vision of what it means to be “an American.” While the American identity is arguably the most “universal” of all major nationalities — as evidenced by the millions of immigrants the world over who have successfully assimilated into our country over the years — it is not an empty, meaningless concept. It has substance. Being “an American” is not the same thing as simply living in the United States. Nor, I would add, is it the same thing as holding U.S. citizenship. After all, a baby born on U.S. soil to an illegal alien is a citizen. This hardly guarantees that this baby will grow up to be an American.
So what, then, does it mean to be an American? I suspect that most of us believe, like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in describing pornography, that we “know it when we see it.” For example, John Wayne, Amelia Earhart, and Bill Cosby definitely are Americans. The day laborers standing on the street corner probably are not. But how do we put this inner understanding into words? It’s not easy. Unlike most other nations on Earth, the American nation is not strictly defined in terms of race or ethnicity or ancestry or religion. George Washington may be the Father of Our Country (in my opinion, the greatest American who ever lived), but there have been in the past, and are today, many millions of patriotic, hardworking, upstanding Americans who are not Caucasian, or Christian, or of Western European ancestry. Yet they are undeniably as American as you or I (by the way, I am Jewish of predominantly Eastern European ancestry). Any definition of “American” that excludes such folks — let alone one that excludes me! — cannot be right.
Consequently, it is just not good enough to say, as some immigration restrictionists do, that this is a “white-majority, Western country.” Yes, it is. But so are, for example, Ireland and Sweden and Portugal. Clearly, this level of abstraction does not take us very far towards understanding what it means to be “an American.” Nor is it all that helpful to say that this is an English-speaking, predominately Christian country. While I think these features get us closer to the answer, there are millions of English-speaking (and non-English-speaking) Christians in the world who are not Americans, and millions of non-Christians who are. Certainly, these fundamental historical characteristics are important elements in determining who we are as a nation. Like other restrictionists, I am opposed to public policies that seek, by design or by default, to significantly alter the nation’s “demographic profile.” Still, it must be recognized that demography alone does not, and cannot, explain what it means to be an American.
So where does that leave us? I think the answer to our question, ultimately, must be found in the realms of ideology and culture. What distinguishes the United States from other nations, and what unites the disparate peoples who make up our country, are our unique political, economic, and social values, beliefs, and institutions. Not race, or religion, or ancestry.
Whether described as a “proposition nation” or a “creedal nation” or simply just “an idea,” the United States of America is defined by our way of life. This way of life is rooted in the ideals proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; in the system of personal liberty and limited government established by the Constitution; in our traditions of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and entrepreneurism; in our emphasis on private property, freedom of contract, and merit-based achievement; in our respect for the rule of law; and in our commitment to affording equal justice to all. Perhaps above all, it is marked by our abiding belief that, as Americans, we have been called to a higher duty in human history. We are the “city upon a hill.” We are “the last, best hope of earth.”
Many immigration restrictionists and so-called traditionalists chafe at the notion that the American people are not defined by “blood and soil.” Yet the truth of the matter is, we aren’t. One of the greatest patriots who ever graced this nation’s history, Teddy Roosevelt, said it best: “Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul.” Roosevelt deplored what he called “hyphenated Americanism,” which refers to citizens whose primary loyalties lie with their particular ethnic groups or ancestral lands. Such a man, Roosevelt counseled, is to be “unsparingly condemn[ed].”
But Roosevelt also recognized that “if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.” Roosevelt’s words are not offered here to suggest that all foreigners are equally capable of assimilating into our country. Clearly, they aren’t. Nevertheless, the appellation “American” is open to anyone who adopts our way of life and loves this country above all others.
Which brings me to the final, and most difficult, aspect of this question: How do we define the “American way of life”? This is the issue over which our nation’s “culture wars” are being fought. Today the country is divided between those who maintain their allegiance to certain historically American values, beliefs, and institutions (but not all — see racial segregation), and those who want to replace them with a very different set of ideas about the role of government, the nature of political and economic liberty, and the meaning of right and wrong. Are both sides in this struggle equally “American”?
Moreover, the “American way of life” has changed over time. We no longer have the Republic that existed in TR’s days. The New Deal and Great Society revolutions — enthusiastically supported, I note, by millions of white, Christian, English-speaking citizens — significantly altered the political, economic, and social foundations of this country. Did they also change what it means to be “an American”? Is being an American equally compatible, for example, with support for big government versus small government? the welfare state versus rugged individualism? socialism versus capitalism? And so on. Plainly, this is a much harder historical and intellectual problem than at first meets the eye.
Personally, I do not think the meaning of America is nearly so malleable as today’s multiculturalists assume. But neither is it quite as narrow as many restrictionists contend. Nevertheless, I am convinced that being an American requires something more than merely living in this country, speaking English, obeying the law, and holding a job (although this would be a very good start!). What this “something more” is, however, is not self-evident, and, indeed, is the subject of increasingly bitter debate in this country.
Yet one thing is certain: If we stray too far from the lines laid down by the Founding Fathers and the generations of great American men and women who built on their legacy, we will cease to be “Americans” in any meaningful sense of the word. As Abraham Lincoln warned during the secession era, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Today the danger is not armed rebellion, but the slow erasing of the American national character through a process of political and cultural redefinition. If this ever happens, it will be a terrible day for this country, and for the world.
Steven M. Warshawsky is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.
The Associated Press reported on June 25, 2007 that “Months of tumultuous negotiations with the White House and GOP allies have brought the Senate’s liberal lion, Edward M. Kennedy, to the brink of passing a bill to legalize up to 12 million unlawful immigrants.”
For a super-power that spends nearly half-a-trillion dollars on defense, the U.S. borders remain more porous than most Third World countries. The defenseless American borders have naturally invited an invasion of Third World people onto American shores. With ever-cheaper air travel and large cargo ships, used by lucrative smuggler operations that bring poor, uneducated, and unwelcome invaders from Asia and Central and South America, the U.S. may be overrun in 40-50 years.
China and India could each shed 300 million people without even feeling the loss. No doubt their departure would be met with a sense of relief. In addition, millions of poor Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are aiming to come to America, some for economic reasons, others to Islamize this “infidel” nation. And, while illegal sub-Saharan Africans reach Europe in rickety boats, illegals from Central America and the Caribbean are entering the U.S. through Mexico or simply by landing on Florida’s shores.
Political correctness has skewed the debate on immigration by leveling charges of racism and intolerance on those who have concerns about security and the future of America. But the reality is that if current immigration patterns continue and if legalization is extended to 12 million illegal aliens, America’s culture could shift radically from the America most of us have known.
In 1921, the U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act followed, in 1924, by the Immigration Act. The quotas instituted by the 1924 Immigration Act were aimed at reducing the number of unskilled laborers from entering and maintaining ethnic distribution. British, German and North Europeans received the highest quotas, while the quotas for Jews and East and South Europeans were much lower. No quotas were set for Mexico and Latin America at that time.
It is ironic that in the 1880’s, with the increased arrival of Italians and Jews, some American elites viewed the U.S. as being a “dumping ground” – prompting the Immigration Act of 1924. Italian and Jewish immigrants, however, would go on to become two of the best examples of immigrant groups who best contributed to the “melting pot.” Both communities learned English quickly and within a generation or two rose to middle class status and beyond.
The majority of illegal immigrants from Mexico have not however followed this “melting pot” pattern; they’ve been told not to. Up until 1965 U.S. immigration quotas favored Europeans. Today, however, Europeans account for approximately 10% of all arriving immigrants, with the majority coming from Asia and Latin America. Martin Gross in his 1997 book The End of Sanity cites an example of how a middle class French female professional could not get a visa to the U.S. despite numerous attempts, yet thousands of Pakistanis somehow made their way to American shores.According to the 1920 Census Bureau – U.S. Department of Commerce figures (2004 edition of World Almanac) the top seven foreign born Americans came from Germany, Italy, Soviet Union, Poland, Canada, Great Britain and Ireland. In 1960, they were from Italy, Germany, Canada, Great Britain, Poland, Soviet Union, and Mexico. By 2000 Europeans were not even in any of the top 10 slots. The top eight at that time were: Mexico, Philippines, China and Hong Kong, India, Cuba, Vietnam, El Salvador, and Korea. The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act, INS Act of 1965) abolished the national-origin quotas that had been in place in the U.S. since 1924. The legislation was proposed by Emanuel Celler and heavily supported by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), the same person who is leading the campaign for the current immigration bill. As Senate Immigration Subcommittee Chairman, Ted Kennedy promised his colleagues and the nation that, “First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same … Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset … Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia … In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think.“ Kennedy concluded by saying, “The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.” (U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 1965. pp. 1-3.) Ted Kennedy was wrong on every count. America has been inundated with illegal Mexican “immigrants,” and millions of Asians. The ethnic balance has changed in measurable ways. The multiculturalists have won the day, and instead of a melting pot we now have a society of hyphented Americans. Admission standards were not enforced and were instead relaxed, how else could we account for 12 million undocumented aliens? And now Kennedy is ready to dismiss the rule of law by advocating that 12 million undocumented illegal aliens be granted a path to citizenship. Our cities are filled with non-English speaking immigrants – legal and illegal. Kennedy should spend some time in Flushing, Queens (a New York borough), Jersey City, NJ, or the barrios and foreign-language neighborhoods of Los Angeles, instead of Aspen and fancy cocktail parties in leading hotels. He would see what cities are currently grappling with and that the legalization of illegals will only compound an already unmanageable problem. Ted Kennedy led America astray by helping to pass the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. This is the last opportunity for Americans to wake up and make their voices heard for an America that protects its borders and defends the rule of law.
Hiding the Cost of Amnesty
By Robert Rector
Heritage Foundation | June 27, 2007
Last week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report entitled “Immigration’s Economic Impact” which defended the President’s promotion of the Senate’s “comprehensive” immigration legislation (S.1348). On June 25, the White House issued a follow-up editorial elaborating on the points made in the CEA report. These publications criticized Heritage Foundation research on the fiscal costs of low skill immigration and amnesty.
The Heritage research criticized by the White House made the following basic points about immigration and its costs:
Heritage research has shown that low skill immigrants (those without a high school degree) receive, on average, three dollars in government benefits and services for each dollar of taxes they pay. This imbalance imposes a net cost of $89 billion per year on U.S. taxpayers. Over a lifetime, the typical low skill immigrant household will cost taxpayers $1.2 million.
Future taxpayer costs will be increased by policies which increase (1) the number of low skill immigrants entering the U.S., (2) the length of low skill immigrants’ stays in the U.S., or (3) low skill immigrants’ access to government benefits and services. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Senate immigration bill does:
Heritage research has concluded that the cost of amnesty alone will be $2.6 trillion once the amnesty recipients reach retirement age.
In an effort to defend the Senate bill, the White has contested these conclusions. As described below, many of the assertions made by the White House are inaccurate or misleading.
The White House claims that, under the Senate immigration bill, amnesty recipients would receive little or no welfare.
CEA Chairman Edward Lazear charged that the Heritage claims concerning the cost of the Senate immigration bill were flawed because, under the bill, amnesty recipients would be barred from receiving “the vast majority of welfare benefits.” Like previous statements by White House spokesmen, this assertion mischaracterizes the Senate bill and also shows a lack of understanding of the Heritage estimates of the bill’s costs.
While provisions of the Senate bill would delay illegal immigrants’ access to welfare for several years, over time, nearly all amnesty recipients would be offered legal permanent residence and access to more than 60 federal means-tested welfare programs. Specifically, Z visa holders would immediately be given Social Security numbers and would begin earning entitlement to Social Security and Medicare (which are not means-tested welfare programs). Some ten to thirteen years after enactment, amnesty recipients would begin to gain access to a wide variety of means-tested welfare programs, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, public housing, and Food Stamps. Children born to illegal and legal immigrants in the U.S. have immediate, lifetime access to all welfare programs.
The initial limitation on the receipt of means-tested welfare will have only a small effect on governmental costs. Adult welfare comprises only a small part of the benefits received by immigrant families. Moreover, the average adult amnesty recipient can be expected to live more than 50 years after receiving his Z visa. While his eligibility for means-tested welfare would be constrained for the first 10 to 15 years, each amnesty recipient would be fully eligible for welfare during the last 30 to 40 years of his life. Use of welfare during these years will be heavy.
The White House claims that, to the extent that amnesty recipients receive welfare benefits, they would receive the same low levels of benefits as other poorly educated immigrants, who (in the White House’s view) receive little welfare.
The White House reassures taxpayers that amnesty recipients and millions of future low skill immigrants will not generate welfare costs because they must “qualify for…government [welfare] transfers only the old fashioned way.” The implication is that those who must struggle to earn access to welfare “the old fashioned way” will, in the end, get very little welfare. Contrary to this claim, the average low skill immigrant family actually receives $10,500 per year in means-tested welfare, or about a half million dollars over the course of a lifetime. Amnesty recipients would indeed gain access to welfare “the old fashioned way,” and the old fashioned way is extraordinarily expensive.
The brief delay in adult access to welfare under S. 1348 and current law would have only a tiny effect on the long-term welfare costs of low skill immigrants. Further, the White House’s touting the delays on immigrants receiving welfare under existing law is hypocritical: The actual policy pursued by the White House up to this time has been to dismantle the barriers in current law and increase immigrant families’ access to welfare.
The White House strongly suggests that, under the Senate immigration bill, amnesty recipients would be net tax contributors.
Some 50 to 60 percent of illegal immigrants who would receive amnesty under S. 1348 lack a high school degree. Another 25 percent have only a high school degree. Based on the example of current immigrants with similar levels of education, these individuals would be a net burden on the taxpayer over the entire course of their lives.
The White House claims that amnesty recipients would increase the net government revenue available to support Americans in retirement.
The White House trumpets that “immigrants improve the solvency of our retirement system.” One must assume that they believe that the same will be true of amnesty recipients, because otherwise the assertion would be irrelevant in the current debate. The White House does correctly point out that amnesty recipients would pay Social Security taxes during their working years. Amnesty recipients’ low skill levels, however, mean that the Social Security tax payments they make would, on average, be quite modest.
More important is the fact that, in future years, Social Security benefits will be funded by both Social Security taxes and general revenue. What matters is not the small amount of Social Security taxes that would be paid by amnesty recipients but their overall fiscal balance—that is, the total federal state and local benefits received, minus all taxes paid. Because the total benefits taken by amnesty recipients and their families would exceed the Social Security and other taxes that they would pay, amnesty recipients would undermine, rather than strengthen, financial support for U.S. retirees, even before the amnesty recipients reach retirement age themselves.
The White House suggests that the retirement costs of amnesty recipients would not impose a significant tax burden on U.S. taxpayers.
The Senate bill would give amnesty recipients access not only to means-tested welfare, but also to government retirement benefits. The Heritage Foundation has estimated that the net fiscal costs of amnesty recipients during retirement would be $2.6 trillion. These particular costs would begin to impact the taxpayer about 30 years after enactment of the Senate legislation. The White House has made no specific refutation of this estimate.
The bulk of the net expenditure would be in the Social Security and Medicare programs; substantial costs would also occur in the means-tested Medicaid program (amnesty recipients would be fully eligible for Medicaid benefits long before they reach retirement). Contrary to any suggestions made by the White House, temporary restrictions on access to means-tested welfare by amnesty recipients is irrelevant to the estimated $2.6 trillion cost of amnesty.
The White House does point out that amnesty recipients will have paid Social Security taxes prior to retirement and thereby might be seen as having “earned” all the government benefits they would receive. But, as noted above, the Social Security taxes paid by amnesty recipients would be modest. Even during working years, most amnesty recipients would be a drain on the taxpayer, and during retirement their fiscal cost would be dramatic.
The White House claims that the Senate immigration bill would benefit U.S. taxpayers by increasing the future flow of high skill immigrants (who would be strong net tax contributors) and decreasing the flow of low skill immigrants who are more likely to be a fiscal burden.
The White House claims that the Senate immigration bill would “sharply improve” the fiscal contributions of immigrants by increasing the share of future immigrants who are high skilled. It asserts, “[T]he bill will end chain migration which allows legal immigrants to bring extended family members to the U.S” and replace it with a “new merit-based system to select future immigrants based on [their]…skills and attributes.”
In reality, the bill would triple the annual rate of family chain migration, raising the annual allotment for these immigrants from the current level of 147,000 to 440,000 and bringing up to 5.9 million such immigrants into the U.S. over the next decade. Family chain immigrants are predominately low skilled: 60 percent have only a high school degree or less and 38 percent lack a high school degree.
What about the new merit-based system, ostensibly intended to bring in highly educated high tech workers? The core of this proposal is a point system to select future green card holders, but this point system is far from merit-based. For example, green card applicants would receive a high number of points if they are currently employed in “high demand” occupations, which include janitor, waitress, sales clerk, fast food worker, freight handler, laborer, grounds keeping worker, food preparation worker, maid, and house cleaner. Under the proposed point system, a high school dropout working in a fast food restaurant who has the recommendation of her employer would outscore an applicant with a Ph.D. trying to enter the country from abroad. The merit system is actually designed to confer citizenship on low skill “temporary guest workers” rather than bring in professionals from abroad.
The bill would eliminate the current green card allocation for workers of “exceptional ability” but allocate 90,000 green cards per year for the next eight years to reduce the existing employment visa backlog of primarily low skill workers. Contrary to White House claims, it seems unlikely that S. 1348 would increase the number of green cards for high-skill workers, at least through the first eight years of operation.
The White House claims high school dropouts are a “very small part” of the immigrant population.
The Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers dismissed Heritage research on the negative fiscal impact of poorly educated immigrants as “relevant only to a very small part of the population” and therefore of little importance in assessing the Senate immigration bill. In reality, a large and disproportionate share of current immigrants in the U.S. is poorly educated. One-third of all current immigrants lack a high school degree, compared to nine percent of native-born Americans. The families of immigrants without a high school degree now comprise 5 percent of the U.S. population. As noted, among the ten million adult illegal immigrants who would receive amnesty and citizenship under the Senate’s immigration bill, some 50 to 60 percent lack a high school degree and many have only a high school degree.
The White House asserts that low skill immigrant families impose a substantially lesser burden on taxpayers than do low skill non-immigrant families.
The White House asserts, “[L]ow-skill immigrants are actually comparatively self-sufficient compared to low skill native households.” This assertion is false. Low skill immigrants and non-immigrants impose similar burdens on the taxpayer. Wages, tax payments, and receipt of welfare are quite similar for the two groups. Low skill non-immigrants differ from immigrants primarily because they are more likely to be elderly and therefore less likely to be employed.
The White House asserts that the children of low skill immigrants quickly become fiscal contributors (taxes paid exceed benefits and services received) and thereby compensate taxpayers for nearly all the fiscal losses generated by their parents.
The White House has suggested that while low skill immigrants may impose some initial taxpayer costs, these costs are “recovered quickly” by the net taxes paid by the immigrants’ children. This is not true. Low skill immigrants impose very heavy costs on U.S. taxpayers. As noted, on average, each low skill immigrant household receives three dollars in benefits for each one dollar of taxes paid; over a lifetime, each household costs the taxpayer more than $1 million.
The children of low skill immigrants do better than their parents. With higher levels of education, they will receive fewer welfare benefits and pay more taxes. Nonetheless, despite this upward progress, the children of immigrant dropouts are likely to remain a net drain on the taxpayers.
The White House asserts that the “children of immigrant parents are 12 percent more likely to obtain a college degree than other natives.” It neglects to note that the relevant group, the children of low skill immigrant parents, have below-average educational attainment. For example, the children of Hispanic dropout parents are three times more likely to drop out of high school and 75 percent less likely to have a college degree than the general population.
With prevailing trends in upward mobility, the descendents of immigrant dropouts will not become net tax contributors until the third generation. This means that the net fiscal impact of low skill immigrants will remains negative for 50 to 60 years after the immigrants’ arrival in the U.S.
The White House obscures the cost of low skill immigrants.
The White House report asserted that Heritage Foundation research on low skill immigrants is flawed because it lacks a “forward looking projection.” The Council of Economic Advisers stated that, from the ‘long-run point of view,” low skill immigrants are remarkably inexpensive: Each immigrant without a high school degree costs the taxpayer a mere $13,000 overall. The CEA failed to note that its “long-run point of view” includes the estimated taxes paid by the low skill immigrants’ descendents for the next 300 years. In other words, the White House is asserting that taxpayers should not be concerned about the $89 billion annual cost generated by low skill immigrants because that cost would be largely offset by the taxes paid by the immigrants’ descendents in the year 2407. In addition, the 300-year estimate cited by White House assumes very large tax increases and benefits reductions in the near future.
In its defense of the Senate immigration bill, the White House employs statistics about the fiscal contributions of college-educated immigrants, but the taxes paid by college-educated immigrants are almost completely irrelevant to a fiscal analysis of S. 1348. The main fiscal impact of S. 1348 will occur through two mechanisms: (1) the grant of amnesty, with accompanying access to Social Security, Medicare and welfare benefits, to 12 million illegal immigrants who are overwhelmingly low skilled; and (2) a dramatic increase in chain immigration, which will also be predominantly low skilled.
In this context, talking about the taxes paid by college-educated immigrants is a red herring and merely serves to obscure the obvious fiscal consequences of the legislation.
The bottom line is that high school dropouts are extremely expensive to U.S. taxpayers. It does not matter whether the dropout comes from Ohio, Tennessee, or Mexico. It does matter that the Senate immigration bill would increase the future flow of poorly educated immigrants into the U.S. and grant amnesty and access to government benefits to millions of poorly educated illegal aliens already here. Such legislation would inevitably impose huge costs on U.S. taxpayers.
 The President’s Council of Economic Advisers, “Immigration’s Economic Impact,” June 20, 2007.
 Karl Zinsmeister and Edward Lazear, “Lead Weight or Gold Mine: What are the True Costs of Immigration?” RealClearPolitics, June 25, 2007.
 Robert Rector and Christine Kim, “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 14, May 21, 2007.
 Robert Rector, “Amnesty will Cost the U.S. Taxpayers at least $2.6 Trillion,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1490, June 6, 2007, at www.heritage.org/Research/Immigration/wm1490.cfm.
 Lori Montgomery, “Immigration Lifts Wages, Report Says,” Washington Post, June 21, 2007, p. D3.
 “Response to False Claims That Illegal Immigrants Will Not Receive Welfare Under Senate Bill,” Robert E. Rector, Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1509, June 18, 2007.
 Zinsmeister and Lazear.
 The White House, “Fact Sheet: Ending Chain Migration,” May 29, 2007, at www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/immigration/.
 Robert Rector, “Merit-based Immigration under S. 1348: Bringing in the High Tech Waitresses,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1492, June 7, 2007.
 Tamar Jacoby, “‘Temporary is Temporary’ Won’t Work for All Immigrants,” Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2007, at www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-jacoby10may10,0,923297.story.
 Interview with Edward Lazear, “Washington Journal,” C-SPAN, June 21, 2007.
 Zinsmeister and Lazear.
 Montgomery, “Immigration Lifts Wages, Report Says.”
 This conclusion is based on forthcoming research by The Heritage Foundation that employs the fiscal methodology of Rector and Kim, “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer.”
 Zinsmeister and Lazear.
 The President’s Council of Economic Advisers, “Immigration’s Economic Impact,” p. 5
 National Research Council, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1997), pp. 334, 342.
Illegal Immigration: Senate’s Desires Trump American People
by Sher Zieve
In recent history it has it never been so patently and painfully obvious that the wants of our elected officials supersede those of the US electorate. The Illegals’ Immigration and Amnesty Bill has not only brought to the forefront our senators’ House of Lords proclivities and behaviors directed against the will of their own communities but, is now being used to smack their constituents in their faces. Firmly and finally our senators—along with our president—have now told we-the-people that only their desires, wallets and pocketbooks count. We-the-people can either accept their increasingly totalitarian dictates—or leave the country. Illegal Aliens are now the important class of people. US citizens and their needs and desires are no longer important. The latest scuttlebutt is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Whip Trent “I hate conservative talk radio” Lott (RINO-MI) have come to agreement on one of their back-door deals. They plan to push through their ‘amnesty-for-everyone-except-legal-US-citizens-and-those-trying-to-enter-the-country-legally’ in spite of the rising voices of the American people against it.
This week, US politicians intend to lay down the law to the American people: “Our ambitions are more important than yours. Consequently, they override any possible loyalty we had for either you or this country. Get used to it!” Our voices and our votes have now become irrelevant and our political leaders are increasingly listening to and supporting the radical elements of La Raza and MEChA. Recently, the racist group La Raza was given not only input into the Illegals Amnesty Bill but, veto power over it as well! What is the reason for these disloyalties to the United States of America and its people? Answer: The planned replacement of the aforementioned USA by the ‘North American Union’s Security and Prosperity Partnership’. This is, yet, another issue that the corrupt leftist media does not and will not report. Although we in the New Media have been reporting on this vital to the US’ survival issue, it is still largely a secretive one. WND’s Jerome Corsi reports that the US Department of Commerce SPP NAFTA head Geri Word says the reason for the secrecy is: “We did not want to get the contact people of the working groups distracted by calls from the public.” There goes that pesky public again! The ones who actually still think both their voices and votes count. From the mouths and actions of both the US Senate and president—they don’t.
If it meets all expectations, the current Amnesty bill will reduce illegal immigration by only 13%, provide legal status for south of the border gang members and terrorists, still create a permanent illegal underclass and still force US citizens to pay for the illegals’-to-be-made-legal medical care and schooling. In other words, we-the-people continue to receive only the shaft. The bill also provides permanent legal status for current illegals, by providing them with a renewable and open-ended green card. The bill includes the continuation of Chain Migration (allowing families, relatives and friends of illegals-now-legal to enter the US also) until 2016. As the North American Union (NAU) is already planned to be in full force by 2010—well before the 2016 date—along with the end of US sovereignty as a distinct nation, any actual enforcement of this Amnesty/Open Borders bill will have been rendered moot. Unfortunately, this appears to be part of the New World Order—one that was talked about under Bush I and is now being implemented by Bush II. And what began as the highly-touted NAFTA has now, via the US government’s passing regulations largely unfamiliar to the US citizenry, become the means to the end of the United States of America. I cannot help but wonder what promises have been made to our senators for assisting in the dissolution of the country. Doesn’t this constitute treasonous behaviors and actions? However, with no independent country, the concept of treason is also moot. As with the Illegals’ Amnesty Bill, a multitude of criminal behaviors can be removed with the stroke of the presidential pen. As our sovereignty will be reduced to the back pages of history and some yet-to-be-determined-by-the-elites form of government has not yet been announced, one is left to muse as to what will replace Congress and the presidency. Will the new presidential title be Emperor?
If you think I’m exaggerating, unfortunately you’re wrong. Take a look at the references I’ve provided, as well as looking up North American Union and SPP for yourselves. I suggest that you will be shocked and will notice that I have actually been quite conservative in my assessments.
Never in the history of our country have we more fiercely required a real leader who will actually fight for it. This time, due to our recent several decades of past “leadership”, it is the fight for the very existence of the United States of America. Without an elected president who still believes in the sovereignty of our country, it and the American people are already finished. And the bogus Immigration Reform and Border Security Bill will help to herald our demise. Please continue to call, screaming if you must, your Senators and Congress people. Tell them NOT to pass this treasonous bill. And I’m still asking if there are some conservative groups out there with the resources to plan and implement some major marches on Washington D.C. Are there?
Sher Zieve is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. (www.thenma.org). The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
Big Immigration, Low Employment
By Steven Camarota
The Center for Immigration Studies | June 25, 2007
WASHINGTON (June 20, 2007) — Some businesses in Georgia argue that they need large numbers of immigrants because there are not enough native-born Americans to fill jobs that require relatively little education. However, state employment data show that as the number of less-educated immigrant workers has grown dramatically, the share of less-educated natives holding a job in Georgia has declined significantly.
Between 2000 and 2006 the share of less-educated native-born adults (ages 18 to 64) in Georgia holding a job declined from 71 percent to 66 percent. (Less-educated is defined as having no education beyond high school.)
Had employment rates for natives been the same in 2006 as they were in 2000, then 186,000 more less-educated native-born adults and teenagers would have been working. The number of less-educated immigrants holding a job increased by 218,000.
Less-educated blacks in Georgia have seen a somewhat larger decline in employment, from 66 percent holding a job in 2000 to just 60 percent in 2006.
There are nearly 800,000 less-educated native-born adults in Georgia not working. There are likely between 250,000 and 350,000 less-educated illegal aliens holding jobs in the state.
Wages and salary for less-educated adults in Georgia have stagnated. Over the entire six-year time period of the study, real annual wages for less-educated adults grew by just 1 percent. If there was a labor shortage, wages should be rising fast.
Native-born teenagers (15 to 17 years of age) have also seen a dramatic decline in employment. Between 2000 and 2006 the share of native-born teenagers holding a job declined from 22 percent to 11 percent in the state.
There are about 300,000 native-born teenagers not working in Georgia.
Immigrants (legal and illegal) increased their share of all less-educated workers in Georgia, from 7 percent in 2000 to 19 percent by 2006. Other research indicates that at least half of this growth was from illegal immigrants.
Discussion: It would be a mistake to think that every job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native. However, it would also be a mistake to think that the kind of dramatic increase in immigrant workers that has taken place in Georgia does not have serious implications for the employment of less-educated natives there. The natives impacted by immigrant competition are already the poorest workers and have the lowest rates of employment. This raises important questions about the fairness of creating so much job competition at the bottom end of the labor market through our immigration policies.
There would seem to be a huge supply of less-educated native-born adults and teenagers in the state to meet the needs of businesses. Of course, a large share of persons who are not in the labor force do not wish to work. But it is also clear that many would be willing to do so if properly paid and treated by employers. This is especially true in light of the fact that so many less-educated natives who are not working were in fact working as recently as 2000.
If, for example, immigration laws were enforced and this resulted in say two-thirds of illegal immigrants leaving the state, it would mean that employers would have to find about 200,000 workers to replace them. Given the very large size of the non-working population in the Georgia, replacing illegal workers would seem to be very possible. Again, assuming they are properly paid and treated properly. It is worth noting that businesses in the state could attract natives from other parts of the country with weaker economies if the large existing pool of less-educated natives in the state was still found to be inadequate. There is also the option of utilizing labor-saving devices and techniques.
While the decline in employment among less-educated natives in Georgia is not in dispute, some may feel that immigrants have little to do with it because they work very different jobs than do natives. While there are some differences in the concentration of immigrants and natives across occupations, the fact remains that less-educated immigrants and less-educated natives very often do the same kinds of work. If we look at the top-five occupational categories done by less-educated immigrants we find that 44 percent of less-educated natives are employed in these same occupations. These include building cleaning and maintenance, construction, production, food preparation and service, and transportation and moving occupations.
Other Research: In a paper published last year by the Center for Immigration Studies, Andrew Sum and his colleagues at Northeastern University found that the arrival of new immigrants (legal and illegal) in a state results in a decline in employment among young native born workers in that state. Their findings indicate that young native born workers are being displaced in the labor market by the arrival of new immigrants. In another recent paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (Working paper 12518), the authors found that immigration was responsible for 40 percent of the decline in black employment between 1980 and 2000.
Data Sources: The data for this analysis come from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by the Census Bureau in March of each year. It includes legal immigrants and most illegal immigrants. The occupational data discussed above was based on a combined sample of March 2005 and 2006 CPS. We combined two years to get more statistically robust estimates by occupation for the state of Georgia.
CHARLIE DANIELS HAS THE COURAGE TO SPEAK HIS MIND
I don’t know how everybody else feels about it, but to me I think Hispanic people in this country, legally or illegally, made a huge public relations mistake with their recent demonstrations.
I don’t blame anybody in the world for wanting to come to the United States of America, as it is a truly wonderful place.
But when the first thing you do when you set foot on American soil is illegal it is flat out wrong and I don’t care how many lala land left heads come out of the woodwork and start trying to give me sensitivity lessons.
I don’t need sensitivity lessons, in fact I don’t have anything against Mexicans! I just have something against criminals and anybody who comes into this country illegally is a criminal and if you don’t believe it try coming into America from a foreign country without a passport and see how far you get. What disturbs me about the demonstrations is that it’s tanta-mount to saying, “I am going to come into your country even if it means breaking your laws and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
It’s an “in your face” action and speaking just for me, I don’t like it one little bit and if there were a half dozen pairs of gonads in Washington bigger than English peas it wouldn’t be happening.
Where are you, you bunch of lily livered, pantywaist, forked tongued, sorry excuses for defenders of The Constitution? Have you been drinking the water out of the Potomac again? And even if you pass a bill on immigration it will probably be so pork laden and watered down that it won’t mean anything anyway. Besides, what good is another law going to do when you won’t enforce the ones on the books now?
And what ever happened to the polls, guys? I thought you folks were the quintessential finger wetters. Well you sure ain’t paying any attention to the polls this time because somewhere around eighty percent of Americans want some thing done about this mess, and mess it is and getting bigger everyday.
This is no longer a problem, it is a dilemma and headed for being a tragedy. Do you honestly think that what happened in France with the Muslims can’t happen here when the businesses who hire these people finally run out of jobs and a few million disillusioned Hispanics take to the streets?
If you, Mr. President, Congressmen and Senators, knuckle under on this and refuse to do something meaningful it means that you care nothing for the kind of country your children and grand-children will inherit. But I guess that doesn’t matter as long as you get re-elected. Shame on you.
One of the big problems in America today is that if you have the nerve to say anything derogatory about any group of people (except Christians) you are going to be screamed at by the media and called a racist, a bigot and anything else they can think of to call you
Well I’ve been pounded by the media before and I’m still rockin’ and rollin’ and when it comes to speaking the truth I fear not. And the truth is that the gutless, gonadless, milksop politicians are just about to sell out the United States of America because they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to face reality.
And reality is that we would never allow any other group of people to have 12 million illegal in this country and turn around and say, “Oh it’s ok, ya’ll can stay here if you’ll just allow us to slap your wrist.”
And I know that some of you who read this column are saying “Well what’s wrong with that?” I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. These people could be from Mars as far as we know. We don’t know who they are, where they are or what they’re up to and the way the Congress is going we’re not going to.
Does this make sense? Labor force you say? We already subsidize corporate agriculture as it is, must we subsidize their labor as well?
If these people were from Haiti would we be so fast to turn a blind eye to them or if they were from Somalia or Afghanistan? I think not.
All the media shows us are pictures of hard working Hispanics who have crossed the border just to try to better their life. They don’t show you pictures of the Feds rounding up members of MS 13, the violent gang who came across the same way the decent folks did. They don’t tell you about the living conditions of the Mexican illegal some fat cat hired to pick his crop.
I want to make two predictions.
No. 1: This situation is going to grow and fester until it erupts in violence on our streets while the wimps in Washington drag their toes in the dirt and try to figure how many tons of political hay they can make to the acre.
No 2: Somebody is going to cross that border with some kind of weapon of mass destruction and set it off in a major American city after which there will be a backlash such as this country has never experienced and the Capitol building in Washington will probably tilt as Congressmen and Senators rush to the other side of the issue.
I don’t know about you but I would love to see just one major politician stand up and say, “I don’t care who I make mad and I don’t care how many votes I lose, this is a desperate situation and I’m going to lead the fight to get it straightened out.”
I don’t blame anybody for wanting to come to America , but if you don’t respect our immigration laws why should you respect any others?
And by the way, this is America and our flag has stars and stripes. Please get that other one out of my face.
God Bless America
IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY,
I am not against immigration –
just come through like everyone else
Get a sponsor;
have a place to lay your head;
have a job;
pay your taxes;
live by the rules;
LEARN THE LANGUAGE
as all other immigrants have in the past
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
PART OF THE PROBLEM
Think about this:
If you don’t want to forward this
for fear of offending someone,
YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!
Will we still be the Country of choice
and still be America if we continue
to make the changes forced on us by
people from other countries who came
to live in America because it is the
Country of Choice?
Think about it!
All we have to say is, when will
Someone do something about
We’ve gone so far the other way,
bent over backwards to not
offend anyone, that I am now
But it seems no one has a problem
“In God We Trust”
is our national motto. This is not
some Christian, right wing, political slogan.
We adopted this motto because Christian men
and women – on Christian principles – founded
this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls
of our schools.
It is Time for America to Speak up
If you agree – pass this along;
if you don’t agree – delete it!