Immigration is a key driver of the entitlement state. Most immigrants to the U.S. have low levels of education and job skills and end up on array of benefit programs. Fifty-one percent of illegal immigrants lack a high school education compared to 20% of legal immigrants.
According to a Heritage Foundation study, the average illegal immigrant household has a “net deficit” of benefits to taxes of $14,387. That means the family receives $14,387 more in federal government benefits than it pays in federal taxes.
The study predicts under the Senate-passed immigration bill (S.744), that would increase to $22,700. The Study also concludes what most of us instinctively know about our current immigration system: lawful immigrants receive more in government benefits than native born Americans. So immigrants, both legal and illegal, are a fiscal burden. On the other hand, immigrants buy things, adding demand for goods and services. But, Heritage concludes the overall cost of illegal immigrants under the bill will exceed their contribution by more than $6.3 trillion.
What’s the point of the current fiscal debate if we are to have 10-20 million new illegal immigrants and their families here consuming benefits over the next decade? (Even though the bill does not allow them to receive Social Security or Medicare for a decade, they can receive Medicaid, attend public schools, and qualify for some federal benefit programs.) All of the energy conservatives are expending now on the government shutdown, the debt ceiling and “entitlement reform” would be better spent fighting the House leadership over immigration. Sen. Cruz and the Tea Parties have, as of this moment, achieved nothing. Yet “immigration reform” is still hanging out there over the House like a biblical cloud no larger than one’s hand. If the House passes any immigration legislation, it will be taken up by a conference committee which, opponents of the bill fear, will make it more like the Senate bill. Then, the House will be under unblinking pressure to pass the conference “bipartisan” bill and “put immigration behind us.”
Our Illinois Republicans cannot be trusted on this issue. Sen. Kirk has betrayed us in voting for the Senate bill. He is thoroughly dishonest after having campaigned as an opponent of amnesty in 2010. He should be opposed in the 2016 primary. And our supposedly bright young stars, Congressmen Schock and Kinzinger, are either incoherent about immigration policy or, at times, indicate openness to mass legalization. For whatever reason, they simply don’t listen to their mostly rural and conservative constituents on this issue. It’s time to take action against them. We should stop giving money to their campaigns, stop volunteering, and hope they listen to us. If not, then let them get primaried. It’s no longer possible to be a “thoughtful conservative” as Adam Kinziger calls himself, and support higher levels of immigration. Immigration = spending and debt.
Former Congressman Robert Dold, an undistinguished one-term Republican, is trying to regain his old seat on the North Shore (despite the inconvenient fact he doesn’t live in the district). I’ve been unable to find any public statement he has ever made about immigration- which in this environment is Ostrich-like behavior. We would be ill served by a member of Congress who fails to see the nexus between immigration and all of the fiscal pathologies that now are front and center. Perhaps a Republican running in a blue district can fudge it on abortion or other social issues. But the House is going to take action on immigration before the 2014 midterm election. We must insist on knowing what our Congressmen and potential Congressmen think about it. The Ostrich is indistinguishable from the RINO.