"They're God's Children."--John McCain
By Flagstaff Posted in Immigration — Comments (68) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
John McCain made a statement today, again trying to formulate a coherent position on the illegal immigration problem. It still doesn't wash.
He is still looking at it in terms of "they're God's children," instead of "a tidal wave of illegal immigration from a single third-world country will wreck our economy while it devastates our society and culture."
Mr. McCain needs to look at the economic side of the equation in addition to its human welfare and even its law-enforcement and ethical aspects.
There are studies that have tried to answer the question of whether illegals are a net benefit or net drag on the economy. I doubt that they can be called definitive either way, because they disagree about what to count. One example: A major report that says they are a net negative does NOT figure their Social Security tax payments into its equations, reasoning that there is an offsetting obligation incurred to pay future benefits. Its counterpart that claims illegal immigration to be helping us financially does count those payments in their favor, reasoning that the government accounts for Social Security on a "pay as you go" basis, thus ignoring the future obligations.
Furthermore, I doubt that any study will ever take into account the contributions and costs added by the second- and third-generation offspring, people who wouldn't even be here if it weren't for the illegal presence of their parents or grandparents at one time. Most studies would categorize them as "Americans" (our shorthand for US citizens) and therefore not a relevant factor in the equation.
It will probably never be possible to determine absolutely whether illegal immigrants are an economic positive or negative for the country, but a bit of common-sense analysis should point us in the right direction.
To start, they are illegal. That means there is at least a smattering of enforcement being attempted at all times. That costs. A negative.
Many illegals work off the books. No taxes need be paid. A negative.
They do spend their money here (at least some of it). That's a positive.
Even on the books, we're told that illegals work jobs that "Americans won't do." Even if this is true, it means that either (1) the jobs are unnecessary and would just not be done without the supply of illegal labor, or (2) the jobs are necessary but would have to pay more to convince Americans to work at them. The logical conclusion is that Americans who are being forced out of the labor market would take the work at a higher rate, absent the competition of of cheap illegal labor. They would also pay more taxes. A BIG negative, offset slightly by the smaller positive that goods now "produced" by illegals would then cost more.
Because the majority of benign (that is, not crime- or terrorist-based) illegal immigrants have minimal education, poor job skills, and low English proficiency, they tend to be found in those low-wage jobs mentioned above. If they pay tax at all, it's not much. They're logically NOT going to be contributing much to tax revenues at any level. Meanwhile, they grow families at a much higher rate than do Americans. (There are statistics that prove this unequivocally.) The result is a much higher than average burden on our various social systems--schools, medical, welfare, housing and even charitable institutions. Not to mention the environment. (More later on this.) Another BIG negative.
There are various statistics that support the claim illegals (and their second- and third-generation offspring who aren't illegal at all, but are Americans who should not have been born here but were) comprise a large portion of the gangs in Los Angeles and elsewhere throughout the US. Without trying to prove exact numbers or percentages, there isn't any doubt that the effects of these gang members are meaningful. Again, enforcement efforts, judicial processing, and incarceration cost us all, without mitigation. A negative, even if the percentage is very low.
When one considers all this, it's difficult to understand how the presence of 20 million or so illegal immigrants can be anything other than a tremendous drag on our economy. (After all, if they were that productive, wouldn't Mexico et al be moving heaven and Earth to keep them at home?) So,
John McCain needs to face up to the economic consequences (both intended and unintended) of allowing 20 million illegals to remain with impunity in the country, and what a half-hearted effort to enforce immigration laws combined with a "path to citizenship" will mean to FUTURE inflows of illegal immigrants.
Once he addresses that problem with real StraightTalk, we FisCons will have a lot more confidence in him.
About the environment: Apparently 10% of our population shouldn't even be here (not counting offspring). That means we are USING ABOUT 10% MORE RESOURCES THAN WE WOULD OTHERWISE USE. Ten percent more carbon output. Ten percent more wood products. Ten percent more petroleum. Ten percent more GASOLINE.
Mr. Environmentally-Friendly McCain needs to consider that, too.
Finally, it is commendable that John McCain reminds us that even illegal immigrants are "God's children." I'd like to remind Mr. McCain that it's my understanding that God has dominion over all the Earth. That includes those countries that the illegal immigrants came from, and to which they should eventually return. They will be no less God's children there than they are here. If those countries don't treat their citizens as if they were God's children, that's another problem, but it's not one to solve by asking them all to come here.