June 4, 2007, - 1:46 pm
Letter to the Editor of the Day: The Truth on Illegal Aliens vs. the Wall St. Journal Version; A Primer on the Amnesty Bill
By Debbie Schlussel
Three cheers for Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He’s done a great job researching and pinpointing the extra costs that illegal aliens–and yes, LEGAL aliens–add to America’s tax burden.
But, because he dared do so, he earned the jeers of the pan-alienist Wall Street Journal editorial board, who attacked him on their pages. But Rector responded in a great letter to the editor in Friday’s paper, which I republish below. It’s chock full of important and painful facts:
Low-Skill Immigrants: My Research Is Valid
June 1, 2007; Page A11
Your May 24 editorial “Immigration and Welfare” attacks my research on the fiscal costs of low skill immigration as perpetuating a “myth.” Roughly one-third of immigrant households are now headed by immigrants without a high-school degree. My research, based on Census data and other government sources, shows these “low-skill immigrant” households receive, on average, $30,160 per year in government benefits while paying $10,573 in taxes. Thus each such household costs the taxpayer $19,588 per year. Overall, the net cost to U.S. taxpayers is $89 billion per year. My report suggests that the country would benefit fiscally by having fewer low-skill immigrants, who are net tax consumers, and more well-educated immigrants who are net tax payers.
Rather than rebut my contention that low-skill immigrants are a fiscal drag, your editorial presents statistics about how much all immigrants, including college graduates, pay in taxes. Far from refuting my study, this tactic is either misleading or, at best, irrelevant. It certainly does not demonstrate that low-skill immigrants pay more in taxes than they take in benefits.
The editorial also asserts that low-skill immigrants do not receive large amounts of means-tested welfare assistance. Immigrants do have limited eligibility for welfare, which is why my report counts the welfare received by immigrant households based on the immigrants’ self-report of welfare receipt to the Census Bureau. If an immigrant household states it got Food Stamps, it is counted as receiving Food Stamps. It is that simple.
As my report explicitly states, this procedure “automatically adjusts for the low use of government benefits by …immigrants,” due to eligibility limits. Unless immigrants are over-reporting their own welfare benefits, one finds that low skill immigrant households receive about $10,000 per year in means-tested welfare throughout their lifetimes. This figure does not include other major benefits such as public education, Social Security, and Medicare.
Robert E. Rector
Senior Research Fellow
The Heritage Foundation
And for a primer on why this immigration amnesty bill is a disaster for America and it’s national security, read these two columns (here and here) from the New York Post by my friend, Kris Kobach. Kris is the lawyer for those suing to stop illegal aliens from getting in-state tuition. And he is also the attorney for the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, as it fights the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, illegal aliens, and other malefactors in trying to keep it’s anti-illegal alien laws intact:
* “Rx For Breakdown: How Immigration Bill Overloads Bureaucracy & Endangers Security”
* “Rewarding Lawbreakers”
Kris was the personal counselor to John Ashcroft, when he was Attorney General. Since I’m no fan of Ashcroft (NOT for the reasons the liberals hate him), I won’t hold that against Kris, who is a brilliant and articulate scholar and legal authority. Plus, he called me in consultation for the “Rx for Breakdown” column.
FYI, Kris was one of the applicants to become Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)–the job The ICE Princess got (and for which, she chose herself). Too bad, he wasn’t the chosen one. Things would be different.
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