A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


May 2, 2013

How Our Ineffective Immigration Policy Affects the Economy

     I ran across an astute article on ZeroHedge that put our national debate on Immigration in perspective.  I honestly struggle with this issue and see so many sides to the arguments.  Having personally come in contact with an illegal immigrant on our property in South Texas, both PLW and I were struck with the human element in this hotly contested dialogue.  As Christians, how do you turn your back on a fellow human being who is tired, thirsty and fleeing his third-world country for a better life for his family?  On the other hand, as a nation, we are not only going broke on the backs of the tide of immigrants, but are suffering from the added components of crime and drugs that have invaded our homeland.  Frankly, I cannot offer a solution and do not see our elected officials offering an effective way out of this crisis.
     But for those, who don't truly understand the impact of our Immigration problems, let me give you some quick facts that will show you why this dilemma is costing us dearly:
1.   The Border Patrol’s budget increased 149% from 2002 to 2012 (from $1.4 to $3.5 billion).   This agency has the largest budget within the Homeland Security network.  Border patrol staff has also more than doubled over the last 10 years, with the biggest staff increases at the northern Points of Entry. Don't you find that curious?  With all the unreported violence, crime, and signs of terrorists along our Southern border, I find this reprehensible and disgraceful!
2.   Even with an increased budget and staff, apprehensions of illegal immigrants are down 62%.  Experts point to two reasons for this disparity:  Either Border patrol agents are doing a poor job (or more likely are "hampered" from doing their duty); or fewer people are crossing the border due to our poor economy.  When people are no longer trying to sneak into our country for work, then that's a pretty good sign that the economy is weak.
3.   Based on these budget figures, the cost of an apprehension is now $9,680, up 533% in the last 10 years.  The total cost of arresting, detaining, court costs and deporting each illegal immigrant is approximately $12,500, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  That sounds like a pretty expensive --- and inefficient --- system to me.
4.  The drug trade is spread across the different Points of Entry (POEs).  Marijuana comes in from the Southwest POEs, cocaine from the "Coastal" border (New Orleans, Miami), and Ecstacy from the Northern POEs.  You also might be surprised at this report:  671 firearms, 128,000 rounds of ammo, and $7.6 million in cash was confiscated.  Mind you, that is what was "reported".  So the Immigration policy is not just about people, it is about crime!
5.  While the largest immigrant population is still from Mexico, the net migration from that country is waaaay down.  Immigrants from China, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic have increased dramatically, indicating that our immigration policy has become globalized, and therefore a much more complicated reform system is needed.  Once again, the drop off in Mexican immigrants foretells our weak economy.
6.   No single country can receive more than 7% of the allotted green cards available (140,000).  Only 1.2% were approved.  But Mexico is excluded from this lottery, and given special "Border crossing" status, resulting in 1.5 million cards being issued in 2012.  Naturalization, which is separate from green cards and visas, is even more complicated, with each region of the world having a varied "waiting period".  For instance, immigrants from Africa wait 5 years for citizenship; Asians and South Americans wait 6 years; Europe 7; Oceania 8; and North American immigrants wait 10 years.  It goes without saying that our immigration structure is overly complicated.  Streamlining it would undoubtedly result in making immigrants productive citizens quicker.  It would also be less expensive!
7.   The majority of immigrant visas were granted to relatives or "family-sponsored" members.   That breaks down to 75% of visas were granted to siblings, spouses and children, while only 4% went to "employment-based preference" visas.  At least Congress seems to be trying to act responsibly on this front, focusing on reforming current policy to favor high-skill employment visas over familial visa grants.  Perceived value to the US economy will have a higher priority.
8.   According to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, the average foreign, non-citizen in the US, is older, rents their home and makes less money than the average American.  But, more importantly, this survey also shows that the majority of non-citizens are NOT single, young men looking for work.  The statistics show that there are millions of women and children that are part of this demographic, which accounts for the escalating welfare rolls as the household income cannot support these numbers.
9.   The Congressional Budget Office estimates that half of illegal immigrants pay taxes.   While this certainly indicates that not all illegal immigrants are a drain on our tax revenue, doubtlessly the other half that don't pay any local, state or federal taxes do add to the burden of other tax-payers.  Someone has to make up the deficit, and we are feeling the pinch on our wallets!
10.  The Center for American Progress (a "Progressive" think tank) purports that an additional $1.4 trillion could be added to our GDP if the "pathway to citizenship" could be streamlined.   I agree .... IF .... there is a comprehensive effort to reduce welfare spending, which is totally out of control!  The standards for receiving welfare benefits have been lowered, and it is quite obvious in my local community that people who are quite capable of buying bread, milk, and frozen pizzas are not suffering any great financial hardship.  They are simply taking advantage of a slipshod system that offers "free" food.  I'm all for offering aid to those who truly need a helping hand, but when the EBT card comes out of a wallet and purse that costs several times more than what I've ever owned, then something is definitely wrong!
     Bottom line to this whole controversy is the necessity to dramatically reform our current immigration policy.  I'm not too confident that it will be done equitably or fairly for all; politics and votes play too large a part in any kind of compromise or meaningful revamping.  But I do know this:  our economy is suffering and we must come up with a solution that affords us national security, skilled workers, and an end to the welfare state.  We cannot continue in our current direction or we will find ourselves in a financial abyss.

Titus 3:14      "Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives."


2 comments:

  1. If you have ever looked at Mexico's immigration policy you will know that it's very strict. They don't want anyone who cannot support themselves. You must prove you have at least $1900.00 dollars per month income (single person).
    Here in California welfare abuse is out of control. I try not to grocery shop on the 1st of the month but yesterday it was unavoidable. The store was full of young Mexican families, many with 2 or 3 shopping carts packed with junk food and out pops the EBT card to pay for it. Everyone I saw looked healthy enough to have a job. They all had expensive cell phones in their hands. Does it make me angry of course. I'm trying to figure out how to buy everything we need for the month on a very limited budget.
    I know someone will think I'm being racist I'm not. My husband of 31 years is Mexican. He came to this country legally when he was 15. He has worked hard his whole life. He believed in the "American Dream" and American values.
    People who are truly needy and cannot take care of themselves should receive help, but welfare should not become a career choice. Welfare is not compassion it's just another form of slavery.

    JM

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    1. People like you and your husband should be testifying before Congress, although I doubt it would make any difference since this issue is more about politically power than it is about a pathway to citizenship. Living in South Texas, I share your experience at the grocery store, and I'm sure many, if not most, of these people have good paying jobs. But our misguided government has made it too easy to qualify, and no one has pride anymore. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt testimony!

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