The Math Trick Behind Immigration Reform

The Math Trick Behind Immigration Reform

Call it the Immigration Reform Flimflam.

There’s a ruse that’s in constant play by the gang trying to ram Comprehensive Immigration Reform through Congress. It’s a simple little trick. The immigration hustlers use it all the time. Once you know it, you’ll be able to spot it and point it out to your unsuspecting friends.

The next time you see an article extolling all the cost savings of immigration reform, check and see if they are only doing projections for ten years out. If the numbers are only for a decade–that’s the flimflam.

The dodge couldn’t be simpler. You see, the way that the Gang of Eight Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill is written, the path to citizenship doesn’t kick in for thirteen years. That means that ininitially, it’s all upside for the budget; thirteen years of eleven million people paying taxes without getting any entitlements available only to citizens like social security or Obamacare.

The advocates of Comprehensive Immigration Reform know this, of course. They just don’t mention it. Here’s the Center for American Progess’s ThinkProgress blog with a cogent explanation of the facts.

After DHS sets its enforcement goals, undocumented immigrants who have been here since before December 31, 2011 can apply for registered provisional immigrant status. If they pass the background check and pay a fine ($500 up front), this status allows them to work lawfully in the U.S. After 10 years, those with provisional status are eligible for permanent status. Three years later, they can finally apply for citizenship. Over the course of the 10-year period undocumented immigrants will pay $2,000 in fines plus taxes, and must demonstrate knowledge of civics and English.

So, it’s thirteen years–except for not for everyone. Some would qualify for green cards and even citizenship in five years. ThinkProgress again [emphasis added]:

Expedited path to citizenship for DREAMers and farmworkers: Both DREAMers and agriculture workers would receive green cards within five years, and DREAMers are eligible for citizenship immediately after.

DREAMers are illegal alients who came to the United States as children under age 15, have a high school diploma or GED and say that thy plan to attend college or join the military.

So for the first ten years and even a little beyond that, the numbers look very good. That’s why Amnesty advocates keep the projections on a short string; they don’t want to you to see where the entitlement balloon bursts.

If this sounds like the same trick they used with Obamacare, you’re on target. They frontload the upside to sell it to the public, counting on the media to act like stenographers and not look at the long term costs of adding millions of low-skill works to an ever-growing entitlement economy.

That’s the whole scam; they only project ten years out. Here’s a few examples. First, institutional left warhorse Center for American Progress in an article entitled National and State-by-State Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform:

If the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States were provided legal status, then the 10-year cumulative increase in the gross domestic product, or GDP, of the United States would be $832 billion. Similarly, the cumulative increase in the personal income of all Americans over 10 years would be $470 billion. On average over 10 years, immigration reform would create 121,000 new jobs each year. Undocumented immigrants would also benefit and contribute more to the U.S. economy. Over the 10-year period they would earn $392 billion more and pay an additional $109 billion in taxes–$69 billion to the federal government and $40 billion to state and local governments. After 10 years, when the undocumented immigrants start earning citizenship, they will experience additional increases in their income on the order of 10 percent, which will in turn further boost our economy.

That’s a lot of numbers but the one you notice over and over — ’10 years.’ Center for American Progress says after ten years there are ‘additional increases’ that they claim as an upside but note they never mention the costs.

And the costs are enourmous. As the Heritage Foundation outlines them in the introduction to their report on the full price tag of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, there are four major categories:

  • Direct benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
  • Means-tested welfare benefits. There are over 80 of these programs which, at a cost of nearly $900 billion per year, provide cash, food, housing, medical, and other services to roughly 100 million low-income Americans. Major programs include Medicaid, food stamps, the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  • Public education. At a cost of $12,300 per pupil per year, these services are largely free or heavily subsidized for low-income parents.
  • Population-based services. Police, fire, highways, parks, and similar services, as the National Academy of Sciences determined in its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, generally have to expand as new immigrants enter a community; someone has to bear the cost of that expansion.

The reason the Heritage Foundation was attacked so viciously by Comprehensive Immigration Reform adovocates is that it does what the advocates don’t; they tally the costs beyond ten years. Heritage says:

After 13 years, unlawful immigrants would become eligible for means-tested welfare and Obamacare. At that point or shortly thereafter, former unlawful immigrant households would likely begin to receive government benefits at the same rate as lawful immigrant households of the same education level. As a result, government spending and fiscal deficits would increase dramatically.

The final phase of amnesty is retirement. Unlawful immigrants are not currently eligible for Social Security and Medicare, but under amnesty they would become so. The cost of this change would be very large indeed.

Even Heritage ignores the political impact; the new citizens given amnesty are likely to trend heavily Democrat, which means even more entitlements becoming even more deeply entrenched. The redistributive economy is the cause of major financial danger of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the reform bill will just make that redistribution worse.

The trick year trick is everywhere. Here’s a CNBC piece quoting Hinojosa-Ojeda, the author of The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Hinojosa-Ojeda says that 11 million immigrants would be the equivalent to more than $1.5 trillion, or roughly 1 percent, added to the gross domestic product (GDP) in a period of 10 years The U.S.GDP, defined as the output of goods and services produced by labor and property, is approximately $15 trillion, according to the World Bank.

Ten years. Yep. There’s the upside. Now, where are the long term costs addressed?

Point this out to your friends who were tricked into the Obamacare train wreck and tell them not to get fooled agsain. The people behing Comprehensive Immigration Reform never point out the real costs. There’s a reason for that: they don’t want you to know them.

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