President Barack Obama claimed that illegal immigrants do not burden taxpayers and are not a drain on public resources.
In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Obama also slammed and dismissed those who are concerned about the negative impact that illegal immigration often has on American workers (U.S.-born and legal immigrants) as “nativists.”
“If you’re concerned that somehow illegal immigrants are a drain on resources and forcing, you know, Americans to pay for services for these folks, well, every study shows that’s just not the case,” Obama claimed. “Generally, these folks don’t use a lot of services, and my executive action specifically is crafted so that they’re not a drain on taxpayers; instead, they’re going to be paying taxes, and we can make sure that they are.”
A comprehensive 2012 Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report, though, found that that households headed by illegal immigrants were more likely to be on a welfare program than those headed by U.S.-born Americans or legal immigrants, which means that U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants were more likely to be in poverty and dependent on government. In Texas, 58% of households headed by illegal immigrants on a welfare program. In California and Illinois, 55% were.” The report found that “nationally, illegal immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 9.9 percent of all persons in poverty, compared to their 4.9 percent share of nation’s total population.”
Illegal immigrants were also more likely to be uninsured. According to the study, “14.6 percent of all uninsured persons in the United States are estimated to be illegal aliens or the young children of illegal immigrants.” And in states like Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas, the impact was “much larger,” according to the report: “In Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas, roughly one-fourth of the uninsured are illegal immigrants and their children. In New Jersey, Washington, and North Carolina roughly one-fifth of the uninsured are illegal immigrants.”
Furthermore, illegal immigrants negatively impact wages, especially those of low-income Americans attempting to climb the economic ladder. As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has repeatedly pointed out, “Harvard professor George Borjas determined that high levels of immigration from 1980 through 2000 resulted in a 7.4% wage reduction for workers without a high school diploma. Similarly, he found current immigration policy resulted in a net wage loss of $402 billion for workers competing directly with immigrant labor.” And the Congressional Budget Office also determined that the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill would also lower wages of American workers.
Though illegal immigrants who receive executive amnesty will not have to pay back taxes, Obama claimed his executive action was crafted in a way to ensure that illegal immigrants would not be a drain on taxpayers since they will begin to pay taxes.
Obama also said “there are a lot of Republicans” who believe in a comprehensive amnesty bill, which he noted was “more generous” than his executive amnesty.
“We know that because those folks voted for a comprehensive bill in the Senate that in many ways was more generous than I was able to offer through executive action,” he said.