The Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) recently estimated that there are 15.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States. This was up 9.4 percent from the previous year and is now growing even faster because of the Biden Administration’s deliberately accelerated unlawful open-door immigration policies.
Thus, it would be conservative to estimate an illegal population of over 20 million by 2014, the next Presidential Election Year. FAIR also estimated that the fiscal costs alone would amount to $200 billion annually by 2025.
The Heritage Foundation released a study in 2012 estimating that the average unlawful immigrant household costs U.S. taxpayers $14,387 per year. Using a 1.32 inflation factor would update that estimate to approximately $19,000 per year per unlawful household in 2022. These figures have been adjusted downward to account for taxes of all kinds paid by unlawful households. Tax revenues from illegal immigrants, however, are low because of relatively low levels of education and skills and low-income tax brackets.
According to the Heritage Foundation study, these costs do not go away with amnesty. They almost double to $28,000 per year. Adjusted for inflation to 2022 dollars, this would be $37,000 per year. The much higher cost is because of greater welfare benefits and social security, which would continue for generations. Amnesty is the road to catastrophic fiscal disaster.
The 2012 Heritage Foundation study also found that even legal immigrants resulted in a net fiscal cost of $4,000 per lawful immigrant household per year. The inflation adjustment would increase that to over $5,200, but the larger number of better educated East Asian and South Asian immigrants over the last decade has probably reduced this deficit.
However, the fiscal deficits imposed by illegal immigration pale in comparison to the depressed wages and reduced employment opportunities for American workers. This is due to excessive immigration, both legal and illegal. A 2016 paper by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) estimated this cost American workers $494 billion per year. Using an inflation factor of 1.20 since 2016, that cost probably exceeds $593 billion per year, nearly $3,800 per American worker.
U.S. immigration policy has probably not been profitable to Americans since the 1965 Immigration Act started a cascade of low-skilled and poorly educated immigration. Before that, the average immigrant brought a higher level of skills and education than held by the average American. Anything less than a strictly controlled predominantly merit immigration system is going to hurt Americans and American prosperity. According to CIS, Harvard labor economist George Borjas, and the 1999 Jordan Congressional Commission, combined immigration and asylum levels greater than 550,000 per year hurt Americans and the American economy. However, higher levels of immigration benefit powerful special interests that displace American labor with cheaper foreign labor. Massive immigration is also favored by politicians seeking voters who favor a big-government welfare state.
If we can have honest elections, the Republicans will probably be a majority in both the U.S. House and Senate after the 2022 Elections. We might be able to finish the Wall and secure the border, but we will not get illegal immigration under control unless we enforce immigration laws at the workplace and insist on a predominantly merit-based legal immigration system limited to levels compatible with the economic benefit and cultural comfort of the American people and political stability.
Even if we do those right things, we could still bring the nation to ruin by giving an Amnesty.
The Catastrophic Multiplier Effect of Amnesty
President Biden, former President Obama, and their leftist accomplices in the Cabinet, Congress, media, and woke business fantasyland are probably not concerned with lessons of history regarding amnesty, but there is a strong one. President Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 amnesty bill with reservations. He was misled into believing that there would be less than one million amnesties. Thanks to widespread document fraud and intentionally lax bureaucrat vetting, the number turned out to be about 2.75 million. Then there were six supplemental amnesties for another 3.0 million. Moreover, Congress failed to implement enforcement measures in the 1986 bill. Then millions of additional illegal immigrants came, first the relatives, then less closely related family and friends, and still millions more who calculated that they should come because U.S. immigration law was no more than a temporary inconvenience. At the end of his second term, Reagan told his Attorney General Ed Meese that his most regretted mistake was signing the 1986 amnesty.
Lesson Number One. The actual number of amnesties far exceeded the estimates
To summarize, Reagan was misled into believing there would be less than a million amnesties, and that would end it. There were actually 2.75 million amnesties to begin with, and Congress added another 3.0 million with supplemental amnesties. That totaled 5.75 million and encouraged more illegal immigration. Amnesties also lead to more follow-up amnesties.
Looking at the 1986 amnesty and the wave of illegal immigration that followed and still continues, a rough rule of multiplication has been devised:
Lesson Number Two. For every amnesty given, two to three additional illegal immigrants will come within 10 to 20 years.
Assuming a Biden amnesty will involve only 15 to 20 million illegal immigrants; this would mean another 30 to 60 million future illegal immigrants would add to their numbers in as little as a decade.
This rule, however, may now be quite conservative. Biden and the Democrats are offering more than amnesty. It is essentially open border immigration and includes a right to health and welfare benefits to anyone crossing the border and a clear road to citizenship and voting. This is a wide door to massive immigration and colossal national security, public safety, economic, and social problems. It is attractive to the Democrats, because it brings in millions of new voters who are likely to favor leftist Democrats by at least two-to-one and probably four-to-one. It is also attractive to those businesses preferring cheap immigrant labor to American labor. Its consequence will be a stacked deck of permanent one-party leftist rule.
Open borders amnesty will not only erase our borders, but it will also erase any distinction between legal immigration and whoever gets here. It will soon essentially erase any distinction between citizens and whoever is here.
Given these exceedingly favorable terms for anyone crossing our borders, the number of immigrants arriving could far exceed 60 million in far less than a decade. FAIR conservatively estimates 52 million more immigrants as a result of Biden’s proposed amnesty. This open-door amnesty could be the most foolish decision ever made by any government. The full scope and impact of its chaotic and destructive consequences can hardly be imagined.
The main problem following the 1986 amnesty was that we did not enforce our immigration policies, primarily because our political leadership had become too much beholden to or intimidated by special interests that want unlimited numbers of cheap foreign labor for big corporate political donors and increased ethnic immigration to stack the electoral deck for left-liberal progressives. President Donald Trump saw clearly that our corrupt immigration system was serving special interests rather than the best interests of the American people, American workers, and American taxpayers. He saw clearly that public safety, national security, and respect for American values and Constitutional principles were being hindered and foolishly disregarded. Despite considerable opposition in Congress and the media, he made remarkable progress toward an immigration system and tax policies that favored the American people and their future prosperity and security. Now Joe Biden, his principal influencers, and the increasingly radical-left Democrat Party intend to erase our borders and put the whole nation in desperate peril.
Lesson Number three. Chain migration will result in an additional 3.45 family members immigrating for each new amnesty. This multiple could increase with government generosity.
Lesson Number four. Amnesties and cheap foreign labor are not profitable to the American economy, the American people, and especially American workers and taxpayers.
To summarize, the fiscal costs of amnesty for 15 to 20 million people could easily compound to $1.2 to $2.0 trillion per year for generations. The economic burden in depressed wages and job opportunities for American workers would be far larger—enormous. The Borjas formula is that for every 10 percent increase in the immigrant workforce (both legal and illegal), the wages of native-born male workers are reduced 3.7 percent and all native-born workers by 2.5 percent. See CIS study April 2013.
Economics is a science that often results in a wide range of estimates, but it is also a science that only fools ignore. If you like working with exponential numbers, here are some updated relevant statistics: U.S. population, 332 million; U.S. workers, 157 million; average wage, $52,000; amnesty illegal multiplier, 2.5; chain migration multiplier, 3.45; time to average full impact, within 15 years. Don’t forget that there are always many more amnesties than stated in initial amnesty legislation. Or you could just remember that it is an enormous wage-depressing burden that no honest and sensible leader would inflict on a nation’s workers and families.
The inflationary government spending would be ruinous to consumers and especially to retirees and others on fixed incomes. The impact on public safety, public health, and national security would be invariably ruinous.
We should not be tempted even by a small amnesty. It could result in permanent one-party control and run-away corruption.
Almost all Democrat politicians favor amnesty now. They cannot win an election without importing new big-government, welfare oriented and dependent voters. The danger is that enough misguided, misinformed, virtue-signaling, or corrupt Republicans will join them to destroy our country.
Illegal immigration is sewing a poison wind that will destroy our country. Amnesty is not a solution. It is national suicide.
The Soft Power Alternative to Illegal Immigration and Amnesty
Proponents of amnesty often disingenuously argue that we must have an amnesty, because it is impossible to reduce the number of illegal immigrants here except by extreme police-state methods, alluding to railroad boxcars used by the Nazis during the Holocaust. This is a false dilemma. The Jordan Commission, the Center for Immigration Studies, and others found that a Soft Power Plan would quickly minimize the number of illegal immigrants in the country.
The Soft Power Plan elements are simply enforcing immigration policy at the workplace as well as the border, not allowing undocumented immigrants to have driver licenses, and not allowing undocumented immigrants to receive government welfare or healthcare benefits except in emergency medical situations. The residual unlawful aliens left in the country and those associated with Drug Cartels and national security threats could be sifted out and deported by ICE over a few years, hopefully with local government and law enforcement cooperation.
Why don’t we do these things? Powerful special interests have enormous control over our elections and public policy. Voters need to know the facts and make sure their elected leaders know the facts and heed them.
“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”—Hosea 8:7.