3 years ago500+ Views

So we should probably stop thinking of them as leeches.

Last year a nonpartisan research group, The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, did a study on undocumented immigrants' state and local tax contributions in the United States, and what they discovered is impressive. In 2012, undocumented immigrants paid $11.84 billion in state and local taxes. That's more money than most people will earn in their life. And that's just immigrants who are not living or working here legally- the same people that politicians are threatening to forcibly deport.

Ok, but aren't they costing us money???

Sure. It costs a lot of money to maintain the inhumane detention centers, some estimates suggest $5 million dollars per DAY, and the profits go directly to the private sector instead of to the public. But in terms of welfare programs like food stamps? Not so much. Most welfare programs require proof of immigration status, including food stamps, cash welfare, Medicaid, and state health care (via). Several studies have found that use of welfare programs in legal immigrant households was not significantly higher than the rest of the population (49% of households vs 30%), and they suggest that undocumented immigrants are receiving food stamps not for themselves, but for their children, who are citizens.
There are an estimated 4 million U.S. citizens whose parents are undocumented, which might sound like a lot, but since Food Stamps amount to about $1.50 per day they're not exactly overwhelming our national budget- and these recipients are only being treated differently because of their parents' immigration status. (In 2012, the American taxpayer making $50,000 per year only paid $36 dollars towards the food stamps program- via).

Nor is it a fiscally responsible one.

Undocumented immigrants didn't pay $11.84 billion in taxes as a generous donation to the American government- they paid it the same way everyone else did. It's getting taken out of their paychecks, they're paying directly as homeowners or indirectly as renters, and they're paying it in sales taxes. However you feel about undocumented immigrants, they are a part of our economy. And while there are plenty of humane ways to look at the immigration issue, being humane has failed to change people's minds or challenge the way we discuss undocumented immigration. So let's look at the issue as a fiscal one: Undocumented immigrants are stimulating the economy. The financial burden comes from detention centers where private companies are leeching government funds, not from social programs.
@Straightshooter sure, Canada's pretty difficult as well. But for here visas there are fees and tests, plus there's a limit on how many we accept every year. We have a high demand for food service and agricultural workers (fields which can't grow if we don't have enough people to do them) but we only admit 5,000 people a year on those visas. People have to wait years for their family visa to come through, if it even does. I didn't have to go through that because I was born here. Just in terms of how valuable my contribution is to society and the economy, that feels pretty arbitrary to me. I work hard, I continue to educate myself and make my community better, but that has nothing to do with where I was born. It has to do with my values. Some of those are informed by my country, but they also come from my family and my community. You're right, people come here because of our freedoms (and our wealth- despite our economy we're an incredibly wealthy country and people like money as much as they like freedom). I want to work with people like that. Undocumented people are coming here because they want to contribute to that. The immigration system is a bureaucratic nightmare and a lot of the time people can't wait. And when they can be part of our revenue I don't see why they should.
Exactly! Man if we could get rid of these "investors" it would be a lot better for the US
@Straightshooter I have kind of the opposite problem where I live- lots of foreign investors buying properties in the city and then just letting them sit there empty. There are probably more luxury apartments in NY than there are homeless people, but they're not being rented out. They're investments, not active rentals. Which then drives up the rent for everyone else. And those investors aren't planning on immigrating here or contributing- if anything they're the leeches since they're buying resources we actually need. There are some laws about selling U.S. farmland but if we don't follow our own rules then it doesn't really matter. That's a definite problem with regulation- it can be extremely short sighted. There are some regulations being put in place in response to the recent financial crisis so people can't do the same thing- but they'll do something new and innovative and there's no regulation to stop it and even if there was, if they're not enforced they're no good.
Well part of the reason why demand is so high for food and agriculture is due in large part to our government actually selling off large parts of our farms to foriegn countries. I mean they are ACTUALLY SELLING american land to countries like china. Last I checked weve sold over 70 percent of our countries farmland to them. That means that food grown on that land we have to give to them or we have to sell to us at high prices because they own the land which means that the price of food increases and then the workers have to work harder and longer hours to harvest what our country uses. Then they have to increase their pay which directly inpacts us. Thats part of the reason why those business take advantage of illegal immigration. If the government hadnt sold are farm land and regulated the remaining farms, food would be cheaper and they wouldnt have to rely on illegals to stay in buisness. Its the federal governments fault that america is in the predicament we're in, and yet people want to give the government MORE power by electing socialist and corrupt politicians who will increase the size of our government more.
(I have to head out to work soon but if I miss anything I'll reply as soon as I can!)
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