California, which has the largest number of illegal aliens, predictably has the greatest burden. In Los Angeles County alone, according to a CBS Los Angeles report, welfare and other benefits by the end of last year cost an estimated $650 million just for the native-born children of illegal immigrant parents. L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich told CBS Los Angeles: "When you add the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for health care, the total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion a year."
Hospital closings in California remain a major concern. As Examiner.com reported recently in a story about the economic burden to taxpayers posed by illegal immigrants, "In 2003, the American Southwest saw 77 hospitals enter bankruptcy due to unpaid medical bills incurred by illegal aliens."
This country needs comprehensive immigration reform, whether that means maintaining a secure border or outlining a standard of economic sustainability for immigrants. Taxpayers cannot continue to bear the economic burden of illegal immigration. The Obama administration has promised immigration reform; the Republican Party has promised it, but partisanship and politics keep both sides miles apart. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) remains skeptical that any immigration measure will pass the GOP-led house this year, claiming that a distrust of the president runs deep with Republicans. And while both sides dither, the taxpayer continues to pay ... and our schools, hospitals and welfare system continue to sag under the weight of millions of illegal immigrants who chose not to take the legal route to citizenship.
If Republicans fail to come up with a workable immigration plan, they will simultaneously help Democrats who rely on the Hispanic vote and lose Republican votes. As Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz told Breitbart News, they could also fail to achieve their major goal for 2014: winning a Senate majority.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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