The bill will accomplish economic integration by legalizing 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants immediately and inviting millions more (relatives of the amnestied plus guest workers) to enter legally in the coming years. Not only does the compromise bill reached by the White House and Senate call for integrating millions of poor, uneducated Mexicans into the U.S. economy and giving them and all their distant relatives extraordinarily generous handouts of social benefits, it calls for U.S. foreign aid to Mexicans still living south of the border.The 600-plus page bill fails to mention its biggest effect: the immense tax burden it will impose on the U.S. middle class. The bill will require U.S. taxpayers to finance what is, in essence, a multi-billion dollar purchase of Mexican poverty.
Title VI of the bill will instantly turn 20 million illegal immigrants now in the United States into legal residents. Nobody knows the exact number, but because the bill has no cap and makes it advantageous to declare yourself an illegal immigrant, fraud will probably grow the number (as did the number who were granted amnesty by the 1986 bill signed into law by President Ronald Reagan).
The big majority of these illegal immigrants are low-skill, low-wage high school dropouts. An in-depth Heritage Foundation study by Robert Rector estimates that the average low-skill household receives $30,160 in taxpayer-paid benefits from all levels of government.
Heritage estimates that the average low-skill household pays only $10,573 in taxes at all levels. Each household, therefore, lays a net cost on U.S. taxpayers of $19,588 per year, which added up to $564 billion in 2004. The Heritage Foundation is a conservative public policy research institute based in Washington, D.C. From 1995-2005 the foundation ran Townhall.com.
In addition to public schools, low-income Americans are the beneficiaries of more than 60 federal means-tested aid programs, including Medicaid; Earned Income Tax Credit, a cash handout that averages $1,700 per year per household; food stamps; Section 8 housing, public housing; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF; school lunches and breakfasts; the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, nutrition program; Social Services Block Grants, or SSBG; and legal services.
Most Americans are unaware of the enormous government transfers from taxpaying Americans to those who pay little or no income taxes.
About 45 percent of illegal immigrants work in the underground economy, thereby avoiding all income and employment taxes. And, because Mexicans send $23 billion a year of their earnings in remittances back to their home country, they pay little sales taxes for purchases of U.S. products. Title IV, Section 413, locks the bill into the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which President Bush agreed to with Mexican President Vicente Fox at Waco, Texas, in 2005.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership, in turn, is locked into the five-year plan spelled out in the Council on Foreign Relations document called "Building a North American Community," which called for massive U.S. foreign aid as part of economic integration. It's no surprise that the Senate immigration bill calls on U.S. taxpayers to "improve the standard of living in Mexico." In addition to the heavy costs that the bill would impose on current U.S. taxpayers, it is truly awesome to contemplate the burden put on future taxpayer when the amnestied immigrants and their many relatives retire and collect Social Security and Medicare. Heritage estimates that the net retirement costs - benefits minus taxes - could be more than $2.5 trillion, which is five times the cost of the Iraq war.
Globalists try to tell us that bringing in more workers will expand and enrich our economy. That's nonsense. If millions of low-skill, low-wage workers could build a country's wealth, Africa and South America would be the richest countries in the world, and obviously they are not.
The influx of tens of millions of low-skill workers, who pay almost no taxes and send $23 billion of their earnings out of the country, will increase U.S. poverty and impose a tremendous burden on U.S. taxpayers. The increased supply of low-skill workers will also depress the wages of low-skill Americans who compete for low-wage jobs.
The terrible costs of the Senate immigration bill's buyout of Mexican poverty is not the legacy we want to leave our children and grandchildren. Because the bill and its advocates never address the issue of costs, it's up to the voters to hold their senators responsible.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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