Are you having a hard time paying your bills, making your mortgage payments, or putting your kids through college? You need to know how much of your hard-earned income the government is skimming off and diverting into handouts to immigrants and illegal immigrants.
You can read the depressing details in the new 70-page document called "The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration" by Edwin S. Rubenstein (www.eagleforum.org/sources). A Manhattan Institute adjunct fellow with a mile-long scholarly resume, he has been doing financial analysis ever since he directed the studies of government waste for the Grace Commission of 1984.
The bottom line, which you need to know for your own bottom line, is that U.S. taxpayers are giving more than $9,000 a year in cash or benefits to each immigrant, a third of whom are in the country illegally. That's $36,000 for each immigrant household of four.
Because the U.S. has 37 million immigrants, legal and illegal, the national cost was more than $346 billion last year, which was twice our fiscal deficit. The cost of immigrants is so high because, as Rubenstein writes, "Immigrants are poorer, pay less tax and are more likely to receive public benefits than natives."
Big Brother hasn't told you this bad news, perhaps because the government doesn't want you to know why your paychecks are shortchanged. Even the huge amnesty bill that was defeated last year didn't contain one word about its budgetary consequences.
The financial burden immigrants impose on education starts with the 3.8 million K-12 students enrolled in more-expensive classes for the non-English-speaking. When we add up the costs of hiring specialized teachers, training regular teachers, student identification and assessment, and administration costs, the total amounts to an estimated $1,030 per pupil, or $3.9 billion.
Of the 48.4 million public-school children, pre-K through 12th grade, 9.2 million or 19 percent are immigrants or the children of immigrants. In the next few years, immigration will account for virtually all the increase in public school spending.
Look at the $1.5 billion cost of incarcerating 267,000 criminal aliens in federal prisons. That's not the worst of it; prison capacity is limited, so 80,000 to 100,000 other criminal aliens have been prematurely released to prowl our streets.
Criminals also impose heavy private costs on their victims. Rubenstein estimates the losses of income and property, hospital bills and emotional suffering at $1.6 million per assault- or property-crime offender.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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