Published DateTo the editor,
Let's be frank, our politicians are trying to force Comprehensive Immigration Reform down our throats because it benefits the politicians themselves, even though it hurts most Americans.
With 20 million unemployed or underemployed Americans, we don't need the low skilled, poorly educated immigrant workers who flood this labor pool driving down wages and taking jobs Americans desperately need.
They tell us this cheap immigrant labor keeps prices down, for example, that immigrants provide us with cheap lettuce and apples because Americans won't pick fruits and vegetables for the average farm worker pay of about $8.65 per hour.
But many Americans already work at the current wages, so many more unemployed or underemployed Americans would take jobs held by illegals if the jobs paid more. Employers would have to pay more if the labor market was not flooded with low skilled (immigrant) workers. Labor is only about 10 percent of the produce cost so doubling farm labor pay would provide a decent income to workers at only a minor cost to consumers. (Small compared to the food stamp program cost for each net income tax payer of about $1066/year.)
The worst cost of illegal immigration is that many Americans are victims of accidents and violent crimes committed by people who shouldn't even be here. The next worst cost is probably to the poverty, depression and dependency that harms so many low skilled Americans because of illegal aliens. But, let's consider the financial cost of this "cheap" labor.
Each average illegal immigrant household receives approximately $16,000 more in benefits that it pays in taxes (legal immigrants receive more). Assuming two workers per household, that works out to about $4/hour. In addition, Americans, who lose jobs to illegal workers, receive various unemployment and welfare benefits that average about $30,000. That is a cost to the taxpayer of about $14.50 per hour.
Adding the above, the true cost of allowing a farmer to hire cheap illegal workers is $27.15 per hour, not just the $8.65 paid by the farmer. Even $27.15 understates the real cost. It doesn't include the cost due to depressed wages, the cost of imprisoning violent criminal immigrants, and the cost of property stolen by illegal alien criminals; I don't know how to estimate these and other real costs.
The low wages paid to illegal workers allow farmers and other employers to earn big profits. Portions of those profits go to taxes and to influence politicians to continue taxing other Americans to subsidize their businesses.
A recent study by the OECD says that immigrants, all together, annually cost American taxpayers $140,000,000,000 more than they pay in taxes. High skilled immigrants pay more taxes than they receive in benefits. Low skilled workers take far more in benefits than they pay in taxes. The Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill will allow 7 unskilled immigrants for every high skilled immigrant worker, thus this bill will create a huge additional cost for American taxpayers.
The beneficiaries of the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill will be politicians, employers, and special interest groups. The claims they are making are intended to deceive us. We'd be stupid to believe their promises again. The vast majority of the American people will continue to be victimized by immigrant criminals, competition from surplus and illegal labor that lowers wages or takes our jobs, and from increased taxation to subsidize rich people and benefit the politicians.
Call, write, or e-mail Senators Ayotte and Shaheen and your congresswoman and demand that they oppose this Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. Tell them to just enforce current immigration laws.