The Heritage Foundation this week released a study estimating that the Senate immigration bill will cost taxpayers $6 trillion over the next 50 years, the expected life cycle of the persons legalized by the path to citizenship.
The study has touched off a tremendous controversy - and what's most notable about the onslaught is how brazenly it ignores the study's contents.
The New York Times today, for example, has a big story impeaching the credibility of one of the study's co-authors, Jason Richwine.
“Whether you agree or disagree with the Heritage study, what their co-author believes is downright insulting and shameful,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a group that has mobilized support for the bill. “Heritage has really become an outlier. The rest of the country is having a 21st-century conversation about immigration reform, and Heritage is caught in 1800. I really think their entire credibility is in question.”
Sorry, no. If you agree with the Heritage study - and so far I have not heard any good reason to doubt it - the results are so important and explosive that the coauthor's other views dwindle into a mere footnote to history. It's not some personal quirk of Jason Richwine's that has caused him to doubt that the legalized immigrants will rapidly raise their skill levels or education standards. The most authoritative study of Mexican immigration over time has found exactly the same thing. Edward Teles and Velma Ortiz write from the left in their book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Generations-Exclusion-Mexican-Americans-Assimilation/dp/0871548496/ref=as_at?tag=thedailybeast-autotag-20&linkCode=as2&" style="">Generations of Exclusion. They indict American society, discriminatory educational attitudes, and other "exclusionary" forces - but they have the goods that Mexican-American inter-generational progress has slowed to a stall. I would follow Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies in putting the blame on the new American labor market and the reduction in blue-collar wages in a post-industrial economy.
But whatever the reason, the facts are the facts - and the math is the math.
In the period from World War II until about 1980, immigrants arrived with higher skill levels than the native-born and within a decade of arrival earned higher wages. This tendency still holds in Canada, where policy emphasizes skills. It has ceased to be true in the United States since 1980. Some shrug and say that the immigrants who arrived before 1913 also had low skills. But the state of data does not permit useful comparison of the skill levels of pre-1913 immigrants to the native-born (who were not super well-educated either, let's remember) - and in any case, an agrarian-industrial economy offers very different opportunities to the unskilled than our credential-driven post-industrial service-financial-healthcare economy.
Unless you posit that the newly legalized immigrants will dramatically outperform the existing immigrant population, you will reach a result very like that of the Heritage Foundation: that the taxes paid by the newly legalized will not begin to equal the costs of their Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other benefits.
Many experts have studied the economic effects of present US immigration policy over the years, and the findings are generally consistent: present policy helps the economy a little, not very much, and most of those benefits flow to the immigrants themselves. From the point of view of most native-born Americans, the economic benefits of immigration are negligible; and for a substantial number, harmful.
Taken from http://www.thedailyb...atest Articles)
State governments have complained for years about those costs. Even illegal immigrants use hospitals, prisons, roads and schools. Once legalized, immigrants will qualify for dozens of other programs, including the big entitlements.