As the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate come back after a vacation, one of the most pressing and most contentious issues facing them is that of illegal immigration and how to treat it. The House has passed a bill that is long on defense of the country's borders and the punishment of employers who hire illegals (HB4437). The Senate's bill (S2611) is long on amnesty, called "guest worker" or "temporary worker". Because these two treatments are so diverse there was no melding of viewpoints into a final bill. Representatives from both houses went about the country, holding hearings, so that they could get some input from "We the People".
It also gave lawmakers time to absorb what an amnesty would mean to this country. Aside from the ecological damage of having millions more people using water, energy, infrastructure such as roadways, and fouling the air, the monetary costs are staggering. Few numbers have been publicized. However, at a House Judiciary Committee meeting in Concord, New Hampshire on August 24, Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) addressed these costs. He reported that the Congressional Budget Office had just released a cost estimate for the Reid-Kennedy bill which found that it will cost taxpayers $127 Billion over a ten-year period. Included in this cost is $48 Billion for such entitlements as Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicaid, tax credits, and many other benefits. This is just an estimate of what would happen right away if amnesty was granted. These figures do not include the enormous cost to the individual states, counties and cities. Citizens pay the taxes, no matter whether local or federal. Sensenbrenner claimed that the biggest fiscal drain will not occur until after the ten-year mark, when the amnestied become eligible for additional social benefits programs.
As dire as the Congressional Budget Office estimate is, it is just an estimate. Nobody seems to know how many illegals are in this country. Current popular estimates are from ten to twelve million. However, early in 2005 Bear Stearns issued a lengthy report, using available information, that extrapolated the number out to twenty million. That was several months ago. We are told that 3,000 to 4,000 make it across our Southern border every day. Since Bear Stearns’ estimate was 20 million roughly eighteen months ago, their estimate by now would be several thousands more. Some border patrol agents have said their own estimates would be up to 10,000 per day, remarking that all the talk about amnesty has spurred more than usual to cross. They say some who they have caught have confirmed that they think amnesty is imminent and they want to be here to receive it. In the amnesty granted in 1986 it was estimated that only about 300,000 were in the country illegally. It turned out to be three million. This amnesty was promoted mainly by Senators Kennedy, Hatch and McCain. McCain and Kennedy are still prominent supporters of amnesty.
If we are using a number of ten to twelve million in the country illegally and it turns out that it is twice that number, the estimated cost by the Congressional Budget Office would be only about half of the real cost, bringing it to 254 Billion over the next ten years. That only includes the cost in the federal budget, and doesn’t include state, counties and cities, who are also negatively impacted.
The reason we don’t have a good take on how many are here is because our laws will not allow those who might apprehend them to ask their citizenship status in many “sanctuary” cities across the U.S.A. Unless they are apprehended in a serious crime, not just a traffic violation, for instance, the police are barred from asking if they are here legally. The two agencies that are likely to have the most accurate information as to numbers are the IRS and the Social Security Administration. However, they will not give out this information, citing “privacy issues”.
Senators, seeming to want to top each other in giveaways to illegals, even threw in Social Security. No matter that an illegal broke the law to get here, broke another law in taking up residency, broke another law in working here, and very probably broke the law in using a fake SSN to get a job. All would be forgiven. Eligible for these benefits, the amnestied would be able to include their families, which might result in the absurd situation of our Social Security benefits going to someone who has not even been in this country. Also, not to be neglected, IRS would be compelled to excuse two out of five years when the illegal did not pay taxes. Wouldn’t we all like that? And, doesn’t this sound like amnesty?
Getting no traction in regular session, some lawmakers seemed eager to embrace a “compromise” plan by Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN). This is what our lawmakers like to do, compromise. However, Pence’s plan, convoluted in theory, ends up in practice being amnesty. The illegals get what they want, the right to stay and work here and get that enormous benefit, effectively putting them first in line over those who have played by our rules, jumped through our bureaucratic hoops and waited sometimes years to be able to enter this country. Most of them seem extremely grateful for this and we don’t hear cries of “reconquista”, as we do from some of the militant illegals and their supporters who show up in the streets, demanding their “rights”. They are lawbreakers who have no rights. In many other countries, including the ones whose flags they fly, they would be summarily arrested when they showed up en masse in the streets.
As Congress goes back in session it is well that so many American citizens are beginning to pay attention to the machinations of our lawmakers. American voters will be looking at what kind of legislation their congressperson/senators supported. There are senators willing to give away even Social Security benefits to those who broke our laws. Was one of them your own?
Barbara regularly writes for CapitolHillCoffeeHouse. She also appears in California Chronicle, Border Patrol, and Citizens Caucus. Her primary interest is illegal immigration, but she writes about other subjects as well.
Barbara lives in a large city on the West Coast. Her loyalties are with God, family, country, heritage and borders.
She enjoys music, painting, poetry and song writing.