WASHINGTON: It is said that in war, truth is the first casualty. Perhaps that is why the hard facts of what is happening in America today as a result of unrelenting mass waves of illegal immigration are being killed in nightly news cycles and buried amid the glib eulogies from pundits who smirk at Americans who don’t have nannies and who mow their own lawns.
For the last several weeks, Americans have witnessed a frenzied campaign waged by proponents of a “guest-worker” plan that has downplayed, minimised and papered-over the staggering effects of illegal immigration on working and middle-class neighbourhoods.
Not the least of these effects are the massive budgetary costs carried by American taxpayers, who watch as the social services system designed for citizens is swamped by nationals overwhelmingly from Mexico.
The estimated 1.1mn illegal immigrants currently in the nation’s public school system cost taxpayers’ $9.6bn every year in an attempt to educate them (despite the illegal immigrant community’s epidemic-scale dropout rates). The 2.2mn children of illegal immigrants in America, often referred to as “anchor babies” to ensure the parents can stay, add an additional $20bn to that tab.
In California, the 2004-05 state budget spent $9,811 per pupil in the classroom. An estimated 425,000 illegal immigrants in the state’s classrooms during that period cost taxpayers’ more than $4bn—a figure that does not include the “anchor baby” population in the classroom.
More than 40,000 illegal immigrants jammed California’s prison system in 2004, costing taxpayers $1.5bn in tax funds not reimbursed by the federal government.
In one of the cruellest jokes played on the American taxpayers, illegal immigrants are allowed to claim children living back in Mexico and qualify for the earned-income tax credit that traditionally has helped the American poor.
These numbers are just the tip of a fiscal iceberg that government officials have slammed the American ship of state into—and now they are striking up the band and rearranging the deck chairs.
Americans hear the mantra every day that without illegal immigrants working in jobs that citizens are too lazy to do, everything from a clean hotel room to a head of lettuce would skyrocket in price.
A day without a Mexican—the refrain now goes—would literally lead to the collapse of the American economy.
To the contrary, a year without the crushing weight of millions of illegal immigrants on communities and their budgets just may save the American working and middle class.