You Can’t Wish Away the Facts About Immigration Amnesty

David Frum, The Daily Beast, May 9, 2013

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, 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.


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.

(The Wall Street Journal is trumpeting a letter from the Social Security Administration declaring that the Senate bill will have positive effects on the solvency of the retirement program. But in a really shabby piece of misleading reporting, theJournal‘s lead paragraph refers to the program’s “long-term solvency” and waits until paragraph four to note that this “long term” extends only to the program’s next ten years  – long before the vast majority of the newly legalized will become eligible for benefits! The SSA promises in its letter to provide a 75-year accounting somewhat later. I can well imagine Senator Rubio urging them, “take your time, take your time.”)


Any stick will do to beat a dog, as the saying goes, and when you begin with a fervent a priori commitment to a policy, you don’t ask too many questions about the methods used to shoot down objections. Nevertheless, when you find yourself typing sentences like the following, you need to stare hard at your own fingers.

Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, said the report was “a political document” and “not a very serious analysis.”

I cherish and enjoy Haley Barbour. But he’d be the first to smile at the hilarious irony of Washington’s master lobbyist being taken at face value when he dismisses information inconvenient to his clients as a “political document.”

A lot of people come to these immigration debates with strong prior ideological commitments. Jason Richwine’s aren’t very attractive, but neither are Grover Norquist’s. The apologists for plutocracy are content this week to use anti-racism as their debating tool. But a tool is all it is.

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  • Earlier today, I just read an article about a recent white female college graduate who complained that her monthly student debt payments are more than what she makes in a month. I’ll bet my own monthly paycheck that this idiotic woman either voted or supported Obama and a straight ticket Democratic Party.

    • The__Bobster

      I’ll bet she took a stupid major like social work. Before a bank writes a student loan, it should always ask the applicant what courses he will be taking.

      • dogbone

        Why should a bank ask a student what courses they plan to take? The banks didn’t ask unqualified people how they expected to pay for their home loan. At least a student loan can not be removed through bankruptcy. The banks are guaranteed their money until the person dies.

      • California

        The bank doesn’t care. Student loan debt doesn’t wash in bankruptcy and never expires. If that woman ever earns a dime, the bank gets its share.

        Yeah she probably did major in social work. That was wonderful when California and other states were paying social workers 100k a year with defined-benefit pensions and lifetime healthcare. That bubble has burst, and now she’s going to be asking if I want whole milk or low-fat.

      • California

        I just read the full article there. Wow, what a winner she is. $160k in debt for a degree in sociology, probably from a third-rate school, and now she works full-time in a job that doesn’t require a degree, and can’t even generate enough to pay her loans, so she lives in her parents’ basement and is broke. The only people who hire sociologists are government entities, and they only want to hire black sociologists (because blacks are so marvelous at creating society). A white girl with a sociology degree and $160k in debt, at a time when government entities around the US are finally running out of funds to hire anyone. Hahaha. If she had spent that $160k on ammo over the past few years, she would have doubled or tripled her money. She could have spent the $160k on a real estate investment, and she would have assets and a job. But no, she’s got a sociology degree.

        These situations only exist because people have realized that we can depend on the government. She didn’t worry about her future because she knew she would be getting a government paycheck. She didn’t worry about trying to find a good mate because the government will take care of her, and men are icky (she learned this in sociology). Unfortunately for her she didn’t realize that the government isn’t an eternal force of nature, and in fact our government is an enormous jobs program for blacks, which makes it even less viable.

        For her personally, having a worthless degree and $160k in debt that will follow her forever, she should consider leaving the US permanently. She’s in her 20s and has a millstone around her neck that she can’t lift, much less carry.

        I’ve met people like her. I was at a shabbat dinner and a woman there said she’s getting a masters in public university administration, this at a time when universities here are having drastic budget cuts, and put whites at the back of the line for hiring, and aren’t hiring anyone. If she were a black single mom with a degree like that she would have a chance at a job, but a white? What exactly is this woman going to do with her masters degree in public administration? She should instead be memorizing the Starbucks drink menu; at least Starbucks doesn’t put people in debt for working there.

        • Plus, with her looks, her marriage options are limited.

          • guest

            I found her resume on line. It is:

            Rhiannon Pooler


            (a series of employment positions including cashiering at Walmart and related occupations)

            (education: BA in Sociology, Arizona State

            Also a bunch of other people on the web are mocking her for taking out so much money and then whining about what a bad situation she’s in. Unfortunately the joke is on us, because, deep down inside, we all know that the taxpayers are going to come to the rescue and bail her out, or bail out her lenders, and we’ll have gloriously invested about $200k to produce a cashier at Walmart who earns about $40k a year. She won’t be able to afford health coverage so we’ll pay for that too. 5% of US students study STEM fields, while 50% of Chinese students are in STEM fields. We will have a whole generation of sociology majors, peace and conflict studies majors, African American studies majors, etc, paid for by us, able to do entry-level retail work.

            This is going to end in tears.

            All of this proves, when someone else is paying the bill, the money gets spent very foolishly.

      • RisingReich

        Can’t do that because a certain group would be “disparately impacted.”

    • Erasmus

      Non-minority whites need to remember that a lot of the millions of those amnestied will receive, as minorities, preferential treatment over them in hiring and education/ To put it another way, foreign lawbreakers will enjoy more rights than legal Americans who’ve followed the law for their entire lives.

      • guest

        That’s right. I’ve pointed this out to people here and no one seems to see the implication of that. They want to be here, there is no legacy of slavery that applies to them, and yet they need to receive preferential treatment.

        In Israel, they call the African invaders “infiltrators” and say they are a “cancer”. They are right. That’s how dangerous they are. They are an existential threat. In Greece, people may criticize the violence and extremism of Golden Dawn, but the invaders are truly an existential threat and should be dealt with as such. Where is our Golden Dawn? Why can’t Americans see as clearly as Israelis about this?

        • Sick of it

          Honestly? They’re too busy intermarrying with every tribe on the planet to prove they are not racists.

  • The__Bobster

    Aargghh! The conservative radio stations are still running the lying Big Zuck ads, only now they’re even worse. They’ve found a new sellout: Paul Ryan. How can he possibly be a fiscal conservative while wasting trillions on squat monsters?

    • Stentorian_Commentator

      You are so right! Ryan, like his mentor Jack Kemp, is ultimately a fraud. When it becomes clear that tax cuts can do only so much to discourage tax avoidance activities, it becomes necessary to grind out the spending cuts, and that’s where Kemp and Ryan run away or actively work against fiscal responsibility. Ryan is actually proud that he opposed Proposition 187 in Calif., the referendum to deny welfare to illegals.

    • fakeemail

      A fiscal conservative today means “pro growth.” Remember, growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

    • Jefferson

      Paul Ryan is not a fiscal conservative, he is a crony capitalist puppet who bows down to his big corporate bosses who want more cheap 3rd world labor.

      Big business crony capitalists think that is the key to defeating China at their own game, by producing more cheap labor and creating more crappy cheap products than China.

      Crony capitalists want to build Chinese style sweat shops all across the U.S and fill them up with low I.Q low skilled squat monsters.

      • Sick of it

        Another term for them is Rockefeller Republican.

    • KevinPhillipsBong

      I liked Paul Ryan the first time I heard him speak – but it was all downhill after that.

    • Erasmus

      The good news is the Zuckerpod’s efforts at converting conservatives aren’t working.

      Paul Ryan should pay attention. Conservatives supported him because they found much of what he was saying plausible. But, when he begins to spout what’s patently trash, they’ll flush him like yesterday’s breakfast.

  • joesolargenius

    After getting laid off from a Wild land Forest fire job in the summer of 2008 I went to Galveston to try and start a business centered around the Hurricane Gustav cleanup.
    There were people from all over America there trying to find any job they could and some of the Mexican Americans were complaining that the contractors were trying to pay them only five dollars an hour as that was what the illegals were offering to work for.

  • bigone4u

    I’ve read hints on this website and others that a variety of Republican heavy hitters are secretly gay and thus support Obama’s insanities or weakly defend against them because of blackmail. I usually don’t know what to make of these claims, but when those same Republicans ignore the facts in the Rector/Richwine empirical study, I have to seriously ask myself if they’re true. Most likely, the Republicans are simply in the hip pockets of their wealthy cronies, but …

    • IstvanIN

      McCain, Romney, the Bush family, Rubio, etc. are not gay nor are they being blackmailed, they just want America gutted. Graham may be gay, but that isn’t why he wants America destroyed, it is just what our politicians want. It would be so much easier if the Republicans were gay and being blackmailed because at least that would make more sense then just destroying one’s own country for the heck of it.

      • bigone4u

        Are they really that evil or just stupid?

        • KevinPhillipsBong

          That depends – did you vote for Kodos or Kang?

  • joegoofinoff

    You Can’t Wish Away the Facts About Immigration Amnesty
    Here’s the facts, the traitors in dc are going to sell us out.

  • NYB

    To the plutocrats, it doesn’t matter if the amnestied Hispanics are a net loss. In fact, they like it that way.

    The Hispanic family will purchase goods and services, regardless. They will live hand-to-mouth, spending every dollar on rent, food, and consumables. Every dollar they earn and every welfare dollar spent by government on these hapless folks will trickle up to the wealthiest shareholders in the economy.

    The plutocrats do not want a population of self-reliant whites, who save and invest in their future – a poor, brown underclass gives much better return.

    • JohnEngelman

      More immigrants mean more consumers and more job applicants. By the law of supply and demand this means higher prices, lower wages, and higher profits.

    • Ella

      These elite plan to destroy the Middle Class (M.C.) if they continue to print or borrow US Dollars to finance welfare and useless wars. I can see the rest of USA existing like California: rich or poor. They don’t care if most Whites fall into poor class. It’s about cheap labour. I liked the news reporter Dobbs; he wrote a good book on the destruction of the M.C. = majority Euro descent peoples. In the future, I think there will be a. Mass exodus of M.C. or b. secession of few States.

  • Reg

    If Mr Frum is so smart on immigration, why is he so dumb on guns? I once chatted with Mrs Frum after a talk she gave (on a different subject), and she seemed savvier. But it’s not her issue. Still, he should listen more at home…

  • Anon

    I really think their entire credibility is in question.

    Of course their credibility is in question. They are arguing a moot point, at best, to distract people from what is happening right now, in real time. There is not going to be any future cost of immigration. Mass immigration is a Cloward-Piven strategy.

    Lol….I just noticed that the wiki article on this has been altered to blur the truth. Which goes to show you the danger of relying on online, manipulable sources like wiki. In the book, 1984, the party relied on constantly altering all past media in order to make it match up with whatever current lies were the order of the day. Difficult to do with books, it’s easy to do online. And that’s what has happened here. In the past, that wiki article was honest about what Cloward-Piven had as a goal. You get as many people as possible on welfare, then collapse welfare. Them you force those dependent people to accept communism. The article reads much different now. That is a tangential issue but one of such overwhelming importance, if you do nothing else, you better notice this is going on….and ask, who is doing the alteration and why.

    Arguing about immigration is fruitless. It’s not like anyone in any way involved in the issue has any intention whatsoever in changing anything no matter what is argued. In that context, Heritage doesn’t even have any credibility to lose. Literally, no one who matters in the slightest cares a damn what they think (or anyone else for that matter). There is no argument or debate over the immigration issue. The time for that debate was 1965. Any relevance such a debate had is decades past.

    The democrats have essentially succeeded in their Cloward-Piven strategy. No matter how you slice it, unless Americans woke up tomorrow, overthrew the government and then started a massive military campaign to hunt down the invaders, kill most of them and expel the rest (and let’s be honest here, that is not going to happen)….then eventually, they WILL collapse our government. The tipping point was reached years ago and it is far too late for half measures and debate.

    What does that mean? It means the question we should be debating is not immigration. That is a lost cause. Most political issues are a lost cause. The question is what are we going to do in the wake of our government’s collapse.

    The liberals have their plan. Forcibly institute communism. Let’s look at that, shall we.

    Has communism ever succeeded. This is no joking matter. Some time over the next few years YOU are probably going to be FORCED to try and live under communism. No one will ask your opinion on the matter. Only make demands on you and expect obedience. For a time, at least. In point of fact, no, there have been no successful communist states. Even the most successful only remained communist for less than a generation and then either collapsed or mutated. A good example of mutation is china…which has a “communist” party but in reality practices a type of race based national socialism propped up by a limited free market (the limit being only their master race, the Han, are allowed to generate any real wealth from it).

    Do non-whites contribute anything to civilization? No. Blacks and mexicans are particularly worthless. The liberals plan to make them their foundation. How is that likely to work out.

    Does the government have a large number of jackboots. In other words, how do they plan to force us. I really, really hope they plan violence as the primary tool. In a country armed to the teeth like ours, the civil war that follows will be short, nasty and decisive. It will also force all white people to admit non-whites are our enemies.

    Can the government provide for us. Here is where it gets interesting. Obviously, Obama’s specific method for this involves making everyone dependent on government then using this to force people to do whatever he wants. Get out of line and your EBT card will be shut down. That leaves little recourse when government is the ONLY allowable employer.

    But here is the rub. Can the government do it? The whole thing pre-supposes that the government can actually micromanage economic behavior and provide for people. And I feel very confident is saying that is NOT true. In fact, I’ll go further and say that the ONLY thing propping up the system is the hard work of white people. And the system is becoming so dysfunctional it is close to the point where the hard work of white people can no longer sustain it.

    Threats to cut your off only work if the money you are giving people is actually worth anything. Look at the grey market. It’s literally exploded. In fact, I’d say its the only part of our economy that is booming. It’s gone from being the bailiwick of disreputable but not downright illegal/immoral economic activity to gobbling up legitimate economic activity. What does it mean when bitcoin doubles, then triples in value. It means, when the government does collapse, few will be interested in the communism Obama will offer us in its wake.

    Piven-Cloward is about forcing society to do what it should not/does not want to do by collapsing alternatives. It has already succeeded and immigration was its greatest tool. What comes next though is unlikely to play out the way they intended.

    And as I said at the beginning, the question is what you specifically and groups of us, in general will do afterward. Roll over and accept communism? Unlikely. Even if it happens, it won’t last long.

    It’s this question that is worthy of our time and debate. Not whether or not resisting something that has already succeeded is “raycist” or not. It’s irrelevant. Richwine was absolutely right and absolutely irrelevant. Heritage is absolutely wrong (treacherous even) and that is irrelevant. The barn door is open and the horse have already escaped.

  • George White

    Grover Norquist is a pantywaist. He needs a good whippin’.

    • Room101

      A small bedpan would do.

  • aaaaaaasadsdaaaaaaaaaa

    ““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.””

    Nice- the worldview of the people who are deciding the future of this country is really just “wow, i can’t believe anyone in the 21st century could believe this!”

    Disgraceful, pathetic moron.

    • KevinPhillipsBong

      I hear this a lot. Somehow they think that expressing moral outrage = an intellectually coherent and substantive argument.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      I still can’t believe someone named “Ali Noorani” is living in America and has a job with a group called the National Immigration Forum.

      These people are just sickening.

      • Erasmus

        Remember to drop her name the next time you discuss immigration with your fellow citizens. I’ll wager 7 out of 10 will feel exactly as you did.

    • Erasmus

      Just keep speaking the truth plainly and simply The battle is engaged. We must keep going forward, one step at a time.

      The Richwine article gives a lot of us an opening we’ve been looking for to engage more people. Leftists among the democrats and republicans fear nothing so much as an informed citizenry.

  • guest

    This is so obvious…

    Consumers (people who buy stuff and services) want to buy things made by smart people, because smarter people can make better stuff. Therefore, businesses want to hire smarter people so their products and services will sell better. Therefore people who are not smart are not desired for hiring, and so end up unemployed or earning less money, and therefore consume more government benefits. We can’t do much about the stupid people who are here and unemployed, but we certainly do have the option of not allowing more low-IQ people in. Canada and Singapore have done this intentionally and to good effect. Who would want stupid unemployable government dependents? Oh I know who: the Democratic Party. They’re smart enough to vote if nothing else.

  • ImTellinYa

    The government, headed by that affirmative-action parasite and stuttering homosexual Obama, is quite literally the enemy of its own country. The government as it is currently constituted is essentially a political action committee for lively, vibrant savages, foreign and domestic, who want to swamp the U.S. and dispossess the White people who built this country and who invented the modern world.
    We owe our current government no allegiance. We must realize that the government hates White people and is working night and day to disarm us and dispossess us. No one in government is going to provide even the smallest solution to the problems we face. They are the problem; them and their third-world savage foot soldiers.

  • Bobby

    Too many AMericans are totally and WILLFULLY ignorant on what massive immigration from Mexico and other anti-American nations will do to the U.S. One can only stand and wonder at the utter obliviousness.

  • Bobby

    Here is an example of how interested Mexicans are of their own culture IN MEXICO. Headline from the AP, Mexico bulldozes 2,300 year old Mayan Pyramid to use its bricks to build a road.
    Now, compare this with how holy and important, Mexicans in the U.S., always tell us gringos Mexico and its culture is to them. LOL…… POWER BABY, POLITICAL POWER FOR THE RAZA IS WHAT MOTIVATES THEM HERE IN THE GOOD OLD U.S.OF A. Don’t believe it at your own eventual expense. I’d deport 90 percent of them if I was a dictator.