The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Voice Of Reason And Facts On Immigration

Well what do you know, we actually get some real facts on the immigration debate:

A carpenter told National Public Radio that he was tired of competing against undocumented workers.

"The government needs to do its job instead of pulling the wool over the eyes of people that there's no problem," the carpenter said in a broadcast aired Monday. "I pay taxes."

The carpenter apparently believes that because he pays taxes, he's entitled to protection from
foreign competition.


Plenty of foreigners are invited to work in the United States, and many others are welcomed — even if they're not documented. Perhaps as many as 12 million foreigners don't have the documents they need.

We should regard them as friends. The carpenter may not know it, but all undocumented workers pay taxes, some more than others. What does that entitle them to? Almost nothing beyond the police and fire protection, national security, public school education and access to emergency rooms that everyone receives.

As Trinity University economics department Chairman Jorge Gonzalez says, many undocumented workers hold jobs where their employers withhold income taxes. Do they receive a refund the next year? No, because filing a tax return would invite deportation.

Armed with phony Social Security numbers, undocumented workers also pay Social Security taxes, also withheld by employers. Noncitizens do not qualify to receive Social Security benefits. The unclaimed money will pay other retirees.

Undocumented workers pay sales tax with their purchases. If they own a house or, more likely,
rent an apartment, they pay property taxes, which supports the school, local government, hospital and community college systems.


When they buy gasoline and pay the gasoline tax, they receive the same benefit as everyone else, roads to travel on.

Welfare benefits? Little is extended to undocumented workers. Even if they qualified, few want their names on a government list.

Thank you, David Hendricks. Even better though is, finally, some thought on just what would happen should we round up the 12 million undocumented immigrants and send them home:

On top of all that, undocumented Mexican workers sent an estimated $20 billion to their families in Mexico in 2005. That's more than the country receives in foreign industrial investment each year.

In effect, the remittances constitute Mexico's welfare system, and it works with incredible efficiency. The money goes directly to the people who need it most without passing through government channels.

If all or most of the undocumented workers were evicted from the United States, the loss of those remittances would destabilize Mexico to the point that it would harm the U.S. economy, not to mention send larger waves of workers into the U.S. market.

Lastly, undocumented workers are not entitled to vote, even though they pay taxes. A term for that was invented more than 230 years ago — taxation without representation.

Hendricks is absolutely right about this. If we can look past the end of our noses for just a second, we'd realize that the Republican bill to kick out all the undocumented immigrants would incredibly destabilize our neighbor to the south. Not to mention a few other Latin American countries.

This, of course, would be in addition to the higher produce, construction, maintenance services, etc costs born by the American public.

It's nice to see that finally getting put in the Express-News. In the Business section no less.