Latino support for Democrats remains strong despite lack of immigration reform

By
Thursday, November 04, 2010 at 9:40 am

Republicans may have won the House, but immigrant advocacy groups are quick to point out that the party was fairly unpopular among Latinos, who helped Democrats win in major races in California, Colorado and Nevada. The Pew Hispanic Center released a report last night on Latino voting in the 2010 elections, based on exit poll data. The numbers were slightly lower than a Latino Decisions poll of Latino voters* — Pew found that 64 percent of Latinos chose Democratic candidates, versus 78 percent according to the Latino Decisions poll — but still pointed to a strong preference for Democrats among the fastest-growing minority group.

The exit poll data point to a continued trend of Latino support for Democrats, which is interesting given concerns that pro-immigration reform Latinos — the majority of Latino voters — might stay home to push back against Democrats who failed to address the issue. In Arizona, about 71 percent of Latino voters preferred the Democratic candidate, versus 56 percent who preferred Obama in 2008. This can perhaps be attributed to the unpopularity among Latinos of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law this spring.

Other states saw slight dips in support for Democratic candidates from the high levels of support for Obama, but still mostly voted for Democrats. In California, the state with the largest Latino population in absolute terms, 64 percent of Latino voters picked Democrat Jerry Brown for governor over Republican Meg Whitman. Preferences for Senate were similar: 65 percent of Latinos preferred Democrat Barbara Boxer to Republican Carly Fiorina. In 2008, 74 percent of Latinos in California voted for Obama.

The only major exception in the Pew poll results was Florida, where Republican Marco Rubio captured 55 percent of the Latino vote, according to exit polls. As I mentioned yesterday, though, Rubio had high levels of support from fellow Cuban-Americans, who tend to vote Republican. The Latino Decisions poll found non-Cuban Latinos in Florida voted for the Democratic candidate, Kendrick Meek.

*One note on polling: According to Latino Decisions’ Gary Segura, a Stanford political science professor, exit poll data often under-represent minorities because exit polls tend to skip precincts that always go red or blue. Segura said minorities who live in white-dominated areas, who could be more conservative than average, tend to be over-represented in exit poll data. The Pew Hispanic Center data is based on exit polls, while Latino Decisions polled Latino registered voters directly the night before the election.

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Comment posted November 4, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

The Democrats would be the party who keeps giving them promises of eligibility for more American taxpayer's money.


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Your money? you gotta be kidding me, start learning Spanish, you are standing on Mexican soil you moron.


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Comment posted November 4, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

It's Indian soil!


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Facts
Comment posted November 7, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

THE FACTS ARE THAT JAN BREWER AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE DOING THIS TO GET REELECTED, HERE ARE FACTS.

AS THE GOVERNOR SHE CAN ORDER 5000 NATIONAL GUARDS TO THE BORDER. WHY IS SHE NOT DOING THIS??????????????

1, HOW MUCH MONEY $$$$$$$ IS ALLOCATED TO ENFORCE THIS LAW?? NONE.

2, HOW MANY NEW POLICEMEN / WOMEN SHES HIRED TO HOLD AND PROCESS THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS? NONE.

3, HOW MANY NEW IMMIGRATION JUDGES SHES HIRED TO PROCESS THE THOUSANDS OF DEPORTATION CASES?? NONE.

4, HOW MANY NEW JAILS SHES BUILT TO HOLD THE THOUSANDS OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS? NONE.

5, HOW MANY BUSES / PLANES SHES BROUGHT TO DEPORT THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF THOSE WHO ARE ORDERED BY THE IMMIGRATION JUDGES TO BE DEPORTED?? NONE.

CAN ANYONE ANSWER THESE FACTS? THE REPUBLICAN STATES ARE TRYING TO MAKE THIS THEIR PLATFORM, THEY WILL LOSE BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG TIME.
ALL ARE GODS CHILDREN. NO HUMAN IS ABOVE ANOTHER. ALL ARE CREATED BY ONE ALMIGHTY GOD WHO LOVES ALL HIS CHILDREN.
I AM NOT SAYING DON'T CLOSE THE BORDERS I AM SAYING STOP THE FOOLISH HATE AND IGNORANCE.

Prison Industry Ties to Anti-Immigration Bills
Tweet Reddit Facebook StumbleUpon Yahoo! Buzz By Elise Foley 9/17/10 11:06 AM

The private detention industry stands to gain substantially from a growing immigrant detention system, so it’s no accident that a lobbying group partially funded by Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, which operates some of the country’s largest private detention facilities, has had a hand in crafting both Arizona’s harsh SB 1070 immigration law and, now, the copycat bills springing up across the country.

Ties between Arizona lawmakers and CCA are not news, but Think Progress has a good run down of the key points: SB 1070 was drafted with help from the American Legislative Exchange Council, which helps the private sector write legislation for states. CCA, which is slated to receive $74 million for immigration detention centers in the 2010 fiscal year, helps fund the group.

CCA also has close, direct ties with Arizona lawmakers. Gov. Jan Brewer’s deputy chief of staff formerly worked as a lobbyist for CCA — his wife still works as a lobbyist there — and Brewer’s campaign chairman runs a lobbying firm that represents the prison corporation.

Similar ties can be found between CCA and lawmakers in other states who have pushed for anti-immigration laws, such as Tennessee and Colorado. (Read the full rundown for the states here.) And CCA routinely gives money to state lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, that have direct connections to the detention business, as The Texas Independent reported last month.

Why is it important? Think Progress explains how anti-immigration bills could help the prison industry make a profit:

http://wildcat.arizona.edu/perspectives/anti-immigration-hysteria-tied-to-the-private-prison-industry-1.1572422
Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed S.B. 1070 into law, and the legislation’s principal architect, Russell Pearce, both have extensive financial ties to the private prison industry powerhouse Corrections Corporation of America, a company which stands to profit in the sum of millions if Arizona’s “papers please” legislation is enacted.

CCA, one of the leading providers of detention and correction services in the country, holds the contract to imprison all federal detainees in the state of Arizona. S.B. 1070 would lead to more arrests on federal immigration charges, causing money to pour into the gargantuan coffers of the private prison industry and directly into the bank accounts of those who are financially tied to it.

Republican state senator Pearce submitted a draft version of S.B. 1070 to the American Legislative Exchange Council for revision months before the bill was introduced to the floor of the Arizona Senate. Pearce is one of 35 Arizona legislators who belong to this organization.

Two years prior, ALEC was the recipient of millions of dollars in contributions from CCA and Geo Group, two of the largest private prison companies in the state.

Pearce’s financial records also indicate that the political action committees funded by both CCA and Geo Group have donated the maximum amount allowable to his campaign.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s deputy chief of staff, Paul Senseman, is a former CCA lobbyist. His wife Kathryn Senseman currently lobbies the state legislature on behalf of the company.

Still more damning is the fact that the governor’s leading policy advisor, J. Charles “Chuck” Coughlin, is the president of Highground Consulting, the lobbying firm which represents CCA’s interests in Arizona.

CCA also contributed a total of $10,000 dollars to the Prop 100 campaign earlier this year, an initiative, along with S.B. 1070, which set the stage for Brewer’s reelection bid.

Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO was among the first to report on this glaring conflict of interest. In retaliation, the Brewer campaign pulled ll advertisements from the network.
—————————————————————————————————

The economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.

That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund's total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said.

Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss's 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.

The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.

Adding to the Social Security irony is that the restrictionists are mostly OLDER AND RETIRED WHITES from longtime American families. The very people, in other words, who benefit most from the Social Security payments by unauthorized immigrants.

——————————————————-

Moments after signing Arizona's tough new immigration law in April, Gov. Jan Brewer was asked WHAT A ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LOOKS LIKE????

The question, posed during a news conference that was broadcast live on TV, seemed to catch Brewer off guard. After a long pause, she said, “I DON'T KNOW WHAT A ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LOOKS LIKE. I can tell you that there are people in Arizona that ASS-U-ME they know what an illegal immigrant looks like. I DON'T KNOW IF THEY KNOW THAT FOR A FACT OR NOT.”

Her answer cut to the very heart of the controversy surrounding the law, which takes effect July 29. Although there are many people who assume they know what an illegal immigrant looks like, the fact is, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to tell a person's immigration status by appearance, experts say.

So despite assurances to the contrary, some civil-rights groups and others fear that enforcement of the law will lead to racial profiling. Several lawsuits already raise worries of civil-rights violations, and a group of Arizona law professors concluded the law authorizes enforcement based on ethnicity. That, they allege, would mean officers would end up harassing and possibly detaining people who aren't illegal immigrants.

The vast majority of illegal immigrants are Hispanic. But most Hispanics in Arizona are not illegal immigrants – they are legal residents or U.S. citizens, many with roots dating back generations.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/07/18/20100718illegal-immigration-profiling.html#ixzz0u2wY1a1d

What both these Republicans FORGOT to Mention in their SPIN POLITICS is that

It’s all about economics! Removing undocumented workers from the U.S. would total a loss of $1.8 trillion in annual spending and $651.5 billion in annual economic output, according to a study by the economic analysis firm The Perryman Group. It would cost about $28 billion per year to apprehend illegal immigrants, $6 billion a year to detain them, $500 million for extra beds, $2 million to judicially process them and $1.6 billion to transport them home. $230 Billion is the estimated amount it would cost over the next five years to enact the scenario of the mass-deportation caucus and deport the undocumented population, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. Legalization of undocumented immigrants would significantly expand the economy—by a cumulative $1.5 trillion in gross domestic product over 10 years. A deportation approach, by contrast, would have the cumulative effect of draining $2.5 trillion over 10 years from the U.S. economy. Illegal immigrants are paying their share of taxes, they pay the same taxes as you and me when they purchase anything, They don't carry a card that says Undocumented Immigrant, DON'T CHARGE TAXES
Start looking at FACTS & NUMBERS.

Who’s behind these laws?

FOLLOW THE MONEY$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Many may want them gone, but illegal immigrants in Oklahoma can be good business.

So say county officials who handle the purse strings of some sheriff's departments in the state. Millions in revenue for transporting and detaining immigrants for the federal government have financed jobs, departments and, in some cases, entire jails.

“It's a good business plan,” said Tim Albin, chief of the services division that oversees the budget for the Tulsa County Sheriffs Department. “It allows us to bank and put money back and carry over for other things.”

Read more: http://newsok.com/jailing-immigrants-adds-funds-for-some-counties/article/3489827#ixzz0yC9uF24O

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, or IRLI, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, drafted the Arizona law and most of the copycat bills. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated FAIR a hate group because of its founder’s writings, its repeated participation with white nationalist groups, and its receipt of major funding from a racist organization.

Copycat laws frequently rely on the work of attorney Kris Kobach, who works for IRLI. Kobach’s lawyering has cost localities who have hired him millions of dollars while the laws have been found unconstitutional. The Arizona law was brought forth by State Senator Russell Pearce, who the Arizona press has described as having a history of associating with neo-Nazis and sending anti-Semitic emails.


Facts
Comment posted November 7, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/reagan-insider-gop-destroyed-us-economy-2010-08-10

This week, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) came out with a report entitled, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers, which discusses the costs of unauthorized immigration to the United States. As usual, FAIR has put out a highly misleading fiscal snapshot of the costs allegedly imposed on U.S. taxpayers by unauthorized immigrants and completely discounts the economic contributions of unauthorized workers and consumers. Moreover, FAIR inflates their costs in a variety of ways and conveniently ignores any contributions that would offset these costs.

While the publication is long and deals with a wide range of issues that warrant more dissection by credible economic experts, the trade publication Education Week has already begun the deconstruction with an item that sheds light on their misleading claims about providing English language services in schools.

Another argument FAIR makes, which makes it hard to glean what their solution would be is the high cost of deporting undocumented workers which FAIR blames on the immigrants themselves. It's a somewhat circular argument to say that the cost of undocumented immigrants includes the cost of failing law enforcement efforts. So, in essence, FAIR is saying that the deport-them-all approach costs too much money and doesn't work. Yet their “solution” is to spend even more money on enforcement.

FAIR's data is meant only to reinforce their vision of “attrition through enforcement.” It is not rooted in an effort to move the immigration debate forward. Therefore, passing comprehensive immigration reform – which would yield a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years – is the only sound economic decision the United States can make.

SOURCE Immigration Policy Center

Who’s behind these laws?

The Immigration Reform Law Institute, or IRLI, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, drafted the Arizona law and most of the copycat bills. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated FAIR a hate group because of its founder’s writings, its repeated participation with white nationalist groups, and its receipt of major funding from a racist organization.

Copycat laws frequently rely on the work of attorney Kris Kobach, who works for IRLI. Kobach’s lawyering has cost localities who have hired him millions of dollars while the laws have been found unconstitutional. The Arizona law was brought forth by State Senator Russell Pearce, who the Arizona press has described as having a history of associating with neo-Nazis and sending anti-Semitic emails.


Facts
Comment posted November 7, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

Ignorance is Bliss: Those who have NO CLUE or QUALIFICATIONS about Immigration are those who show their IGNORANCE :)

There is NO SUCH WORD AS 'ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT” in Blacks Law Dictionary, or In Merriam Websters Dictionary. Get Educated .

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that the claim by some conservative activists that illegal immigration is to blame for all of the state's fiscal problems is ignorant and bigoted.”

Arturo E. Ocampo of Tracy has been a practicing attorney since 1985, In the 20-plus years I have spent studying, lecturing and litigating immigration issues, two things have always amazed me. The first is the amount and intensity of hate spewed against undocumented workers. The second is the amount of misinformation that is published about them.

On this second point, the quote from Mark Twain is illustrative. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” I suppose this may be true in part because misinformation, like a lie, requires no accuracy, validation or research; all of which are time-consuming practices.

The recent letters alleging that all undocumented workers are “criminals,” and specifically Veronica Suarez, whose plight was written about in the Tracy Press recently, is a criminal are factually incorrect.

According to the facts (as stated in Sharon Franceschi’s Sept. 7 commentary) Saurez entered the U.S. on a valid visa, overstayed her visa when it expired, resulting in her unlawful immigration status. None of these acts, as stated by Franceschi, constitute a crime under federal or state law. Overstaying a valid visa under the Immigration and Naturalization Act is a civil violation of the law, not a criminal violation. Being in the U.S. in under undocumented status is not a criminal violation, but a civil violation of the INA.

The facts, as stated by Franceschi, do not indicate that Suarez has committed any crime. To call her a criminal is erroneous at best, and libelous at worst.

Furthermore, it is an Americanism that a person is innocent until proven guilty. So until Suarez (or any other undocumented person) is charged and found guilty of a crime, it would be inappropriate to call them “criminals.”

It is important to note that there is a very large difference between civil and criminal violations of law. The distinction is so important that the law makes the erroneous allegation that one has committed a crime of slander or libel, (which means liability is automatic even without proof of damages). One who violates the civil law is no more a criminal than someone who has breached a contract or accidentally damaged another’s property.

It is true that entering the United States without inspection is a misdemeanor under the INA. The misdemeanor is completed once an individual’s entry is complete. Suarez, according to Franceschi, did not enter without inspection; she entered with a valid visa. According to U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services statistics, about 40 percent of undocumented persons enter legally and overstay their visas (which, as stated above, is not a crime). Consequently, at least 40 percent of the undocumented population has committed no crime in regards to their immigration status.

Therefore, one cannot assume that a person has committed a crime simply because they are undocumented.

Franceschi is also in error in her allegation that getting married and having children while being undocumented in the U.S. is a violation of the law. It is not. Franceschi goes on to say that Suarez “apparently bought a house illegally.” It is unlikely that Franceschi knows exactly how Suarez purchased her home. Consequently, any allegation of illegality is, at a minimum, irresponsible.

It is also important to note that the Immigration and Citizenship Services doesn’t consider all undocumented persons criminals. When the Immigration and Citizenship Services publishes information about its enforcement activities involving undocumented workers, it are always sure to make a distinction between “criminal” and noncriminal aliens.

Another myth is that the term “illegal aliens” is a term of art or is legal jargon. This term is not found anywhere in the INA or in Blacks Law Dictionary. The INA refers to undocumented persons as either an EWI (entered without inspection) or as someone who has overstayed their visa. “Illegal aliens” is a term invented by anti-immigrant groups designed to put undocumented persons in the worst possible light and to instill fear in Americans. It is intentionally designed to associate undocumented persons with criminality.

This xenophobic view that undocumented persons are “simply criminals” comes from the historical stereotype that the foreign-born, especially undocumented immigrants, are responsible for higher crime rates. This misconception has deep roots in American public opinion and popular myth. This myth, however, is not supported empirically and has repeatedly been refuted by scientific studies. Both contemporary and historical data, (including U.S. governmental studies) have shown that immigration is associated with lower crime rates.

The studies have uniformly shown that recent immigrants (including the undocumented) are less likely to be involved in violent crime, and that when there is an increase in immigration patterns, violent crime decreases. This has been shown to be true in large cities with heavy immigrant populations.

In the most recent of these studies, The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation (2007), from the Immigrant Policy Institute, it was found that among men age 18 to 39 (who are the vast majority of inmates in federal and state prisons and local jails), immigrants were five times less likely to be incarcerated than the native-born in 2000.

During the Proposition 187 debate, then-Gov. Pete Wilson published statistics that stated that
12 percent to 15 percent of the state prison population had Immigration and Citizenship Services holds or potential holds. The Department of Corrections analyst who compiled these numbers said Immigration and Citizenship Services holds are placed on inmates who were born outside of the U.S. (therefore 12 percent to 15 percent of the prison population was immigrants). The immigrant population at the time in California hovered at about 25 percent, showing immigrants were much less likely to be incarcerated than the native born in California.

In short, the data shows you are much safer if your neighbor is an immigrant.

Franceschi owes Suarez an apology. I am also surprised that the Tracy Press allowed a commentary to run without checking the facts. Although commentaries are designed to allow for the expression of differing opinions, the First Amendment is not as generous with misstatements of facts — especially when the facts can be libelous.

For the immigration debate to be a healthy one, we should strive for a debate based on facts, not myth or tired stereotypes. We should also not let our position on this topic strip us of one of the great qualities we possess as people — the ability to be compassionate.

Arturo E. Ocampo of Tracy has been a practicing attorney since 1985, with an expertise in immigration rights and class action lawsuits on behalf of immigrants, including the way the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was implemented, Border Patrol’s raids and Proposition 187. He is director of diversity and equal employment opportunity for the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District.


Facts
Comment posted November 7, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

I AM NOT SAYING DONT CLOSE THE BORDERS. I AM SAYING STOP THE HATE.

Before you Scream and show Ignorance and Hate at least read the Immigration Law regarding Undocumented Immigrants.

THE UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS ARE PAYING MORE TAXES THAN YOU THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMMIGRANTS AND TAXES:
Q: “Is it true that illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes and drain our economy?”
A: As Ben Franklin said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Like the rest of us, unauthorized immigrants pay taxes on their property and anything they buy. More than half of them have taxes taken out of their paychecks, but because our immigration system is dysfunctional, these taxes are paid under false Social Security numbers. We need a new regimen in which we know who is paying taxes and can ensure that no one is getting a free ride. The only way to do that is to pull unauthorized immigrants out of the shadows and get them on the right side of the law.
Three state-level studies have found that unauthorized immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in benefits. In Iowa, unauthorized immigrants pay an estimated $40 to $62 million in state taxes, while they and their employers contribute an additional $50 million to $77.8 million in federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from which they will never benefit. In Oregon, unauthorized immigrants—who are not eligible for any state benefits—pay between $134 million and $187 million in taxes each year. Finally, in Texas, the State Comptroller found that, without unauthorized residents, the gross state product in 2005 would have been $17.7 billion less.

The Undocumented Immigrants pay the exact same amount of taxes like you and me when they buy Things, rent a house, fill up gas, drink a beer or wine, buy appliances, play the states lottery and mega millions . Below are the links to just a few sites that will show you exactly how much tax you or the Undocumented Immigrant pays , so you see they are NOT FREELOADERS, THEY PAY TAXES AND TOLLS Exactly the same as you, Now if you take out 10% from your states /city Budget what will your city/state look like financially ?

Stop your folly thinking , you are wise USE YOUR WISDOM to see the reality. They pay more taxes than you think, Including FEDERAL INCOME TAX using a ITN Number that is given to them by the IRS, Social Security Taxes and State taxes that are withheld form their paychecks automatically.

Taxes, paid by You & the Undocumented are the same in each state check your state : http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales.html

GAS Taxes paid by you & the Undocumented are the same. Go to and check out your states tax; http://www.gaspricewatch.com/usgastaxes.asp

Cigarette Taxes paid by you & the Undocumented are the same, check this out in : http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/cigarett.html

Clothing Sales Taxes, are the same paid by you & the Undocumented Immigrant; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States

City Taxes, are the same paid by you or the Undocumented, since he pays rent and the LANDLORD pays the city : http://www.town-usa.com/statetax/statetaxlist.html

Beer Taxes, are the same paid by you or the Undocumented: http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/beer.html

TAX DATA : http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html

Eight million Undocumented immigrants pay Social Security, Medicare and income taxes. Denying public services to people who pay their taxes is an affront to America’s bedrock belief in fairness. But many “pull-up-the-drawbridge” politicians want to do just that when it comes to Undocumented immigrants.

The fact that Undocumented immigrants pay taxes at all will come as news to many Americans. A stunning two thirds of Undocumented immigrants pay Medicare, Social Security and personal income taxes.

Yet, nativists like Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., have popularized the notion that illegal aliens are a colossal drain on the nation’s hospitals, schools and welfare programs — consuming services that they don’t pay for.

In reality, the 1996 welfare reform bill disqualified Undocumented immigrants from nearly all means tested government programs including food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid and Medicare-funded hospitalization.

The only services that illegals can still get are emergency medical care and K-12 education. Nevertheless, Tancredo and his ilk pushed a bill through the House criminalizing all aid to illegal aliens — even private acts of charity by priests, nurses and social workers.

Potentially, any soup kitchen that offers so much as a free lunch to an illegal could face up to five years in prison and seizure of assets. The Senate bill that recently collapsed would have tempered these draconian measures against private aid.

But no one — Democrat or Republican — seems to oppose the idea of withholding public services. Earlier this year, Congress passed a law that requires everyone who gets Medicaid — the government-funded health care program for the poor — to offer proof of U.S. citizenship so we can avoid “theft of these benefits by illegal aliens,” as Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., puts it. But, immigrants aren’t flocking to the United States to mooch off the government.

According to a study by the Urban Institute, the 1996 welfare reform effort dramatically reduced the use of welfare by undocumented immigrant households, exactly as intended. And another vital thing happened in 1996: the Internal Revenue Service began issuing identification numbers to enable illegal immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers to file taxes.

One might have imagined that those fearing deportation or confronting the prospect of paying for their safety net through their own meager wages would take a pass on the IRS’ scheme. Not so. Close to 8 million of the 12 million or so illegal aliens in the country today file personal income taxes using these numbers, contributing billions to federal coffers.

No doubt they hope that this will one day help them acquire legal status — a plaintive expression of their desire to play by the rules and come out of the shadows. What’s more, aliens who are not self-employed have Social Security and Medicare taxes automatically withheld from their paychecks.

Since undocumented workers have only fake numbers, they’ll never be able to collect the benefits these taxes are meant to pay for. Last year, the revenues from these fake numbers — that the Social Security administration stashes in the “earnings suspense file” — added up to 10 percent of the Social Security surplus.

The file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year. Beyond federal taxes, all illegals automatically pay state sales taxes that contribute toward the upkeep of public facilities such as roads that they use, and property taxes through their rent that contribute toward the schooling of their children.

The non-partisan National Research Council found that when the taxes paid by the children of low-skilled immigrant families — most of whom are illegal — are factored in, they contribute on average $80,000 more to federal coffers than they consume. Yes, many illegal migrants impose a strain on border communities on whose doorstep they first arrive, broke and unemployed.

To solve this problem equitably, these communities ought to receive the surplus taxes that federal government collects from immigrants. But the real reason border communities are strained is the lack of a guest worker program.

Such a program would match willing workers with willing employers in advance so that they wouldn’t be stuck for long periods where they disembark while searching for jobs. The cost of undocumented aliens is an issue that immigrant bashers have created to whip up indignation against people they don’t want here in the first place.

With the Senate having just returned from yet another vacation and promising to revisit the stalled immigration bill, politicians ought to set the record straight: Illegals are not milking the government. If anything, it is the other way around.


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