By Randy Alcorn
The recent impasse in Congress over immigration reform reveals the forces at work making this issue so difficult to resolve. Ever lurking in the halls of Congress are the agents of those special interests that have been feasting on massive foreign immigration for years and who urge elected officials to not impede the continual flow of cheap foreign labor. Their influence in Congress is easy to smell and its stench is now detectable on a number of our politicians.
Then there are those whose ideology interferes with their reason. President George W. Bush, who once declared that “family values do not end at the Rio Grande”, is among those applying personal ethics, often based on religious beliefs, to justify continued massive foreign immigration. In a curious coalition, these “moral” supporters of immigration are joined by secular liberals who believe that social diversity, universal acceptance, and unlimited generosity, the latter usually provided by the American taxpayers, are the solutions for all the world’s problems.
These pro-immigration forces are in direct confrontation with the majority of Americans who understand that the realities of continued massive foreign immigration are a pronounced and unmistakable negative for this nation. As the invasion of illegal immigrants into the United States has now reached over 20 million, and as the prolific procreation of these immigrants has catapulted the U.S. population’s growth rate to third world levels; as U. S. public schools now struggle to educate nearly 4 million illegal alien children; as America’s justice systems contends with over 600 thousand illegal alien fugitives while it stacks bunks three high to incarcerate over 300 thousand illegal aliens and is besieged with rising criminal gang activity; as Americans lose nearly 10 million skilled jobs to lower paid foreign immigrants; as taxpayer supported social services and infrastructure groan under the weight of inexorable immigration, Americans know what the issue of immigration is all about.
It is not about xenophobia, nor is it about racism, family values, or social justice. It is simply about the numbers.
Statistics gathered by immigrationcounters.com reveal that over the past ten years, the cost to provide social services to illegal aliens exceeded $397 billion, while the cost to educate illegal alien children was nearly $14 billion. The cost of incarcerating illegal aliens over the past 6 years was $1.4 billion. These costs are greatly compounded by the general increase in population due to the birth rates of immigrants.
There are few jurisdictions left in America that are not affected by the negative realities of illegal immigration. Communities in California are among the most adversely affected in the nation—as a recently released report by Santa Barbara County’s Civil Grand Jury elucidates.
The Grand Jury found that although the exact number of illegal aliens residing in Santa Barbara County was not precisely measurable, the impact of the estimated 75,000 illegal aliens, representing about 20% of the county’s overall population, was definitely discernable.
According to the Grand Jury, enrollment in the county’s elementary schools consists of 41% “English Learners”, a euphemism for Hispanic students. The consequences of this unnatural influx of children of foreign nationals are not only a huge additional financial burden for the local school districts, but also a decline in the effectiveness of education as evidenced by chronically lower Academic Performance Index scores.
The County of Santa Barbara is suffering a lack of jail space and is agonizing over a proposal to build a new $153 million jail. The annual operating cost of this jail would be $19 million. While the Grand Jury found that 10 to 20 percent of the county’s prison population consists of illegal aliens; it is a safe bet that overall county crime statistics are disproportionately affected by foreign immigration and by the offspring of illegal aliens born in America. The need for more jail space is in no small measure a consequence of illegal immigration.
The Grand Jury reports that in 2006 nearly 18% of births in the county were to illegal aliens. It estimated that the cost of these births to the taxpayers was over $4 million. Most of the estimated 16,000 children in the county who are not covered by medical insurance are children of migrant workers. The resulting strain on local emergency rooms is apparent to anyone who has had occasion to visit one of these medical facilities.
Complicating matters is the disturbing finding by the Grand Jury that some county and municipal service agencies are not always following procedures to identify illegal aliens before public services are rendered.
Meanwhile, Santa Barbara County officials warn that the county’s current $758 million budget will most likely be inadequately funded, and that due to the rising costs of health care and burgeoning social services caseloads the county could suffer an $18 million deficit by 2010. Mike Brown, the county’s Executive Officer, forewarns taxpayers that the rising cost of the jail, social services, and heath care will reduce the county’s ability to provide other services, and suggests that the county encourage more development to provide a broader tax base to support services.
Although the logic of paying for increased population by encouraging more population is dubious—like the logic of Social Security financing, eventually it collapses—Brown’s gloomy forecast should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the County Grand Jury’s report on the impact of illegal aliens.
Those in government who are unable or unwilling to recognize the insidious destructive impact of massive immigration on the United States are diametrically discordant with the majority of American people who know at the community level what that impact means. They experience it directly, and with it a growing unease as to what is happening to their communities and to their nation. Those politicians who prefer to cater to special interests or to adhere to misguided notions of social morality need to be removed from office. They don’t get it. To adapt a line from one of their handlers, “It’s about the numbers, stupid.”