The expense of Immigrants to the US taxpayer


“In one estimate, immigrants earn about $240 billion a year, pay about $90 billion a year in taxes, and use about $5 billion in public benefits.”
A 2010 report by the American Immigration Council

Legal and illegal, let’s say about 15% of the US population is foreign-born, and 26% of the US population is immigrant if you include the children (now US citizens) born to the immigrant population in America. That’s historically a very high number of people – in the 80s it was about half that, maybe even less. 
(Check these stats yourself.)

Immigrant households earn on average just over $30,000 as against natives’ $50,000+.
Immigrants have lower incomes than US citizens, but even the illegals pay more tax - when these taxes are paid.

They pay as much tax as a high-earning native, and they often derive no discernible benefit from the system into which their taxes are going. They’re not entitled to many benefits until after they are in the US five years, legally. The illegals won’t qualify for entitlements, even if they’re here for forty years.

Why do these immigrants earn less?

1 Education is said to be a factor here. Those who finish high school or have a degree earn more, broadly. Immigrant education standards tend to be lower. “They’re not sending their best.”
2 Hence, these immigrants do the crappy jobs!

Are the low-income, legitimate immigrants who have children here, and work visas, the problem?

What about the illegal ones who have been here for a long time, and also have families, live off their tips, and don’t pay taxes?
Are the ones who DO use welfare programs the problem? Or the
ones who CAN’T?

It might NOT be immigrant culture causing this benefits issue – it might simply be low-income households.

What IS a low income?
Low-income working families earn less than twice the federal poverty line. In 2011, the low-income threshold for a family of four with two children was $45,622.

What tends to characterize a low-income family?
Ethnicity. (One or both adults tend to be of an ethnic minority: Perhaps we can read “Mexican immigrant”.)
Again: Education.
Other factors.

You’ve heard the stories about full-time workers being paid so poorly that they have to use food-stamps?
The taxpayer is subsidising them to work in Walmart and McDonald’s, right?
The middle class jobs people had pre-Recession have been supplanted by lower paying jobs everywhere.

And – as already stated, the low-earning immigrants are often high-paying tax payers, alongside native (higher-earning) taxpayers.

Further, these immigrants are often paid a very basic wage, and many of them can gain absolutely nothing from these taxes, beyond the privilege of living and working in America. Because:

“They’re not sending their best,” as Trump has said.

Weren’t there Irish and Polish ghettoes in the 1800s? Trying to cook their potatoes and pickle their sausages on the roofs, without burning the tenements down?

Russian serfs arrived, Irish peasants, Romanian Ewoks, Greek Klingons, Italian stallions...

Aren’t there Chinatowns in many cities today? Little Italies?

And what of the immigrants mentioned above who don’t pay tax? Living off tips and what not? Rip-off merchants, right?
“They’re not sending their best.”
Trump probably knows first-hand that there are immigrant laborers, paid under-the-table on construction sites, in orange groves, and vineyards, and Vegas strip-clubs.
Let’s say he has an idea of the real figures.

Is all the immigrant money going back to their families in Nicaragua and Manila?

Even if there’s a staggering percentage of it going out of the country:
These illegals need to eat, they need somewhere to live (whether or not it's 15 of them are crammed into one room), and they still pay for products and services outside of the black economy.

No one can live entirely tax-free. Remember:

They CANNOT mooch off the government unless they’re perpetrating fraud BECAUSE THEY CAN’T GET BENEFITS any other way.

Generally, how many of them are risking their status further, through identity theft or whatever else? I can’t find statistics on this.

These people are sweating bullets on sixteen hour shifts in restaurant kitchens. I’d suggest many don’t have the time or energy to pull a fast one on the government for food stamps or any other kind of benefit.

And they are doing very difficult work that has to be undertaken, that otherwise will be more expensive to do – like it or not. They help to keep small businesses that are US-owned just above water. And these businesses – even if they’re cooking the books by not declaring some taxes – also pay other forms of tax.

Send these industrious people home, and the economy will lose out for the above reason alone.

Before more enlightened times, there were tenements and overcrowding, death traps, fires that ravaged whole cities, riots related to labor disputes, gang feuds and whatever else.

There are – actually – fewer such urban issues now, Shirley? Given the population explosion since those earlier times, per head-of-capita there are fewer places that are not integrating, fewer places that are unAmerican. I’m not suggesting there isn’t a big Uzbeki steampunk community somewhere.

But times are changing. People are less miserable than their great-grandparents were, and there were expectations that things would remain less miserable. That we’d improve ourselves. The rising tide. And the boats.

Many of the boats are not rising. It is not the fault of the immigrants.

Trump's Immigration Policy Contradicts His Election Platform

Trump has barred Muslims entering the US from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Syria. But his policy towards those coming in through Mexico is an escalation from his attitude, pre-election.



Trump’s immigration plans are unconstitutional because

(a)    The children of some illegal immigrants are US citizens. Many would be expected to leave the US with their parents to return to the motherland. As of 2012, around five percent of all school-going US citizens up to 12th grade had at least one undocumented immigrant parent

(b)   Infringing on the rights of others to determine someone’s residency status. There are privacy issues involved in determining whether a resident in the United States is there legally or not. The numbers are so high that administrative errors are a possibility. These aren’t human chattal going into internment camps, streamlined and processed and gassed. They will continue to live their lives, with access to lawyers and legal recourse, both in the international and US courts.



Cost-Benefit

The catch-and-release policy doesn’t seem to work. But detaining every undocumented immigrant in the country, and preventing additional illegal immigration would cost between $400 billion and $600 billion and take 20 years, without even increasing the numbers of border police and others who oversee the ports and borders over that 20 year period.



Undocumented immigrants contribute between $11 and $12 billion to the US economy and make up 3% of private sector Gross Domestic Product. If Trump wants to get rid of the nasty ones, he should go ahead.



The expense of Immigrants to the US taxpayer

The stats show that native households claim $4,500 in benefits while those headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) claim $6,000 – the unrounded figures put the difference at 41%. These figures factor in food stamps, Medicaid, school lunches for children, anti-poverty programs and other stuff.



There are statistics that also factor in the education costs for the (often) US-born children of immigrants (who are citizens), as well as access to public facilities and utilities. If an immigrant population adds significantly to a city, it’s a given that spending on services - whether law enforcement, or water supply – will be forced to increase.



According to this study, if just one person in a family group led by an immigrant – for example, a US citizen wife of a head of household who is an undocumented or legal immigrant – claimed some kind of medication as an entitlement – or if their child used a lunch program in school – they are included in the statistics. 

More about these studies, other stats and a plea for the immigrant population in the next post.

Marneen Lynne Fields's Everybody Hurts

Marneen Lynne Fields does a superb version of Everybody Hurts by REM, available on iTunes. Her vocals have a real heart-wrenching aspect to them
Some of her other ballads - such as I've Never Ever Stopped Loving You - have touches of a Bond theme, or have echoes of something Tarantino might put on a soundtrack.

She has an ability to soar. There is both a quirky and a very independent sound vocally - an indie vibe rather than conventional pop.
She has been involved in musical theater. But Marneen confounds expectations.

Much of her music merits further attention - some of the songs are the growers that would be seen as album tracks, which is another reflection of her indie rather than pop feel. But the talent becomes very obvious after more than one listen.

She brings something to the REM song that isn't in the original, an emotional richness and depth, and an impressive and solipsistic sadness that isn't in the original. So impressive. And the best way to cover a song is to improve it. If you're not gonna improve it, don't cover it. Her cover is SO different, and deeper, and rawer in ways that aren't in the original. That's some achievement, for such a recognisable song.
You can get this version here.
Marneen is on Facebook here.