Dear Tea Party, Illegal Immigrants Benefit Our Nation. Blocking Reform Hurts Everyone.


Dave Brat, the man who just defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is a Tea Party Republican and an economics professor. Brat, claiming that, "God acted through people on my behalf," apparently believes that God doesn't want immigration reform. Economists and a plethora of CBO and government research, however, disagree with Brat, the Tea Party, and perhaps even the great Republican in the cosmos. Brat was able to beat Canter in large part because he stated views like immigration reform is "the most symbolic issue that captures the difference between myself and Eric Cantor in this race." Pandering to voters who view illegal immigrants as hurting the economy, sponging off the government, and taking American jobs helped Brat make history. However, the political rhetoric and hyperbole doesn't correlate with the aggregate economic data. The Tea Party claims that illegal immigrants represent an assault on our sovereignty, but if this is true, it might be the first time in world history that a country has employed its invaders.

According to the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, there were 8.4 million unauthorized immigrants employed in the U.S.; representing 5.2% of the U.S. labor force, an increase from 3.8% in 2000. When examined from the point of view of certain states, the Pew Research Center lists an even higher percentage of unauthorized immigrants as part of their workforce: Nevada (10%), California (9.7%), Texas (9%), and New Jersey (8.6%). Furthermore, according to a report by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, "without the undocumented population, Texas' work force would decrease by 6.3 percent" and Texas' gross state product would decrease by 2.1 percent.

Certain segments of the U.S. economy, like agriculture, are entirely dependent upon illegal immigrants. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, unauthorized immigrants have been essential to this industry for years:

Analysis conducted by Daniel Carroll, Annie Georges, and Russell Saltz using the U.S. Department of Labor's National Agricultural Workers Survey indicates that over the past 15 years, about half of the hired workers employed in U.S. crop agriculture were unauthorized, with the overwhelming majority of these workers coming from Mexico.
...any potential immigration reform could have significant impacts on the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry.

From the perspective of National Milk Producers Federation in 2009, retail milk prices would increase by 61% if its immigrant labor force were to be eliminated.

But what about the immense strain on social services and money spent on welfare for these law breakers? The Congressional Budget Office in 2007 answered this question in the following manner

Over the past two decades, most efforts to estimate the fiscal impact of immigration in the United States have concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants--both legal and unauthorized--exceed the cost of the services they use.
The amount that state and local governments spend on services for unauthorized immigrants represents a small percentage of the total amount spent by those governments to provide such services to residents in their jurisdictions.

Regarding services given to these people, "unauthorized immigrants accounted for less than 5 percent of total state and local spending for those services" according to analysis by the CBO. It would be refreshing one day to hear a Tea Party candidate address these CBO findings and see the reaction of voters.

Also, blaming illegals makes no sense from a basic mathematical perspective. By some estimates there are over 100 million Americans currently on some type of government assistance. Therefore, the exaggerated claims that illegal immigrants are bankrupting the country does not only ignore basic math (100 million citizens vs. 11 million illegal immigrants). These claims also ignore research showing that illegal immigrants utilize social services at a lower rate than native born citizens. [...]


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