Tag Archives: illegal immigration

The Multi-Faceted Latino Vote

Have Democrats, in their concentration on protecting illegal immigrants, overlooked key areas of concern to the Latino/Hispanic community, which makes up 17% of the U.S. population?

Party leaders have made an important political calculation. They are gambling  that the way to gain the support of the vital and growing numbers of Latino-American voters is to take an absolutist stand on immigration issues. Approximately 340 mostly Democrat-controlled states and localities support sanctuary policies that even protect illegal aliens who have committed serious crimes.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders pledged to provide illegals a path to legal status.

That approach may not prove successful, not with the majority of voters, and perhaps not with the Latino community itself. The viability of that approach heavily depends on the assumption that illegal immigration is an issue that Latino-American voters consider paramount, by no means a sure thing.

A key example of a major Latino issue which Democrats ignored in their emphasis on illegal immigration is the extraordinary plight of Puerto Rico. Despite a $780 billion “stimulus” package, President Obama failed totally to address major problems affecting the island, most notably, its woefully deficient electric grid. It is baffling how, despite the urgent need to improve that critical infrastructure issue, the former administration somehow believed there weren’t sufficient “shovel ready” jobs to concentrate on.

The inadequacy of the island’s fragile and antiquated electrical system was made abundantly clear in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. It should not have come as a surprise, since the grid’s shortcomings have been long known.  538 notes that Electricity is generally a reliable service in the United States. Data from 2015 shows that, on average, Americans could expect a little more than three hours a year in which their electricity wasn’t working properly. But Puerto Rico is a different story. There, the 2015 goal was to have no more than 9.6 hours of outage per customer, and the utility still wasn’t able to meet that goal.  At the same time, Puerto Ricans pay higher prices for electricity than almost everyone else in the U.S. — nearly 20 cents per kilowatt-hour for residential customers, compared with a U.S. average of about 13 cents per hour. In July, only three states paid more.”

Only 3% of Obama’s stimulus funds actually went to infrastructure.

According to a 2016 Pew Hispanic analysis of its standing with the Latino-American community. “Latino registered voters have long said the Democratic Party has more concern for Latinos or Hispanics than the Republican Party, with Democrats losing some ground on this measure since 2012. Over the same period, Democrats have not made significant gains in party affiliation, with 64% of Latino voters identifying with or leaning toward the Democratic Party in 2016, a similar share to 2012 when 70% said the same… There are some differences in the views of the political parties among demographic subgroups of Hispanics in 2016. For example, older Hispanics are more likely than younger Hispanics to say the Democratic Party has more concern for Hispanics than the Republican Party. Among registered voters, nearly six-in-ten (59%) non-Millennial Hispanics (ages 36 and older) say Democrats have more concern, compared with 48% of Hispanic Millennials (ages 18 to 35). At the same time, Hispanic Millennial voters are more likely than Hispanic non-Millennial voters to say there is no difference between the parties, 38% compared with 21%. (Roughly equal shares of Hispanic Millennial voters and Hispanic non-Millennial voters – about one-in-ten – say Republicans have more concern for Hispanics.) There are also differences on this issue by gender, with 60% of Hispanic women voters saying Democrats have more concern for Hispanic than Republicans, compared with 48% of Hispanic men who are registered to vote.

Pew’s analysis makes it clear that Democrats concentration on immigration issues has resonated with one sub-group of Latino voters: not surprisingly, immigrants. “Among Latino voters who are foreign born, 70% identify as Democrats or lean Democratic and 18% identify as Republican or lean toward the GOP. By comparison, 62% of U.S.-born Latino voters identify as Democrats or lean Democratic and 26% identify as Republican or lean toward the GOP.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens notes that Latino-Americans “care about the issues that affect their friends, families, and neighborhoods. Yet, if we look at the way media, politicians, and the general public portrays Latinos, you would think that the only thing Latinos care about is immigration reform. This is simply not true. Like any other demographic in America, Latinos are deeply concerned with other issues. In fact, when determining their presidential candidate, 33% of Latino chose “jobs and the economy” as the top issue to consider. Only 17% believed immigration was the most important issue. Education and healthcare were also two other major issues. Of course immigration is still important to Latinos, as the immigrant and Latino experience, at some level, are tied to one another. However, the problem of simply focusing in on this one issue is that it polarizes immigration to be, almost exclusively, a Latino issue. It is time that politicians recognize that Latinos are not single-issue voters. We are diverse in the problems we care about just as we are diverse in our cultures, backgrounds, and stories.”


In  a December address, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reported that: “…violent crime is up in many places across the country.  Last week, the Department released its annual National Crime Victimization Survey.  It shows that the rate of Americans victimized by violent crime is up more than 13 percent… As Attorney General, I have ordered our prosecutors to renew their focus on immigration offenses—specifically where those criminals have a gang nexus, cartel, or violent crime offense… we must also recognize that transnational gangs like MS-13 have taken advantage of our porous Southern Border and previously lax immigration law enforcement…In recent years, our immigration system has been overwhelmed.  The caseload has tripled since fiscal 2009 and doubled since fiscal 2012.As the backlog of immigration cases grew out of control, the previous administration simply closed nearly 200,000 pending immigration court cases without a final decision in just five years—more than were closed in the previous 22 years combined.”

Supporters of sanctuary policies insist that their goal is to make their jurisdictions more welcoming to illegals.  That may well be the case, but what impact does that “welcome” have on legal residents?

David Benfiel, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle points out some nongovernmental impacts of California’s sheltering 2.3 million illegal immigrants:

  • Competition for affordable housing: 1.5 million Californians pay more than half their income for housing, a result of overcrowding.
  • More than 20 million tons of greenhouse gases are added each year by undocumented residents. California’s annual per-capita carbon dioxide production is 10 metric tons/per person.
  • Competition for low-wage jobs is increased. Middle-income employers can pay lower wages.
  • Allowing illegal immigrants to live and drive contributes to wasted time in traffic and greenhouse gas production.
  • English language learners in the classroom lower academic performance by diverting limited educational resources. California has almost 1.4 million English language learners,and has the highest student/teacher ratio of all the large states. California scores lower than average for the nation in reading, mathematics and science.

The impact on the state budget of harboring illegals is extraordinary. Spencer Morris, writing for the National Economics Editorial  notes that illegals costs California $30.29 billion a year—17.7 % of  the state budget. “…many of these costs are absorbed by local jurisdictions and the federal government, but the drain on the State of California remains significant.  As such, the question is no longer whether California ought to allow illegal immigration—it’s whether the State can afford it. Illegal immigration is expensive: two recent studies from the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the National Economics Editorial peg the annual cost of illegal immigration to America between $135 and $140 billion.  And of all the states, California bears the largest burden due to its sizable illegal population.”

The extreme measures adopted by California to protect illegals was highlighted in June, when, notes Jazmine Ulloa in the L.A. Times,  “California state lawmakers approved $45 million in a state budget plan to expand legal services for immigrants… With the additional money, providers will now also be able to help immigrants fighting deportation or removal proceedings.”

How are Californians reacting to the largesse of their state leaders on this and other matters, and to the resulting high taxes, overcrowded schools, increased crime, and escalating housing prices?  Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox discussed that in the Orange County Register: “In 2016, some 26,000 more people left the Bay Area than arrived. San Francisco net migration went from a high of 16,000 positive in 2013 to 12,000 negative three years later…Similar patterns have occurred across the state. [California’s outmigration] surged last year to nearly 110,000. Losses in the Los Angeles-Orange County area have gone from 42,000 in 2011 to 88,000 this year. San Diego… is now losing around 8,000 net migrants annually… Some so-called progressives hail these trends, as forcing what they seem to see as less desirable elements — that is, working- and middle-class people — out of the state… the largest group of outmigrants tends to be middle-aged people making between $100,000 and $200,000 annually… Indeed, since 2010, the Golden State has seen an overall net outflow of $36 billion from these migrants (and that counts only the first year of income). The biggest gainers from this exchange are where Californians are moving, to such places as Texas, Arizona and Nevada. That some California employers are joining them in the same places should be something of a two-minute warning for state officials…”

Aside from the issues of crime and cost, there are two fundamental questions that state or city elected officials who adopt sanctuary policies are obligated to answer. First, what constitutional authorization do they claim for nullifying or ignoring laws that are specifically and clearly the jurisdiction of the federal government? Second, if even a minority of their constituents object, what right do state and local officials have to use tax dollars to fund a cause that does not benefit, and has even been demonstrated to harm, those legally residing within their jurisdiction?


The role of illegal immigration in crime has been well documented for a considerable period of time. In 2004, Heather MacDonald outlined the problem in City Journal: “Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime these aliens commit is highest, the police cannot use the most obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration status. In Los Angeles, for example, dozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking. Police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPD’s rule against enforcing immigration law. The LAPD’s ban on immigration enforcement mirrors bans in immigrant-saturated cities around the country, from New York and Chicago to San Diego, Austin, and Houston. These “sanctuary policies” generally prohibit city employees, including the cops, from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities. Such laws testify to the sheer political power of immigrant lobbies, a power so irresistible that police officials shrink from even mentioning the illegal-alien crime wave. “We can’t even talk about it,” says a frustrated LAPD captain. “People are afraid of a backlash from Hispanics.” Another LAPD commander in a predominantly Hispanic, gang-infested district sighs: “I would get a firestorm of criticism if I talked about [enforcing the immigration law against illegals].” Neither captain would speak for attribution.”

One year later, a General Accounting Office (GAO)  study confirmed Ms. MacDonald’s contentions.  The GAO studied illegals incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails. for our study population of 55,322 illegal aliens, we found that:

  • They were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.
  • They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses. About 45 percent of all offenses were drug or immigration offenses. About 15 percent were property-related offenses such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and property damage. About 12 percent were for violent offenses such as murder, robbery, assault, and sex-related crimes. The balance was for such other offenses as traffic violations, including driving under the influence; fraud—including forgery and counterfeiting; weapons violations; and obstruction of justice.
  • Eighty percent of all arrests occurred in three states—California, Texas, and Arizona. Specifically, about 58 percent of all arrests occurred in California, 14 percent in Texas, and 8 percent in Arizona.”

A recently released report by the Department of Homeland Security outlined the outsized role illegal aliens play in crime. “A total of 58,766 known or suspected aliens were in in DOJ [Department of Justice] custody at the end of FY 2017, including 39,455 persons in BOP [Bureau of Prisons] custody and 19,311 in USMS [Marshal Service] custody. Of this total, 37,557 people had been confirmed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be aliens (i.e., non-citizens and non-nationals), while 21,209 foreign-born people were still under investigation by ICE to determine alienage. Among the 37,557 confirmed aliens, 35,334 people (94 percent) were unlawfully present. These numbers include a 92 percent unlawful rate among 24,476 confirmed aliens in BOP custody and a 97 percent unlawful rate among 13,081 confirmed aliens in USMS custody. This report does not include data on the foreign-born or alien populations in state prisons and local jails because state and local facilities do not routinely provide DHS or DOJ with comprehensive information about their inmates and detainees. This limitation is noteworthy because state and local facilities account for approximately 90 percent of the total U.S. incarcerated population.”

Altogether, one out of every five inmates in federal prisons are foreign born, and 90% of those are illegals.

The Report concludes tomorrow


California’s government has declared itself a sanctuary state. The action raises a significant question: whose interests are Governor Brown and the state legislatures’ politicians truly working for?

Sanctuary policies produce two substantial results for the legal inhabitants of a jurisdiction. First, they increase costs, and second, they protect portions of the criminal population.

Despite the fiction disseminated by sanctuary policy supporters, there is no mass roundup of illegals that require the countermeasure of sanctuary protection.  Sanctuary policies primarily serve to protect criminals apprehended by local law enforcement agencies from being handed over to the federal government for deportation proceedings.

Jen Kerns, writing in The Hill notes that “Progressives in California over the last ten years have increasingly placed the so-called ‘rights’ of illegal immigrants over the public safety of its residents.”

A 2016  Center for Immigration Studies reported “Across the U.S., there are 340 cities, counties, and states that are considered ‘sanctuary cities.’ These jurisdictions protect criminal aliens from deportation by refusing to comply with ICE detainers or otherwise impede open communication and information exchanges between their employees or officers and federal immigration agents… This has resulted in the release by local authorities of approximately 1,000 criminal aliens per month… [The] Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported to Congress that, between January 1 and September 30, 2014, local sanctuaries released 9,295 alien offenders that ICE was seeking to deport. More than 600 people were released at least twice…Out of these, 5,947 of the criminal aliens (62 percent) had significant prior criminal histories or other public safety concerns even before the arrest that led to a detainer. Fifty-eight percent of those with a prior history of concern had prior felony charges or convictions; 37 percent had serious prior misdemeanor charges, and 5 percent had multiple prior misdemeanors. An alarming number — 2,320 — of the total number of released offenders were subsequently arrested within the time period studied for new crimes after they were released by the sanctuaries…Of the 6,460 criminal aliens who were still at large during the time period studied, 3,802 (58 percent) had prior felonies or violent misdemeanors.”

The new California law directs the state Attorney General to establish policies that limit assistance with federal immigration authorities, repealing current statutes which require the police to notify federal authorities when an alien is arrested for a crime. The new California law directs the state Attorney General to establish policies that limit assistance with federal immigration authorities, repealing current statutes which require the police to notify federal authorities when an alien is arrested for a crime.

Nolan Rappaport  notes the new California law violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, which  mandates that “no person or agency may prohibit, or in any way restrict, a federal, state, or local government entity from doing any of the following with respect to information regarding the immigration status of any individual:  Sending such information to, or requesting or receiving such information from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (ICE); Maintaining such information; or Exchanging such information with any other federal, state, or local government entity. In addition, Executive Order 13768, (see summary, below)  ‘Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,’ requires the attorney general and the DHS secretary, to the extent consistent with law, to ensure that jurisdictions which willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 do not receive specified types of federal grants.”


Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Interior enforcement of our Nation’s immigration laws is critically important to the national security and public safety of the United States. Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety. This is particularly so for aliens who engage in criminal conduct in the United States.

Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.

Tens of thousands of removable aliens have been released into communities across the country, solely because their home countries refuse to accept their repatriation. Many of these aliens are criminals who have served time in our Federal, State, and local jails. The presence of such individuals in the United States, and the practices of foreign nations that refuse the repatriation of their nationals, are contrary to the national interest.

Although Federal immigration law provides a framework for Federal-State partnerships in enforcing our immigration laws to ensure the removal of aliens who have no right to be in the United States, the Federal Government has failed to discharge this basic sovereign responsibility. We cannot faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.


The Report continues tomorrow

News Study Details Cost of Illegal Immigration

Similar to most contentious political issues, the question of illegal immigration eventually must be understood in terms of cost, particularly with a national debt of $20 trillion, and state and local governments facing economic challenges of their own.

A new report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIRUS) . outlines the extraordinary fiscal burden imposed on U.S. taxpayers by illegal immigrants.

“At the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers shell out approximately $134.9 billion to cover the costs incurred by the presence of more than 12.5 million illegal aliens, and about 4.2 million citizen children of illegal aliens. That amounts to a tax burden of approximately $8,075 per illegal alien family member and a total of $115,894,597,664. The total cost of illegal immigration to U.S. taxpayers is both staggering and crippling. In 2013, FAIR estimated the total cost to be approximately $113 billion. So, in under four years, the cost has risen nearly $3 billion. This is a disturbing and unsustainable trend.”

FAIRUS breaks down the expense for federal and state governments.


The Federal government spends a net amount of $45.8 billion on illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children. This amount includes expenditures for public education, medical care, justice enforcement initiatives, welfare programs and other miscellaneous costs. It also factors in the meager amount illegal aliens pay to the federal government in income, social security, Medicare and excise taxes.

The approximately $46 billion in federal expenditures attributable to illegal aliens is staggering. Assuming an illegal alien population of approximately 12.5 million illegal aliens and 4.2 million U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, that amounts to roughly $2,746 per illegal alien, per year. For the sake of comparison, the average American college student receives only $4,800 in federal student loans each year.

Fairus notes that the approximately t$22.1 Billion in taxes collected from illegal aliens offset fiscal outlays and, therefore must be included in any examination of the cost of illegal immigration. The net federal cost of illegal immigration is, therefore, $30.4 billion.

FAIR believes that most studies grossly overestimate both the taxes actually collected from illegal aliens and, more importantly, the amount of taxes actually paid by illegal aliens (i.e., the amount of money collected from illegal aliens and actually kept by the federal government). This belief is based on a number of factors: Since the 1990’s, the United States has focused on apprehending and removing criminal aliens. The majority of illegal aliens seeking employment in the United States have lived in an environment where they have little fear of deportation, even if discovered. This has created an environment where most illegal aliens are both able and willing to file tax returns. Because the vast majority of illegal aliens hold low-paying jobs, those who are subject to wage deductions actually wind up receiving a complete refund of all taxes paid, plus net payments made on the basis of tax credits..As a result, illegal aliens actually profit from filing a tax return and, therefore, have a strong interest in doing so.


“FAIRUS notes that “while barred from many federal benefits, state laws allow illegal aliens to access many state-funded social welfare programs. Because so little data is collected on the immigration status of individuals collecting benefits, it is difficult to determine the rate at which illegal aliens use welfare programs. However, based on the average income of illegal alien households, it appears they use these programs at a rate higher than lawfully present aliens or citizens. The combined total of state and local government general expenditures on illegal aliens is $18,571,428,571 billion… The calculation for each state is based on the state’s annual operating budget, reduced by the amount covered by the federal government. That expenditure is then reduced further based on the relative size of the estimated population of illegal aliens and their U.S.-born minor children. As noted in our population estimate, this means states like California, Texas, Florida, New York, etc., with larger illegal alien cohorts, will bear larger shares of these costs.

“Offsetting the fiscal costs of the illegal alien population are the taxes collected from them at the state and local level. Many proponents of illegal immigration argue that the taxes paid to the states render illegal aliens a net boon to state and local economies. However, this is a spurious argument. Evidence shows that the tax payments made by illegal aliens fail to cover the costs of the many services they consume.Illegal aliens are not typical taxpayers. First, as previously noted in this study, the large percentage of illegal aliens who work in the underground economy frequently avoid paying any income tax at all. (Many actually receive a net cash profit through refundable tax credit programs.) Second, and also previously noted, the average earnings of illegal alien households are considerably lower than both legal aliens and native-born workers.

FAIRUS estimates that states and localities collect $3.5 billion in taxes, which, after offsetting expenditures, results in a net state tax loss of $85 billion.

DACA: Facts Behind the Rhetoric

There is little doubt that “Dreamers,” those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals series of executive orders, are sympathetic figures.  There is also the uncomfortable reality that those executive orders, initiated by President Obama in 2012, are also unconstitutional.

15 states and the District of Columbia are suing over President Trump’s cessation of DACA: New Mexico, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

However, attorney generals or governors of 9 states have pending suits over NOT ending it: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia,

Senator Chuck Grassley  (R-Iowa) expressed the view that typifies the perspective of many in Congress: “However well-intentioned DACA may have been, the program was created by executive edict rather than by Congress as the Constitution requires. Because of President Obama’s executive overreach, DACA has faced numerous legitimate legal challenges, and now President Trump has asked Congress to sort it out…Any legislative solution is going to have to be a compromise that addresses the status of those who have been unlawfully brought to this country and upholds the rule of law. President Trump should continue to work with Congress to pass reforms through the legislative process that encourage lawful immigration. In the meantime, I expect that the Administration’s immigration enforcement priorities will continue to target the thousands of criminals ahead of those who have otherwise abided by our laws.”

Senator Diane Feinstein, (D-Ca.) who represents the state with more Dreamers—223,000– than any other stated “Congressional action is now the only way to guarantee that DACA recipients are shielded from deportation, and it must be our top priority. The DREAM Act—introduced by Senators Graham and Durbin to provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients—deserves a vote as soon as possible.”

Pew Research  estimated that in 2012 about 1.7 milion people were eligible.  As of June 2016, USCIS received 844,931 initial applications, 741,546 were approved, 60,269 were denied, 43,121 pending.  Over half of those accepted came from California and Texas.

Immigration law is not done by presidential whim, it is a matter of legislation, passed by Congress and signed by the President. Title 8 of the U.S. Code is but one of the fifty titles and deals with “Aliens and Nationality”. 8 U.S. Code § 1325 – Improper entry by alien.   In fact, in 2014, when Obama attempted to expand the program, many governors sued and an injunction against his move was passed.

Obama could have chosen the proper Constitutional route and have a bill introduced in Congress, but simply chose to act on his own. Remember, he famously stated that he “couldn’t wait” for Congress to act, and proclaimed that he “Had a pen and a phone” and would willingly use them to get his way, despite the Constitution.

The number of illegals has soared in the United States from 3.5 million in 1990 to at least 11.3 million currently, and perhaps many, many more. Although cancelled by Trump, implementation of the cancellation has been delayed for 6 months to come up with a solution.  The fact is, for far too long, both political parties have called for comprehensive immigration reform, but nothing has happened. This may be the way to do just that.

The costs of illegal immigration, not from the dreamers but overall, have been enormous. 6.9% of k-12 students have illegal immigrant parents. In an exclusive interview on the Vernuccio/Novak Report usagovpolicy.com, commentator Megan Barth discussed how DACA’s “Dreamers” can obtain some federal benefits. The Daily Caller outlines this: “ DACA allows recipients to apply for social security numbers, which are required to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a major tax benefit for lower-income earners. The program allows recipients to participate in Social Security and Medicare as well, but they generally cannot receive benefits until retirement age. Generally speaking, DACA recipients are still ineligible for many forms of public assistance. Nonetheless, the program does expand access to some federal benefits.”

The growth in criminal gangs such as MS-13 has plagued communities across the nation. 27% of all federal prisoners are immigrants.

Dick Morris outlines the President’s strategy: If the Democrats don’t work constructively with the GOP to produce a real piece of legislation, the deadline of an expiring DACA program will force them into line. Facing the possible deportation of 800,000 of their constituents because of Democratic intransigence, the party — from Schumer on down — will have to pull in its horns so as not to impale a divided Republican party. Instead, the entire Senate — all one hundred members — will have to work together with stellar bi-partisanship to craft a solution.

The Huffington Post reports that “Lawmakers on Capitol Hill [have] broadly agreed that something should be done about young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who will eventually lose deportation protections if Congress does not step in to help them.”

Lax Border Enforcement let MS-13 Grow

Americans generally agree that legal immigration is beneficial to the nation, but remain divided as to how tightly illegal immigration should be dealt with. An important part of that discussion is a candid discussion of what the dangers of illegal immigration are. Increasingly, attention is being paid to the rise of violent crime by the MS-13 crime organization.

According to Lifezette,  The Justice Dept. says the cost of incarcerating non-citizens in federal prisons exceeds $1.2 billion. Brendan Kirby reports that “Nearly a quarter of the inmates in federal prisons were born outside the United States.”

Crime from illegals costs far more than the expenses of incarceration. A DEA report notes that  “Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) pose the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them. These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks. They control drug trafficking across the Southwest Border and are moving to expand their share, particularly in the heroin and methamphetamine markets.”

In June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Chief of Carla Provost  testified  before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the international MS-13 criminal organization, and its connection to illegal immigration.

Following lax enforcement of the U.S. border and the influx of illegal immigrants during the Obama Administration, substantial action became necessary. Provost stated that “…One of the biggest challenges we face are [transnational criminal organizations] TCOs such as the international criminal organization known as Mara Salvatrucha 13, more commonly known as MS-13. While MS-13 has had a presence in the United States and been a regional threat for many years, it has proliferated both throughout the United States and the region more recently, as our partners at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice have reported. CBP has faced many challenges in recent years, including large-scale flows of foreign nationals from Central America and Mexico. MS-13 took full advantage of these flows of foreign nationals into the United States by hiding in these populations to enter our country. As a result, American citizens have died, and domestic law enforcement across the nation has had to deal with the burden of MS-13 violence and drug-dealing on American streets on a daily basis.

“As a result of the Executive Orders issued by the President [Trump]…we are seeing a historic shift in illegal crossings along the Southwest border. Since January 2017, the number of illegal aliens we have apprehended on the Southwest border has drastically decreased, indicating a significant decrease in the number of aliens attempting to illegally enter the country. The number of illegal aliens apprehended in March 2017 was 30 percent lower than February apprehensions and 64 percent lower than the same time last year. This decline also extends to unaccompanied alien children (UAC).”

President Trump blames the rise of MS-13’s strength within the United States on his predecessor. “The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!”

There appears to be substance behind the President’s allegation. Fox News  reported in May that “At least 16 self-proclaimed MS-13 gang members were transferred out of federal custody and into community placement centers across the country during the border surge in unaccompanied children from Central America in 2014, according to a new letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs…In 2014, the Obama Administration declared a humanitarian crisis after tens of thousands of immigrants flooded across the United States border. The dramatic increase in immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras overwhelmed border authorities at the time. Fox News has now learned that more than a dozen teenage gang members were captured during the surge. According to Johnson’s letter and documents obtained by Fox News, the gang members “freely admitted” that they were “active MS-13 gang members” and marked bathrooms inside a placement center in Nogales, Arizona with MS-13 associated graffiti…These documents appear to show that the federal government knowingly moved self-identified gang members from Nogales, Arizona to placement centers in communities across the country. As you know, it is common for UACs (unaccompanied children) to be released from their placement center while awaiting a court date. It is unclear from these July 2014 documents whether any of these self-identified UAC gang members were released…”

The White House further emphasized that sanctuary city policies were creating safe havens for MS-13. The Washington Times reported that “The Trump administration…put sanctuary cities front and center in its battle to take down the ruthless MS-13 street gang, saying the efforts to shield illegal immigrants was providing safe haven for violent criminals…’Cooperation is critical. It is often state and local law enforcement not ICE that first come into contact with transnational criminal organizations,’ Thomas Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told reporters at the White House.” Attorney General Sessions has emphasized the fight against MS-13.

The Daily Caller  quotes Attorney General Sessions:  “Because of an open border and years of lax immigration enforcement, MS-13 has been sending both recruiters and members to regenerate gangs that previously had been decimated, and smuggling members across the border as unaccompanied minors … They are not content to simply ruin the lives of adults—MS-13 recruits in our high schools, our middle schools, and even our elementary schools.

Robert K. Hur, the principal associate deputy attorney general, said Mr. Sessions had made the takedown of MS-13 a priority and had taken new steps to crack down on sanctuary cities to advance the fight.

The Washington Times  quoted Senator Ron Johnson,  (R-Wisconsin) chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, who has stated that

“The Obama administration knowingly let in at least 16 admitted MS-13 gang members who arrived at the U.S. as illegal immigrant teenagers in 2014…CBP apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed and disbursed them into our communities…”

The criminals entered the U.S. during the Obama Administration as “unaccompanied alien children.” According to Johnson, the media image of these minors was incorrect.  They were older teenagers, and predominately male. The gang members were part of the surge of UAC, or “unaccompanied alien children,” as the government labels them, who overwhelmed the Obama administration in 2014, leaving Homeland Security struggling to staunch the flow from Central America. Officials at the time said the children should be treated as refugees fleeing horrific conditions back home — though security analysts said the children were prime recruiting territory for gangs already in the U.S.

Mr. Johnson said the image of UAC as little children is misleading. Out of nearly 200,000 UAC apprehended between from 2012 to 2016, 68 percent were ages 15, 16 or 17 — meaning older teens. The majority were also male, making them targets for gang recruiting.

Why Democrat Leaders Oppose Border Controls, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its review of opposition to funding the southern border wall

Arguments about the cost of the wall fail to make economic sense; cost-savings from reducing the number of illegal entries far exceeds any expenses incurred in construction. Steven Camarota describes the financial outline in a Center for Immigration Studies report:

“The findings of this analysis show that if a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall. Among the findings:

  • There is agreement among researchers that illegal immigrants overwhelmingly have modest levels of education — most have not completed high school or have only a high school education.
  • There is also agreement that immigrants who come to America with modest levels of education create significantly more in costs for government than they pay in taxes.
  • A recent NAS study estimated the lifetime fiscal impact (taxes paid minus services used) of immigrants by education. Averaging the cost estimates from that study and combining them with the education levels of illegal border-crossers shows a net fiscal drain of $74,722 per illegal crosser.2
  • The above figures are only for the original illegal immigrants and do not include any costs for their U.S.-born descendants. If we use the NAS projections that include the descendants, the fiscal drain for border-crossers grows to $94,391 each.
  • If a border wall prevented 160,000 to 200,000 illegal crossings (excluding descendants) in the next 10 years it would be enough to pay for the estimated $12 to $15 billion costs of the wall.
  • Newly released research by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) done for the Department of Homeland Security indicates that 170,000 illegal immigrants crossed the border successfully without going through a port of entry in 2015.3 While a significant decline in crossings from a decade ago, it still means that there may be 1.7 million successful crossings in the next decade. If a wall stopped just 9 to 12 percent of these crossings it would pay for itself.
  • If a wall stopped half of those expected to successfully enter illegally without going through a port of entry at the southern border over the next 10 years, it would save taxpayers nearly $64 billion — several times the wall’s cost.”

The answer to the puzzling opposition to border enforcement by Democrat leaders is found at the ballot box.  As the New York Analysis of Policy and Government has previously noted, What may seem, at first impression, to be a position counter to the Democrats own key interests comes into focus when seen through the prism of politics on a national scale.

Governing magazine points out that “Democrats went into this (2016)election controlling the governorship, Senate and House in just seven states — that was their lowest number since the Civil War, when there were 15 fewer states. Now, they control just five states.”

National Review  study concurs.“President Obama’s recent executive orders granting provisional legal status to an estimated 5 million illegal aliens will likely allow an indeterminate number of them to cast ballots in elections across the United States — and it’s hard to see how it won’t affect the outcome of some number of close elections. Amnestied illegal aliens are now eligible to receive Social Security numbers and, in many cases, drivers’ licenses. Since the vast majority of states don’t require individuals to present proof of citizenship to either register or vote, and given the Obama administration’s zealous promotion of motor-voter registration and declared refusal to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (ensuring that only eligible individuals vote), it’s certain that appreciable numbers of amnestied illegal aliens will be able to vote. Furthermore, testimony…before the House Judiciary Committee revealed that under Obama’s amnesty some illegal aliens will receive advance-parole status — a glide path to citizenship and full voting rights…”

Voting in their own interests, unlawful immigrants who eventually vote, legally or otherwise, will overwhelmingly support Democrats. That is the primary reason for the opposition by Democrat party leaders to reasonable border control.

Why Democrat Leaders Oppose Border Controls

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two-part analysis of the opposition to the southern border wall. 

There has been insufficient examination of why Democrats have so vehemently opposed measures to restrict illegal immigration. The latest iteration of this is the threat to shut down the government if the latest government funding bill contains money for the southern wall.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain has commented on the irony of this tactic.

“Back in 2013,” Cain writes, “when GOP members threatened a federal shutdown, they were called ‘terrorists’ and ‘hostage takers.’  Brian Williams famously carped that ‘All kinds of people are getting cheated out of salaries, benefits, medical treatment.’  That, in true Williams fashion, was a bald-faced lie, but it was the narrative the entire left-wing media decided to run with. As Mark Halpern admitted on MSNBC, the press was in Obama’s pocket and they were going to help him sell the anti-Republican narrative. It worked.  The GOP took a temporary hit and, for the next few years, Republicans would cower any time someone said the word ‘shutdown.’ Now, the circumstances have been reversed.  Having decimated their own party, Democrats are desperately searching for weapons with which to stall, delay, or derail the GOP agenda. Guess what they’re threatening…”

The Boston Globe recalls that “As a senator, Barack Obama once offered measured praise for the border control legislation that would become the basis for one of Donald Trump’s first acts as president…Obama was talking about the Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation authorizing a barrier along the southern border passed into law with the support of 26 Democratic senators including party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer…Now it’s become the legal mechanism for Trump to order construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico…”

Illegal immigration detrimentally affects many who are, or at least once upon a time were, core Democrat constituencies, including union workers and blacks, who have seen their job opportunities and salaries shrink due to increased competition from illegals.  The poor, who have favored Democrats because of the party’s support for social welfare programs, are forced to share limited federal assistance funding with a new wave of incomers. They certainly don’t benefit.

Last month, the New York Times pointed out: “The issue splits traditional Democratic constituencies.  It pits groups with competing material interests against each other, but it also brings those with vested psychological interests into conflict as Hispanics, African-Americans, labor and liberal advocacy groups clash over their conception of territoriality, political ownership and cultural identity.”

Democrat leaders have even opposed measures to deport illegal alien who have committed crimes. Matt Vespa, writing in Townhall  refutes Democrat’s characterization of ICE raids on illegal criminals as being prosecution of otherwise innocent illegals: Over the past couple of days, immigration enforcement agents have round up almost 700 illegal aliens—75 percent of which had criminal records. Rep. Nancy Pelosi disputed the claim, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement also confirmed the figure released by the Department of Homeland Security.

As the Dallas News  notes, “We can argue about whether America has an immigration problem. But it seems pretty clear that Democrats have an immigration problem…Josh Barro, a senior editor at Business Insider, laid out at length exactly what that problem is. Briefly: Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments…It’s easy to explain how immigrants benefit from an open door. Explanations of how the rest of us benefit tend to rely on the trivial or on abstract economic arguments that most people don’t find particularly intuitive or convincing. Those arguments look even more suspicious because they are generally made by the one group that visibly does benefit from a lot of low-skilled immigration, which provides the nannies, lawn-care, and food services that high-skilled professionals rely on to allow them to work longer hours.”

The report concludes Monday

Taxpayers Pay Heavy Costs for Immigration, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its review of immigration costs

Many specific, costly areas highlight the economic weight of illegal immigration.

Louise Radnofsky, writing for the Wall Street Journal, reports:

“When federal lawmakers wrote the act overhauling the nation’s health-care system… they ruled out any possibility of extending health insurance to illegal immigrants. Local officials where many of those immigrants live are treating them anyway. A Wall Street Journal survey of the 25 U.S. counties with the largest unauthorized immigrant populations found that 20 of them have programs that pay for the low-income uninsured to have doctor visits, shots, prescription drugs, lab tests and surgeries at local providers. The services usually are inexpensive or free to participants, who must prove they live in the county but are told their immigration status doesn’t matter…Unauthorized immigrants account for at least one-quarter of the approximately 30 million uninsured people in the U.S., the Congressional Budget Office estimates…For communities that provide care to illegal immigrants, the financial commitment is significant. Interviews with officials in the 25 counties indicated that local initiatives provide nonemergency care for at least 750,000 unauthorized immigrants across those counties, costing them more than $1 billion a year—almost all from local funds.”

Educational costs for illegal immigrants are massive.  The Daily Caller,  citing Federation for American Immigration Reform statistics,  noted that “It cost taxpayers an estimated $43.9 billion to educate illegal alien students in the 2015-2016 school year, and $59.2 billion for programs to educate voters lacking proficient English skills.”

A study by the American Enterprise Institute notes that:

“According to the Pew Research Center, from 1995 to 2012, the percentage of K-12 students with at least one undocumented immigrant parent rose from 3.2 to 6.9%.  In California, this figure was 13.2%, and 17.7% in Nevada…In New York, almost 12% of public school students are undocumented minors, according to a New York Post article. A report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates the state will spend over $147 million in the 2014-2015 school year educating undocumented minors from the border crisis in 2014, a cost of $35,520 per pupil. California enrolls the highest amount of the nation’s 5 million English Language Learners (ELL) with nearly 1.5 million, and spends an estimated $12.3 billion annually educating children of undocumented immigrants.”

Law Enforcement costs are also a factor. A General Accounting Office  study found that:

“the number of criminal aliens in federal prisons in fiscal year 2010 was about 55,000, and the number of State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails was about 296,000 in fiscal year 2009…The number of criminal aliens in federal prisons increased about 7 percent from about 51,000 in fiscal year 2005 while the number of SCAAP criminal alien incarcerations in state prison systems and local jails increased about 35 percent from about 220,000 in fiscal year 2003… in 2005, [the General Accounting Office] (GAO) reported that the percentage of criminal aliens in federal prisons was about 27 percent of the total inmate population from 2001 through 2004. Based on our random sample, GAO estimates that the criminal aliens had an average of 7 arrests, 65 percent were arrested at least once for an immigration offense, and about 50 percent were arrested at least once for a drug offense. Immigration, drugs, and traffic violations accounted for about 50 percent of arrest offenses…About 40 percent of individuals convicted as a result of DOJ terrorism-related investigations were aliens. GAO estimates that costs to incarcerate criminal aliens in federal prisons and SCAAP reimbursements to states and localities ranged from about $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion annually from fiscal years 2005 through 2009…”