The recent death of Mollie Tibbets has reignited calls for increased border security, with supporters of such measures citing the social costs of illegal immigration. But while one could argue endlessly on the social impact of illegal immigration, the reality is that illegal immigrants commit fewer violent crimes than natural citizens. The rare social consequences of the practice alone will not be enough for Congress to approve measures for additional border security. The economic consequences of the practice, on the other hand, are more than enough to justify further investments to try to curb it. Strengthening our porous borders would prevent illegal immigrants from robbing Americans of billions of dollars each year through the use of government services and by driving down wages.
The most financially crippling consequence of illegal immigration is the excessive load on government services such as healthcare, welfare, and public schooling by illegal immigrants. Often times, illegal immigrants are using these taxpayer-funded services, without paying their fair share of taxes. According to the Federation of American Immigration Reform, every year, illegal immigrants are using over $134 billion worth of government services, but pay less than $19 billion in taxes. This $116 billion deficit is paid entirely by American taxpayers and is just one-way American citizens are forced to foot the illegal immigration bill.
Illegal immigration is also destructive economically for America’s manual workers. Upon entering the US, illegal immigrants often compete with Americans for the unskilled manual jobs often undercutting them by accepting lower than minimum wage and getting paid in cash. An influx of illegal immigrants leads to a higher supply in the unskilled job market. With a higher supply of applicants, corporations lower wages – a detrimental consequence for the lower class who see their already small pay drop even further. Research on this issue has strongly supported this fact. Time and time again it has been proven that the immigration of low skill workers, which most illegal immigrants are, depresses wages. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, between 1980 – 1994, 40 to 50 percent of wage-loss among low-skilled Americans was due to the immigration of low skilled workers. The wage-depressing effect of low skilled workers specifically illegal immigrants was documented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in 2008. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that “average wages among documented [legal] workers are lower in industries that employ undocumented [illegal] workers and that a greater share of undocumented workers in those industries further lowers wages.”
Even when they are caught, illegal immigrants cost the US government millions of dollars. When caught, they are sent to prisons while they await court rulings. As they wait, they are housed in detention facilities. It costs the US government over $100 a day to house one illegal immigrant and annually over $46,000 — more than the average citizens’ income. With an estimated 40,000 illegals in detention facilities every day, these costs add up. The world erupted over family separation, but what was missed was the underlying bigger issue — the US, and consequently, taxpayers are paying millions every year to house people who shouldn’t be in our country.
Cost of Illegal Immigration Far Outweighs the Cost to Curb It
Basic economics suggest that illegal immigration is hurting American citizens, as the practice is costing Americans billions of dollars each year. In order to stop this disturbing economic trend, the United States needs to take the necessary measures to stop the influx of illegal immigrants. This means further investments in border security and maybe even building the wall Trump has proposed. While these investments will be costly, it would outweigh the cost of illegal immigration. The President’s wall may cost $20 billion in taxpayer money but is nowhere near the cost taxpayers already incur from the influx of illegal immigrants into the US.
Mollie Tibbets’ untimely death reinvigorated the fight for further border security by showing some of the limited outcomes of illegal immigration. But while her death will not be forgotten, the social consequences are not enough to justify additional border security. However, the economic consequences of the practice alone are more than enough to justify further investments in curbing illegal immigration.
Ed. Note: This is a guest post by Rohan Kapur, who is a high-school student based in New Jersey. You can find more of his content regarding a wide range of political issues on his website, redinaseaofblue.com. You can also find his work on ConservativeDailyNews.com, where he is an opinion writer. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.