The annual costs of illegal immigration to local, state, and the federal government are far higher than the one-time cost of building a wall. From Ruthie Blum at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- “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.” — Matt O’Brien and Spencer Raley.
- It is also rather more than the single payment of $25 billion that it will cost to build a wall — five and a half times more, and every year.
- “Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes…” — John R. Lott.
- In 2015, included in the DEA’s drug-threat assessment was the fact that drug overdoses killed more people in the United States than car accidents or guns. Many of these drugs [were] smuggled in large volumes by drug cartels.”
In his State of the Union address on January 30, US President Donald J. Trump referred to the brutal murder of two 16-year-old girls from Long Island in December 2016 by members of the “savage MS-13 gang,” responsible for a spate of other gruesome killings in the area, as well.
Many of these gang members, he explained, had entered the United States illegally. “For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities,” he said.
Calling on Congress “to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed… criminal gangs to break into our country,” he listed the four pillars of his immigration-reform proposal:
- A path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought to America by their parents.
- The construction of a “great wall on the southern border” and enforcement by agents patrolling and securing the border.
- Ending the visa lottery, “a program that randomly plans out green cards without regard for skill, merit, for the safety of American people.”
- Ending the “current, broken system” of chain migration of distant relatives, and limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.
To continue reading: The Cost of Illegal Immigration
The effects of a law often hinge on its definitions. From Sarah Cronin at theantimedia.org:
Last week the House passed a bill to expand the government’s ability to deport immigrants on the basis of alleged gang affiliation. Promoted by Republicans as a way to target members of gangs such as the transnational M13 gang, H.R. 3697, the “Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act,” amends the Immigration and Nationality Act by adding gang affiliation to the list of criminal offenses that qualify as grounds for detention and deportation.
The bill passed 233 – 175 with almost unanimous Republican support and now must gain approval in the Senate, where it is currently pending in the Committee on the Judiciary. While the bill still has yet to come to a vote in Senate, it has already gained the presidential nod of approval. Shortly following the bill’s passage, the White House Press Secretary published a statement applauding Congress’ decision, and the administration already affirmed that “If H.R. 3697 were presented to the president in its current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign the bill into law,” according to a statement of administrative policy published last Tuesday.
The bill has received strong criticism from House Democrats and organizations such as the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who claim the bill provides the government with sweeping discretion to detain and deport immigrants using a broad and arbitrary label.
The bulk of the debate on the bill revolves around how it defines ‘gangs.’ The bill defines a gang as any group of five or more people that has as one of its primary purposes the commission of one or more specified criminal offenses. The bill goes on to expand on these ‘criminal offenses’ to include felony drug offenses, which would include the possession of marijuana. It also explicitly names the ‘harboring’ of undocumented immigrants as a crime.
This means, theoretically, that any organization that helps, shelters, or hires undocumented immigrants could be considered a gang, and thus any immigrant member of such group could theoretically be detained or deported as a gang member.
To continue reading: Congress Passed a Bill to Deport Suspected ‘Gang’ Members — There’s Just One Problem