Thursday, March 6, 2008

Refried Illegal Immigration Debate

The debate of illegal immigration is heating up once again in the local blogosphere.

Recently MO Treasurer Sarah Steelman claims that Missouri is missing out on as much as $49 million annually in state income taxes. The Star's Prime Buzz, TKC, and the Southeast Missourian all dispute her figures.
Pew Hispanic Center estimate of up to 65,000 unauthorized immigrants in Missouri. Steelman assumed all of those are adults, 90 percent are working and none are paying income taxes.

The unfortunate facts are that no one knows how many illegal aliens are residing in Missouri. No one knows how many are on the books with false social security numbers and how many are being paid under the table. The Pew Hispanic Center study used the low federal estimate figure that says that 12 million illegal aliens are residing in the U.S. What if there are actually closer to 30 million as many studies suggest? Even if half are on the books with stolen identities, half aren't and there is no disputing that MO could be missing out on anywhere from $24 to $122 million annually.

It is true that illegal aliens are paying sales taxes and some property taxes, but that money is split between city and county governments and pales in comparison to the other costs of dealing with illegal imigration that states incur. Other studies by the Pew Research Center have suggested that many illegal aliens collect food stamps, medical care, and other welfare-type services that cost states more than $90,000 per family per year. On top of those costs, if the illegal alien is working off the books then they aren't paying state income tax and they also aren't paying social security or federal income taxes.

Crime Scene KC asks if states should have to pay to prosecute and jail illegal immigrant criminals. We're not sure if they are implying that states should just not enforce the laws or whether they want the federal government to fully reimburse the states. One thing is clear, President Bush is cutting the program (SCAAP) that currently, although inadequately, reimburses states claiming the money would be better spent on border security and as a result the costs states incur is just going to increase.

Prime Buzz discusses the bills before the MO and KS governments that seek to require employers to utilize the federal employment verification system. A similar law has been a resounding success in Arizona and illegal aliens have been self deporting back to Mexico and into surrounding states. It's been such a success that Mexico has sent delegations from Sonora to beg Arizona to stop.
[Nine state legislators from Sonora] said Sonora - Arizona's southern neighbor, made up of mostly small towns - cannot handle the demand for housing, jobs and schools it will face as illegal Mexican workers here return to their hometowns without jobs or money.

Stay Red Kansas takes on some KS legislatures who are proposing a bill to remove the in-state tuition benefits currently being given to illegal aliens in KS claiming it's a waste of time as long as illegal aliens are still allowed to come to Kansas. We at the Kansas Citian don't feel it's a waste of time at all.

During the Clinton administration congress passed a law that makes it illegal for states to provide tuition benefits to illegal aliens that it does not grant to other U.S. citizens. We feel the KS legislature has a duty to act so that Kansas can fall in line with federal law. There are two valid choices as we see it. One, KS can remove the benefit altogether. Unfortunately, this does penalize an illegal alien child that has spent their entire life in the KS school system.

The second option is to provide in-state tuition rates to all U.S. citizens regardsless their home state as well as the children of illegal aliens who graduated from KS high schools. This would bring KS in line with federal law and make our schools (KU and KSU) more attractive to out-of-state students who would bring their tuition dollars and spending dollars to Kansas. These students would also be more likely to stay and work in Kansas upon graduation.


Bob McCarty Writes said...

Speaking of illegal immigration, millions of Americans will celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5) without really knowing what they’re celebrating. If, however, they knew the background of the holiday, I think many Americans might opt out of celebrating it.

James said...

Cince de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico's defeat over France is it not?

The thing about Cinco de Mayo is that it is much like St. Patrick's Day. It's nothing more than an excuse for us Americans to go out and consume some cervezas guilt free. Both holidays are also not a big deal in their home countries and are clearly Americanized and consumer driven.

I think Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick's Day are shining examples of why the "melting pot" theory works.