"Cost of illegal-immigrant labor exceeds benefits"

The president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has a guest opinion in the L.A. Daily News:

No matter how one feels about minimum-wage laws or the underground economy, there is little disagreement that illegal immigrants, who make much less than Wal-Mart employees, are overwhelming public services in places like Los Angeles County...

Public services throughout the state are under pressure because low-paid illegal immigrants rely on these services -- including education -- in numbers proportionally greater than the general population. In short, it is the taxpayers who end up paying to subsidize the low-wage jobs of the undocumented.

Some suggested that without illegal immigrants, the nation would face a recession. But would we?

No one is suggesting that government mandate a six-figure income for dishwashers. But if we stopped importing an underclass willing to take starvation wages for hard or unpleasant work, market forces would force the pay rate up to a level American workers would accept. These wages would be declared for tax purposes and these wages would be spent here in the U.S. instead of being sent home, as is often the case with undocumented workers. The result would be more jobs and income for Americans while this "above- the-table" economic activity would produce additional revenue for government. Pressure on social services would decline.

Yes, without an illegal-immigrant labor force the price of a hamburger might go up a dime, but it is just as likely that the reduction in the tax burden would more than compensate for any increase in consumer prices.


Businesses tend to be net taxpayers, immigrants on net public subsidy are a charge on businesses which make money. It is competition with other businesses which acquire a cost advantage by using lower-paid labor which pushes many to do what is not in their long-term interest. Avoiding the property tax is difficult for most businesses, in proportion as they have fixed assets. From these considerations, it should be clear that the impetus for mass immigration of those almost certain to go on to net public subsidy is political, and not derived from business interests. In any case the interest of the businessmen is routinely sacrificed in the welfare society.

That's the cost to we citizens, and our governments. To the owners and stockholders of large corporations that put immigrants to work its all benefit.