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Immigration pays the bills

During the recent Legislative Update, Richard Young and Paul Robertson were asked to keep illegal aliens ‘out of our schools and out of drivers’ licenses and the state.’
It seems like keeping them out of the state would pretty much cover everything else. Might as well ask that illegals are kept out of milk, sugar and the video rental store, too.
It’s news to no one that there are illegal aliens in Harrison County, including illegal drivers. It might be a bit surprising that we are almost certainly educating a few.
And let’s be frank. We aren’t talking about illegals from Somalia or Tibet or Kashmir. This talk centers around Hispanics. (Or ‘Mexicans,’ as many say. Of course if the persons aren’t actually from Mexico, this would be like confusing Canada with Corydon.)
The Hispanic population of this county has grown from 56 in 1990 to 331 in 2000 to 444 in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent available data. These numbers are microscopic compared with the southwest United States.
Hispanics are Harrison County’s largest minority, which doesn’t amount to much in a county that is 98.5 percent white. About 1.3 percent of minorities here are Hispanic, and most are employed in manufacturing or service industries, documented and receiving a paycheck from which taxes are withheld.
Young and Robertson both said that employers who violate the law are the catalyst that sparks illegal immigration. Young went one step further and said that if those employers provided a higher wage, they could entice residents to apply.
Nevermind that higher wages would put some of those employers out of business, but do consider that regardless of whether or not those who employ illegals do so knowingly, the federal government isn’t too keen on deportation. At least not yet.
The Bush Administration released details of its Temporary Worker Program more than two years ago. It would make all illegals legal, but it would not grant full-fledged citizenship, at least not right away.
Those who are concerned about losing their job to an illegal alien are probably wondering why the government would do such a thing. Rent the film ‘A Day Without Mexicans.’
If all illegals were deported tomorrow, it would cause economic chaos. Immigrants, both legal and illegal, aren’t just competing with U.S. citizens for jobs; they create jobs and pay a significant amount of taxes.
The number of jobs in America increased by 15 million between 1990 and 2003, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Immigrant households paid an estimated $133 billion in direct taxes to federal, state and local governments in 1997.
But that’s certainly not good enough.
A researcher with the Center for Immigration Studies estimated average taxes paid by ‘Mexican immigrants’ in California at about $1,535 per year, while native-born Californians pay $5,600 in taxes. CIS data showed that 41.5 percent of Mexican immigrants used ‘major welfare programs,’ while those same welfare programs were used by only 14.2 percent of native Californians.
California, bombarded with illegal immigration from both Latin America and southeast Asia, has become an extreme example in the United States.
University of California, Berkeley economist Ronald Lee concluded that a dynamic analysis would show that 49 of the 50 states come out ahead economically from immigration, with California being too close to call.
That makes immigration a pretty safe bet.

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