Monday, May 30, 2005

Immigrants' small slice of pie

[My response to street talk that illegal Mexican immigrants are a big drain on our generousity]

Mexican immigrant households (legal and illegal) actually make-up a smaller portion of the total welfare hand-outs but have recently been receiving a larger portion of "bad press." Ask the average U.S. citizen what one of the biggest problems being faced today concerning illegal Mexican immigration and you will find "the impact on social welfare programs" near the top of the list, right up there with "terrorist border crossings" and "jobs losses to illegals."

Total Number of U.S. households (2004 Census): 111,000,000

U.S. Census Bureau (PDF): In 2003, the number of households in the United States reached 111 million.

Mexican immigrant households (legal and illegal): 5,061,600

Center for Immigration Studies: 15 percent of U.S. native households on a welfare program vs. 25 percent headed by illegal Mexican immigrants.

U.S. native households on a welfare program (calculated from above): 16,650,000

Mexican immigrant households (legal and illegal) on a welfare program: 1,493,172

Although an estimated 34 percent of households headed by legal Mexican immigrants and 25 percent headed by illegal Mexican immigrants used at least one major welfare program, in contrast to 15 percent of native households, the impact compared to the total households on a welfare program is only around 8% (this is difficult to determine, because no accurate census data is available on illegal Mexican households).

Based on the above analysis, it would seem to make more sense for those of us wanting lower U.S. budget deficits to concentrate our efforts on reducing the total dependence on social welfare programs than to worry about the smaller share Mexican illegals are using.

With all the popular press on illegal immigration, I'm concerned that "we" the radio listeners, TV viewers and newspaper readers are becoming distracted from the more important issues like the 65% of GDP U.S. public debt and our $400 billion budget deficit. Illegal immigration is definitely a on the list of important issues facing the American people right now, but it's our own public debt and deficits that put us in jeopardy of losing ground economically, not illegal immigrants.

Let's take a look at our own house before we start wasting stones at paper tigers.

Reporting from the underground...

Stan Morris