Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, has a book coming out soon, The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal. Phyllis Schlafly reviews it at World Net Daily.
The pro-more-immigration crowd argues that today’s immigrants are just like immigrants of a century ago: poor people looking for a better life who are expected to advance in our land of opportunity. Krikorian’s new argument is that while today’s immigrants may be like earlier ones, the America they come to is so very different that our previous experience with immigrants is practically irrelevant.
The essential difference between the two waves of immigrants was best summed up by the Nobel Prize-winning advocate of a free market, Milton Friedman. He said, “It’s just obvious that you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”
She goes on:
Today’s low-wage immigrants and lower-wage illegals can’t earn what it costs to live in modern America, so they supplement with means-tested taxpayer benefits. And many immigrants don’t learn our language or assimilate into American culture because of the multicultural diversity taught in our schools and encouraged in our society.
So they get the benefits available to the working poor. These include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (now called TANF, formerly AFDC), food stamps, school lunches, Medicaid, WIC, (nutrition for Women, Infants and Children), public housing, Supplemental Security Income, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and of course the public education that is provided to everybody.
Attempts to limit welfare eligibility for illegal aliens by provisions added to the 1996 welfare reform law, SSI, food stamps, Medicaid and TANF all failed. Krikorian concludes, “Walling immigrants off from government benefits once we’ve let them in is a fantasy.”
I’d guess that most refugees fall into the same category, and that’s after they get settled and get jobs. The government aid given to immigrants costs taxpayers an enormous amount of money.
The Heritage Foundation estimated that in order to reduce government payments to the average low-skill household to a level equal to the taxes it pays, “it would be necessary to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, all means-tested welfare, and to cut expenditures on public education roughly in half.” Obviously, that is not going to happen.
When we let refugees into the United States, not only do we not distinguish between groups that can assimilate easily and add something to our nation, and groups that have trouble assimilating and bring few skills, we don’t (as far as I know) distinguish between the skills and experience of the people we let in within each group. Maybe it’s time to reform both immigration and refugee policy to give preference to those who bring useful skills and a good attitude, and will not end up draining the taxpayers dry.