I've heard lots of the arguments of why people may think it's a big problem, yet never have I seen many people consider the flip side of the debate. I feel that it is used by politicians to keep the electorate inflamed about something trivial so their attention is drawn off the really important problems.
The widespread belief is that illegal aliens cost more in government services than they contribute to the economy. This belief is undeniably false. Every empirical study of illegals' economic impact demonstrates the opposite. Undocumenteds actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services.
Undocumented immigrants living in the United States are subject to the same income tax laws as documented immigrants and U.S. citizens. However, because of their status most unauthorized workers pay a higher effective tax rate than similarly situated documented or U.S. citizens. Yet, these workers and their families use fewer government services than similarly situated documented immigrants or U.S. citizens.
There is one group of Americans that would benefit from a dramatic cut in illegal immigration: high-school dropouts. Economists speculate that for the average high-school dropout, that would mean about a $25 a week raise if there were no job competition from immigrants. Illegal immigrants seem to have very little impact on unemployment rates.
Even in industries with high concentrations of illegal workers -- such as construction, restaurants and some parts of agriculture -- the impact isn't as great as many people think. If there weren't illegal immigrants working in construction in places like Chicago and Miami, then demand for legal workers would go up, which would mean wages would rise. But very quickly, legal workers from other parts of the country would move to those cities, and wages would go back down. The net impact on wages would be relatively modest.
The economic impact of illegal immigration is far smaller than other trends in the economy, such as the increasing use of automation in manufacturing or the growth in global trade. Those two factors have a much bigger impact on wages, prices and the health of the U.S. economy.
The estimated seven million or so illegal immigrant workers in the United States are now providing the system with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year.
As is shown here http://ksghome.harvard.edu/%7EGBorjas/Papers/w11281.pdf the average American's wages are actually increased rather than decreased, as many "wage depression" theorists say. The net additional gain in wages and wealth is not large but is a net gain nonetheless for the average Joe.
As far as education is concerned, in MN the report of the cost of K-12 additional expenditures (while not attributing any gain from taxes witheld) was approx. $ 138,000,000 as the mean estimate. (Source: http://www.state.mn.us/mn/externalDo...gal%20Immigration%20Brief%2026.pdf ) Minnesota is 5.1 million people. By comparison New Mexico with a population of 2 million (or 60% smaller) spent $ 63.1 million according to the 2004 New Mexico Fiscal Policy Project. So the "issue" really isn't horrific in one area of the country vs. another. In Minnesota it costs the average resident $ 2.26 per month, and New Mexico resident $ 2.63 per month in additional education expenditures. Or in other words, one less stop at Starbucks every 6 weeks.
Someone also mentioned in the other thread that Mexican nationals remit $15 billion back to Mexico. However, that includes all Mexicans both legal and illegal. Even if we assume on the high side that 60% of that total is from illegal aliens we are talking about $ 9 billion per year 0.07% of our $ 13 trillion annual GDP. Again that's not granting any positive credit to our GDP from local purchases while in country, plus the purchase of American goods and services as exports to Mexico.
So again I say.... illegal immigration isn't much to worry about at all. It's a boogey man meant to scare you into submission.
[Edited 2008-01-31 11:51:12]
[Edited 2008-01-31 11:53:16]