I read a post on a blog I frequent that said, "These people are breaking. the. law. They sneak into the country, our tax dollars are being used to provide them with college education and health care, and a multitude of other services, and they are not contributing back in the form of taxes, because they get paid in cash. Because they’re illegal."
Of course, that isn’t entirely accurate. Even illegal immigrants who get paid under the table contribute to the economy by purchasing goods and services, renting homes and apartments, and generally being consumers. For the most part, because they are illegal, they are less likely to partake of generally available programs that might bring their illegal residency to light. But aside from that, what most people who oppose illegal immigration fail to realize is that our economy relies on cheap labor to function effectively.
The US economy is set to add 7.7 million low-skilled, low-wage jobs between 2000 and 2010, and these are jobs that appeal to an increasingly small number of Americans. Without an influx of immigrants to fill these jobs, the economy will slide. It won’t fail, but I can guarantee that it will seem like it is. Cheap labor and its availability has a significant impact on our economy.
An article I read once presented our dependence on cheap, immigrant labor this way… He called it the golden arch analogy… without access to cheap migrant labor, a Big Mac, which currently costs about $3 would be cost $5. This is because migrant labor literally makes our Big Macs. They pick the vegetables, pack the meat (meatpacking plants of the Midwest are almost exclusively employ illegal immigrants because no one else in their right minds would work in such an unpleasant environment), harvest the grains for the bread, etc.
There are other products that would also be adversely affected in a similar manner. Everything we consume would be 40-50% more expensive. People don’t realize what cheap labor means to the US economy. Now I agree that there needs to be limits and that we should take a hard look at how porous our borders are, but our problems are not really with illegal immigrants.
To blame illegal immigrants for increased crime is just nonsense… saying that is akin to claiming that only Mexicans and African Americans commit crimes. It is deluded and borderline racist. I don’t think we should coddle immigrants, but at the same time I don’t believe immigration, legal or otherwise, is to blame for American problems (crime, taxes, etc). One need only look at the amount of money we spend for the current war, the war on drugs, and long term imprisonment of violent criminals to know that what we expend providing for illegal immigrants is a drop in the bucket.