Unemployment lines continue to grow as does the American people's frustration over a government that continues to spend more money than they have. The current administration's solution is to raise taxes, not cut spending. Times are tight for American families, and as they are looking at ways to make their dollars go further, the federal government should look at ways of keeping American dollars a little closer to home.
While the United States continues to drown in debt, there was some good news south of the border. According to reports, money sent back to Mexico is on the rise. Recently, the Bank of Mexico reported remittances totaling $1.95 billion in August, up 9.32 percent from the same month last year. Apparently, the U.S. job market isn't tough for everyone.
A Mexican-based financial company is forecasting $22 billion in remittances for 2010 making it Mexico's second highest revenue maker behind crude oil. Not all of this comes from the 20 million illegal workers. There are people that have come to our country legally to work, but they also send much of their income south of the border. These remittances are an economic drain on America, but Mexico would collapse without them.
Not only are we not recirculating billions of U.S. dollars earned in our country back into our own economy, we are also dolling out taxpayer-funded social services to millions who don't contribute to the system.
The open-borders crowd continues to insist that those working here illegally contribute more to our economy than the benefits they illegally receive, but $22 billion dollars taken out of our economy says otherwise.
It's not just the money being sent home, it's also the costs incurred here. The Federation for American Immigration Reform has estimated that the total cost of education for illegals is $52 billion a year. The report says Texas is saddled with $16.4 billion of that amount.
However, it is important to point out that this cost includes American-born children of people living here illegally. It is argued that we can't count these children because under current policy, they are considered U.S. citizens, even though their parents are not and even though many of their mothers illegally came to the U.S. for the sole purpose of having a child. While I am not so sure the correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment makes these children automatic citizens, the Supreme Court has not issued a ruling on the issue of birthright citizenship.
The Harris County Hospital District, the public hospital system in Houston, Texas, found that 60 percent of births over the last four years were by women living here illegally. It's estimated, in Texas alone, there are 1.5 million illegal immigrants, to which 60,000 babies are born to their households annually. In fact, a Pew Hispanic Center study revealed that 8 percent of U.S. babies a year are born to mothers here illegally.
At a hearing before the Texas House State Affairs Committee, the director of research for the Health and Human Services Commission, told the committee that healthcare to illegal immigrants last year cost the state of Texas nearly $100 million, with the bulk being emergency room care.
According to the budget director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 7.5 percent of the total prison population claimed foreign residency costing the state $171 million a year. However, the real costs are unknown as these figures are based only on the identified illegals in the prison system. This doesn't even account for the costs incurred by the victims of these crimes either.
As we begin to hear talk about the DREAM Act that will subsidize education costs and grant amnesty to people 35 years old or younger who illegally entered the United States before they were 16 years of age, the costs of this not so dreamy plan are conveniently brushed under the rug.
Illegals get to go to any school without having to pay out-of-state tuition. This only applies to law breakers.
Why would Congress pass a law that discriminates against Americans and lawful immigrants to the benefit of those who break our laws?
There is more. Say you can't afford the tuition. Under this amnesty plan, people living here illegally are eligible for federal student loans at the expense of American citizens. Why should people living here illegally be given an advantage to obtain loans that should go to citizens and possibly legal immigrants? This policy will deplete the already strained resources for college expense by adding millions of people to the system.
After you complete two years of post high school education or two years of military service you are eligible for citizenship. Once a citizen, this paves the way to bring the rest of their extended family to the United States.
I agree that something must be done, but the American people have rejected amnesty in every form that it has been presented. The costs of this bill will be footed by the American taxpayer for years to come.
I understand that everyone wants to come to our country; I don't blame them. But, we cannot afford to continue to turn a blind eye to the economic drain illegal entry places on every aspect of our society. We cannot treat people here illegally better than we treat our own citizens and legal residents.
Do the math: illegal immigration is breaking the bank -- the American bank that is.
Congressman Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Border Security; Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and recognized nationally as a leading advocate for border security. Prior to serving in Congress, Poe was a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for 30 years.