That sounds like a simple question—what will the Dream Act—the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009, cost the US taxpayer? Having spent a great deal of time trying to find an answer, I have come up confused.
I could use President Barack Obama’s State of the Union cost projection--$9 billion, according to the National Taxpayers Union. That was projected for “immigration reform.”
I could use old figures from the Congressional Budget Office. In 2004 when S 1545 was originally costed out, the estimate was that “enacting S. 1545 would increase direct spending by an insignificant amount in 2004 and $90 million over the 2004-2014 period.”
I could settle for one aspect of illegal immigration and use figures from the conservative organization Federation for American Immigration Reform. FAIR said, “Education for the children of illegal aliens constitutes the single largest cost to taxpayers, at an annual price tag of nearly $52 billion.”
I could cite a figure based on research done by Frank Medina, National Immigration Examiner at the Examiner website. Medina wrote, “The costs to the U.S. taxpayer of subsidizing the tuition of the approximately 1.23 million illegal aliens who would benefit from the DREAM Act over the first two years of its enactment would be $19,207,500,000.” Incidentally, Medina has several columns devoted to explaining the DREAM Act.
As yet it’s hard to tell whether Sen. Harry Reid will attempt to repay his political debt in the Lame Duck Session in return for support that kept him in Washington after the midterm elections. It’s tempting to ask if all those votes were cast by legal voters, but that isn’t the point of my inquiry and is simply a product of my incredulity that anyone would vote for a man like Reid.
I wonder, however, what the DREAM Act or even what our current immigration chaos costs legal immigrants, and unskilled White, Hispanic, African-American workers and others? Those who come here illegally work for low wages and ask for few rights. What, I wonder, is the impact on the labor markets that employ such workers—the hotel industry, ski resorts, construction industry, landscaping?
Considering record levels of unemployment, those questions are relevant.
Do unskilled workers who are citizens lose out on jobs they might otherwise be able to get? Do those who complete applications for visas and work permits lose out to those who simply come in the back door hoping to send money home and eventually return home as well rather than assimilate?
Obviously the federal government has placed the rights of legal immigrants and US citizens on a second tier status. Dilution of the 287-G law, for example, recently made it impossible for a Florida sheriff’s officers to do anything about workers they suspected were here illegally. The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency wasn’t interested in looking into what the police discovered when they took a call they first thought involved a fight between roommates.
Moreover the federal government has sided with Mexico and other countries by filing a lawsuit against the state of Arizona for trying to do something about the refusal of the feds to do anything about a situation that state believes critical to public safety.
In 1986 Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Leon Panetta were two members of Congress who played a key role in writing the amnesty bill. Do we know what that cost?
Here’s what we know for sure, those of us who remember 1986. We were assured this would be the solution to chaos and we would not have to deal with this again because the borders would be secured.
We were lied to in 1986. Hopefully we’ll be smart enough to know we could easily be lied to now.
Meanwhile The Heritage Foundation said millions of seniors will lose Medicare Advantage health programs now that the government healthcare bill passed.
How do Democrats who still hold the majority in the Lame Duck Congress justify cutting entitlements for seniors but increasing them for those who have broken federal law?
What will the DREAM Act cost? It's anybody's guess.