The Costly Burden of Our Broken Immigration System

While our country has long prided itself on being a “melting pot” by welcoming people from other countries and assimilating them into our society, there are some areas that need to be addressed within our current immigration system. Many Americans may not know precisely how large and costly our immigration problem has become.

First of all, we have laws regarding immigrants—how they are to be selected, what they must do to qualify as immigrants and eventually as citizens, and exact procedures for coming into the U.S. Unfortunately, many of these laws are being broken or blatantly ignored. Why are those breaking the law not punished and why are those in positions of authority ignoring the enforcement of these laws?

Second, the accurate immigration tallies show our system is being crushed under the weight of the actual influx. Many in Washington would like to see these immigration numbers grow even bigger, hoping that the social services needed for these immigrants will require more tax dollars so government can gain more control, and of course, more potential votes in exchange for these handouts.

Third, we as a country have abdicated our control over to the United Nations by treaty, and now defer to their policies of deciding which immigrants, re-classified as “refugees”, can enter the U.S. DHS has repeatedly stated it is impossible to vet these “refugees”. Many States have given “non-profit volunteer organizations” control over administering their refugee processing programs, which, ultimately, are paid for by our tax dollars. These “non-profits” are paid based on each refugee they process. Furthermore, after three months, refugees are free to roam about the country at will, are instructed to find work anywhere they can, and are not tracked.

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The executive branch of the federal government has continually pushed the number of refugees higher from areas of the world that have a greater potential to import terrorism. Many of the refugees coming to the U.S. from these areas have no intention of becoming assimilated to our society, as Islam forbids it. The political system of Islam, with its Sharia law, is diametrically opposed to our American system of justice, natural rights, and liberty. It is not possible for the two societies to “coexist”.

Let’s begin by looking at just how big is our legal immigration and why we need to change the way it is working. According to January 2016 “Chart Book” from the U. S. Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest: “The majority of immigration to the U.S. is the result of our visa policies. Each year, millions of visas are issued to temporary workers, foreign students, refugees, asylees, and permanent immigrants for admission into the United States. The lion’s share of these visas are for lesser-skilled and lower-paid workers and their dependents.” This report goes on to note that many of these workers are added to the labor pool made up of Americans—both employed and the unemployed. But, because they have been admitted to the U.S. on legal immigrant visas, most of them can count on a wide-range of taxpayer-funded benefits as well as being able to take jobs that otherwise would go to American workers.

The subcommittee also states that the most significant of all immigration documents issued by the U.S. is the “green card.” Department of Homeland Security statistics show that 5.25 million green cards were issued by the U.S. in the last five years—giving us 1.05 million new permanent legal immigrants annually. The importance of the green card is the benefits it imbues to the recipients: lifetime work authorization, access to federal welfare, access to Social Security and Medicare, the ability to obtain citizenship and voting privileges, and it allows them to bring in family members as additional immigrants. At the current pace, the U.S. will issue more green cards over the next decade than the combined population of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Again at this pace, in the next 50 years, for every new American added to the population by birth, immigration will add 7 more. Stated another way, the current population will add 14 million Americans by birth in the next 50 years while immigration will add 103 million people.

Now, the sad fact of the matter is that this unsustainable rate of increasing legal immigration does not need to continue. There is a remedy. The numbers added can be adjusted with a new federal law, but the majority of Americans are unaware of these numbers and have not looked at the impact they bring with them to our workplace and our society in general. So why are these numbers not being changed? Who controls the numbers? Congress. How do our elected officials vote? They usually vote the way that benefits their biggest financial contributors; and in this case it is to benefit of the large corporate donors to bring in more “cheap” labor than it would be to reduce or restrict this flow.

As stated by Senator Jeff Sessions, subcommittee chairman, “We should not admit people in larger numbers than we can reasonably expect to vet, assimilate, and absorb into our schools, communities, and labor markets. It is not compassionate but uncaring to bring in so many people that there are not enough jobs for them or the people already here. As Coolidge said: ‘We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here’.”

A statement from the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) proposes a more reasonable course of action: “Reduce overall immigration to a level that is more manageable and which more closely reflects past policy. Reducing legal immigration from well over one million presently, to 300,000 a year over a sustained period will allow America to more sensibly manage its growth, address its environmental needs, and maintain a high quality of life.”

On top of the large numbers we see in legal immigration, there is the matter of illegal immigration, which has become a very controversial issue in recent years. There are estimates ranging from 11 million to 40 million illegals already residing in the United States. By definition, “illegal” means the breaking of a law. So the question becomes: why have we allowed this to happen and what steps are being taken to enforce the laws going forward? Congress has failed to address weaknesses in our immigration system for years and the only thing they seem to do on illegal immigration, for the most part, is to bring up some form of amnesty program, which is then opposed by the vast majority of Americans.

Even more disturbing has been the negligence of the federal government to enforce existing law. Instead, they attempt to enforce the “decrees” that they wish were in place and not the laws that really are. This virtually guarantees that most of the illegal aliens residing in the U.S. will not be deported unless there is a change in administrations and a return to rule by law. Of course, we cannot blame the federal government alone, as there are, according to The Washington Times in October of 2015, over 340 sanctuary cities in the U.S. that ignore federal law when it comes to prosecuting illegal immigrants.

So what is the economic and social impact of these ignored laws and inactions? In 2010 FAIR examined the cost of illegal immigration on U.S. taxpayers, and in particular, to the individual states. FAIR concluded “illegal immigration costs taxpayers approximately $113 billion each year. A substantial majority of that annual price tag—an astounding $84 billion—is paid for by state and local governments, while the federal burden is less than $29 billion. Fair’s study examined the fiscal impact of illegal immigration in several key areas, including the cost of education, health care, justice and law enforcement, public assistance, and general government services. Of all the categories, education for the children of illegal aliens constitutes the single largest cost to taxpayers, at an annual price tag of nearly $52 billion. Nearly all of those costs are absorbed by state and local governments.” Studies by The Heritage Foundation and others confirm the astounding cost of allowing illegal aliens to remain at the expense of American taxpayers.

As citizens of a free nation, if we are to secure our rights, we must enforce our laws. If we are not a nation of laws, we are no nation at all. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated in the Declaration, “…for this reason, Governments are instituted among Men…”

The Language of Liberty series is a collaborative effort of the Center for Self Governance (CSG) Administrative Team. The authors include administrative staff, selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and do not reflect the views of CSG. They may be contacted at to learn more, go to

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