Idaho lawmaker to form immigrant cost-watching group Robert Vasquez is a county commissioner from Caldwell, Idaho. He is proposing a private group which will try to keep track of all the costs associated with illegal immigration. Protect Arizona Now has been watch dogging this issue in Arizona for several years. They proposed and backed the recently overwhelmingly passed proposal to require proof of citizenship to receive certain public benefits. Also, a provision of the bill actually requires government workers to report undocumented workers. Up until now, most of the government services sector has ignored - and even discouraged - reporting illegals.Gridlocked in Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam
I think this is a great idea by the commissioner. My impression is that most people do not appreciate the real dollar burden that illegals impart on states like Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. The two most commonly discussed, and possibly the largest areas, are the cost of law enforcement/incarceration and the cost of health care. In 2000, the immigration and naturalization service estimated there to be 283,000 illegals in Arizona. That quarter of a million people has certainly grown since 2000. That same year, the state population was approximately 5 million. So how could the cost of just 5% of the population so greatly affect our economy? We are only paying for emergency medical care and for the INS to throw these guys out of the country right? WRONG.
Here is a list I compiled off the top of my head. These are things we all pay for - usually through taxes, which the illegal population does not contribute to at all but does utilize.
1. Roads. Having another quarter million on Arizona's roads surely has a significant wear effect. The roads don't fix themselves. In addition, road widening and improvement is determined by use, which does not discriminate based on your residency status. The number of traffic police and highway patrol officers are also determined by the number of automobiles - so the need increases due to our illegal friends without them contributing to the tax base.
2. Public Transportation. Ever been on a bus in Phoenix or Tucson? The majority of people on these buses are speaking Spanish. I think we can infer -at least - that many illegals utilize the affordable public transportation. Don't think for a second that the 25 cents they pay for the ride covers the cost of upkeep. Phoenix wants to build a light rail system. Currently I live in Houston where the light rail system was put in for the Super Bowl last year. I live close to a stop and have occasionally taken the train. Guess what? Just like the AZ busses, getting on the Houston light rail is like stepping into a Mexican town. Not only that but I frequently get looks like "what are you doing here?" Our last, and last, trip on the train we were treated to some Hispanic teenager girls shouting "white bitch" at my fiancée. But I digress. Public transportation is 100% public funded and a group who utilizes this public service heavily does not contribute at all to its cost.
3. Public School. No child is denied access to our education system. In fact, at most schools they go out of their way to not ask anything about citizenship. Why? Each school is funded based on the number of students who attend each day. Refusing access or reporting illegal alien students would be biting the hand that feeds each school. In addition, most schools now have to offer some sort of ESL classes or their Mexican born and born to (illegal) Mexican parents students will fail miserably. This is not tolerated in AZ or TX because the teachers get a monetary bonus when their students do well on standardized tests. In fact, this incentive is so great that teachers in Houston were helping kids pass the state standardized test and were fired. Again, the schools are funded by various taxes, to which the illegals do not contribute.
4. Public Land. Both Arizona and Texas have vast areas of Federal, State and City public lands. For the most part, these are open to anyone for use. State and city parks are especially popular for weekend activities. Use of these parks requires thousands of employees to manage the environment of the park, keep the park clean and dispose of the refuse produced by the users of the land. Again, expenses paid by the taxpayer - not the illegal.
I could go on but I think the great number of public services which we take for granted and do not question how they are funded are killing the state budgets. I hope that watchdog groups will help illuminate the unfunded public service usage by the illegal immigrants. This will help put a point on the financial crisis that boarder states are facing. One which could be helped greatly by serious immigration reform.