Third Party & Independents Archives

May 13, 2006

Illegal Immigration: Passion Vs. Reason

This is a hot topic evoking animated emotions on both sides of the illegal immigration debate. But if passions rule the day, the fix will in fact, fix nothing. The solutions will be short-sighted, largely ineffective, and horrendously costly. Reason must rule this debate. Three achievable goals must define an effective solution. The solution must be effective, enduring, and cost effective.

Signs of protesters to the Minuteman's demonstration yesterday read: Sovereignty is Racism. One opposing sign read, Death to Invaders. These are the passions that are governing the citizen's debate. But these passions should be excluded from our lawmakers debate. Lawmakers duty on illegal immigration is clear. Provide a solution that will halt virtually all illegal immigration. Provide a solution that will be sustainable and permanent. Provide a solution which is cost effective to the tax payers.

Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, was on C-Span's Washington Journal this morning outlining his thoughts on what should be done. He said he wanted to see a 500% increase in federal funding for the Border Patrol Enforcement putting many thousands of agents on guard at our borders. And he called for a 500% increase in ICE, Immigration & Customs Enforcement to process and remove illegal immigrants and persons who have overextended their visas.

While Mr. Gilchrist's intentions are laudable, his solution is of the worst kind. First, current border patrol staffing is a just under 11,000 personnel. Let's assume that 9,500 of those are actually involved in patrolling the border (the remainder being clerical and support staff). Now to effectively patrol the borders both North and South, some 5,500 miles of border 24 hours a day, one must divide the 9500 border patrolling officers by 3 to obtain how many officers are patrolling on any given 8 hour shift. 9500 divided by 3 equal 3,166 agents patrolling 5,500 miles. Which breaks out to one agent per 1 and 3/4 miles of border.

Since one agent is unable to apprehend and process a group of illegals numbering anywhere from a dozen to 100 or more, the 3,166 agents is woefully inadquate for the job of effective deterrence. Let's say Mr. Gilchrist gets his wish and we increase that 3,166 agents per shift 500%. That is 15,830 agents. That would put 5 agents per 1 and 3/4 miles of border. When groups of 100 cross over, these numbers are still inadequate to apprehend and process all in the illegal group who will scatter and some number will actually disappear into the United States. Even if that were acceptable in terms of deterring say 80% of the illegals from successfully crossing the border, this measure is horrendously cost inefficient.

The OMB (Office of Manangement and Budget) reports: "Funding for the Border Patrol in 2006 includes $37 million for 210 additional Border Patrol agents..." That's right, adding 210 agents costs $37 million dollars per year, or, $176,190.47 per border patrol agent. Now if Gilchrist's proposal is followed, a 500% increase in border patrol agents would mean adding 38,000 additional border agents. Additional annual cost, $6,695,220,000. More than 6.5 Billion dollars annually. Combined with the current budget of 6.7 billion, this would bring the Customs and Border Patrol annual cost to 13.4 Billion Dollars annually.

The Fence. Rep. Duncan Hunter's (R) spokesman, Joe Kasper said that there is no official government estimate on the cost of the fence, but that it would probably be about $1 million per mile or roughly $2 billion total. Others estimate the price much higher at around $8 billion. The higher estimate is for a more durable and sophisticated border barrier which could achieve between 95 and 99% effective deterrence. These estimates are for the Southern Border only.

Comparison. Increase border patrol 500% at an annual cost of 13.4 Billion per year with only an 80% effective deterrence or a physical barrier with a one time cost of between 8 and 16 Billion depending on Southern only, or Southern and Northern border perimiters with between 95 and 99% effective deterrence. Hands down, the border barrier is by far the more cost effective. The fence would pay for itself in less than 4 years in reduced manpower costs. The fence requires only modest annual maintenance costs of perhaps 10 Million per year. Whereas the manpower solution continues to cost nearly 7 Billion dollars more each and every year. The fence solution achieves a higher rate of deterrence and illegal immigration prevention. Finally, the border fence would be safer for our Border Patrol who would encounter armed smugglers at a much lower rate.

One final note. Manning our borders has one other huge weakness. At anytime that personnel reductions take place, as during budget cuts in a recession, a commensurate increase in illegal immigration will result. The physical barrier is the solution that keeps on giving even in times of budget cuts, for once erected, only modest maintenance costs are required to keep it at top efficiency.

Some argue that the Fence idea is not aesthetic and harkens to the Berlin Wall or Great Wall of China which would define America as a harsh and cruel nation. I ask you, does it matter whether a far more cost effective fence erected on our border is less aesthetic than armed forces lining the border as the Chinese have done along the China Russian border in times past? Such emotional appeals are designed to misdirect opinion away from the goal, an effective, enduring, and cost effective end to illegal immigration. Those who don't really want to see an end to illegal immigration will use such impassioned pleas about aesthetics or Cold War barriers. Our Congress has an obligation to legislate with reason and seek a solution which is effective, enduring, and cost effective for the tax payers.

Posted by David R. Remer at May 13, 2006 09:50 AM
Comments
Comment #147867

Interestingly, late last night I watched a TV commercial spot showing the swearing in of a group of “new” naturalized citizens.

One of the “graduates” was being interviewed about the process. The responses were like a discussion of the process including the hard work and pride that it takes to get to this point.

Of course it was never stated directly as the intent was to show that people (not identified by quantity) still favor citizenship achieved by legal process and, to grant it in any other way for any other reason was unacceptable.

Posted by: steve smith at May 13, 2006 10:52 AM
Comment #147874

Maybe we could ask the ICE personnel to not notify the Mexican government as to the wherabouts of the minutemen. Or maybe we should disband ICE and allow the minutemen to take over the patrolling , as they seem to be more motivated.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #147878

“That’s right, adding 210 agents costs $37 million dollars per year, or, $176,190.47 per border patrol agent.”

Is that their actual pay + benefits or are there other costs included here?

How do we fix the problem of people running to the U.S. to find a better life than the one they are leaving?
We wouldn’t need more agents if this wasn’t the case.

Posted by: dawn at May 13, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #147887

Well Dawn that pretty simple, we just keep leting them come in to this Country illegally. That way they dont have to struggle to earn their citizenship they just receive it for doing an illegal act. See then they dont learn about democracy,as they stll have that weird combination of feudalism and corpratism that is Mexico.Then they can teach us how to adapt to this form of government that will take over for democracy in this Country.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #147888

Nice to see you agree with me j2t2.

Posted by: dawn at May 13, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #147893

Dawn, that amount was not broken down, but, I would assume it includes additional clerical, equipment and maintenance costs along with personnel costs. They need a bronco vehicle, communications equipment, firearms and ammo, insurance and pension plan. These are, no doubt, what accounts for the large amount per person.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 13, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #147894

On a previous thread someone had the idea of annexing Mexico. You know oil, etc. But with our own Government having such a serious lack of leadership I think it would be foolish at this point, However if Fox could say he is hiding terrorist maybe we could treat them like Iraq and force them into Democracy. Nah that still sounds foolish. Beside’s are our corporate lords not still building factories and sending jobs to Mexico? What else could we do or should we do? Oh and Dawn if your thinking like me you might want to have someone keep an eye on you.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 12:28 PM
Comment #147896

David, In addition they will need more building space, mechanics to maintain vehicles, ranges to maintain weapons profiency.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #147898

David The fence would after costs of construction be cheaper to maintain. Probably some combination of personel and fence would go along way to solve the problem.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #147906

j2t2, that is precisely what Rep. Duncan is calling for. I can’t stand Duncan’s political values on most other issues. But, on this one, he has my full and complete support.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 13, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #147909

How many people who oppose the fence have one around their own yard? Do we know? We have stats on everything else.
Ever seen all the fences, walls and bars on windows in S. Texas? Everything is secured except the border.

Yes j2t2. I have people watching me — ha ha …

Posted by: dawn at May 13, 2006 01:00 PM
Comment #147912

One way to stop illegal immigration is to adapt the liberal approach. Lower our standard of living so low that it would make no sense for anyone to come here. ha.
Really, I favor the fence but also put machine gun towers every 100’. They won’t have to be manned as they could use cameras and remote control. The illegals wouldn’t know if the camera was on them or not.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 13, 2006 01:08 PM
Comment #147916

Ron do you really blame the liberals for the race to the bottom approach? I thought that was a Corpratism approach.
We could also put motion detectors at or near the fence that would activate the machine guns to the location of the motion, which in turn would cause a person to think twice before continuing over the fence. You dont have to fire the gun but you could position it to the location it would be needed. Sounds sorta totalitarian though and once we open that door would we be able to close it?

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 01:24 PM
Comment #147917

David, strange bedfellows on this issue huh? Hunter, Tancredo, Lou Dobbs, et al.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 01:26 PM
Comment #147933

where did all of those billions go? to arafat’s widow and goons and suicide money? and bombs and , and, and, and,? ok people let’s start pouring in billions all over again! with Hamas in power i am sure the money will go to a better cause.

Posted by: Mb at May 13, 2006 02:04 PM
Comment #147937

Yes, the fence/road barrier is a better idea, for one important reason. The barrier provides a delay. Without it, border patrol will be chasing scattered groups over large areas (as now).

The cost for 150,000 border patrol (with three shifts of 50,000 for all land borders; both north and south), with an annual cost of $68K per border patrol person, allows for one border patrol person (on all land borders; north and south) every 633 feet, and all for a cost of about $10 billion per year. That is a very generous estimate.

But, the fence/road barrier is pointless if the government still refuses to enforce the laws to prohibit greedy employers from employing illegal aliens. About half of illegal aliens do not pay federal taxes.

U.S. citizens are justifiable angry with irresponsible, bought-and-paid incumbent politicians that have ignored this problem for decades. Hopefully, if polls are any measure, votes will demonstrate their concern in November and subsequent elections.

Especially if American citizens thoroughly understand all of the problems stemming from massive, uncontrolled, illegal immigration …

The U.S. has 300 million citizens.
There are about 12 million illegal aliens.
But, only about 55% of illegal aliens pay federal income taxes.
That leaves 6.6 million illegal aliens that pay federal income taxes.
But, only 67% of illegal aliens are employed (the rest are children or elderly).
That leaves 4.422 million employed illegal aliens that pay income taxes.
Now, let’s assume illegal aliens average $12 per hour for 5.5 days per week (287 days per year). That comes to $27,552 per year.
After a standard deduction of $5,000 , that leaves $22,552 per year.
The highest tax rate (filing single) is 13.3647% .
Therefore, that is $3014 in federal income taxes withheld per year (using 2005 tax tables).
And, Social Security and Medicare taxes add up tp 15.3% of gross income.
That includes the 7.65% paid by the employer, and 7.65% paid by the employee.
Therefore, that amounts to $4215 for 15.5% for Social Security and Medicare taxes. That is $18.64 billion for Social Security and Medicare taxes.
However, other estimates say that it is actually only about $7 billion.
Nevertheless, let’s continue with the much higer $18.64 billion.
Therefore, the highest estimate of total taxes paid = $7229 = $2014 + 4215 .
That is $31.97 billion per year = ($4.422 million * $7229) for all federal taxes.
Note: none of that even included dependent deductions.

Now lets assume the value of their work is at least $2 per hour.
Thus, the value of their work is $24.08 billion per year.

Unfortunately, the tax payers do not realize the benefit of the value of that work. Greedy employers of illegal aliens reap most of the profit and benefit from the under-paid/under-class. That is why a huge jump in prices is a myth, and even if it were true, the net losses would still exceed net benefits.

Thus, the net value to the U.S. is $56.05 billion = $31.97 billion + $24.08 billion.

However, the net costs to U.S. tax payers is estimated at $70 billion (after taxes are deducted). In 1997 (nine years ago), Dr. Donald Huddle, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Rice University, found that total costs were as high as $139 billion, and net costs (after adjusting for taxes and other ) were $69 billion in 1997. So, $87 billion in 2006 is a very conservative estimate, since Huddle also did not include the cost of displaced workers, crime, and disease.

Therefore, let’s use the smaller estimate of net costs (before deducting taxes) of $101.97 billion (i.e. $70 billion + $31.97 billion for taxes), which agrees closely with many estimates. At fairus.org, the estimate of costs is $87 billion per year, but that is before deducting the value of all federal taxes, which was generously estimated above at $31.97 billion. $31.97 billion is really over estimated, but let’s assume taxes paid are actually that high.

Therefore, the total cost after deducting taxes and value of work is $45.92 billion = ($101.97 billion - $31.97 billion taxes received - $24.08 billion value of work).

That value of $45.92 billion is very close to the $45 billion estimated by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (fairus.org) which stated:

the net expense to the taxpayer from illegal immigration would currently be at least $45 billion.

And, that $45 billion does not even include the estimates for 2.3 million displaced U.S. workers, unemployment benefits and welfare for displaced workders, tax deductions for dependents, cost of crime, and disease.

Many studies place the estimated net losses to the U.S. at double that (ranging from $70 billion to $139 billion). Even if it is only $45 billion, that is not an insignificant amount. That amounts to about $1 billion per state per year.
But, we know some states are impacted drastically more. Conservative estimates of total losses for California alone, are estimated at $10.5 billion.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 13, 2006 02:19 PM
Comment #147939

Yes, the fence/road barrier is a better idea, for one important reason. The barrier provides a delay. Without it, border patrol will be chasing scattered groups over large areas (as now).

The cost for 150,000 border patrol (with three shifts of 50,000 for all land borders; both north and south), with an annual cost of $68K per border patrol person, allows for one border patrol person (on all land borders; north and south) every 633 feet, and all for a cost of about $10 billion per year. That is a very generous estimate.

But, the fence/road barrier is pointless if the government still refuses to enforce the laws to prohibit greedy employers from employing illegal aliens. About half of illegal aliens do not pay federal taxes.

U.S. citizens are justifiable angry with irresponsible, bought-and-paid incumbent politicians that have ignored this problem for decades. Hopefully, if polls are any measure, votes will demonstrate their concern in November and subsequent elections.

Especially if American citizens thoroughly understand all of the problems stemming from massive, uncontrolled, illegal immigration …

The U.S. has 300 million citizens.
There are about 12 million illegal aliens.
But, only about 55% of illegal aliens pay federal income taxes.
That leaves 6.6 million illegal aliens that pay federal income taxes.
But, only 67% of illegal aliens are employed (the rest are children or elderly).
That leaves 4.422 million employed illegal aliens that pay income taxes.
Now, let’s assume illegal aliens average $12 per hour for 5.5 days per week (287 days per year). That comes to $27,552 per year.
After a standard deduction of $5,000 , that leaves $22,552 per year.
The highest tax rate (filing single) is 13.3647% .
Therefore, that is $3014 in federal income taxes withheld per year (using 2005 tax tables).
And, Social Security and Medicare taxes add up tp 15.3% of gross income.
That includes the 7.65% paid by the employer, and 7.65% paid by the employee.
Therefore, that amounts to $4215 for 15.5% for Social Security and Medicare taxes. That is $18.64 billion for Social Security and Medicare taxes.
However, other estimates say that it is actually only about $7 billion.
Nevertheless, let’s continue with the much higer $18.64 billion.
Therefore, the highest estimate of total taxes paid = $7229 = $2014 + 4215 .
That is $31.97 billion per year = ($4.422 million * $7229) for all federal taxes.
Note: none of that even included dependent deductions.

Now lets assume the value of their work is at least $2 per hour.
Thus, the value of their work is $24.08 billion per year.

Unfortunately, the tax payers do not realize the benefit of the value of that work. Greedy employers of illegal aliens reap most of the profit and benefit from the under-paid/under-class. That is why a huge jump in prices is a myth, and even if it were true, the net losses would still exceed net benefits.

Thus, the net value to the U.S. is $56.05 billion = $31.97 billion + $24.08 billion.

However, the net costs to U.S. tax payers is estimated at $70 billion (Source: washingtontimes.com ; after taxes are deducted). In 1997 (nine years ago), Dr. Donald Huddle, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Rice University, found that total costs were as high as $139 billion, and net costs (after adjusting for taxes and other ) were $69 billion in 1997. So, $87 billion in 2006 is a very conservative estimate, since Huddle also did not include the cost of displaced workers, crime, and disease.

Therefore, let’s use the smaller estimate of net costs (before deducting taxes) of $101.97 billion (i.e. $70 billion + $31.97 billion for taxes), which agrees closely with many estimates. At fairus.org, the estimate of costs is $87 billion per year, but that is before deducting the value of all federal taxes, which was generously estimated above at $31.97 billion. $31.97 billion is really over estimated, but let’s assume taxes paid are actually that high.

Therefore, the total cost after deducting taxes and value of work is $45.92 billion = ($101.97 billion - $31.97 billion taxes received - $24.08 billion value of work).

That value of $45.92 billion is very close to the $45 billion estimated by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (fairus.org) which stated:

the net expense to the taxpayer from illegal immigration would currently be at least $45 billion.

And, that $45 billion does not even include the estimates for 2.3 million displaced U.S. workers, unemployment benefits and welfare for displaced workders, tax deductions for dependents, cost of crime, and disease.

Many studies place the estimated net losses to the U.S. at double that (ranging from $70 billion to $139 billion). Even if it is only $45 billion, that is not an insignificant amount. That amounts to about $1 billion per state per year.
But, we know some states are impacted drastically more. Conservative estimates of total losses for California alone, are estimated at $10.5 billion.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 13, 2006 02:21 PM
Comment #147947

Just saw the Minuteman rally on CNN. Go minutemen!!

Posted by: j2t2 at May 13, 2006 02:37 PM
Comment #147971

The enormous inflow of illegal aliens is the result of the lack of enforcement of law and inadequate border patrol. The near lack enforcement of the law is probably the biggest reason. With the right actions in place far fewer illegal will come since there are high very few incentives and high risks. So the number of border patrols will not be as high after effective policies are implemented. Very very few employers of illegal aliens are being punished, and punishment are often light. By eliminating or drastically reducing the incentives for illegals (jobs, public aids, welfare, etc), we can expect a successful outcome. Also, without these incentives, many already here would want to go back Most importantly, employers of illegals need to be actively sought out and punished. With active enforcement of the law and active border patrol can we will see a high degree of success. If we continue to offer legalization to illegals and not enforcing the law, then getting additional border patrols would mostly be a waste of resources. Enforcement of the law is a must. Is our government is willing enforce our laws?

Posted by: Daniel at May 13, 2006 05:30 PM
Comment #147974

Daniel,
Yes, we can make countless laws, but they are all as worthless as our irresponsible and corrupt incumbent politicians, if the laws are ignored the same way politicians ignore the voters.
But voters are equally irresponsible for repeatedly re-electing the very same irresponsible incumbents that ignore the voters, and ignore our pressing problems.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 13, 2006 06:05 PM
Comment #147987
With the right actions in place far fewer illegal will come since there are high very few incentives and high risks.
I strongly agree with this. For once we need to treat the source of the problem, not just treat the symptoms.

Posted by: Charles Wager (now immortalized in this vindictive page of misrepresentations) at May 13, 2006 08:07 PM
Comment #147994

Charles Wager, I warned you about this crap. That link above has nothing to do with WB and I don’t want to see it anymore here. If you have a beef about the link, take it to email directed at the owner of that website. It DOES NOT BELONG HERE! This is your last warning.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at May 13, 2006 08:22 PM
Comment #148001

WatchBlog Managing Editor,

With all due respect, if someone wants to put up a page about me, why can’t I use that as my URL? I am not violating the WatchBlog policy to my knowledge, and I don’t recall any policy as to what can be linked in the URL. The link is on my name, not in the actual content of the post.

I honestly don’t have a beef with the link—I want others to see it. D.a.n. has asked me to post it repeatedly, so he doesn’t have a problem with it either. We have both already discussed this.

Please clarify then, what is the policy concerning linking URLs around my name? I don’t recall any case in the past where the URL had to be specific to the WatchBlog post. If that is true, then there are many other posters violating the policy by advertising their own Web sites.

I will leave out the extra text if that is the problem you have with it, but I expect a clarification as to why I can’t include the link at all. If you provide that clarification, so that I can see what I am doing wrong that others are not, I will then gladly stop posting the URL.

I can see how the extra text in the name line could be distracting to the message, so I will assume that is what you disagreed with.

Thank you,
Charles Wager

Posted by: Charles Wager at May 13, 2006 08:56 PM
Comment #148029

j2t2
Didn’t you catch the ‘ha’ and the end of the statement? If I really believed it I wouldn’t have put it there.

Like your idea of the motion detectors.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 14, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #148047

Charles, quite right, the caption “(now immortalized in this vindictive page of misrepresentations) ” is what I object to and won’t permit to continue, as it does not relate to this article or WB purpose.

No problem with linking you name to a web page. That is common accepted practice at WB.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at May 14, 2006 06:29 AM
Comment #148049

j2t2, yes, they do appear odd bedfellows. But, when issues become preeminent in the public eye, it is always the case in American politics that reason will ally on that issues. One of the strengths, underused strengths, of our political system is coalition politics which puts differences aside to advance the cause of reason and solution to vitally important problems.

Libertarians, Greens, Independents, Democrats and Republican voters should be uniting into an overwhelming coalition of voters to force the Republocrats to enact the will of the people on this issue, a border barrier with interdiction backup first and foremost to halt the wave of illegal immigration, followed by prosecution under existing law of businesses and individuals who hire illegals, followed by forging out a humane but just plan for the remaining illegals in this country.

If left to the Republocrats we will get an incomplete, inefficient and far too costly half-assed solution that fails to protect American citizens, fails to protect American jobs, fails to protect against terrorist intrusion, and fails to solve the issue in a lasting way.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 14, 2006 06:40 AM
Comment #148077

Ron, sorry I was to busy jumping to conclusions to read the whole thing.

David, Coalition Politics wow isnt that to European or Canadian for us. That make sense. We can only hope that will be the case on this issue.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 14, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #148093

j2t2, according to our Green Writers in the articles following this one, it seems a near impossible task to get them to understand the concept of synergy and the strength of closed fingers as a fist.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 14, 2006 01:35 PM
Comment #148156

It appears to be slipping through their fingers.

All third parties could conceivably obtain a balance of power between government and The People if they merely combined their efforts on the things that they, and the majority of American voters, already agree upon.

But, they sadly, appear as unlikely to agree upon anything with other third parties, as do Democrats and Republicans.

We have chosen fiscal and moral bankruptcy, which permeates our entire society, as we keep re-electing the very same irresponsible incumbents that use and abuse the voters.

The longer slumbering, apathetic, complacent voters continue as is, the more likely they will have to learn the hard way again. Are voters only able to learn from pain and misery, which finally motivates change (hopefully for the better)? Unfortunately, change is not always for the better. Unfortunately we are likely to experience an economic meltdown before hand.

Posted by: d.a.n at May 14, 2006 08:25 PM
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