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How Illegal Immigration Impacts Texas Vincent M Messana Geography 1303 Lone Star College – Tomball Abstract This paper explores the impact of illegal immigration in the great state of Texas, the main topics will focus on the effects on the economy, why illegal immigrants come here/ why not come legally, are the illegal immigrants bringing crime, how are illegal immigrants affecting Texas culture how are there so many illegal immigrants still living in Texas and what is being done to prevent more illegal. Also, while writing this, I’m choosing to limit my opinion and only report data from scholars, surveys, and government entities online. I won’t be using news articles because of political biases and I want this paper to present only the data and let you the reader decide if illegal immigration has a positive impact or a negative impact on Texas. I believe the economy/ jobs is impacted the because that’s why immigrants to United States and in Texas also has the crime increased due to illegal immigrants or has there not been change?
In Texas the immigrant population has been growing for the last two decades, in 1990 the immigrant population was 1.5 million and has doubled when the next decade came around and today there is around 4.7 million immigrants. There are 1.68 million illegal immigrants living in Texas today and disrupt our economy, jobs, and even immigrants who want to come to come legally. The illegal population is not large in comparison of the population of the legal citizens (28.3 million) but the economic and social impact of the illegal immigrant population in Texas must be measured along a number of different dimensions, including the amount of tax revenue they bring in, the amount they consume in state-provided benefits such as medical care and education, the crime rate among immigrants, the cost of incarceration relative to natives, and their contributions. The tax revenue from illegal immigrants is affected by the absence of a state income tax, which reduces the discrepancy between immigrants and natives in terms of tax revenue, this makes it easier for illegals to avoid income tax. But any purchase of products will still be taxed as normal, along with taxes on owning property or renting will be unavoidable. Since Texas doesn’t have an income tax, and usually the losses in tax revenue is expected to occur by employers paying illegal immigrant workers under the table, but it doesn’t happen.
How it works
In 2010 illegal immigrants put out $178 million in property taxes and $1.4 billion in sales taxes. Dividing this number by the number of illegal immigrants in Texas results in $900 a year per capita while the citizens result in 1495$ a year per capita. Even thought the illegal immigrants also pay taxes it’s not fair to the citizen to pay more. In the state of Texas illegal immigrants are more prone to be in poverty than citizens, 30 percent of illegal immigrants are below the poverty line and 65 percent are in or close to poverty. And with poverty there comes reliance on public assistance program. Approximately 58 percent of illegal immigrants in Texas take advantage of welfare programs, with 41 percent receiving Medicaid, 49 percent receiving food assistance. Texas Emergency Medicaid has paid out 62 million dollars a year to illegal immigrants, Texas CHIP Perinatal Coverage pays out 33 million dollars and many more programs that come to a total to 803.3 million dollars a year. In 2007 illegal immigrants nationwide put in 11.2 billion dollars to social security and 2.6 billion dollars to Medicaid, from taxes deducted from their paychecks, but the illegal immigrants won’t ever see that money come to them because its all going to legal residents. Just another reason to come to the United States and Texas legally.
Only 5 percent of the students in the Texas public schools are illegal immigrants, but if we include the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, that number increases to 14 percent. There is an estimated 125,000-150,000 illegal immigrants enrolled in public schools in Texas which cost the state of Texas 1 billion dollars a year, and the U.S. born children of illegal immigrants cost an additional 2 billion dollars. College education is less occupied by illegals and its only 1 percent of all the students in Texas college system. There are 12,138 students and they use from in-state tuition laws to receive their education. Although illegal immigrants only make a small number of enrolled students the educational fulfillment of immigrants is higher than we might expect, about half of immigrants have a high school education and 21 percent have a college degree, to compare only 30 percent of U.S. born citizens in Texas have a college degree. A study from the Lone Star Foundation reports that education is actually the largest cost to the state of unauthorized immigration, since health care and law enforcement expenditures only apply to a fraction of immigrants while education is available for all. The estimated over all cost is 3.75 billion dollars a year for primary and secondary school, education is 84 percent of the overall cost of illegal immigration because it is available to everyone.
The United states-Mexican border is 1,954 miles long and Texas alone shares about half border, and a lot of illegal immigration flowing towards Texas because there’s a lot of jobs to fill. In 2011 the U.S. border patrol apprehended 125,821 illegal immigrants in Texas, and the department of homeland security detained another 3,339. Illegal immigrants make up about 3.8 percent of the Texas prison population which made the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) a federal branch that awards states that incarcerates illegal immigrants and they awarded Texas with $29.3 million dollars in 2011. Since the border in Texas is incredibly long, there must be men, equipment, technology and infrastructure to secure our border. The two main focuses of immigration enforcement are interior enforcement, and border security. Border spending includes staffing and resources needed for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security working at and between United States ports of entry. Interior enforcement is primarily focused on staffing and resources for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also part of Department of homeland security, to apprehend noncitizens in the interior of the country. The overall budget for all agencies and operating cost in 2011 was 56.3 billion dollars. The budget for immigration enforcement has been massively increasing since the early 1990’s. (see below)
Now let’s take a step back from the negative impacts and observe the positives the immigrants bring. Immigrants boost our economy by increasing the labor force and therefore the productive capacity of the state as a whole. 40 percent of Texas’s workforce growth came from foreign migrants and domestic migrants within the U.S. between 1990 and 2010. Ever since the recession in 2007, the work force participation in Texas has been declining with Americans, in fact this the lowest in 40 years. When Texans don’t work there isn’t any production, but when immigrants come to Texas, they’re filling a void that Texans left empty. As well as to shore up the number of young and middle-aged workers in a population where the average age is sharply rising due to low birth rates and a large generation of Baby Boomers now entering retirement. As immigrants typically command lower wages than residents, their presence in the workforce results in lower prices that benefit consumers. It is difficult to measure these gains with precision, but it has been estimated that the cost savings to consumers resulting from immigrant labor is somewhere between 3 billion and 6 billion dollars a year.
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