Illegal immigration costs Americans more than $300 billion a year, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday.
The tweet comes as a growing number of Democrat legislators and 2020 candidates step up demands for taxpayers to provide more healthcare to illegal migrants.
Illegal Immigration costs the USA over 300 Billion Dollars a year. There is no reason for this, and things are being set in motion to have this number come WAY DOWN. Democrats could end Loopholes and it would be a whole lot easier, and faster. But it will all happen anyway!….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2019
The slam comes after Trump knocked the Democrats’ 2020 candidates in June for promising to provide illegals with Americans’ healthcare.
All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2019
Breitbart News reported in June that most of the prominent 2020 Democrat presidential candidates said that illegal immigrants should have access to free healthcare either under Medicare for All, a public option, or other government health programs. Eleven of the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates backed free healthcare for illegal immigrants either under Medicare for All or a public option, while eight Democrats — including frontrunner Joe Biden — ducked the question.
Joe Biden is also slamming Trump for his deputies’ August policy of withdrawing special healthcare visas from critically sick illegal migrants:
They literally giving notice to these families that they’ve got to unplug their kids and get them out of hospitals and take them out of America. [When] has that ever happened in the United States? We’re 300,000,000-plus people and the idea that we can’t tolerate saving the lives — or trying to help save the lives — of hundreds of children in deep need is just wrong. It is wrong. It has to stop. Like so many others have said, cruelty is the point here. It is their only point, It all the have to run on — fear, anger, division, cruelty. So this can’t just be a [presidential] campaign about Donald Trump, it has to become a movement.
Joe Biden says Trump’s deputies are forcing parents to “unplug their kids” from hospital beds. Actually, USCIS is drawing painful lines on ‘medical tourism’ by distraught & decent foreign parents, whose numbers will rise to exceed any plausible generosity. https://t.co/X5c9F3n2v6
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) August 29, 2019
Biden’s criticism forced a quick but partial retreat by Trump’s deputies.
In turn, House Democrats held a hearing on September 11 to criticize the Trump administration’s program to revamp the award of roughly 500 healthcare visas per year. “This really is a moral crisis,” said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. “A lot of us felt great pride that America could play this role for sick kids from around the world,” the Democrat said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted the political push:
Maria Isabel Bueso’s story inspired countless Americans to speak out for immigrants like herself who benefit from medically deferred action, a humanitarian initiative that is literally life-saving. It was my pleasure to welcome her to the U.S. Capitol today. pic.twitter.com/gPdNe0Pjgw
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 10, 2019
The Democrats’ Senate leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, also urged the award of healthcare visas to illegals:
Sen. Chuck Schumer urges DHS to not deport the growing # of illegals who rely on life-saving US healthcare. OK, but he could lead by drafting a 2020 law to efficiently allocate US healthcare $$ among Americans & the limitless supply of foreign patients. https://t.co/MLxW826GEx
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) September 4, 2019
Public attitudes on this issue are split.
Most Americans, including swing voters, want to welcome legal migrants and do not wish to be hostile to migrants, even to illegal migrants.
But opinions change once people are asked to balance their differing obligations to illegals and to Americans. For example, data buried in the August 2019 Harvard-Harris Poll shows little public support for aid to illegals: Only 30 percent of Democrats and 20 percent of swing-voting independents agreed that “immigrants who are here illegally [should] be able to collect welfare, disability and healthcare payments from the state and federal governments.”
The deferred action policy has allowed foreigners to fly into the United States to get free medical care, for many years, at a potentially huge cost to Americans. The New York Times provided two examples of foreigners who came to America for healthcare nine and four years ago:
Serena Badia, 14, who first came to the United States from Barcelona in 2010 to receive care for a rare heart defect, said that her family never intended to live here. She underwent several surgeries over several trips, and ultimately her doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital advised her parents that she must stay in the United States because of her frail health.
“Our plans to go back to Spain fell apart,” she said. “I needed to stay here to stay alive.”
Jonathan Sanchez, a 16-year-old Honduran, said that his older sister, the first born, had died of cystic fibrosis when she was 6 months old. When he was 12, his parents came to America legally to seek better care for him, which he receives to this day, because, he said, his cystic fibrosis meant that “I could not do anything that an average person could do.”
Trump’s estimate of the costs of illegal immigration are higher than other estimates — but may include both government spending and the huge indirect cost of cheap labor migration that is imposed on American workers.
The marketplace costs may exceed government spending costs. For example, the National Academies of Sciences reported in 2016 that legal and illegal immigrants flood the labor market and drive down wages by roughly $500 billion per year. The “immigration tax” is described in the NAS report, which also says that nearly all of the lost wages are transferred up to American and foreign employers and Wall Street investors.
Illegal immigration — as well as legal immigration — also is a huge cost to federal, state, and local governments.
In 2017, the Federation for American Immigration Reform reported that 12.5 million illegal immigrants boosted federal spending by roughly $116 billion in 2017. That estimate included $17.1 billion in federal healthcare spending for illegals.
Legal immigrants, as well as temporary visitors, also can get federal healthcare funding. For example, new legal immigrants get special subsidies for joining Obamacare, according to a health insurance website:
Low-income, lawfully present immigrants – who would be eligible for Medicaid based on income, but are barred from Medicaid because of their immigration status – are eligible to enroll in plans through the exchange with full subsidies during the five years when Medicaid is not available. Their premiums for the second-lowest-cost Silver plan are capped at 2.08 percent of income in 2019 (this number changes slightly each year).
In 2016, a Forbes article estimated that almost four million illegals lack healthcare insurance and that they impose an $18.5 billion healthcare cost on Americans.
Those budget calculations, however, do not include the cost of illegal migrants’ U.S-born children.
The federal healthcare spending is augmented by state spending on healthcare for legals and special programs to help illegals.
The resident population of legal and illegal migrants costs state and local governments roughly $57 billion per year, the National Academies of Sciences reported in 2016.
“Six states and the District of Columbia have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover children through 18 years old (California recently approved coverage through age 25), regardless of immigration status,” the New York Times reported on July 3. The report declined to estimate the cost Americans are paying for these migrants, but continued:
About 16 states cover income-eligible pregnant women, also regardless of residency status. Many illegal immigrants receive primary care and prescription drugs for a sliding-scale fee at 1,400 federally funded health care centers spread across 11,000 communities. Those centers are required to treat anyone, regardless of ability to pay, and administrators do not ask patients about their citizenship status.
But Linda J. Blumberg, a health policy fellow at the Urban Institute, argued that a single- payer system, such as the one proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, could indeed create “strong incentives for people with serious health problems to enter the country or remain longer than their visas allow in order to get government-funded care.”
In 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that 20 counties and cities also provide healthcare to illegals:
Unauthorized immigrants account for at least one-quarter of the approximately 30 million uninsured people in the U.S., the Congressional Budget Office estimates.
For communities that provide care to illegal immigrants, the financial commitment is significant. Interviews with officials in the 25 counties indicated that local initiatives provide nonemergency care for at least 750,000 unauthorized immigrants across those counties, costing them more than $1 billion a year—almost all from local funds.
In New York City, the public-hospital system estimates it provided nonemergency care last year to 208,000 unauthorized immigrants across Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, the boroughs with the largest populations of such immigrants. The cost was about $400 million, picked up by the system—essentially, local taxpayers and everyone who has insurance and uses the hospital system.
The U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants and temporary visitors are treated as citizens and can get healthcare via multiple programs, such as Medicaid and CHIP.
Many Democrats wish to treat illegals as if they are Americans, regardless of the impact on Americans. For example, Marc Elrich, the county executive of Montgomery County, Maryland, said September 13 that his sanctuary-county government wants to treat illegals as if they are Americans:
— MCM-Doug (@Media_Doug) September 13, 2019
Many Democrats — and Republicans — also support immigration because the inflow of extra workers, consumers, and government dollars provide an economic stimulus to local business groups and to their political donors.
Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university. This total includes about 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees in business or health care, engineering or science, software, or statistics.
But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of about 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately one million H-1B workers and spouses — and about 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.
The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, it tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and it does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.
This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it transfers wages to investors and ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.
This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, reduces marriage rates, and hurts children’s schools and college educations.
The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the Heartland to the coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, undermines suburbia, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.