Why Conservatives Worry
It is hard to find much bad about illegal immigration once you sift out the partisan hyperbole. What were my methods? I relied upon known, reputable news sources. If I did not recognize the name, I did not use the news source. Is that method perfect? Probably not, but it is the best I can do. Therefore I am more inclined to quote the New York Times rather than Breitbart. The New York Times did a good job trashing Clinton about Monica Lewinsky. They at least try to be balanced in their reporting. Breitbart? Not so much.
What I found is that you can do worse than live next door to an illegal alien. Illegals make up less that 4.6% of state prison populations. That makes sense. Why spend thousands of dollars sneaking across the border so you can be arrested and sent back? There are very few bad hombres in that group.
Illegal aliens make up 20% of the population in federal prisons, but that is a questionable number since smugglers make up a significant portion of that group.
If they are no more dangerous than the rest of us, then perhaps their economic costs to the states and the nation are high. It is true that illegal immigration have affected your wages if you are an adult without a high school degree. Depending on where you live, your wages have been depressed by 0.7% to 7.4% according to the New York Times. Let’s face it though, if you are a high school dropout, you have other problems too.
Everyone else appears to benefit from the labor of undocumented aliens. Skilled workers probably have their pay boosted by 10%.
Illegal immigration is a boon to local economies since they keep money in circulation boosting local business and they also contribute over $15 billion to Social Security while taking out less than a billion in return. Illegals are mostly ineligible for Social Security though they are still required to pay into the fund.
Is there a downside for state and local governments? Of course there is. Illegals tend to live together which means that some state and local governments spend more on illegals than they get back in taxes from them.
On the whole, illegal immigration is a plus to the United States so why don’t we just close the borders and allow the 10 million currently in the country to become citizens?
The problem for conservatives is that illegal aliens tend to vote Democratic when they become citizens. Already they are affecting the vote in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Florida where they have become naturalized citizens. Trump won by the narrowest of margins. Ten million additional Democratic votes probably would have made him lose.
If that is the case, why doesn’t the Republican controlled government just round them all up and deport them? A second problem rears its head. Congressional seats are awarded on the basis of population whether legal or illegal. In 2000, five states in the South and the Southwest gained seats in Congress. California gained 9. Deporting those aliens would send seats back to the Democratic controlled north.
This explains the Conservative strategy of a) using illegal immigration as a wedge issue to incite conservative voters, while b) blocking all attempts to allow a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens, and c) establishing no programs to remove them from the country.
It also explains the Liberal strategy of providing a path to citizenship.
I suspect the deadlock between the parties will not last. Eventually the Democrats will gain majorities in Congress while holding the presidency. In the past, filibuster and super majority rules have served the Republicans well in those situations. Republican have scrapped both those traditions recently. How it affects conservatives in the future remains to be seen.