Elephant in the living room

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 5, 2004

Commentary by Mike Reagan

It was the elephant in the living room and during the election nobody wanted to admit it was there, even though it represents one of the most serious threats to the future of America as we know it.

During the campaigns both parties shied away from even mentioning illegal immigration, despite the fact that it was uppermost in the minds of millions of Americans now paying the price for our government’s failure to get a grip on the scandal.

Email newsletter signup

With an estimated 8 million illegal aliens now already here, thousands more are flocking across our southern borders and nobody in authority seems to have the vaguest notion of what to do about this onrushing flood inundating America’s border states.

This is an out-of-control problem which is bankrupting our infrastructure and our hospitals. In California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, states are being bankrupted and we have to get tough on illegal immigration which is undermining the infrastructure that was erected to take care of the citizens of the United States.

Thanks to the flood of illegal aliens and the burden they are placing on this nation, American citizens are being increasingly denied the health care and the schooling they need because we are spending too much money on the illegals who, in a fit of political correctness, we are now expected to refer to with the less harsh description of “undocumented aliens.”

According to a study issued in August, the Center for Immigration Studies – one of the first to estimate the impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget, based on Census Bureau data – households headed by illegal aliens used $10 billion more in government services than they paid in taxes in 2002. These figures are only for the federal government; costs at the state and local level are also likely to be significant.

The study also finds that if illegals were given amnesty, the fiscal burden at the federal level would grow to nearly $29 billion.

Among the findings:

Illegal alien households are estimated to use $2,700 a year more in services than they pay in taxes, creating a total fiscal burden of nearly $10.4 billion on the federal budget in 2002.

Among the largest federal costs: Medicaid ($2.5 billion); medical treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

If illegal aliens were “legalized” and began to pay taxes and use services like legal immigrants with the same education levels, the estimated annual fiscal deficit at the federal level would increase from $2,700 per household to nearly $7,700, for a total federal deficit of $29 billion.

With nearly two-thirds of illegals lacking a high school diploma, the primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments – not their legal status or their unwillingness to work.

Because many of the costs are due to their U.S.-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth, barring illegals themselves from federal programs will not significantly reduce costs.

The election is over and it’s now time to tackle the problem and get it under control before it controls us. We have emergency rooms closing every day in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas where they are being forced to take care of people who have absolutely no right to be here, instead of taking care of American citizens.

Our school systems and our hospitals are being bankrupted because of the increasing presence of illegal aliens swarming across our border. Over the next four years the president is going to have to get this disaster under control or those Republicans who voted for him in droves while holding their nose on the illegal immigration issue will not hold their noses two and four years from now.

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network. Look for Mike’s new book “Twice Adopted”. Comments to mereagan@hotmail.com

for Mike.