Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


The Conservative Movement's Last Chance

By Rob Tenery, MD on September 25, 2017

Probably more than any single issue, illegal immigration has divided this country. Although there has been lip-service support for limiting illegal immigration by past administrations and there are standing laws to control the problem, it wasn't until Donald Trump threw his hat in the ring, had really controlling the problem became a priority.

In 1983, President Reagan granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982. In a speech on June 15, 2012 from the Rose garden, President Obama outlined his policy that allowed certain immigrants to escape deportation and obtain work permits for a period of two years, renewable upon good behavior. The stipulations were immigrants had to be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, must have come to the U.S. when they were younger than 16, and must have lived in the U.S. since 2007. They have been called Dreamers and Obama's program was labeled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Although most experts feel Obama's move was outside of his Constitutional authority, the Democrats have supported him and the Republicans have generally stood in opposition.

Until now! President Trump has delayed any action for 6 months in order to give Congress time to come up with a solution. Then he has vowed to act if Congress won't send him legislation that addresses this controversial subject. Recently he has sounded more sympathetic to the Dreamers' plight. The Supreme Court has upheld Trump's travel ban to maintain its restrictive policy on refugees from six mostly Muslim countries.

Trump promised to erect a wall between the US and Mexico. First, if elected, he would build it and Mexico would pay for it. Then he would still build it, but failed to mention how it would be paid for. Now he is still pledging the wall will be built, but wavering on when.

Then there is the pronouncement in January by the Attorney General Jeff Sessions that federal funds may be withheld from cities that are not in compliance with federal immigration law (Sanctuary Cities). Of interest is that the state of California is on the verge of voting themselves a Sanctuary State. This subject will end up in the Supreme Court because several Sanctuary Cities have filed suit in protest to their losing federal funding.

Add to this the list of illegal aliens and non-citizens, those who have not kept up their visas, those with green cards that have expired, family members who come here by chain migration and birthright citizenship, who reside in this country legally. The number goes up exponentially of those who avail themselves of the resources, entitlements and protections that this country offers.

Despite this country's unquestioned beneficence and the billions illegal aliens cost this country*, the underlying reason illegal immigration has become the major divisive issue between the two major political Parties is the vote. In 2012, the Pew Research Center's National Survey of Latinos reported that among Latino immigrants who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, 31% identify as Democrats and just 4% as Republicans. An additional 33% say they are political independents. Reported in the Washington Free Beacon, households headed by immigrants illegally in the country have higher use rates than native households overall and for food programs (57 percent vs. 22 percent) and Medicaid (51 percent vs. 23 percent)."

The Electoral College is comprised of two Senators for each state and the number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives is based on the state's population. Generally, the determining factor used, is by the United States Census. States with higher populations have more members in the U.S. House, and more votes that are cast in Electoral College. Conducted every 10 years, the U.S. Census figures are based on actual counts of persons dwelling in U.S. residential structures. They include citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors and illegal immigrants. The state average for one representative was just over 712,000.

Using the number of 11 million illegal aliens residing in this country, that number works out to be 15 Electoral College votes attributed to those who reside illegally in this country. The additional Electoral College vote from the percentage of illegal immigrants that reportedly illegally voted in the 2010 and 2012 elections would add an additional 1 vote. If the number is closer to 30 million, as some report, by including those who also overstay their visas, the affect to the Electoral College could go up to 44. Out of the 538 total electoral votes, illegal aliens contribute from 3 to 8.2 percent of the Electoral College numbers.

If who is legal to vote could be finally put to rest, the multitude of concerns over immigration will not be as divisive. First would be that only citizens who entered or are born in this country legally are allowed to vote in national and state elections. Second is only these same citizens are counted in the 10-year census that are used for the determination for representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Finally, end birthright citizenship on the date of the enactment of this legislation.

Since passage of this legislation would put a significant crimp in this country's descent into socialism, the liberal Democratic Party will fight it all the way to the White House. With both houses of Congress, the current resident in the Oval Office and a right-leaning majority on the Supreme Court, this will probably be the conservatives' last opportunity to stop this movement.

* Illegals Take More from Government than They Pay. August 6, 2017 Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines

A report from the Center for Immigration Studies found that allowing illegal immigrants, who are predominantly low-skilled, to stay in the United States causes a net fiscal drain on the economy.

Numbers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) showed the average cost of deportation was less than $11,000, while permitting uneducated illegal immigrants to remain in the country costs, on average, over $65,000. The CIS reported that the lifetime cost of allowing the estimated 11.43 million illegal immigrants in the country to stay is nearly $750 billion.

The main reason illegal immigrants take more in government assistance than they pay in taxes is their level of education. "Because the overwhelming share of illegal immigrants residing in the country have not completed high school or have only a high school education, it would require highly implausible assumptions to avoid a substantial net fiscal drain from this population," said Steven Camarota, the Center's director of research.





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