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ETpro's avatar

Would you pay more in taxes to stop illegal immigration?

Asked by ETpro (34145 points ) January 9th, 2013

The US already spends more on border security and immigration enforcement than on all its other Federal law enforcement activities combined. Realistically, there is no such thing as perfect security. Even with a 100 yard wide no-man’s land separated by two high fences topped with razor wire, patrolled by guard dogs, and guarded by watch towers equipped with powerful searchlights and machine guns, East Germany was never able to seal its borders. Nor can North Korea today, even though crossing its border illegally caries the certainty of death if caught.

Yet whenever the topic of comprehensive immigration reform comes up, those opposed to it insist that we must totally seal our borders before we can even discuss any solution to the fate of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently here. Is this a legitimate response or just a way to ensure gridlock, maintaining the status quo? Would those who want the border sealed airtight actually spend the money it would take in this time of calls for austerity? If you want an airtight border, are you willing to pay higher taxes to fund the technology, infrastructure and border guard force it would take to get it? Where, between 100% airtight and as porous as today’s border is, do you see the cost/benefit equation coming down?

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22 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

do you ride your bike or do you take your lunch to school
Two non connected items, raise the taxes and somebody will put their region / state in for twice what it would cost to reduce illegal immigration as “pork bellies”.
Therefore it would cost three or four times in taxes as the actual cost to control illegal immigration.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I would gladly pay more taxes, but not to prevent undocumented immigration.

marinelife's avatar

No, because i don’t think it can be perfect.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No. This whole illegal immigration think is a made-up populist cause which was invented to get votes for the negative side.

If the Congress had half a brain, it would embrace immigrants as taxpayers and consumers. But they would rather score political points (not very successfully) than use their brains.

Of course, the underlying dislike for immigrants – legal or not – is that when they do become citizens eventually, they vote democratic.

bolwerk's avatar

Stopping illegal immigration is the easiest thing in the world. And for the government, really cheap. Just enforce a triple minimum wage for the privilege of employing “illegal immigrant” workers.

They don’t do that because they don’t want to stop illegal immigration.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Canada should be the country to build a tall fence and stock-up on border patrol.

Too many Americans who live near the Canadian border are using friends’ and relatives’ addresses, faking residency in Canada, and getting access to health care and prescription drugs. If I were a Canadian taxpayer, I’d have compassion yet be angry.

Jaxk's avatar

I suppose the answer would depend on your estimate of how costly illegal immigration is to the US.. If you believe as FAIR does that the costs are extraordinary, then we are paying only a fraction of what it costs the economy. If you believe what the Perryman Report says then we should not only stop trying to enforce the borders but actually open them up.

We allow 1 million legal immigrants into the country every year. That is more than any other country in the world. Illegal immigrants are typically uneducated and poor. That may not be thier fault but it is what it is. They cost more to support. Immigration laws are in place to insure that you only allow in as many as you can reasonable support. That’s the same in all countries. Illegal immigration thwarts that control. If you want to argue that we should allow more or less legal immigration, you have to control the illegal. Otherwise you can’t predict or control the impact to the economy. This is not rocket science. If you allow the country to be swamped by third world citizens, you will be a third world country.

This question is much like many others in that you first define the problem as impossible, then denigrate any that would offer a solution. Just because you can’t stop all illegal immigration we shouldn’t try to stop any. Is that the point?

GloriaEstefan's avatar

NO! But I’d pay more in taxes to get rid of every gramma that’s been here for 20+ years and still can’t speak English.

Lightlyseared's avatar

On the bright side US Border Patrol are probably more cost effective than the air marshal service (who cost something like $200million per arrest…)

zenvelo's avatar

No, we pay a hidden cost (a “tax”) already because of the higher prices on farm goods because of the farm labor shortage.

wundayatta's avatar

Are you crazy?

I’d pay more to increase immigration, though. I’d pay more in taxes to tear down the fences and get rid of Homeland Security.

Blondesjon's avatar

Yes sir! ‘Cuz America was built on keepin’ foreigners out.

it’s in the constitution, uh, somewhere . . .

wundayatta's avatar

Yessuh. It’s right over heah in the Bible, which is an amendment to the Constitution, I do buhleeve.

jrpowell's avatar

Baby boomers are starting to push daisies. We need younger brown people to come in and work. Look at Japan. Make them legal and get them taxed.

At this point it is all racism. Sane people would welcome them.

ETpro's avatar

@Tropical_Willie So you desperately want more border control, but you don’t want it to cost anything? I hear what you are saying, but I don’t see where it goes as relates to border security. If you really believe that the government wastes 3 dollars for every 1 it spends effectively, why wouldn’t you focus your attention on eliminating government waste? Also, if you really believe that, why are the administrative costs of Medicare coverage dramatically lower than those of private insurance companies? The costs are not as much lower as partisan cheerleaders may claim, but they are, in fact, substantially lower. That’s hard to square with a claim that government always wastes 3 out of every 4 tax dollars it collects.

@PaulSadieMartin OK. I grok that.

@marinelife There are an infinite number of data points between 0% (utter failure) and 100% (absolute perfection). I made the point that it can’t be perfect, and that Republicans continue to dither, favoring doing nothing until it is perfect. But clearly, it can get better, and it can also get worse. How much we apply in resources influences that outcome. The Obama Administration increased border security and got results but at a price. The question is how good do you think it should get, and how much are you willing to pay to get there.

@elbanditoroso I totally agree.

@bolwerk I don’t know about it being the easiest thing in the world, but Federally issued work permits available only to US Citizens or documented aliens, and requiring proof of citizneship, would go a long way toward solving the issue. That would also decimate the farm industry, and that’s why Republicans talk tough but set up standards to act that keep us forever paralyzed.

@PaulSadieMartin Damn, that’s a truth.

@Jaxk Did you stop reading the OP before this part, “Where, between 100% airtight and as porous as today‚Äôs border is, do you see the cost/benefit equation coming down?” That doesn’t look like an all-or-nothing setup to me.

@GloriaEstefan Would that apply even if she’s here legally and other family members would be separated from her? Why is speaking English that important to you?

@Lightlyseared Agreed, except for the flight I am on where an Air Marshal foils a hijack attempt. :-)

@zenvelo Yep, Georgia and Arizona sure found that out with their Papers Please laws.

@wundayatta I’d surely pay more to get rid of homeland security. BTW, demographers now speculate that the total human population of Earth may begin to shrink in the not-too-distant future. Given that and the automatic adjustment of immigration to where most job openings are, this might be another of those self correcting problems. The total US illegal immigrant population is already down by about $1 million.

@Blondesjon & @wundayatta Cain I get a Awmen?

@johnpowell That’s about where I come down on this too.

GloriaEstefan's avatar

@ETpro obviously I wouldn’t like my taxes to go up for the purpose of getting rid of a few illiterate grannies. I have only respect for the undocumented immigrants who come here for our resources. I’d do the same thing if I were in their situation.

The grannies suck!!! They are the real illegals.

bolwerk's avatar

@ETpro: we pretty much have the bureaucracy in place to do it, so it truly is easy. Offer every “illegal” worker a $15/hr minimum wage (promote it as a penalty wage for not hiring a U.S. citizen) and enforce it. That includes enforcing it when they step forward to claim what is theirs by law. Hiring of illegals would stop immediately, and we can focus resources on things like the slave trade.

The reason this is not done is, in the end, exploitative capitalists want illegal immigration.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@ETpro What I am saying is if the cost $10 billion dollars for improved border control, the shakers and movers in congress will up the taxes by $35 billion and extra $25 billion will be directed to their favor state and organization.

ETpro's avatar

@GloriaEstefan Thanks. That’s a new wrinkle on hatred of illegal immigrants. I’d never before run across someone who had it in only for old grannies. The younger ones that ally with the crips and bloods worry me a lot more.

@bolwerk Right as to ability, and right as to cause. The very people who demagogue the issue do so to ensure nothing meaningful is done to solve it.

@Tropical_Willie You seem to think any money spent by government magically disappears, while money spent by private enterprise persists. Money is not magic. It makes no difference who orders a fleet of 1000 delivery vans, the Pentagon, the Post Office, or UPS. The order puts the exact same number of people to work. Remember that all those Republican congressmen that keep telling you that government can NEVER create a single job—Government created their jobs. And their low productivity lately might be a great target for government efficiency. Stop paying them till they start doing the job they were elected to do.

I’d certainly rather see government spend to build things of lasting value than do wasteful things. The same goes for private enterprise. But the fact is that private enterprise often spends vast sums manufacturing things that destroy more than they build. And even useless work such as trucking water from the East to the West coast to try to equalize the sea levels would require buying lots of tanker trucks and employing drivers. That equates to real jobs. It’s just clearly more useful when government does something like building Boulder Dam or the Panama Canal. Likewise, private enterprise employs people even when it’s manufacturing pollutants or dangerous drugs, but I’d rather they put people to work cleaning up the environment and curing deadly diseases.

GloriaEstefan's avatar

@ETpro Granny is only here because someone brought her here. Then what does granny do when she gets here? Nothing but clean the house and cook greasy food. And does granny even make an attempt at learning our language? Of course not, because then she might actually have to get a job and learn how to do something other than clean the house.

She is a modern day cave woman, and I can’t respect that when there’s so many people in third world countries right now who deserve her spot so much more.

wundayatta's avatar

@ETpro I’ve been reporting here that demographers are predicting declining population for the planet in the not too distant future for several years. So I’m in agreement with you on the impact that might have on immigration to the US to some degree. There will always be economic migration, however, and the US will, I hope, always be a desirable destination. We will need to workers when we are all decrepit and in nursing homes. We should probably all learn Spanish if we want to have decent nursing home experiences.

ETpro's avatar

@GloriaEstefan Why do you think all immigrant grandmothers fit that mold. Any evidence that so?

@wundayatta Unless we reverse the course the Reaganomics revolution put us on in the 80s, the US will soon be a place where even large numbers of citizens self deport.

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