Illegal Immigration Does Not Cost Taxpayers

February 19, 2018

Understanding the argument

No matter what your or my position is on immigration, we have to at least understand the facts. If we don't understand the facts, then we are taking sides based purely based on emotional self interest.

First we should understand why the topic is os polarized. We typically don't like when we ask a politician if he is in support of something and he answers in some monologue that fails to address the question. Politicians still do this, but we are evolving to the point where everything becomes shorter and easier for our brains to manage. There are so many topics we want to know about all of the politicians, that it's much easier to just remember whether they are for or against something, than to learn from the complex thoughts they may have put into the topic.

Let's look at the example of Trump's border wall. If you had the opportunity to meet with a politician and ask him whether he was for or against it, you would want a pretty straight forward yes or no answer. To someone who is for the wall, if the politician said no, that person would immediately stop listening and close their mind to any reasoning behind that.

Every position has pros and cons. When we're talking about borders, there are both pros and cons to completely opening or completely closing the border. Then there are plenty of options in between which also have pros and cons. One argument is if the borders are open, jobs will be taken. This may or may not be true, and preventing or encouraging that may or may not be immoral. But if this is true, it is a pro for employers in a job market who might benefit from cheaper labor, and it's a con for the employees in the market who might have more competition. So not only does the argument have pros and cons, but whether a certain outcome is a pro or a con is objective based on the person interpreting it.

In an ideal world, the perfect outcome is one which everyone benefits in some way from their pros, and loses very little or none at all in their cons. That becomes even more difficult to achieve when a con for someone is actually something they never should have had, and would have been happy without if they never had it.

All of these pros and cons are too much information for us to process every time the subject is brought up, which during election season is many times per day. Every time we hear the news mention the border for 15 seconds, we don't have time to sit down with a pen and paper and go over the pros and cons. Instead, the one most important pro or con that comes to us is what instantly jumps into out head.

Politicians understand this and use it against us. First they understand that if they want you to support something that is immoral at it's foundation, it is much easier to convince you ignore your morals if you fear for your survival. This is why so much emphasis is put on criminals coming over the border, people siphoning off our tax and welfare systems, and taking of jobs. Fear will also make you believe things that are totally false. Politicians know and understand this, and they use it to control you.

Are illegal immigrants really draining the system?

No, they are not. If they were legal, they might be, but I'll get to that in a minute.

We are told illegal immigrants are taking our tax money, sending it to their home country, and milking our social services dry. That's simply not the case.

Because they are illegal, they have problems getting jobs. While some employers might hire them without any paperwork, many employees have to use stolen identities. This means they are paying taxes on the money they earn, and they are not able to receive a return for overpayment or any social security benefits. They are paying into things like unemployment insurance which they won't ever be able to use.

It's difficult to tell because so much of this is undocumented, but the government's own estimates put illegal immigrants contributing $9 billion in taxes and only consuming $1 billion, while contributing another $9 billion to social security and only receiving $1 billion in benefits. If you look at this objectively, illegal immigrants are subsidizing American citizens government and welfare programs.

There is an argument to be made that if we were to allow all of these illegal immigrants to be legal citizens, that this deficit would go away and they would be able to take money from the system. If this is the case, that really just proves how unsustainable this system is that it can only survive in an environment where people are paying into who can't ever benefit from it. This shouldn't make you mad at immigrants who want to be here legally, this should make you mad that you are forced to participate in a Ponzi scheme that is already showing itself to be unstable.

Another argument is made that even if these illegals are not taking welfare from the state, they are receiving other benefits like police, fire and especially schools. The numbers calculated above were only related to payroll taxes. It doesn't take into consideration all of the other taxes they pay which is difficult to even estimate based on a certain group of people. Illegal immigrants will still pay sales tax and property tax, which are local taxes that pay for things like police and fire and schools. If you take this all into consideration, they absolutely do contribute more than their share to pay for these services.

One final argument is that illegals hurt our economy by working here and sending money to their home countries. We do have a trade deficit here in the US. That basically means more money going out than coming in. The thing is most of the money that is sent out of the US is not sent to the homes of illegal immigrants, it's sent to countries that we are importing from. If sending our money out of the country is a problem, you should have a much bigger issue with Americans buying products from China or corporations using Indian call centers, than illegal immigrants sending their money to Mexico.

What's the real problem?

Societies are scalable. We have to expect that the number of people in any society, no matter where the boundaries, will increase or decrease in population based on many factors. If we want to live in a society with stable social systems, those systems must be scalable as well. That means that no matter how much you add or remove people from the system, it should be able to scale and serve its purpose. It should be able to scale on its own without any external support, and even more ideally, it should be able to operate with resources it has collected through an ethical, voluntary means.

If it's true that social security could collapse by opening borders and letting millions of new people join the program, then the same would happen if there was another baby boom with millions of new American citizens. Where they came from is highly irrelevant if the system simply can't support that many people.

Most of the arguments against illegal immigration really don't make a lot of sense if you sit down and examine them. Yes, there are cons to completely opening the border, but they really aren't as big as we are led to believe, and the pros may be much, much bigger. As I said earlier, if we fear for our survival, it's easier for someone to convince us to do something immoral. Closing borders and building walls is an impediment to a human beings right to travel. If we had nothing to fear, there is no reason anyone would want to build a wall. I believe we have nothing to fear.

About the author:

Dan Behrman

Dan Behrman is an international speaker, promoting the ideas that Taxation Is Theft, individual freedom is pararmount to government, and we are not government property. He is founder of the Taxation Is Theft Shop, blogger on, and host of Taxation Is Theft podcast, YouTube channel, and Facebook page

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