FAIR's Distorted Fiscal Snapshot of Unauthorized Immigrants
Washington D.C. - Today, Fox News is reporting on data provided to them by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which amounts to a highly misleading fiscal snapshot of the costs allegedly imposed on U.S. taxpayers by unauthorized immigrants. However, in its rush to portray unauthorized immigrants as nothing more than a drain on the public treasury, FAIR completely discounts the economic contributions of unauthorized workers and consumers. Moreover, FAIR inflates their cost estimate by indiscriminately lumping together native-born, U.S.-citizen children with their unauthorized parents.
FAIR's report suffers from three fatal flaws:
- The report notes that the single biggest "expense" it attributes to unauthorized immigrants is the education of their children, yet most of these children are native-born, U.S. citizens who will grow up to be tax-paying adults. It is disingenuous to count the cost of investing in the education of these children, so that they will earn higher incomes and pay more in taxes when they are adults, as if it were nothing more than a cost incurred by their parents.
- The report fails to account for the purchasing power of unauthorized consumers, which supports U.S. businesses and U.S. jobs.
- The report ignores the value added to the U.S. economy by unauthorized workers, particularly in the service sector.
In contrast to FAIR's report, the Perryman Group estimated that if all unauthorized workers and consumers were somehow removed from the U.S. economy, the United States would lose $552 billion in total economic activity ("expenditures"), $245 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 2.8 million jobs.
FAIR's data is meant only to reinforce their vision of "attrition through enforcement." It is not rooted in an effort to move the immigration debate forward. The public and the President have made it clear that deporting 11-12 million immigrants isn't reasonable or feasible. Therefore, passing comprehensive immigration reform - which would yield a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years - is the only sound economic decision the United States can make.