More Blaming of Immigrants for the Welfare State

A common argument I hear against immigration is that we don't need a further  drain on the American welfare state (i.e., health care, social security, school system, etc.) As we've pointedImmigrant Crossing Sign out before, the problem with the welfare state is the existence of the welfare state, but many like to claim that stopping the flow of immigration into this country will somehow help or solve the problem.

Under that logic, we should make having kids illegal.  After all, every child born becomes a burden to the system, another mouth to feed, another brain to educate, another job to eventually fill.  Of course this is preposterous, especially coming from a pregnant woman, but hear me out. 

There are arguably 10-20 million undocumented immigrants in the country, which have accumulated over the past couple decades.  By contrast, 4 million children are born each year in the US.  If you want to worry about the welfare state from the standpoint of adding people to the welfare rolls, the second number is way more worrying than the first.

Let's take a look at the state of California. California is nearly bankrupt and also has more undocumented immigrants than any other state in the Union (facts that many like to claim are correlated.) The argument is, if we kick out all of the immigrants or, at the very least, stop any new ones from coming in, California could somehow magically thrive.

California isn't going down the crap hole because of immigration. Their deficit this year is over $19 billion. Any problem that immigrants supposedly contribute to is a larger structural problem that barring immigrants won't fix. Open immigration even buys time because, at worst, economists feel that they have no effect either way on wages, but due to structural changes that immigrants often contribute to (freeing up labor for more specialized tasks) further immigration contributes to the rise in standard of living.  For example, an immigrant's positive effect on the economy isn't restricted to just the taxes he pays, but he saves his employer money, which allows further investment into that business (more higher paying jobs, managers, expanding business, etc.)

In reality, you can't violate the rights of immigrants and employers to save America or her welfare state. Barring them is evil because it prevents individuals from coming here and doing nothing more harmful than making a living. It is impractical because, as a matter of fact, you'll torpedo quite a few already struggling industries if you really got serious about immigration enforcement. If you think the tax situation in California is bad now, just kick out all the illegals and see how much worse it gets when businesses flee the state twice as fast.

Of course, when one looks at all of the facts and the problems of the welfare state rationally, it's easy to conclude that the problem is the existence of the welfare state, not the population, and the solution is capitalism.  Let's keep our eye on the ball and not blame immigrants who will be, as it stands, victims of the same Ponzi scheme.

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