The Corner

Elections

Joe Biden and Illegal Immigration

During last summer’s Democratic debate in Detroit, MSNBC moderator Savannah Guthrie posed the following to the candidates: “This is a show of hands question, and hold them up so people can see. Raise your hand if your government plan would provide coverage to undocumented immigrants.”

Every candidate, including Joe Biden, raised a hand, a stark visual of progressive profligacy. Social media instantly erupted with proclamations of electoral doom for Democrats.

Perhaps recognizing the blunder, Biden regularly tries to downplay the financial impact of providing health care coverage to masses of illegal immigrants. He told Univision’s Jorge Ramos that illegal immigrants are a “gift”: they’re “the reason why our economy is growing.” Suggesting that illegal immigrants pay more into the U.S. Treasury than they receive, Biden’s platform notes that “in 2015, the IRS collected $23.6 billion from 4.4 million workers without Social Security numbers, many of whom were undocumented.”

The Center for Immigration Studies, using data adduced by the National Academy of Sciences, released an analysis of the net cost of services to illegal immigrants after taking into account the taxes paid by such immigrants. Contrary to Biden’s implication that illegal immigrants enhance the public fisc, the CIS study estimates that the net lifetime financial drain on public coffers per illegal immigrant is $65,272. The study notes:

One way to think about the above estimates is that for every million illegal immigrants in the country, there is a lifetime fiscal drain of $65.3 billion on public coffers. If we assume there are 11.43 million illegal immigrants in the country, then the total financial costs they create during their lifetimes using the net present value concept is $746.3 billion.

That’s real money. And that’s before Biden extends health-care coverage to illegal immigrants.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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