The Corner

Minor Quibbles . . .

In “California’s Illegal-Immigrant Deficit,” Heather Mac Donald transforms California’s budget crisis into an illegal-immigrant crisis. The $5 billion California spends on illegals, she contends, represent “almost a quarter of California’s $21.3 billion deficit.” But California is slated to spend $111 billion in its 2009-2010 budget, and illegals are 8% of California’s population. California spends considerably less per capita on illegals than on citizens.

The calculation on which Mac Donald’s piece is based cites estimates that $4 billion is spent on the children of illegals.

But in fact, 73% of the children of illegals are American citizens, having been born here. Perhaps you don’t like birthright citizenship (although most of us are citizens for no better reason). But public-education expenditures on their citizen children are no more wasteful than other public-education expenditures.

Heather reports that 10% of the state prison population consists of illegals. But if federal incarceration statistics are any guide, more than half of Hispanic incarcerations are for immigration violations, not for drug offenses, larcenies, or crimes of violence. If so, illegals, at 8% of California’s population, are rather less crime prone than natives.

But these are mere quibbles. Mac Donald is right in substance, if not in magnitude: Undocumented immigrants impose public costs. These costs are a result of lawbreaking. In California, these costs may represent a couple percent of total state expenditures.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Inquisitor Has No Clothes

This is a column about impeachment, but first, a confession: I think I might be guilty of insider trading. At this point, I would like to assure my dear friends at the SEC that I do not mean this in any actionable legal sense, but only in principle. Some time ago, I was considering making an investment in a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Shaming Women Who Vote Right

Some progressives have decided that rather than convincing women that their candidates and policy proposals are better than those of conservatives, they will shame women who fail to vote for the Left by defining them all as racist and self-loathing tools of the patriarchy. Think I’m exaggerating? See this ... Read More
U.S.

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More