Great general references on immigration costs & impact

Borrowed directly from Texas journalist Marissa Trevino of Latina Lista:

The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children released the most in-depth and impartial study on family immigrant detention titled “Locking Up Family Values: The Detention of Immigrant Families” (2007), finding:

  • [the detention center] is a former criminal facility that still looks and feels like a prison, complete with razor wire and prison cells.
  • Some families with young children have been detained in these facilities for up to two years. The majority of children detained appeared to be under the age of 12.
  • At night, children as young as six were separated from their parents. Separation and threats of separation were used as disciplinary tools.
  • People in detention displayed widespread and obvious psychological trauma. Every woman we spoke with in a private setting cried.
  • At Hutto pregnant women received inadequate prenatal care.
  • Children detained at Hutto received one hour of schooling per day.
  • Families in Hutto received no more than twenty minutes to go through the cafeteria line and feed their children and themselves. Children were frequently sick from the food and losing weight.
  • Families in Hutto received extremely limited indoor and outdoor recreation time and children did not have any soft toys.

The Texas State Comptroller released a report, “Undocumented Immigrants in Texas: A Financial Analysis…2006”, finding that “The absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received. However, local governments bore the burden of $1.44 billion in uncompensated health care costs and local law enforcement costs not paid for by the state.”

The Public Policy Institute of California released a similar report titled How Immigrants Affect California Employment and Wages finding that

  • There is no evidence that the influx of immigrants over the past four decades has worsened the employment opportunities of natives with similar education and experience.
  • There is no association between the influx of immigrants and the out-migration of natives within the same education and age group.
  • Immigration induced a 4 percent real wage increase for the average native worker between 1990 and 2004.
  • Recent immigrants did lower the wages of previous immigrants.

And on the “immigrants cause crime” myth, sociologists Ruben Rumbat (Sociology, UC Irvine) and Walter Ewing (Anthro, IPC) found overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that immigrants are a fraction as likely to commit crime as the native-born: “In every ethnic group, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are less educated, said the study by the Immigration Policy Center, an immigrant- advocacy group in Washington. This holds especially true for Mexicans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans, who make up the bulk of the illegal population. See a pdf of their report here

And finally, Dowell Myers (USC, Urban Planning) is arguing that babyboomers worried about the future of their Social Security really need to be encouraging the education and development of immigrant populations to strengthen the [especially Latino] taxpaying U.S. middle class. Baby Boomer self-interest could be a powerful political ally, no?

Marissa’s blog is highly recommended reading, by the way.

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