One of the things that irks me about the notion of legalizing 8 million illegal immigrants at once is the fact that if even only 0.1% of them are criminals (a decidedly low percentage based on normal rates of criminality), that equates to letting 8,000 felons into the country. That's bad. But in reality, it's far worse. Given the felony equivalency of America, that's over half a million felons or potential felons coming in.
If the statistics hold true, and 1 in 15 Americans (yes, I know these people are not Americans but the criminality rate in Mexico and Central America may not be that different if the system and the tracking were up to par with America's) have been to prison. At that rate 533,333 future prison system detainees.
At a flat rated cost of roughly $31,000 per person per year and let's be generous and say a 90 day sentence is the average time served, then those criminals allowed in are going to cost America over $4 billion. But let's say that incarceration happens over the course of 40 years. Then the cost is only $100 million per year. ONLY.
But cost aside, the social impact is far worse. Who wants more criminals?
And getting back to the actual fiscal impact, we haven't begun to assess the impact of Welfare, Social Security, Medicaid (or Obamacare) and all the other additional costs associated with each citizen. Has anybody done the math on all of that? In fact, someone has. The numbers from Heritage are staggering:
The typical unlawful immigrant is 34 years old. After amnesty, this individual will receive government benefits, on average, for 50 years. Restricting access to benefits for the first 13 years after amnesty therefore has only a marginal impact on long-term costs.
If amnesty is enacted, the average adult unlawful immigrant would receive $592,000 more in government benefits over the course of his remaining lifetime than he would pay in taxes.
Over a lifetime, the former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes. They would generate a lifetime fiscal deficit (total benefits minus total taxes) of $6.3 trillion. (All figures are in constant 2010 dollars.) This should be considered a minimum estimate. It probably understates real future costs because it undercounts the number of unlawful immigrants and dependents who will actually receive amnesty and underestimates significantly the future growth in welfare and medical benefits.
You can take issue with some or many of the assumptions used in the calculations, but the ballpark it establishes is correct.
Why do advocates of mass legalization think that situations is perfectly okay? Because $9 trillion is small potatoes compared to an indebted voting block.