Editorial: Costs of illegal immigration can’t be ignored

Illegal immigration is one of the most controversial topics of this overheated election season. Suggestions to curb illegal immigration by building a wall or increasing enforcement of existing laws are met with passionate accusations of racism and white supremacy. The Census can’t even ask about citizenship.

What is the bottomline cost to the United States and Nevada? That too is controversial. Every time someone comes up with a cost estimate, someone else declares the study fatally flawed, because the estimates are inflated or deflated or simply unknowable since people in the country illegally will not admit it.

Illegal immigrants pay taxes the same as everyone else — sales tax, income tax, property tax, vehicle registration fees. They also receive costly government services — education, welfare, criminal justice system, health care.

Recently the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) calculated that illegal immigrants received $135 billion a year in various expenditures, but paid in only $19 billion in national, state and local taxes — for a total “fiscal burden” of $116 billion. Since Nevada has about 2 percent of the nation’s illegal immigrant population that works out to more than $2 billion for the state’s taxpayers.

A couple of years ago Pew Research Center broke down just one aspect of the cost of illegal immigration — K-12 education.

Pew reported that in 2014, “States in the West and Southwest tend to have the highest shares of K-12 students with unauthorized immigrant parents. In six states, the share is 10% or more: Nevada (17.6%) ranked first, followed by Texas (13.4%), California (12.3%), Arizona (12.2%), Colorado (10.2%) and New Mexico (10.1%).” Of course, many of those children were born in the United States and thus are themselves American citizens, but would not be in class had their parents not come here without the benefit of legal entry.

At the time Nevada was spending about $4 billion a year on K-12 education, meaning the children of illegals cost Nevada about $700 million a year. Spending has increased since then.

In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case of Plyler v. Doe that states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education due to their immigration status, because the 14th Amendment states, “No state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Recently the Las Vegas newspaper delved into another cost of illegal immigration, reporting that about one out of 14 inmates serving time in Nevada prisons is in the country illegally — a total of 1,000 criminals, 500 of them convicted of violent felonies. That costs Nevada taxpayers about $21 million a year, the newspaper calculated.

A study by FAIR a decade ago calculated the cost to Nevadans for health care, “State-funded and uncompensated outlays for health care provided to Nevada’s illegal alien population amount to more than an estimated $85 million a year. That is a net cost after crediting compensation from the federal government. Nevadans who have medical insurance pay higher medical insurance bills to cover the costs of those without insurance.”

While most of the debate about illegal immigration revolves about high-minded concepts of human dignity and compassion and the rule of law, there is a cost to unfettered illegal immigration that should not be ignored in this ongoing debate.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

FAIR calculation

Are these valid arguments for rewriting the law and sticking the taxpayers with the tab?

U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. has petitioned the Supreme Court on behalf of the Obama administration in an attempt to overturn lower court decisions barring enforcement of Obama’s executive orders that basically rewrite immigration law and grant by fiat amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

Nevada is one of the 26 states that successfully sued to enjoin Obama’s amnesty.

“The Secretary (of the Department of Homeland Security) faces resource constraints that require the exercise of enforcement discretion. More than 11 million removable aliens are estimated to live in the United States. But Congress has appropriated the funds to remove only a fraction of that population in any given year,” the petition states. “The number of removals has varied depending on circumstances, but DHS has not been able to remove more than four percent of the estimated removable population in any year.”

Supreme Court asked to hear immigration amnesty case. (Getty Images via WSJ)

So? Remove the 4 percent, use discretion as to which are priorities and ask for more funding. That is no reason to ignore the law.

The petition uses language that is more suited to arguing for a change in existing law than an argument that Obama has to power to arbitrarily change the law. “For decades, DHS has engaged in ‘a regular practice * * * known as “deferred action,”‘ in which the Secretary ‘exercis[es] [his] discretion’ to forbear, ‘for humanitarian reasons or simply for [his] own convenience,’ from removing particular aliens from the United States for a designated period of time. Deferred action thus memorializes a decision ‘[t]o ameliorate a harsh and unjust outcome’ through forbearance,” Verrilli argues.

Harsh and unjust? Entering the country illegally violates the law as written by Congress and that decision was knowingly made the illegal immigrants.

Robbing banks can get you locked in jail, which is pretty harsh and I’m sure the robbers consider it unjust.

The petition goes on to argue for an immediate review of the lower court injunctions, saying that leaving the injunctions in place “will force millions of people — who are not removal priorities under criteria the court conceded are valid, and who are parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents — to continue to work off the books, without the option of lawful employment to provide for their families. And it will place a cloud over the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who came to the United States as children, have lived here for years, and been accorded deferred action under the 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy, which respondents have never challenged. The decision warrants immediate review.”

OK, immediate review seems reasonable since Obama has given those millions the false hope that he can change law with a wave of his pen and grant them amnesty. End the limbo status one way or the other. While we’re at it, perhaps a few states or members of Congress should challenge Obama’s DACA policy.

In January, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt explained why he decided to join the litigation in which Texas was the lead plaintiff. “Our immigration system is broken and clearly needs to be fixed. But just as clearly, the solution is not for the president to act unilaterally disregarding the U.S. Constitution and laws,” he wrote. “The solution must be a permanent, legal result that includes, not ignores, the other branches of government and their constitutional roles. Anything less is a false hope undermining the rule of law that injures millions of people in America, including many in Nevada.”

One of the arguments presented by the states in the suit is that they have to pay tab for providing services for illegals — such as education and medical care and welfare benefits.

Nevada will be among the hardest hit, because Nevada has by far the highest percentage of illegal immigrants of any state and the level has gone up in recent years. According to a Pew Research report, in 2012 Nevada’s population included 7.6 percent illegals, its workforce was 10.2 percent illegals and its school enrollment included 17.7 percent whose parents are not in the country legally, all the highest levels in the nation, and those figures are up from two years prior.

Verrilli makes as many humanitarian arguments as legal ones, ignoring the impact on the economic well being of legal citizens.

“The nationwide injunction also has far-reaching and irreparable humanitarian impact. It bars approximately 4 million parents — who have lived in this country for years, would pass a background check, are not priorities for removal, and have ‘a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident,’ from requesting deferred action under the Guidance and receiving authorization to work lawfully,” the petition says. “In so doing, it has a profound effect not only on those parents but also on their children. One study estimated that ‘there are 6.3 million children who live in a household with a DAPA eligible mom or dad, and of that, 5.5 million are U.S. citizens.’”

Again, who made the decision to violate U.S. law, but now wishes to avoid the consequences of those decisions and who has to pay the piper?

In the most recent injunction U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith explained, “Deferred action … is much more than nonenforcement: It would affirmatively confer ‘lawful presence’ and associated benefits on a class of unlawfully present aliens. Though revocable, that change in designation would trigger (eligibility for federal and state benefits) that would not otherwise be available to illegal aliens.”






Circuit court slaps down Obama’s executive overreach on immigration

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed an injunction issued by a Texas judge in response to a lawsuit filed by 26 states — including Nevada — seeking to overturn Obama’s executive fiat blocking deportation of millions of illegal immigrants and granting them work permits and other benefits.

Though the administration argued Obama’s memos merely allowed prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis in enforcing immigration law, the three-judge panel ruled (2-1) that this was merely a pretext and Obama has essentially rewritten the law. The ruling noted that only 5 percent out of 723,000 applicants for legal residency were denied.

The Obama administration today said it would appeal the ruling the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, is supposed to be blocked, as well as an expansion of eligibility of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that was tacked onto the DAPA memo.

The opinion penned by Judge Jerry E. Smith said, “The INA’s (Immigration and Nationality Act) careful employment-authorization scheme ‘protect[s] against the displacement of workers in the United States,’ and a ‘primary purpose in restricting immigration is to preserve jobs for American workers.’ DAPA would dramatically increase the number of aliens eligible for work authorization, thereby undermining Congress’s stated goal of closely guarding access to work authorization and preserving jobs for those lawfully in the country. DAPA would make 4.3 million otherwise removable aliens eligible for lawful presence, employment authorization, and associated benefits, and ‘we must be guided to a degree by common sense as to the manner in which Congress is likely to delegate a policy decision of such economic and political magnitude to an administrative agency.’”

Congress did not delegate this to Obama or his minions.

“Today, the Fifth Circuit asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else,”Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal. “Throughout this process, the Obama administration has aggressively disregarded the constitutional limits on executive power.”

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt issued a statement saying, “After careful consideration and extensive briefing, another federal court has once again upheld the states’ injunction, illustrating that the president, like everyone else, must follow the rule of law. Our Constitution establishes a process that must be followed when changing or creating new laws, and no one, regardless of title or position, is above the Constitution. It is encouraging to see the principles of the Constitution affirmed by a third federal court ruling in this case.”

In his original injunction, Texas federal Judge Andrew Hanen stated that “ the states cannot protect themselves from the costs inflicted by the Government when 4.3 million individuals are granted legal presence with the resulting ability to compel state action. The irony of this position cannot be fully appreciated unless it is contrasted with the DAPA Directive. The DAPA Directive unilaterally allows individuals removable by law to legally remain in the United States based upon a classification that is not established by any federal law. It is this very lack of law about which the States complain. The Government claims that it can act without a supporting law, but the States cannot.”

Of course Harry Reid used the occasion to attack Republicans in general with a series of twits:

— The 5th Circuit’s decision yesterday was a political move that ignores past precedents on executive action on immigration.

— Yesterday’s decision affects millions of families who now could be torn apart. As Judge King stated in dissent, “a mistake has been made.”

— The Republican Party has neglected the lessons of the 2012 elections and have plunged over a cliff following the lead of Trump and Carson.

— I expect the Administration will swiftly appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, and I believe the Court will find the actions lawful.





Editorial: Laxalt proven correct in joining lawsuit challenging Obama executive order

When Nevada’s new Republican attorney general, Adam Laxalt, joined in the lawsuit with 25 other states challenging President Obama’s executive fiat granting amnesty from deportation and granting green cards and Social Security cards to millions of illegal immigrants, Democrats like Sen. Harry Reid were critical of his action and even Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said the matter should be handled legislatively rather than in the courts.

A ruling by a Texas federal judge granting an injunction blocking the administration from carrying out its intentions appears to vindicate Laxalt and his reasons for joining the suit. At the time he joined the other states, Laxalt stated his rationale for doing so was because the president’s action disregarded the U.S. Constitution, undermined the rule of law and was injurious to millions of Americans, including Nevadans.

In his ruling, Judge Andrew Hanen states that “ the states cannot protect themselves from the costs inflicted by the Government when 4.3 million individuals are granted legal presence with the resulting ability to compel state action. The irony of this position cannot be fully appreciated unless it is contrasted with the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) Directive. The DAPA Directive unilaterally allows individuals removable by law to legally remain in the United States based upon a classification that is not established by any federal law. It is this very lack of law about which the States complain. The Government claims that it can act without a supporting law, but the States cannot.”

Hanen’s ruling also halts the expansion of Obama’s executive order allowing children brought into the country illegally to remain.

The judge said if the government were allowed to start issuing benefits but the executive is later overturned or legislatively countermanded there would be irreparable harm to both the states and the immigrants. “This genie would be impossible to put back in the bottle,” he said.

As for the argument that Obama and his Department of Homeland Security are merely exercising prosecutorial discretion in determining who will be deported, the judge noted, “The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence.’ In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”

The day after the Texas judge’s injunction was issued, Laxalt commented, “Yesterday’s carefully considered, 123-page decision represents a great initial victory for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I am encouraged by the federal court’s thorough analysis of this executive action. This injunction will halt the executive action and allow for the judiciary to carefully evaluate the legality of President Obama’s unilateral act. As I’ve always insisted, this lawsuit is ultimately about the rule of law, not immigration, and the need for all branches of our government, including the president, to faithfully follow the law.”

The ruling does not mean that anyone will be deported anytime soon, given the administration’s lax enforcement.

The case is likely going to be heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal and possibly by the U.S. Supreme Court.

We applaud the attorney general for standing up for the rule of law.

A version of this editorial appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record.

Who did not see this coming?

A Houston television station, after spending two months demanding records on what happened to the thousands of illegal immigrants who entered this country over the summer and fall, has learned that the vast majority have simply disappeared

Of the 15,614 families caught crossing the border but then released pending a hearing, the station has learned, 4,197 have been ordered to be deported. But 96 percent of those orders were done “in absentia,” the people did not show up for a hearing.

It is unclear what happened to those 11,000 other families, whether they were allowed to stay or are still awaiting hearings.

Federal officials told the Houston reporters it could take months or even years to conclude all pending immigration cases.

Feds aid and abet child smuggling by flying illegal immigrant children to parents in Hawaii

Back in December a federal judge in Texas accused the federal government of aiding and abetting child smuggling, because it provided the final leg of the conspiracy.

A illegal immigrant Salvadoran mother living in Virginia paid human traffickers $8,500 to smuggle her 10-year-old daughter into the U.S., but after the daughter was caught in Texas, according to the judge, the Department of Homeland Security paid to transport the daughter to her mother.

Free trip to Hawaii, anyone?

Apparently this is now a standard operating procedure.

In the first half of this year, eight unaccompanied illegal alien children picked up in the continental U.S. have been flown at taxpayer expense to sponsors in Hawaii, according to a reporter for Watchdog Wire-Hawaii. Most of those sponsors were the relatives of the children and more than half were parents. It is doubtful any of those “sponsors” are in the country legally, since the U.S. has generous accommodations for reuniting family members with legal residency.

Watchdog reported that former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, said he doesn’t believe taxpayers should be covering their airline tickets to Hawaii. “What an incentive,” Djou said this is for more illegals.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville wrote in December:

“This Court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security (hereinafter ‘DHS’) of completing the criminal mission of individuals who are violating the border security of the United States. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped the Defendant at the border inspection point. She was arrested, and the child was taken into custody. The DHS officials were notified that Salmeron Santos instigated this illegal conduct. Yet, instead of arresting Salmeron Santos for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the DHS delivered the child to her — thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy. It did not arrest her. It did not prosecute her. It did not even initiate deportation proceedings for her. The DHS policy is a dangerous course of action. …

“In summary, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, the Government took direct steps to help the individuals who violated it. A private citizen would, and should, be prosecuted for this conduct.”

Hanen’s 10-page order: Smuggling case

What ‘baggage’ are illegal immigrants bringing with them?

Illegal immigrant children at an Air Force base in Texas. (Breitbart photo)

Three people died of tuberculosis at a Las Vegas hospital recently and 20 hospital staffers were exposed to the disease.

Fourteen students were diagnosed with TB at a Las Vegas high school this year and several more at another high school this past year.

Why the sudden outbreak?

A number of those in the latest wave of illegal immigrants — many of them children — are bringing the once rare disease and others with them. But health and immigration officials are trying to hush it up, according to Fox News and other news media. Nurses and doctors have been threatened with arrest if they tell the public about the horrid conditions and rampant diseases inside a shelter for illegal immigrant children at a San Antonio Air Force Base.

One nurse said children in the camp had measles, scabies, chicken pox and strep throat.

According to one newspaper account, illegals being released by U.S. Border Patrol — told to show up months later for an immigration hearing that few of them bother to attend — have not not been screened  for vaccinations or tuberculosis or other diseases while in federal custody.

The fear of an epidemic was one of the reasons citizens in Murrieta, Calif., blocked bus loads of illegals from being taken to a detention center there.

“Jeff Stone, the chairman of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, told the audience that he was concerned about communicable diseases that the migrants could be carrying, such as whooping cough, swine flu or tuberculosis,” The New York Times reported. “Mr. Beeson said four children had been sent to local hospitals this week, two with a fever and two with scabies.” The Times did not indicate whether the children were recent immigrants or local children.

Confrontation in Murrieta, Calif. (NYT photo)



Obama and the press: Coincidence or coordination?

On May 9, Obama announced on ABC News his support for gay marriage, though he did not actually do anything about it.

“At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said.

Two days later, The Washington Post published a long-researched, front-page piece on Mitt Romney’s behavior in high school toward a presumably gay classmate, quoting another student describing Romney “marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut (John) Lauber’s hair” and how the bleached-blond, long-haired, tearful Lauber was pinned to the ground while “Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.”

Coincidence or coordination?

Jeffrey Isidoro, 10, at a school in Matamoros, Mexico. (Shaul Schwarz photo/NYT)

This past Friday, Obama made his grand pronouncement that certain illegal immigrants would be exempted by executive fiat from deportation under the immigration laws — those who came to this country when they were younger than 16, have a relatively clean criminal record and are still under 30. (Sounds downright arbitrary and capricious, but that’s another topic.)

Three days later, The New York Times published a long-researched, front-page article about young people raised in the United States who are now living in Mexico because their parents were deported or chose to return home for various reasons.

The story ledes with fifth-grader Jeffrey Isidoro, whose father was deported, being teased by his classmates in a Matamoros school to speak English when answering a teacher’s question.

It contains the typical sociologist hand-wringing: “These kinds of changes are really traumatic for kids. It’s going to stick with them.”

One paragraph of the story observes, “Houston — that is where Jeffrey’s thoughts typically drift. There, he had friends, McDonald’s, the zoo. It is where he lingered at the library at Gleason Elementary to catch up on his favorite series of books, ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid.’ There, his school had a playground; here, there is just a concrete slab. There, computers were common; here, there are none.”

Coincidence or coordination?