Bait and Switch Tactic Used to Justify Amnesty for Illegal Aliens

The leftist Center for American Progress (CAP) issued a report claiming that illegal aliens are a boon to the economy and studies to the contrary by the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Immigration Studies are wrong in their conclusions.

The CAP release says, “Their [the critics of amnesty]current line of attack is an unsubstantiated claim that legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States will be too costly for our nation.’ It then follows up that assertion by claiming that, “Mainstream economists have thoroughly debunked this general stereotype of immigrants as takers, finding that immigrants are a net positive for the economy and pay more into the system than they take out.”

Do you notice the bait and switch technique used by CAP there? They contrast studies focused on the budget outlays that would result from giving amnesty to the low-wage earning illegal alien population with economic studies of their contributions – basically their production of goods and services. There is no contradiction between saying that the Illegal alien population is a very large drain on government expenditures – especially at the state and local level – whether or not they have legal status and saying that they contribute to the economy. Everyone who works contributes to the economy – although those working for low wages contribute less.

Besides, the wages that are earned by illegal alien workers are wages denied to legal workers. If, instead of accommodating illegal aliens, they left and employers had to turn to today’s unemployed legal workers they would have to pay contributions into the social security system and unemployment compensation, they would have to withhold taxes, and often would have to pay more of a living wage. The result would be fewer unemployed legal workers, less dependence on welfare and social services, greater tax collections, fewer remittances sent out of the country and a healthier society. You would think that the CAP would be in favor of that.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


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  3. avatar

    whenever politicians and news stations talk about our economy, not one of them ever has mentioned the drain that illegals impose on our economy. They should speak up about that every time the economy is spoken about!
    Please read Michelle Malkin’s book “Culture of Corruption” It really tells all about that **** in the white house.

  4. avatar

    Actually, I used the numbers is Rector’s 2007 study of households headed by an immigrant with less than a high school degree and found that their annual contribution to the economy, including their income, profits to their employer, and taxes paid was only $35,282, while they received a total in goods and services, including taxpayer supplied services of $51,293. Thus, each such household actually consumes $16,011 more each year than it produces. Although they make the total economy (GDP) larger, they actually make the rest of us poorer by consuming more than they produce.

    • avatar

      That’s like the “India miracle” because their total GDP goes up every year. But that’s because of huge population growth. Their per capita GDP is terrible, one of the lowest in the world. Most of the population is extremely poor.

    • avatar

      Agreeing with Tom here. They cost the government more also when they commit illegal acts, like
      driving without car insurance, wrongful death suits, not abiding by US laws. Carrying an
      ILLEGAL ID, NOT paying State/Local taxes, and drawing welfare from more than (1) one county
      by using more ILLEGAL ID’s.

  5. avatar

    Is when Millenials (legal American youth) go on useless job searching due to current immigration overpopulation, after a giant college loan and promises that a college education is the key to prosperity in America. A lot of this generation in places like California and Texas are the children of illegal immirgants that Reagan legalized, its a generation that has more parents that are foreign born one reason that Obama won among those under 30.

  6. avatar

    I would like to see how CAP concluded that Illegal immigrants are a boon to the economy? Most illegal immigrants earned less than $30,000 a year. So if they are legalized, then how can they contribute to the economy because under current IRS rules they will pay no Federal Income tax for a family of four, receive several thousands dollars a year under the earned Income tax credit, and a $1,000 per child tax credit. In my school district it cost $9,400 a year per child to educate them from K – 12 grade. As for state taxes, any contribution they make would not even come close to covering the educational expense for their two children. For Hispanic families, they generally have four children. They would pay Social Security taxes, sales taxes, and gasoline taxes, but off setting that would be free medical care, rent subsidies, free school lunches, Social Security disability benefits and pensions for their parents and grandparents that are brought here,, and many other social programs that are available. No matter how anyone does the math, illegal immigrants once they are granted amnesty, will be a burden on society for at least two generations. One further reminder, 54% of all Hispanics babies are born outside of marriage, which means welfare payment, and food stamps are addtional benefits. Congress would be making a big mistake by granting amnesty again. As they say fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. In my opinion there is a good chance that amnesty will be granted. Congress never learns from the past, and that is why America is in a state of decline.

    • avatar

      I Agree With You Fred

      Except your numbers, the average job for the Millenials [legal American youth] and the new immigration overpopulation competing for the same scarce jobs is $10.92/hr and 28 hr work weeks; that about $16K/yr…assuming you can keep off the unemployed “giveup” list we don’t count. The earned income tax credit kicks in when you’re married and income is $19,190….$13,980 if you’re single. This is your W-2 line 1 income without reduction(s).

      The EIC is dinky too…at best about $500.

    • avatar

      Can we all see now why we have borrowed so much money from
      NON-ALLY countries to the US. We NEVER ever borrowed money
      from countries that were NOT U.S. allies!!! The U.S. is in REAL Trouble.

  7. avatar

    The Real Bait and Switch

    Is when Millenials (legal American youth) go on useless job searching due to current immigration overpopulation, after a giant college loan and promises that a college education is the key to prosperity in America.

  8. avatar

    And here I thought you were referring to the bait and switch of presenting studies done primarily with LEGAL immigrants as though the results were generalizable to illegal aliens. The latter tend to be less educated and less skilled and, well, illegal. When even LEGAL immigrants have a net benefit to the economy of about $10 billion (basically a rounding error), it’s a real leap of imagination to claim that illegal aliens have more of a benefit. It’s also worth noting that benefits go mainly to immigrants/illegal aliens themselves.

  9. avatar

    This is not rocket science. They are low education, low income. If they are given citizenship they will use welfare programs at rates far above their share of the population. Nor do these so called “studies” address the whole costs they put on society. Schools, roads, utilities, police, there is a bottom line cost for every person. They don’t disappear into thin air when they leave work. “Paying more” into the system is meaningless. EVERY group pays MORE than what they “take out”, if you just calculate taxes paid vs. welfare used, but that is far from the end of costs. Look at what local taxpayers have to pay for the illegal who has five kids in school.

  10. avatar

    I grew up in California, some fifty years ago. In a short forty years, the democRAT party along with the traitorous republiCON,party have brought this once “most fantastic of all states” to utter ruin by allowing unbridled leftist policies, even far leftist policies to run the state. Roads have fishing hole sized potholes, bridges are near collapsing, legal longtime Californians are forceed to pay higher taxes for roads we already paid for that have now been turned into toll roads. All of this to support Mexico’s citizens, who come here feeling utterly entitiled to ALL OF THE THINGS THAT CORRUPT MEXICO REFUSED TO DO FOR THEM. If American citizens of all stripes don’t put a stop to this treason, them will become subject to the same conditions legal Californians who built the state with their taxes are subject to. Good luck and remember, STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES–a message from leftists in Hollywood, who have greatly helped in ruining California. PEACE. BROTHER/SISTER CITIZENS. Perhaps Washinton will represent us one day, but don’t hold your breath.

  11. avatar

    The leftist Center for American Progress (CAP) also lumps the contributions of legal immigrants with the illegal aliens. The legal immigrant category includes people whose skills and enterprises add far more to the economy than they use of public services.