• Immigration by the Numbers

    December 24, 2022 // 7 Comments »

    Numbers can be boring. When discussing immigration blur the lines between sweet old auntie and that bum lapping at the public trough. So let’s look at Mr. Jimenez from Ecuador and Mr. Singh from India, alongside some numbers. Both want to come to the U.S., one for illegal work, one to take his family to New York on a vacation.

    Mr. Jimenez will enter across the Southern Border near El Paso. Many people do, and certainly most illegals. In 2022 there were only 330,037 legal immigrants to the U.S. (LPRs, green card holders.) Meanwhile, over 2.75 million “migrant encounters” occurred along the southwest border since Joe Biden took office. In the Rio Grande Valley sector alone, roughly 10,000 encounters with illegal immigrants occur every week. Those number are expected to rise after December 21 as Title 42, a Trump-era legal speedbump to immigration, expires and more people can apply for asylum from inside the U.S. without waiting first in Mexico. Mr. Jimenez will be an illegal, i.e., not have a U.S. immigrant visa or Green Card. He’ll be in that clump of 2.75 million. As a comparison, historically, the peak year for admission of new immigrants was 1907, when approximately 1.3 million people entered the country.

    “United States Border Patrol had lost operational control of our southern border. They can’t contain what they have now,” former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tom Homan said. The Texas Department of Public Safety says of the 371,000 criminal aliens booked into local jails through May 31, 2022, 255,000 were charged with more than 424,000 criminal offenses. These include more than 700 homicide charges, 51,000 assault charges, and 52,000 drug charges.

    The crime rates aren’t the only problem; the amount of money taxpayers spend for illegal immigrants to call Texas home averages approximately $850 million a year. Texans pay an average of about $152 million a year to house illegal aliens, between $62 million and $90 million to include illegals in Texas’ emergency Medicaid program, and up to $717 million for hospitals to provide uncompensated medical care. Now to be fair immigrants don’t create such a large cost for taxpayers because they’re lazy. Immigrants, legal or illegal, are just regular people trying to make it through the day. But their relatively low level of education means the kinds of jobs they can get don’t pay much. That in a best case scenario means they pay relatively little in taxes and use more in government services.

    These costs are because people in the Biden administration and those who support it believe aliens have a right to enter the U.S. and taking that right away with a wall or a visa regulation is not who we are. Joe Biden called it part of “securing our values as a nation of immigrants.” He’s claimed reducing immigration has been an “unrelenting assault on our values.” Immigration, says Biden, “is essential to who we are as a nation, our core values, and our aspirations for our future.”

    The problem is Mr. Singh from India. Mr. Singh does not want to work in America, does not seek uncompensated medical care or Medicaid. He wants to visit New York on a tourist visa, eschewing the wet walk in at El Paso for a First Class ticket landing him at JFK. He wants to do things the legal way.

    Indians hoping to head the U.S. for vacations are now faced with huge delays in obtaining the interviews needed to be granted a visa. According to the State Department, the wait time in early December for one of these interviews at the American Embassy in New Delhi was 999 calendar days. In Hyderabad, it was 780. In Mumbai, it’s 999. Nothing is higher than 999 days, so one suspects the real toll is in the thousands, and a note warns “These are estimates only and do not guarantee the availability of an appointment.” A non-sarcastic reminder states “Please schedule a regular visa appointment well in advance.” Ironically if Mr. Singh were to fly into Mexico City and seek a U.S. visa interview there, he’d still face a 702 day wait. And by the way, the fee for that visa, should it eventually be issued, is a cool $160 per person.

    According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, pre-Covid India was the country’s 10th biggest tourism market, and fifth biggest spender. The study estimates the U.S. is potentially missing out on $1.6 billion in tourism revenue from Indian tourists alone who opt to go elsewhere in 2023. “To date, we have not seen the desire at the State Department to get this issue addressed,” the study concludes. Not so — the State Department says it has actually begun an IG campaign encouraging Indians to apply for even visas more called the “12 Days of Visas” based on a jaunty Christmas theme. The backup plan is to train diplomats’ spouses and adult children already in-country to do the visas.

    So Joe Biden, time to put up or shut up. If unfettered immigration is part of our national fabric, either deploy the resources needed to properly process visas in India and around the world, or plug the holes along the southern border to greatly slow the rate of illegal immigrants. Trying to have it both ways only leaves the United States looking like a hypocrite on immigration, and that’s not who we are, right?.

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