Obama’s immigration order could cost Florida taxpayers billions

Florida has the highest increase in illegal immigration of any state from 2009 to 2012, according to the Pew Research Center.By nature of avoiding detection, exact figures are hard to come by. But usingcommunity survey data, Pew’s Hispanic Trends Project estimates about 925,000 unauthorized immigrants now live in the Sunshine State, or roughly one for every 11 of the nation’s 11.2 million illegal immigrant population.

President Obama’s executive order last week in which he bypassed Congress and suspended deportations to some 4 to 5 million undocumented aliens will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the state, both politically and economically.

Given the importance of Florida as the nation’s largest swing state in presidential elections and the propensity of Hispanics and Latinos to vote mostly Democratic, the president’s unilateral action is widely viewed as a bold effort to court current and future voters. Just two weeks removed from a Republican mid-term election “shellacking,” Obama had said previously such an executive order was unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, the move was immediately hailed as a political win among the president’s most ardent immigration supporters.

Janet Murguia, president and chief executive of the National Council of La Raza, which translates in English as “the race,” called it “a victory” for the president, and touted economic benefits that will soon follow.

“It will bolster our economy so those who are working will do so legally in a way that increases tax contributions for the nation and prevents bad employers from pitting them against U.S.-citizen workers,’ Murguia said.

But the net economic benefits of the immigration order, a core policy argument, are a matter of sincere dispute.

Tax revenues from an influx of millions of newly lawful residents — still not U.S. citizens — will indeed increase government revenues. Whether the total tax contributions will outweigh the costs of generous public benefits they may receive is unclear, experts say.

Bob Dane, communications director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants will compound existing fiscal problems.

“Adding millions of poor immigrants who are mostly government dependent into a welfare system that is already at the breaking point is hardly a serious definition of stimulating the economy,” Dane said.

“It’s going to cost a ton of money. Most illegal aliens are low skilled and don’t earn enough to pay for government benefits. Those affected will get more in tax credits than any income taxes they’ll put in,” he added.

That’s the kind of tough talk vote-seeking politicians tend to avoid.

Read more at Watchdog.org

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

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