Guess Who Profits, Who Suffers, and Who Pays
North Carolina House Bill 328 is titled the “Highway Safety/Citizens Protection Act.” Bills backed by special interest supported legislators tend to have misleading and deceptive titles, but this one deserves special recognition for its insult to honest government. The claims that it will improve highway safety and make the public safer are farfetched. HB 328 gives drivers permits to illegal immigrants who should not be in North Carolina in the first place. This is an amnesty just as unlawful as those given recently by President and chief-law-breaker Barack Obama. It will serve as a strong magnet drawing even more illegal immigrants to North Carolina.
HB 328 will make it easier for illegal immigrants to get jobs that rightly belong to North Carolina natives and legal immigrants. More important to its sponsors, it will make hiring illegals easier and serve as a green light for employers who profit from cheap illegal foreign labor to expand this practice. This will displace many North Carolina workers and drive down the wages of many more who must compete with cheap imported labor for jobs. The fiscal, economic, and social consequences of this unpatriotic and unethical displacement of American labor by cheaper foreign labor are far more negative in consequence than most people dream.
According to the 2013 Heritage Foundation study on illegal immigration and amnesty, unlawful immigrant households use $14,387 more per year in benefits and services than they pay in taxes of any kind. Who pays for this? It is not the employers of unlawful immigrants. This fiscal deficit is essentially an indirect public subsidy to employers of illegal immigrants. It is the continually abused taxpayers who pay or absorb the liability. These costs fall disproportionately on state and local governments. According to the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigration costs North Carolina state, county, and local governments $2.0 billion per year. FAIR is by no means the only organization to have substantiated the high costs of illegal immigration. Legislators and voters should also view the extensive research of the Center for Immigration Studies (cis.org) and NumbersUSA (numbersusa.com).
One of the worst probable effects of HB 328 is that giving illegal immigrants a red carpet treatment complete with driving privileges and an identity card will inevitably draw more illegal immigrants to North Carolina versus states that enforce immigration laws. For example, the 1986 national amnesty increased illegal immigration dramatically by 1990 and more than two fold within a decade. The impact of HB 328, if passed, will not be trivial. It would be a dramatic multiplier of illegal immigration and all the problems and costs that go with it.
Yet HB 328’s chief sponsor is Republican Representative Harry Warren of Rowan County. I have been a Republican county chairman in two states, but I have seldom seen Republican legislation as insulting to the party’s base as giving effective amnesty and a driver’s permit to illegals. Republicans are going to have to clean up their act, if they want to stay a majority party in North Carolina and the nation. Conservative voters are not going to vote on the basis of blind Republican loyalty, when they see their principles ignored and trampled by deception and spineless caving to special interest money. Republican voters who accept such violations of public trust on the basis of “party loyalty” are actually undermining their party, honest government, and the common good of the people.
Dr. George Borjas, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and himself a Cuban immigrant, is recognized by many as the leading labor economist in the United States. His research has revealed the staggering negative impact of too much legal and illegal immigrant labor on American workers. Immigrants “contribute” $1.6 trillion or 11 percent per year to the American economy. This is not necessarily an incremental increase in the economy, but merely their share of the present economy. A significant part of their share is actually a displacement of American workers from the workforce. But even assuming the $1.6 trillion is their contribution, the net benefit of immigration to the American economy is only $35 billion or 0.2 percent of the annual GDP. per year. This trivial amount is more than offset by the annual fiscal deficits caused by illegal immigration estimated by various sources as between $55 billion to $100 billion. (Heritage, FAIR, et al.)
The $35 billion is the net effect of $437 billion in profits for businesses and individuals using foreign-born labor and a wage reduction of $402 billion for American workers. Divide this by 147 million American workers and you get an annual depression of $2,734 per American worker. The cost for North Carolina is probably not far from the U.S. average. The negative impact on American workers for 11.5 million illegals in the country is about $109 billion per year versus $118 billion per year profits for those who use illegal immigrant labor. The impact of the current illegal immigrant population per American worker is $741 per year in depressed wages. The wages of American workers have been stagnant for the last 15 years, owing largely to substantially increased levels of both legal and illegal immigration. Any legislation that is likely to increase illegal immigration into North Carolina is going to hurt North Carolina workers and taxpayers. Excessive legal immigration of cheap labor does the same thing. If legislators will only do their homework instead of listening to special interest claims, they will find the damage done to North Carolina workers and taxpayers far exceeds the questionable and unlawful benefits of giving illegal immigrants identity cards and the privilege of driving.
The supporters of HB 328 claim that giving drivers training to illegals will reduce highway accidents. This analysis is so shallow as to be inexcusable negligence. Whatever is gained by this will be overwhelmed by the probable increase in illegal immigration caused by essentially WELCOMING illegal immigrants to North Carolina. A 2006 study by the Highway Research Center of the University of North Carolina showed that DWI/DUI related accidents for illegal immigrants were 2.5 times greater than the population as a whole. No one outside of a madhouse can believe HB 328 is a highway and public safety bill.
There is also other significant crime due to illegal immigration in North Carolina. North Carolinians for Immigration Reform (NCFire) has been collecting statistics on child rapes and other crimes. In the last 17 months in North Carolina, 1,170 illegal immigrants have been arrested for 5,675 separate charges of child rape. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that
HB 328 opens the door to more of this terrible pain and suffering for children and parents.
Even voters in liberal Oregon voted down a November 2014 Referendum proposal to give driver permits to illegal immigrants by 68 to 32 percent. The idea polls even worse in North Carolina.
HB 328 is not a trivial violation of public trust and honest government. No North Carolina legislator should vote for it.