National Data | Chart | The Bush Betrayal—By The Numbers
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Is George W. Bush the worst president since (or including) Jimmy Carter? Should he be impeached?

Certainly something quite extraordinary has been happening with immigration policy under Bush. ( Table 1— George W. Bush's Legacy—By the Numbers.)

  • The illegal alien population grew by 5.3 million, or ABOUT 79 PERCENT (!!!), during the first six Bush years.

The illegal alien stock was increasing by about 880,000 per year between 2000 and 2005, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. [Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S, March 7, 2006.]So, assuming 2006 was an average year, the illegal alien population would have risen to 11.95 million. The post 2000 increase in illegals is 5.3 million, an increase of 79% on the 2000 total of 6.7 million.

Put another way: –almost half of the U.S.'s illegal alien population arrived since President Bush first took the oath of office and swore to uphold the law…including immigration law,

(And that's assuming the government's estimate of the illegal population is right. Other estimates put the illegal population as high as 20 million).

  • The legal immigrant population increased to 27.2 million, or by about 13 percent, during the Bush years.

Under Bush, legal immigration reached levels not seen since the late 1980s-early 1990s IRCA amnesty:

  • 2000: 841,002

  • 2001: 1,058,902

  • 2002: 1,059,356

  • 2003: 703,542

  • 2004: 957,883

  • 2005: 1,122,373

  • 2006: 1,266,254

By 2006, the foreign-born population of the U.S. amounted to 12.4% of the total, up from 10.9% in 2000.

  • Nearly 2 million children were born to immigrants (legal and illegal) that entered the U.S. since Bush became President.

The American-born children of illegal immigrants are known as "anchor babies" because they are technically regarded as American citizens under the current misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment. This would also be true of any children born here to "temporary workers". But significantly none of Bush's temporary worker proposals have addressed this problem. Altogether, Bush era immigrants and their children (known to demographers as "foreign stock") increased the U.S. population by an estimated 8.1 million. They accounted for 45% of U.S. population growth since 2000.

Bush policy is a major reason why the U.S. white population is projected to go into a minority by 2050.

  • Interior enforcement has been quietly abandoned

An estimated 7.2 million illegal aliens worked for U.S. employers in 2005. Total arrested on the jobsite by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) agents: a mere 251.  Of those arrested, only 188 were actually convicted of violating immigration laws. As recently as 1997, there were 17,554 workplace arrests. [Homeland Security, 2005 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, November 2006. Table 37. PDF]

Bottom line: Only 0.003 percent of illegal alien workers can expect to be arrested.

Employers face even less of a risk. In 2004 only three (3!) were fined for hiring illegals.

That's as of 2004. For some strange reason, Homeland Security's latest annual compendium of immigration statistics does not report the number of employers fined. 

Wonder why? (Ask them here, or ask the White House here.).

  • Well over half of all new jobs created under Bush went to immigrants.

From 2000 to 2006 the foreign-born workforce grew by 5.3 million, or 31 percent. Over the same period the number of U.S.-born workers rose by 3.9 million, or 3.3 percent. So some 57 of every 100 jobs created during the first six Bush years went to an immigrant.

 (I have quantified American worker displacement on a monthly basis for a number of years. Our metric, which we call the VDARE American Worker Displacement Index (VDAWDI), uses Hispanic job growth as a proxy for immigrant job growth, and it has tracked the Bureau of Labor Statistics's foreign-born employment figures remarkably well. See my latest VDAWDI analysis here).

In 2006 immigrants accounted for 15.4 percent of total employment, up from 14.8 percent the prior year. As recently as 2000, only 12.5 percent of total employment was foreign born.

Assuming that immigrant and native-born employment growth continues at the pace of 2000-2006, the immigrant share of U.S. employment will exceed 50 percent by mid-century Table 2

  • (While we're on the subject, the economic contribution of illegals is trivial)

Seven million two hundred thousand illegal aliens were employed in 2005, according to Pew.  Total American employment was about 141.7 million that year. So illegals represent about 5 percent of all workers.

And their economic contribution is considerably less than their numbers. Mexican male workers (legal and illegal) in the U.S. less than 10 years make just 38 percent of the annual average income of U.S. natives.

If the average illegal immigrant earns, say, 30 percent of what natives make, the share of GDP attributable to these workers would be a mere 1.5 percent (5.0 percent times 30 percent).

After taxes, the economic loss from alien removal is still less. In his recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Robert Rector calculates the fiscal deficit of households headed by immigrants who lack a high school diploma. He finds that the average uneducated immigrant household receives an average in $30,164 in government benefits, Pays $10,573 in government taxes, and generates a fiscal deficit of $19,588 ($30,164 less $10,573) There are an estimated 3 million households headed by illegal aliens in the U.S. This implies that the fiscal deficit (benefits received less taxes paid) attributable to illegal immigrants  equals $58.1 billion (3 million times $19,588).

Bottom line: Deporting illegal alien workers would effectively cut taxes for natives by nearly $60 billion.

Moreover, removing illegal aliens would ultimately increase wages earned by natives—especially the unskilled. Harvard economist George Borjas finds that immigration has already reduced the average wage of native born high school dropouts by 7.4 percent. [ Increasing the Supply of Labor Through Immigration CIS Backgrounder, May 2004]

  • Income distribution has been skewed by immigration under Bush

Since the third quarter of 2001 the share of GDP going to corporate profits has soared from 7.0 percent to 11.6 percent, while the share going to labor compensation declined by 2.4 percentage points. Real median income actually declined in 2003 and 2004.  

This occurred despite a significant increase in labor productivity.

Optimists insist that, in the long run, profits can only grow as fast as GDP. If this is true, then labor's declining income share is unsustainable, and will eventually "self correct." That's what we've seen historically.

But the foreign-born share of the labor force is also unprecedented. Since 2001 illegals have accounted for most of immigrant labor force growth. Until the mass influx of unskilled workers is controlled, the balance of power will continue to tip toward capital and away from labor.

How much has immigration cost American workers in lost wages?

Professor Borjas finds that each 10% increase in the U.S. labor force due to immigration reduces native wages by about 3.5%.["The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration in the Labor Market," NBER, June 2003.] Foreign-born workers currently account for about 15.4% of the U.S. labor force.

If Borjas is right, immigrant workers reduce native wages by an average of 5.4% (15.4/10.0 X 3.5%). This will amount to an astonishing $323 billion American wage loss in 2007 alone.

In total, over the Bush years (2001 through my estimate for 2007),American workers will have lost an estimated $1.854 trillion in wages because of foreign worker displacement.

  • Bush's criminal alien nation has increased

Criminal aliens—non-citizens convicted of crimes—are an increasing burden on U.S. prison systems. In 1980, Federal and state facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. But at the end of 2004—when the latest numbers are available—approximately 267,000 non-citizens were incarcerated in U.S. correctional facilities:

  • 46,000 in Federal prisons

  • 74,000 in state prisons

  • 147,000 in local jails

Approximately 27 percent of all prisoners in Federal Bureau of Prison facilities are criminal aliens. The majority (63 percent) are citizens of Mexico. Other major nationalities include Colombia and the Dominican Republic (7 percent each); Jamaica 4 percent; Cuba 3 percent; El Salvador 2 percent; and Honduras, Haiti, and Guatemala (1 percent each).  The remaining 11 percent are from are 164 different countries.

The Bureau of Prisons budget request for Fiscal Year 2008 called for spending $5.4 billion.  Using 27 percent as an allocation factor, we estimate the costs of holding foreign-born, non-citizen inmates in BOP facilities will be $1.5 billion.

While this may seem large, it is not. A shortage of available prison capacity has forced Federal authorities to release criminal aliens prematurely. Nationally an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 illegal immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes still walk the streets. (For them, crime pays.)

  • Millions of Iraqi Refugees? It's possible.

Immigrants designated as "refugees" and admitted under the 1980 Refugee Act have emerged as a particular problem. They are immediately eligible for various government welfare programs, and the evidence is clear that they stay on them. Moreover, they start chain-migrating relatives under the "family reunification" provisions of current law.

Refugee admissions have increased sharply under Bush:

  • 2003: 34,362 refugees admitted
  • 2004: 61,013
  • 2005: 112,676
  • 2006: 99,609

There's been nearly three-fold increase since the start of Iraqi hostilities.

Applying our past experience with refugee flows generated by our foreign wars and entanglements to Iraq's current 25 million population, we can generate a plausible range for the number and timing of Iraqi refugees settling in the U.S.

  • 75,000 Iraqi refugees by 2016 under the Somali refugee scenario
  • 500,000 Iraqi refugees by 2016 under the Bosnian scenario
  • 560,000 Iraqi refugees by 2036 under the Vietnam scenario
  • 2.5 million Iraqi refugees by 2044 under the Cuban scenario

When I first made this estimate, it may have sounded implausible. But recently, the admission of Iraqi refugees has been surfacing in the Mainstream Media.

The creation of Iraqi enclaves in America may be the lasting legacy of the Bush betrayal.

Edwin S. Rubenstein (email him) is President of ESR Research Economic Consultants in Indianapolis.

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