By: Chris Myers
Should the U.S. grant amnesty to immigrants who came here illegally? The answer to this question is yes, they should. What's wrong with granting amnesty to hard-working, tax-paying individuals whose only crime is their immigration status? Amnesty is not only the best solution to our immigration problem, it is the only feasible solution. Here are some reasons to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants now.
Immigration is good for the economy. Despite all the fuss about immigrants stealing jobs, immigration actually provides a benefit to the economy, whether those immigrants crossed the border legally or not. Why you ask? Because of what economists call the specialization of labor. As Jonathan Hoenig, proprietor of the Capitalist Pig blog, explains: “The fact that foreigners are eager to pick crops, clean houses, bus tables and produce allows more of us to afford cheaper food and better services, affording us even more wealth to enjoy and invest. It’s not the immigrants, but the taxes, spending and entitlements (most of which immigrants don’t even receive) that have drained the economy dry.”
Another reason is the immigrants already pay taxes. One of President Obama’s markers on the path to citizenship is “paying taxes,” but most illegal immigrants already do so. As Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia has reported, in 2006 an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants (up to two thirds of the total population) paid taxes, including both income taxes and Medicare and Social Security taxes. Indeed, revenue from illegal immigrants is estimated at $11 billion a year to Social Security alone, and there's not even a pretense of those payments leading to eventual benefits. And of course everyone who buys things in the U.S. pays sales taxes, irrespective of their immigration status. Undoubtedly, even more illegal immigrants would pay taxes if they didn’t have to...