And This is a Bad Thing How?

This meme has three separate claims:

  1. Illegal immigrants send money home.
  2. Illegal immigrants’ kids get a free education at US tax payer expense.
  3. Illegal immigrants scam welfare to get free lunches, medical treatment, etc.

#3, if true, is a bad thing. However, the rest of the meme is much more misleading.

#2 assumes that the illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes. This may be true for income taxes (although if they work for a company, and that company cannot claim their wages as deductible expenses, it comes out a wash). It isn’t true for other taxes. Jose Labor might be going to my kids’ school, but he lives with his parents (Manuel and Sofia) in an apartment they rent. The apartment complex pays the property taxes on the apartment, and that is what funds Texas schools. When Sofia goes to the grocery store, she pays sales taxes that might also go to the school district.

Last, and worst, #1 may be true, but if so it means that the US got 56 billion dollars of labor for free. We don’t have to pay to create dollars. Our ability to create dollars is limited by inflation targets. If these 56 billion dollars went away and are no longer chasing goods and services in the US, that isn’t a problem.

h/t Melissa McDowell


Heather Mooney brought up a good point on Facebook. This labor changes the distribution of money within the US. For example, if Manual Labor builds houses for less it might make Homer Homebuyer and Cindy Contractor richer, for example, while making Bret Builder poorer.


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