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The Crushing Economic Burden of Illegal Immigration By: Jim Gilchrist
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, October 10, 2005

[On August 26, 2005, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the Coalition for Immigration Reform of California co-sponsored a conference on illegal immigration at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Below is the transcript of a speech delivered by Jim Gilchrist, a co-founder of the Minuteman Project civilian border patrol organization, the group of volunteers/vigilantes who guard the US / Mexico border. -- The Editors].


Gilchrist: Thank you.

I want to start off with the definition of the Minuteman Project. We’re not such a sinister thing, as we’re alleged to be. The official definition under the Minuteman Project dictionary is “an alternative to political corruption, dereliction of duty, and blatant disregard for the law.” We’re also “an immigration law enforcement advocacy group.” We’re not vigilantes, thank you!



You know this illegal alien issue veils dozens, literally dozens of issues. Some of the more salient ones are faltering schools, bankrupt hospitals, crime rates, and an infusion of the MS13 gangs into our communities. They’ve even got them in Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska. I was there last weekend. They’re all over the place. 18,000 gang members just from El Salvador alone. I wonder how many more we have from other countries?


You know, have you ever thought of what the cost of carrying maybe as many as 30 million illegal aliens in your country is? Now, I came up with the number 30 million by weighing what Bear Stearns issues as a report last September. Their claim is that there were approximately 20 to 22 million illegal aliens. Barton’s Research says there’s 29 million illegal aliens occupying U.S. territory. La Raza claims it’s more than 40 million, but I don’t trust La Raza’s numbers. I think that [number] was used to intimidate us. In other words, “There are 40 million illegal aliens here; you’d better start giving us voting rights or we’re going to take you over.”


I’m comfortable with 30 million. It’s an astounding number. But when you take a trip through any community, whether it’s in Southern California; in Des Moines, Iowa; Providence, Rhode Island; there’s not one community in this country that does not have a foreign enclave, where English is not understood, English is not respected, and the American culture is unwanted. We want to bring our foreign country into “your” neighborhood and create our own country. It’s called lack of assimilation. It’s something that will literally tearing this country apart, and we will go the way of Russia: After 75 years of Communism they split into about eight different countries.


I’ve tried to figure out the costs since I have this tax background. What is the cost to each of us as taxpayers to support 30 million illegal aliens, many of whom are working in the underground economy and not contributing to the tax system? And yet they’re using the system that bona fide taxpayers provide and pay for.


In California alone it’s at least $1,500 per taxpayer, depending upon what tax bracket you’re in. If, of course, you’re making over $300,000-$400,000 a year, then you’re probably paying about $12,000 a year in support payments for the illegal alien benefit programs. If you’re making only $30,000 a year, you’re probably only paying about $200. But roughly it averages out to at least $1,500, and maybe $1,800, per taxpayer in California…and that’s just for California benefits.


Let’s talk about the total cost. I had to make my own estimate, since the government will not give me these numbers, nor does it care to calculate them. It also doesn’t care even to determine how many people in the United States are murdered by illegal aliens – I’ve tried to get that information, too; it doesn’t exist.


I’ve come up with my own numbers. And I will stand by these numbers. The annual gross cost to U.S. taxpayers to provide schooling, hospitalization, and whatever plethoric benefits are out there for the 30 million illegal aliens is approximately $400 billion per year funded by bona fide U.S. taxpayers. That’s $400 billion per year and going up.


The amount of taxes provided (including the underground economy) by the illegal alien residents of the United States is less than $20 billion as sales taxes and Social Security taxes. The government loves to get the $8 billion or $9 billion a year of Social Security taxes that are not claimed because of illegal aliens not filing tax returns, but is that a fair trade off? That’s $9 billion to put your entire nation of 300 million people under threat? I don’t think so.


The net cost to us, ladies and gentlemen, is $380 billion a year. That’s just for the benefit programs, the education, the hospitalization, food stamps, Section 8 subsidies, rent subsidies, mortgage subsidies, etc.


Bear Stearns has found another tax loophole for the illegal aliens and some Americans, too, who work in the underground economy: Because they might be deported they’re afraid to come forth and present themselves, so they stay underground and hidden. They don’t want Social Security numbers revealed; they don’t want to file tax returns; they don’t want to report their income.


That cost to the U.S. Treasury is $500 billion; that’s one-half trillion dollars per year. And that is increasing annually. We’re talking close to $1 trillion additional deficit to our U.S. Treasury. This is something that we’re going to have to pay for, or our heirs are going to have to pay for. We’d better think about what the consequences are of uncontrolled immigration.


And, again, the criticism here is not against legal immigrants. I grew-up amongst legal immigrants. My grandparents on both sides are legal immigrants. The problem is with the uncontrolled tsunami of illegal immigrants. Some 3.6 million last year weren’t apprehended. That’s more people than we have in our entire Armed Forces, including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corp. And every year this is going up.


This year, I predict it will be 4.5 million illegal aliens that will invade this country from all four borders of the country. Some 90 percent of it will come from the southern border because of the geographic convenience. The year after that, it could be close to 7 million. Then 10 million. And by 2018, a tsunami of perhaps 20 to 30 million.


I know this sounds like a fiction novel, but it’s not. I’m comfortable making these estimates. I’ve seen the numbers grow over 20 years. In 1965, we had less than 2,000 illegal aliens enter the United States and occupy it. Now, 40 years later in 2005, you will have 4 million. Extrapolate that rate of increase over the next 10-to-15 years, it would not surprise me if we have 150 million illegal aliens in the United States. They will dilute our voting rights, and we will be essentially powerless. And that scares me.


What’s kept the United States together is this very strong middle class, but it seems to be shrinking now. The upper class seems to be doing OK. Why is that? Well, we have 10 million illegal aliens coming in to take 10 million middle class jobs, and the illegal aliens are working for one-third or one-fourth of what the middle class workers were being compensated. Well, that’s going to not only put the 10 million illegals into the lower class, a very economically dependent class that’s creating these tax liabilities for the rest of us, but it’s also going to add 10 million American citizens into that lower class, because now they’re either under-employed or unemployed. Now, we’ve got 20 million more needy people on welfare and food stamps, and who need uncompensated hospitalization at no charge – which puts hospitals into bankruptcy.


What I see in the future, especially over the next 10 to 20 years, is a huge expansion of the lower class, and a rapidly shrinking middle class. When that happens, we’re going to be in big trouble. I don’t know ultimately what the consequences of that would be, but I think it’s going to be some type of insurrection. Raid the few rich that have money left and take everything that they have, spread it out amongst the rest of us who have nothing? It’s not a pretty future.


So, I think by eliminating this epidemic of illegal alien immigration, we could fend-off that threat to the middle class. We could face the threat to our Social Security program, and the threat to our educational system. We’d stop bankrupting these hospitals and have better medical care for our elderly. And people who are legitimately uninsured can get those services. And we certainly would have a well-deserved reduction in crime.


Three years ago last April 29th, a police officer, Deputy David March, was executed in Irwindale, California. His murderer, Armando Garcia, fled to Mexico. He’s been living freely down there, running his drug trade, without any threat of being apprehended or extradited to the United States to stand trial for that murder. He got a life sentence of freedom by running across the border. Deputy March’s parents and the slain officer’s sister get a life sentence of frustration and misery.


We have approximately 3,000 to 4,000 – I’m not certain of the number; it depends on who you talk to – people who have murdered someone within the United States and have fled to Mexico and escaped justice. That’s something I would like to see us change.




That’s something we can do with the help of people like Congressman Tancredo. Sorry for digressing here, but that injustice is something that’s been very close to my heart for a long time.


What I’m proposing is, instead of bringing the world’s population of 6.5 billion people into the United States to show everyone how benevolent we are and what good people we are – out of some kind of undeserved guilt which eventually will lead to our own self-destruction – I say we enforce our U.S. immigration laws.


The alternative is to invite them all in, and that’s really not a plausible alternative. I don’t think we will find anyone in this room who would agree that it is.

Certainly, it’s going to result in a decrease in the tax revenues needed to support a dependent lower class and on assimilated class. And I, for one, would like to get out of the 84 percent lifetime tax bracket and get down to something like maybe a 10 percent lifetime tax bracket. But that’s my preference.


Thank you all for joining me, and thank you very much for the support that you’ve given to the Minuteman Project. You, the people in this room, have been the lifeblood of that project. It’s incredible how fast it’s grown. We’re at a point now after only 9 or 10 months, where I thought it would take us five years to get. And thank you all for your support.



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Jim Gilchrist is the founder of the Minutemen. He is also a former newspaper reporter and won a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam.

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