I have some questions. For starters, doesn’t it seem like, if you call your blog Tennessee Conservative Watch, that you are watching conservatives? If I had a blog called B.’s Boob Watch wouldn’t you expect to find boobs being watched, not a blog of things watched by my boobs?
Maybe I’m just overly picky.
Secondly, saying that “We estimate that the annual fiscal burden on the state’s taxpayers is about $285 million” is effective. $285 million dollars seems like a heavy annual burden. “That equates to a cost per native-born headed household of more than $122”? Not nearly as effective. More than $122 a year per household? I’m sorry. Yes, it’s an amount of money. But reading that literally caused me to laugh out loud.
Oh no! Not $122 a year!
And where is this vast, massive $122 per native born household per year going?
$23 million goes to health care. That means the roughly 2,336,000 native born headed households are paying $10 a year to provide healthcare for illegal immigrants. Ten whole dollars! I bet we have that in change in our couch.
Okay, what about law enforcement?
The uncompensated cost of incarcerating deportable illegal aliens in Tennessee state and local prisons amounts to about $5.7 million a year.
Um, I’m supposed to be outraged at $2.45 a year? Yes, so far illegal immigrants are costing my household $12.45 a year to make sure that they have healthcare and go to jail.
So, I’m still not feeling how this is an undue burden on the taxpayers of Tennessee. After all, since we don’t have an income tax and everyone who shops here pays sales tax, that $2.45 per native born household is less than that in actuality.
But, you ask, what about the education costs?
Based on an estimate of the 100,000 illegal immigrants in Tennessee in 2007 and estimated per pupil costs of $7,850 per year for public K-12 schooling, Tennesseeans spend nearly $228 million annually on education for the children of illegal immigrants. An additional more than $27 million is being spent annually on programs for limited English students who likely are children of illegal aliens.
And, this, my friends, is why it’s so important to keep an eye on the conservative rhetoric when it comes to illegal immigration. You see how quickly the rhetoric shifts from being about illegal immigrants to being about U.S. citizens? And then watch how it slides from U.S. citizens who definitely are the children of illegal immigrants to U.S. citizens who are “likely” the children of illegal immigrants.
I’m tired, so I want to, for the moment, overlook the intellectual dishonesty necessary to come up with the $228 million number (does it assume that there are an equal number of male and female illegal immigrants in Tennessee? How long does it assume those immigrants stay here? How are they identifying which children are the children of illegal immigrants? Etc.). But I do want to talk about the two-pronged bullshit of this approach.
One prong is the idea that conservatives promote of the importance of individuality and of each person being judged as an individual and on his own merit, and yet, when it comes to this topic, some of them are more than happy to hold the U.S. citizen children of illegal immigrants responsible for the actions of their parents and to suggest punishing those citizens for their parents’ activities. Well, which is it? Is each person only responsible for himself or do we talk about the cost of educating U.S. citizens as a part of the cost of illegal immigration? Or are we just supposed to ignore that inconsistency?
Second prong is how willing conservatives are to wrap themselves in the flag and to pretend as if they are the super patriots while at the same time being willing to promote this notion that there are certain U.S. citizens who aren’t real citizens and who are willing to promote the unconstitutional idea that being born here isn’t really enough to qualify you for citizenship.
Citizens have a right to a publicly funded education. Period. Denying them or working to deny them an education, calling the education of these citizens problematic because of the status of these citizens’ parents, is just about as fundamentally un-American as anything I can think of, with the exception of calling citizens’ education problematic because they are “likely” the children of any despised group.
We are still better than this. And we can recognize this nonsense for the bigotry it is and stand against it.
Citizens have a right to an education and other benefits of citizenship, regardless of who their parents are or what their parents have done.