You already know Reason 1: both sides of the issue have resorted to the lowest level of debate, appealing to fear, name-calling and emotion as a substitute for general principles of law, ethics and common sense. The pro-illegal immigration forces engage in cynical sentimentality, romanticizing of law-breakers, and false characterizations in order to demonize principled opponents of open-boarders (Hate! Racists! Xenophobes! Children in cages!) Those who believe immigration laws must be enforced resort to fear-mongering, stereotyping illegal immigrants as disproportionately populated by dangerous gang members, felons, killers and rapists.
Reason 2: Nobody reads all the data, and few are interested in the facts. A 2016 report by the National Academies of Science (NAS), a generally progressive-biased but fair and non-political organization, since this is the tilt of academics generally,estimated that the cost to American workers. For example, on page 171 of its September 2016 report, the researchers suggested that immigration, legal and illegal, imposes a 5.2 percent income tax on Americans:
Immigrant labor accounts for 16.5 percent of the total number of hours worked in the United States, which . . . implies that the current stock of immigrants lowered [Americans’] wages by 5.2 percent.
NAS panel member George Borjas, a Harvard economist, calculated the value of the tax at $500 billion a year. The NAS also found that immigrants (legal and illegal) currently create a net fiscal deficit (taxes paid minus services used) that is as large as or larger than the economic benefit to the nation. The immigrants themselves do benefit by coming here. Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, said at the time the study was released,
“The new NAS report provides invaluable insight,. Immigration is primarily a redistributive policy, transferring income from workers to owners of capital and from taxpayers to low-income immigrant families. The information in the new report will help Americans think about these tradeoffs in a constructive way.”
Well, yes, if Americans know about the study, read it, and the news media and politicians fairly and honestly describe it rather than hiding conclusions that undermine their agendas. Let’s see now: No, no, aaaand…no. Strike three.
Reason 3: Opponents of illegal immigration are often just as dishonest in their arguments as illegal immigration defenders, even to the point of imitating their foes’ deceit of confounding illegal immigration with legal immigration. For example, here.s popular conservative blogger Don Surber on the NAS study:
[T]he true cost to American workers for allowing illegal aliens to work here [is] $493.9 billion annually, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine….illegal aliens lower wages by that amount. It is a 5.2% payroll reduction, a tax if you will on workers. And unlike federal income taxes that hit the 1% hardest, this payroll tax hits lower wage workers the hardest.
None of the sources Surber cites, including the study, make that claim about illegal immigration.