Thursday, March 6, 2008
A common complaint about undocumented immigrants is that they cost municipalities too much to provide services -- schools, emergency care, police, etc. Much of the complaint is exaggerated and much is misplaced. In many municipalities away from the border it is merely good social policy -- and the law -- to provide education and health care in its limited circumstances. But along the border it is somewhat different. The presence of the undocumented, even when they're passing through, create enormous costs, especially in enforcement and detaining the undocumented who caught and held for deportation. A recent study by the University of Arizona and San Diego State University (See NY Times article.) reports that the federal government does not fairly reimburse states and municipalities for the cost of participating in enforcement. Apparently it's more attractive to squander millions on fence that don't work.