It is widely accepted that Europe holds more liberal (or progressive) policies and attitudes than those in the U.S. That is one reason that immigration advocates often point to the EU open border policy when advocating for immigration reform in America. But we can learn from Europe, specifically England, about what impact poorly thought out immigration policy can have.
One of the tenets of the EU is open borders. Some members of the EU, notably Germany under Chancellor Angela Merkel, feel that this is an immutable aspect of the EU. Britain does not share this opinion though. England has had an increase of 43% in immigration between June 2013 – 2014. Much of this migration has been low skilled workers that have placed a burden on the welfare and school systems – both through abuse and the increased numbers.
As a result Prime Minister David Cameron, on November 27, 2014, in proposing requirements for immigrants to reside in England for 4 years before being eligible for work benefits or housing support. He stated,
“We intend to cut migration from within Europe by dealing with abuse; restricting the ability of migrants to stay here without a job; and reducing the incentives for lower paid, lower skilled workers to come here in the first place.”
The goal for England is to reduce overall the number of immigrants, and specifically those with low work skills who disproportionally add a burden to England. This directly opposes the vision supporters of immigration reform paint about the impact of low skilled workers. An impact that California is experimenting with.
California has an estimated 2.6 million illegal aliens, 1.2 million of which now fall under the unilateral immigration reform de facto law implemented by President Obama without the consent of Congress. Legislators in California are planning to try to pass legislation that would allow at least those covered by President Obama’s Executive Order to be covered by MediCal – the State’s Medicaid. Currently MediCal costs California $17 billion, with the total to increase under the terms of Obamacare to 10 percent of funds currently covered by the Government. Obamacare has resulted in an increase of 3 million people being covered by MediCal, thus 30% of the population are now covered by the plan. This does not include the proposed illegal aliens.
California’s debt is currently $424 billion, with a deficit of $18 billion. California is rated Some reports believe that the actual debt including unfunded liabilities, a federal loan for unemployment, and bonds is actually $443 billion. Either way, the undisputed progressive capital of the nation can’t pay its bills. Even as some seek to increase those bills.
This urgency to add illegal aliens to the health care rolls is due in no small part to the unilateral Executive Order of President Obama. How other States will react is unclear, but New York’s reaction will be of note. Recently re-elected Gov. Andrew Cuomo has doubled down on his call to make New York the “progressive capital” of the nation – an effort he mentioned in the 2013 and 2014 State of the State Addresses. Gov. Cuomo’s actions to withdraw the State from the Secure Communities Program in 2011 – a program to deport felons that are illegally in the nation – is also a sign that efforts to follow California may be in the near future. New York is currently the nation, with a debt of $365 billion and a deficit of $103 billion.
Thus at every step, from DACA to the unilateral overreach of immigration reform via Executive order, from California to New York, low skilled workers, unattended children, and burdens to the health care, welfare, and other entitlement systems is growing. Even as our “progressive” ideal of Europe is rejecting the very same things.
Why the US would pursue such a divergent path, beyond the political partisan benefit, is unclear. What is clear is the lesson that an immigration policy that is not well thought out will result in a burden to the system that will outlast and outweigh the political benefit in the long-term.