Thursday, January 22, 2015

The financial cost of not deporting?

What is immigration costing Md.? I read with interest The Sun’s article, “More school money sought” (Jan. 12). The article notes that the superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools is requesting an 8.7 percent increase in the school budget. In part, the increase is needed due to “an influx of children in need” and “to hire teachers of students who speak English as a second language.” The article explains: “... school superintendents across the Baltimore region are trying to balance the fiscal constraints of strapped state and local governments against growing enrollments and rising low-income and immigrant populations.”

   Our state and various local governments have provided incentives, or at least no disincentives, for undocumented workers and their families to live in the state. On the positive side, these families can enrich the culture of our communities. Also, these families provide hard-working persons willing to accept jobs that no one else wants. But there are fiscal and, in some cases social, costs to these policies. In certain types of businesses — landscaping, for example — entrepreneurs cannot compete with businesses that hire and pay undocumented workers at low wages. Also, there are health care, educational and social services costs to address the needs of the undocumented worker population.

   Maryland desperately needs an independent, unbiased study of the costs and benefits of our current policies. We have a right to clearly understand the real cost of unbridled acceptance of undocumented workers and their families compared to the real benefits offered by continuing these policies. Such a study should be conducted by one or more of our state’s universities that have the needed expertise and impartiality to conduct such research.

   Martin S. Schugam

Letter to the editor, The Baltimore Sun, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ben Ferro