30 Issues: Immigration

True/False: The United States Has Too Many Immigrants

Monday, October 04, 2010

Randy Altschuler, Republican and Conservative Party nominee for Congress from New York's 1st District, talks about immigration, the role it plays on Long Island, and his belief in the need to enact strong reforms to stop illegal immigration.  Then, Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, talks about her organization's support of broad legalization and comprehensive immigration reform measures.


Randy Altschuler and Chung Wha Hong

Comments [47]

Plutocrats Murdoch and Blumberg (and I expect Gates and Buffett) are all in favor of "comprehensiveimmigrationreform"
[sounds suspiciously like "comprehensivehealthreform"
[another shibboleth seemingly intended to hide legal mandates and the predictable effects of those mandates while allowing supporters to fantasize about those items; see also: "comprehensivefinancialreform"; "comprehensivetaxreform"]
all of these rich men have a vested interest in deflating the cost of labor by encouraging unlimited immigration.

Ready for a cup of tea?

Oct. 15 2010 01:47 PM
Some DATA : Immigration and Jobs. (Pt 2) from NYC

(Ctd from previous posting)

Now naturally one cannot assume that jobs lost to
illegal immigration would be offered to or filled by legal
residents in their absence. No doubt, considerably
fewer of these jobs would be available if they had to pay legal
U.S. standard wages and benefits.

If only half of these jobs survived (due to the requirement
that they pay legal market wages), this would account
for only approximately one third of current unemployment
(in other words reducing the unemployment rate by
3.2 percent to 6.4 percent).

Legal immigration is harder to assess. Some permanent
and temporary immigrants create jobs. On the other hand
there may be crowding out effects, for example
temporary immigrants may displace unemployed persons
from reentering the workforce, leading to a further and permanent
decay of their human capital and reduced long term employability.
These are empirical questions that would benefit from further
objective analysis and data.

According to the Federal reserve bank of NY, international trade flows
accounted for a NET number of U.S. jobs lost of 2.4 percent of total U.S.
employment as of 2003.
(Source :

Clearly a more recent estimate would be helpful. Nevertheless,
assuming that this has remained constant, this suggests that
correcting our chronic trade deficits might provide an additional
3.7 million jobs to U.S. legal residents - reducing the
unemployment rate from 9.6 % to 7.2 %, or in combination
with addressing the illegal immigration issue, potentially
reducing the unemployment rate
from 9.6 % to 4 %.

Needless to say, such a large reduction in unemployment
would create major reductions in the budget deficit, without
the need for additional budget cuts or taxes on legal
U.S. residents.

(Ctd next post)

Oct. 04 2010 06:46 PM
And now for some DATA : Immigration and Jobs. from NYC

The number of illegal immigrants in 2009 estimated by the department of homeland security was approximately 10.8 million.

By contrast, the number of temporary workers and trainees legally admitted in 2009 was 936,272. (Skilled visas last up to six years). This suggests that the
number of illegal immigrants may be more than twice the total number legal
temporary workers.

NET (legal) migration in 2008-2009 was approx 854,000. (Some U.S. citizens move abroad, but considerably more
people move into the U.S. than are allowed to work abroad).

The number of new permanent resident visas granted in 2009 was 1,130,818. This suggests that the number of illegal
immigrants approximately equals the total number of new permanent
residents in the past 10 years.

According to the bureau of labor statistics, as of August 2010 there are 139,250,000 employed people in the US, and
14,860,000 unemployed people (9.6 %), there are also 5,972,000 people who are listed as not in the labor market but
want a job. (This does not include children, and people in prisons or other institutions).

The number of illegal immigrants is therefore more than two thirds of the number of unemployed people in the U.S..
(10.8 M / 14.9 M ).

The number of illegal immigrants is more than half of the total number of people in the U.S. who would like to find employment but are unable to do so. (10.8 M / 20.9 M).

(Ctd NEXT posting)

Oct. 04 2010 06:43 PM

Caution: Chung-Wha Hong is a racist. Please listen and think.

Oct. 04 2010 11:59 AM
Peter Simon from UWS

America is a nation of immigrants. I wish we could throw the doors open and say "Give us you poor, your hungry, your huddled masses longing to breath free" the way we did in the Nineteenth Century. However, times change and I'm fearful that we can no longer afford to say "come one, come all".
California is believed to have the largest undocumented immigrant population (2.2 million) and it has the worst fiscal crisis of any state. Is this a coincidence? I honestly don't know but suspect that the two issues are connected.
I hope we can come up with a sensible, just and compassionate immigration policy that lives up to the ideals upon which our nation was founded. In the long term, I hope we can get our finances in order and return to being the robust economy that can welcome an influx of foreign workers in a sensible and dignified way.

Oct. 04 2010 11:55 AM
teresa from Manhattan

I wonder if anyone has asked the immigrants that have come to the US and gone through the process legally, what they think of all this illegal activity that is going on. Maybe a politician can incorporate these folks into the immigration reform process to reduce the illegal activity. Go to the source.
Thank you.

Oct. 04 2010 11:52 AM
Zach from Upper West Side

Mr. Bad - Yes, actually many illegal immigrants do pay taxes and the money taken out is never returned in the form of a check from the federally government (or tax return). In 2008 alone, $9 Billion was paid by illegal immigrants in Federal taxes. This does not include Social security and Medicare deductions.

Amy - Yes, it is extremely difficult to immigrate here legally if you are not already extremely wealthy in your home country. My boyfriend's mother is an American citizen. He has been here legally as a student for 7 years and has still not received his green card, for which he was approved five years ago. At the outset, immigration estimated that it would take no more than four years.

The system is broken and needs comprehensive reform. As it stands, it incentivizes illegality. Most American voters are not immigrants (or do not know immigrants personally) so they do not realize how dire the situation really is.

Oct. 04 2010 11:51 AM
JP from NJ

I really think you should talk to folks out in the Midwest that worked for the meat canning industry. They all made good living wages not to long ago at a job that was hard work but required no college education and provided benefits such as heath care for the entire family. Now, these companies have literally recruited and shipped in illegal workers that totally undercut the American worker. These aren’t Americans that don’t want to work. But they can’t work for next to nothing and support families on next to nothing. This is by no means the illegal worker’s fault. So I ask your guest any anyone else, if your going to open the doors, how are you going to prevent big corporations from exploiting these workers and shortchanging existing workforce? I think this is going to have to be far more then just immigration reform if you don’t want to turn American labor force back to the 19th century.

Oct. 04 2010 11:47 AM

Peter: I know this to be true in restaurants, some have fake socials, but many more people come from South of the border and work as dishwashers, farm workers, work in delis and bodegas, and many 'off the books' jobs.

Do you have any data to support this? I am genuinely interested.

Oct. 04 2010 11:46 AM
bernie from bklyn

brian, why are you not skeptical of this woman's fantasy world? c'mon, my PS is overcrowded and my kid is in a class w/ over 30 kids...most of the kids are here illegally as well as their parent. i pay taxes that go toward funding the school system. most illegal workers do not pay taxes that go toward the school system yet they are getting the same services for their kids that i'm getting. see the problem? please, tell me you see it..

Oct. 04 2010 11:45 AM
Mary from Queens, New York City

Why is the conversation NEVER about the people who hire these illegal immigrants to clean their toilets or flip their burgers or change their children's diapers?
Perhaps it is time to increase the severity of the punishment for not knowing the status of your employees.
How nice it would be to see well-to-do upper east side white mothers serving a few days jail time?

Oct. 04 2010 11:45 AM
Unheard from NYC

Fear the other it feels so good.

Oct. 04 2010 11:44 AM

Even as a liberal, who supports a reform on this issue that provides for these people to come here and work in safe environments, for competative wages, I seriously doubt that any majority of illegal immigrants pay into 'the system'.

Does she have imperical data?

Oct. 04 2010 11:44 AM
Peter Shelsky from Brooklyn

Overwhelmingly, most illegal immigrants have fake social security cards. And, their employers are paying a whole lot of money into the system for them. It is simply untrue to say that they are not paying taxes.

Oct. 04 2010 11:44 AM
Mike from Inwood

Chung-Wha Hong is either wildly misinformed or lying. Illegal immigrants are eligible for food stamps. State workers may NOT ask immigration status when people apply for food stamps. Their children are educated in the public schools where they also can receive free food. It is illegal for hospitals to refuse treatment based on immigration status. Medicaid may or mayb not not pick the tab up, but one way or another we do pay.

Oct. 04 2010 11:43 AM
Pete from Bronx

No benefits/services for illegals PERIOD! Our tax money should only be spent on US Citizens!

I'm tired of our public schools, parks, social services, all tax funded services in NYS being spent on illegal aliens!

I'm a hard working, tax paying NYC resident (born and raised) and had to pay for my daughter being born and a young lady down the block had 2 babies, payed in full with our tax dollars!!!!!!!

Oct. 04 2010 11:43 AM
bob from queens


how can you leave unchallenged the statement from your guest that "many illegal immigrants are paying taxes on their own?"

Oct. 04 2010 11:43 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Comment by Otrager

If Mr. Altschuler is so interested in protecting U.S. jobs, he might be asked how he reconciles his viewpoint with how he made his fortune as co-founder of Office Tigers which off-shored service jobs that had been previously or could be done here.
Oct. 04 2010 11:16 AM

Ah! A cheap labor Republican who just doesn't want the cheap laborers having the benefits of his nation's laws?

Thank you, commenter Otrager, for this pertinent information.

Oct. 04 2010 11:42 AM
Mike from Inwood

Chung-Wha Hong is either wildly misinformed or lying. Illegal immigrants are eligible for food stamps. Their children are educated in the public schools where they also can receive free food. It is illegal for hospitals to refuse treatment based on immigration status. Medicaid may or mayb not not pick the tab up, but one way or another we do pay.

Oct. 04 2010 11:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Do we need to look at whether the current law makes it more difficult than necessary to immigrate to the US legally? I don't know much about this--how hard is it?

Oct. 04 2010 11:40 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

What a joke this woman is - ANYONE can get medicaid and food stamps in NYC, ANYONE can and does with ZERO documentation, Cash aid is often available too.

Any kid can get into public schools - it's not like that is free LOL. What would happen if all the illegal immigrants working in this city went home - would all the restaurants close? I think not. Prices would go up for the folks who can most afford to pay (people who regularly dine out) and they would have to hire American citizens at minimum wage for kitchen job. The illegal immigrants just want to work and not pay taxes, send money home and live off the system - we need to take down the employer who make this lifestyle possible - give every illegal immigrant full citizenship if they testify against the employers who exploit them.

* The woman just said that many illegal immigrants are paying taxes voluntarily - who is she kidding? What an out and out liar.

Oct. 04 2010 11:40 AM
bernie from bklyn

and besides the fact that this woman is living in a dreamworld, her voice is so unbelievably annoying. every dog is howling in my neighborhood.

Oct. 04 2010 11:40 AM
Clara from New York

By giving illegal residents services you are doing a disservice to all people who played by the rules and came legally. I resent having any of my tax dollars aiding them. They are illegal

Oct. 04 2010 11:39 AM
bernie from bklyn

what is this woman talking about?
undocumented people here DO have access to socaial services. the biggest is the public school system. schools are overrun w/ children of illegal immigrants- this is true.

Oct. 04 2010 11:35 AM

Re: Murdoch's immigration stand -- He himself did get a very special exemption, did he not?

And then got all sorts of exemptions in terms of owning multiple media outlets in the same markets? Oh, yeah, he did.

Money talks and makes the monieds' walks much easier than those of the poor.

Oct. 04 2010 11:33 AM
ted from west side nyc

if you are a native american, then Yes, too many illegal immigrants since 1620 and prior failures.

as an illegal immigrant myself who was born here and traces ancestry to 1620 invaders, no.

we are a land of immigrants. everyone has immigrant status and heritage.


Oct. 04 2010 11:32 AM
antonio from park slope

I think the other reporter was Bobby Cuza of ny1...

Oct. 04 2010 11:31 AM

Paladino: What entitlements? That's what I never understood about the concern from people who are 'against' immigration who wail about people taking advantage of our social services. Those same people seem to be in favor of dissolving any social services. We don't have great social services. They suck.

Oct. 04 2010 11:31 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

I was trying to understand what this candidate actually stands for, and he kept making exceptions, which he did not define, to what appeared to be his stand against illegal immigrants attaining citizenship.

Sounds like he wants some kind of system which will be a bonanza for lawyers -- at least for illegal immigrants who can afford lawyers....

Did anyone understand precisely what Randy's stand is on this issue? Thnx for input!

Oct. 04 2010 11:31 AM

Billy Gray, you're absolutely right. This candidate is opposing a phantom policy. He supports comprehensive immigration reform on a point by point basis, but then demagogues "amnesty". What a weasel.

Oct. 04 2010 11:31 AM
RCT from NYC

Can't stay on phone -- at work.

The premise that illegal immigration is causing the US economic hardship is incorrect. We absorb and hire such immigrants; the present unemployment rates are not the result of there not being enough of the kind of jobs that illegals take. Those jobs -- construction, cooking, gardening -- exist when the economy is healthy, and the economy is not unhealthy because too many people want to be gardeners.

Mayor Bloomberg is correct. It's the immigration law that is at fault; it needs to be fixed to reflect economic realities, which means legalizing the status of present illegals and setting "quotas" at rates that reflect demand.

The rest is politics and prejudice.

Oct. 04 2010 11:29 AM

op! Carl Paladino's comin' on the air. Better turn the volume down.

Oct. 04 2010 11:26 AM
HenrY from Brooklyn

For Mr. Lehrer. When do you stop pursuing someone sneaking into America? One day? Two days? When do you believe that they should earn the right to become citizens?
They are people who should be sent back to their country unless they are in some jeopardy and prove that to be true.
Should someone from Norway have to get to Mexico to get the same opportunity to become an American?

Oct. 04 2010 11:26 AM

Uncontrolled immigration makes rich Americans richer, poor Americans poorer, and ALL Americans fatter.

Maybe it's time for the Vatican to step up to the plate and do the right thing about birth control in Spanish America, and for governments around the world to do likewise, before the US becomes poor too.

Any announcement of "Amnesty" may wind up third page news here, but in South America it's going to be Front Page News, 180 point type. Why do you think they come here, with their governments' enthusiastic approval?

Take it from a sympathetic friend of many illegal immigrants here in the Bronx.

Oct. 04 2010 11:25 AM
Jake again from Nassau County

severely restrict immigration, farms will have to pay workers more and improve work conditions, then Americans will take those jobs. Even better - maybe Huge corporate-farms will be broken up and we'll see a resurgence of family farms, maybe even organic ones.

Actually, has anyone ever looked into the availability of cheap immigrant labor on the development of our industrialized agriculture: feed lots, antibiotic-stuffed chickens, GMO, etc ?

Oct. 04 2010 11:23 AM
Shar in Az from AZ

Re: Immigration numbers: 12,000,000 is less than 4% of the population of the United States, that is the WHOLE of the United States, not just Long Island, which is "on the guest's radar." All of the 12 million are not camped out in anyone's backyard, even mine here in Arizona, where the current Republican governor wanted to assure her election (she was appointed not elected) by signing SB1070, which is a takeover of the Federal Government's immigration laws. Oh, I believe "the law" re: immigration status is a misdemeanor not a felony.

Oct. 04 2010 11:22 AM
Billy Gray from Greenpoint

Did Altschuler really just say that he supports a path to citizenship but not amnesty?

What does he think the "anti-amnesty" screaming, that always prevents actual reform, is all about? Gimme a break. I appreciate his candidness on the rest of the matter, but it's guys like him with this kind of weasel-word hedging that always prevent real reform.

"It can't just happen wholesale, etc", nobody is offering a bill that provides citizenship with no delays or penalties. Please, spare us the amnesty garbage.

I like how he even seems to accuse Brian of supporting amnesty.

Oct. 04 2010 11:21 AM
Ken from Soho

No one is talking about, or needs to talk about, "expelling 11 or 12 million people". If the law against employing illegal aliens is enforced and followed, then the illegal aliens without employment can decide on their own whether to return to their own countries.

Oct. 04 2010 11:21 AM

Why has nobody ever looked to a conversation between the governments of Mexico, Guatamala, and Ecaudor and the USA? Why is life so hard south of the US, that people would risk their lives and entire fortune to come here and work horrible jobs?

I had a Mexican boyfriend once who explained to me that there is such a class system there that being of a certain ethnic background in Mexico almost guarantees you no chance at a comfortable life. The government has no interest in developing avast majority of the citizens.

Oct. 04 2010 11:20 AM
Cesar from New York

Would Altschuler agree to increase the budget for the Immigration Service to handle the workload implied by his comment that we should handle immigration on a case-by-case basis?

Oct. 04 2010 11:18 AM

If Mr. Altschuler is so interested in protecting U.S. jobs, he might be asked how he reconciles his viewpoint with how he made his fortune as co-founder of Office Tigers which off-shored service jobs that had been previously or could be done here.

Oct. 04 2010 11:16 AM

So he's against granting citizenship to everyone who's here illegally. What a principled stand! No one is advocating? What actual position held by actual people does he oppose?

Oct. 04 2010 11:16 AM

Don't let him weasel out of this. Yes or no, must we truck out 12 million people from this country?

Oct. 04 2010 11:13 AM
Jake from Nassau County

Why is it a surprise that Murdoch is pro-immigration ? He speaks for big business that wants to exploit cheap labor.

Oct. 04 2010 11:12 AM

I'm on board with Murdoch! (never thought I'd say that)

Oct. 04 2010 11:09 AM
Michael from Long Island

I feel the answer is a 'Guest Worker Program' combined with a modern day 'Marshall Plan'.
People would work her for a period of three years. Those that complete the guest worker program successfully would be given an Honorable discharge. They would then recieve a 1K bonus for successfully completing this program. then they would qualify for up 20K in low intrest loans form the US Goverment. They would have to spend this money in their own country on either one of three things: 1) Higher Education 2) Purchase of Property 3) Starting a Bbusiness.
This would strenthen the middle class in may poor and developing nations. Those loans would be insured by their nation of Citizenship.

We live in the age of the UN and the UN Human rights Commision. As well as Amnesty International, Doctors Without Boards and a host of international relief agencies.
Immigraion may have been the answer in the 19th century. In the 21st century; immigration is a weak solution for global conflict and poverty.

Oct. 04 2010 10:57 AM
somerset county, NJ

in our area more an more ecuadorean dads are leaving their families here and heading back to ecuador. why? after 15 or 20 years of backbreaking labor, auto related accidents, etc. etc. they need medical care, esp. physical therapy. here it is too expensive, even with health "insurance", there it is not. (That 85 degrees year round temperature doesn't hurt the recuperation process either!)

Of course, it would be better if green card dads were with their citizen daughters as they make their ways through puberty and early 20s... for all involved...

Oct. 04 2010 09:20 AM

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