The leftist Center for American Progress (CAP) issued a report claiming that illegal aliens are a boon to the economy and studies to the contrary by the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Immigration Studies are wrong in their conclusions.

The CAP release says, “Their [the critics of amnesty] current line of attack is an unsubstantiated claim that legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States will be too costly for our nation.’ It then follows up that assertion by claiming that, “Mainstream economists have thoroughly debunked this general stereotype of immigrants as takers, finding that immigrants are a net positive for the economy and pay more into the system than they take out.”

Do you notice the bait and switch technique used by CAP there? They contrast studies focused on the budget outlays that would result from giving amnesty to the low-wage earning illegal alien population with economic studies of their contributions – basically their production of goods and services. There is no contradiction between saying that the Illegal alien population is a very large drain on government expenditures – especially at the state and local level – whether or not they have legal status and saying that they contribute to the economy. Everyone who works contributes to the economy – although those working for low wages contribute less.

Besides, the wages that are earned by illegal alien workers are wages denied to legal workers. If, instead of accommodating illegal aliens, they left and employers had to turn to today’s unemployed legal workers they would have to pay contributions into the social security system and unemployment compensation, they would have to withhold taxes, and often would have to pay more of a living wage. The result would be fewer unemployed legal workers, less dependence on welfare and social services, greater tax collections, fewer remittances sent out of the country and a healthier society. You would think that the CAP would be in favor of that.