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Dear Editor:
In his letter on 12/16/02, while extolling illegal aliens from Mexico, Dr. Richard Baer cited a study from UCLA, dated 9/10/01. He quotes the study as saying that illegal aliens contribute $300 billion to the US economy yearly. I couldn't find the study on the "web", but I'd be interested to see what they counted to come up with the $300 billion figure. I suspect they ignored the costs of illegal aliens on welfare, medical services, subsidized housing, jail costs, etc. A few things I've found on the "web" are: (1) a study released by the NAS (Nat'l. Academy of Sciences) in 1997 which says that immigration (legal and illegal) costs to each native US household are a net loss of between $166 and $226 per year. This translates to a net drain of between $11 and $22 billion per year nationally; (2) an article in the San Diego Union on 8/20/01 which said that, based on figures by the NAS, the net fiscal drain for an average adult male Mexican, over his lifetime, is a total of $55,200; (3) a study by Dr. George Borjas of Harvard University which said that immigration costs US workers $133 billion in "wage depression" and "job displacement"; (4) an article (source unknown) which said that, in 1999, the states asked the US government for $1.484 billion in reimbursement for the costs of incarcerating illegal aliens. They were given $573 million to split up from a program at the Dep't. of Justice - SCAPP - and were had to fund the rest themselves; (5) a 1994 Urban Institute study showing that immigration created a surplus of $29 billion annually, but only after it excluded from its calculations all immigrants from Mexico, Poland, Cambodia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Viet Nam, and the former USSR; (6) a 1997 study by professor Donald Huddle of Rice University which says that the estimated net cost this year of immigration - both legal and illegal - will be about $66 billion; (7) a 1995 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research which estimated that immigrants would receive total benefits - direct and indirect - of about $180 billion in 1996.

I apologize for the poor format of the foregoing, but I wanted to try to show that not everyone thinks that immigrants are a net benefit. Those who profit most are the business owners, often at the cost of loss of jobs and depressed wages for native workers.

John H. Frecker
Baileyville, ME



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