Another interesting piece from Jerry Erickson, in News & Messenger, discussing the economic benefits of legalizing an undocumented workforce.

After reading the piece, I’d add that the stabilization of the housing market alone would be a tremendous benefit to the economy. One need only recall the recent Business Week article, where John McClain, a senior fellow at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, stated that Prince William has witnessed higher foreclosure rates as immigrants moved to neighboring jurisdictions. Nobody should replicate Prince William County’s experience with some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country combined with double digit property losses to a national level. In fact, offering an opportunity at legalization should strengthen the housing sector as those undocumented homeowners with high interest loans could be able to re-finance into lower, more affordable products. Just a thought…

Jerry Erickson
Published: May 20, 2009

QUESTION: Can immigration reform provide a boost to the U.S. economy?

Before our country can actually agree to implement any real immigration reform, there has to be a meeting of the minds, or at least a general consensus, that this decision will lead to long-term, worthwhile and measurable economic benefits. Opponents of immigration reform often argue that the costs associated with this effort will outweigh the benefits. A review of the facts suggests that this position is off the mark.

As reported in separate reports by the Immigration Policy Center and the Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Affairs (EOP), the following are some points to consider:

FACT: Providing legal status to undocumented workers would increase tax revenues.

Department of Labor (DOL) sponsored surveys have concluded that those workers who obtained legal status under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) experienced, on average, a 15 percent increase in wages within five years. It’s also a given that when your wages increase, you pay more in state and federal taxes. There are also other benefits that flow from legal status, including home ownership, investment in education, job creation and community development.

FACT: Legalizing undocumented workers would improve wages and working conditions for all workers, and increase tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have estimated the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, as proposed in April 2006, would have had the effect of generating $66 billion in revenue between 2007-2016, primarily from payroll and income taxes.

The CBO and the JCT also concluded that the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 would have generated approximately $48 billion in revenue from 2008-2017. Again, this would have primarily resulted from payment of income and payroll taxes.

As a side note, opponents of immigration reform often point to the E-Verify program (previously commented on by me) as the answer to eliminating the undocumented workforce in the U.S. However, the CBO has estimated that mandatory E-Verify would actually decrease federal revenues by $17.3 billion over the period from 2009-2018. As you can probably guess, this decrease would result from those employers who would simply pay workers “outside the tax system.” Again, it seems that the better answer is to develop a system that encourages people to join our work force system and community rather than one that encourages them to stay in the shadows.

I’ll be the first to agree that legalizing the undocumented workforce will not completely solve the problems associated with workers who are paid off the books. There will always be unscrupulous employers who will try to benefit at the expense of others by using cheap and unauthorized labor. However, what seems clear is that that our government will make more in revenues when workers are legitimately counted and placed on the books.

FACT: Legalizing undocumented workers would effectively increase the contributions that immigration already makes to the U.S. economy.

A 2007 report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers concluded that immigration as a whole increases the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by roughly $37 billion each year. This is a direct result of an increase in the available labor pool, which brings in additional skills and education to our work force system. The Immigration Policy Center concluded that: “Immigrants do not compete with the majority of natives for the same jobs because they tend to have different levels of education and to work in different occupations. As a result, immigrants usually “complement” the native-born
workforce-which increases the productivity and therefore the wages of natives.”

Chairman Edward P. Lazear of the Council of Economic Advisers, noted that: “Our review of economic research finds immigrants not only help fuel the Nation’s economic growth, but also have an overall positive effect on the income of native born workers.”

Based on the above, there appear to be real benefits in developing a solution that encourages all workers to be documented, on the tax rolls and legitimately participating in our work force system.  Immigration reform will likely be a tough issue for the Obama administration to initiate and implement while we’re in a recession. That’s also the observation of Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib, who recently offered: “Pushing any kind of immigration reform, particularly one that includes a path toward legalization, is a lot harder in an environment in which Americans are losing jobs.” However, despite the fact that it isn’t a popular issue, immigration reform could be part of the solution to our flagging economy. Even in the current economic climate, it’s an issue needs to be addressed and debated.

49 Thoughts to “News & Messenger: Can immigration reform provide a boost to the U.S. economy?”

  1. Witness Too

    This is an excellent article, Alanna, thanks for sharing. I think with the shock to the system we have experienced with the credit crisis, most Americans are feeling that the economy is a vital organ must be maintained.

    Some people, in the heat of the moment, will say they would rather see the economy tank, property values plummet, and pay higher taxes if it would ease their anxiety about immigration and demographic shift. We know this from experience. But in their quieter moments, I’m sure that most of these people are not so thrilled about what has happened in PWC. And on the national level, I do believe you are right that voters and leaders alike will steer us clear of such a course.

    Ultimately, as a people need we will choose quality of life over a futile fight against the reality that we are a multi-ethnic people in a global society that is becoming more interconnected all the time. More than half of children under 5 in America are non-white. It’s time to start living up to the ideals of equality and inclusion that most Americans embrace. Protecting our economy is only one reason why we should and will do so.

  2. Rick Bentley

    That’s the type of short-sighted BS that has gotten us to where we are now. Absurd. Good luck selling that arguement.

  3. Gainesville Resident

    I would worry about another wave of buying of properties by people who can’t really afford them, with predator banks, etc. The large amount of affordable housing in the PWC area (Manassas in particular) is why PWC’s housing market crashed so spectacularly. Seemed like there were some predatory lenders going after the Hispanic population in particular, and don’t know that it had to do with illegal/legal status.

    Unfortunately, this is the hard facts of life. I don’t pretend to say it is fair, but it is how it is. Seems to me this may only start another wave of housing crashes. I think many legal hispanics were indeed preyed upon – in some cases by hispanic lenders, and talked into houses they could not afford, with crazy mortgages with rates that went up like crazy a year or two after they moved in. I just see a consequence of any “legalization” or whatever you want to call it, of what are now illegal immigrants, leading to another possible scenario, not like what is depicted above – that it will help the economy. I see just the opposite possibly happening.

    I’m not saying this is right or fair, it is just how I see an unintended consequence of this, contrary to what is said in the opinion piece above.

  4. Gainesville Resident

    And no, I have no ideas as to how to get around the possible unforseen consequences I mentioned in my post above.

  5. Witness Too

    Gainesville, I believe that the predatory lending and packaging of bad mortgages for sale to the “giant pool of money” is now going to have some oversight from the Security and Exchanges Commission and perhaps even a new federal agency. All the serious economists and financial experts have now debunked the mean-spirited tactic of blaming the credit crisis on minorities and poor people. Wall Street greed and the failure of the federal government to fulfill its regulative duties to the American people are the cause, and that is GOOD news, because minorities and poor people are going to be around whether we like it or not. We can’t control that. But we can demand that the federal government look out for the nation’s best interest as opposed to Wall Street greed machine’s interest.

    So, you if you are truly worried about a repeat of the credit crisis, I figure you ought to be focusing on government oversight of the banking industry instead of immigration.

    But with or without a global credit crisis, a rash of foreclosures is bad for local economies and national economies alike. What we have found in PWC is that an attempt by a local government to frighten a large portion of our population out of the county has affected, not just that population, but everybody. You see, with or without the global credit crisis, the Immigration Resolution has made things much worse here than they are in other counties that also have minorities, poor people, affordable houses, etc.

  6. Witness Too

    The way I have observed things is like this:

    After 9/11, people who were already predisposed to be opposed to immigration began to say “immigration hurts our national security, time to crack down.” Some measures were taken. I’m not sure how it worked on the federal level, but on the local level, we know that in PWC the crime rate went up as a result of the Immigration Resolution. So the political strategy of linking 9/11 and immigration was effective but not truly accurate.

    Now, we’ve had another crisis, this time economic. So again people who are predisposed to being against immigration and/or against immigration reform are now saying “immigration hurts our national economy.”

    Well, there is just no truth to that at all. Immigration is the very reason why we have the world’s greatest economy. Imagine if the descendants of James Town and some Native tribes were the only workers powering the U.S. economy. We probably would have been colonized AGAIN because without a robust economy we would not have had the military might we have shown all of these years.

    No, I don’t think people are going to fall for it this time. Immigration helps our economy, and a sensible immigration policy that includes a path to citizenship will help our economy out of this recession. People are easily frightened into wrong-headedness and short-sightedness when something like 9/11 happens. Economic anxiety is less of a mortal threat, and people are capable of being more rational in making collective decisions, in my opinion.

  7. Poor Richard

    Ok, in the words of Rachel Maddow, let me try and “talk you down
    again” from a highly distorted view of immigration history in
    Prince William County and the two cities.
    – Ten years ago, before the immigration tsunami, there wasn’t a
    huge people/labor shortage here. Yards got mowed, drywall hung and
    burgers sold. We did the work – even that you claim we don’t do.
    We were doing just fine.
    – A growing Hispanic population found this to be a dcent location
    to live and work – according to local Hispanic advocate Stephanie
    Williams (quoted in a Arizona Republic 8-26-2001 article
    headlined -Manassas cultures separate but peaceful-)”Williams said
    when the Hispanic population began to boom in the late 1980s
    she tried to learn why and they said it was “a welcoming
    place, cousins told cousins and they told other people from
    the village – there was opportunity”. Felix Vargas, who came
    in 1987, observed “Back then I knew everybody, all the Mexicans.
    Now, so many are coming that sometimes I think there won’t be
    anyone left in Mexico.” So drop the slander that historic
    racism is a factor – far too many, far too quick was the problem –
    had the local Hispanic population grown at a percentage even twice
    the rate of the rest of Virginia, there wouldn’t have been
    a major issue.
    – “One of the most basic problems is immigrants cost LOCAL
    governments money …’The tax cost are local, but the tax
    windfalls are national’ says Celcilia Munoz of the National
    Council of Raza… ‘Estimates are that states and localities
    are forced to pay tens of billions of dollars in health
    and education cost for noncitizens’notes Senator Hillary Clinton.”
    ((WaPo op/ed by E.J. Dionne – 5-26-2006). Local citizens are
    required to pay more to support immigrants.
    – The foreclosure rate was highest here because this area had/has
    the most affordable housing nearest the job magnet (during the
    boom) of N. Virginia and DC. Other areas such as Sugarland Run
    and Herndon in Loudoun and Faifax, with much the same housing
    stock, have tracked the same experiences – including foreclosures.
    Crooked scum in real estate and banking, including not a few
    Hispanics, milked the scam para mucho dinero.
    -Think you give Corey, Greg and crowd to much credit. Thank the poor
    economy for the decrease in immigration – not them.

  8. ShellyB

    However bad things might have been, the Immigration Resolution made it worse. In terms of economic impact in the region, and in terms of our housing market, we are way worse off than any other county. That can’t all be explained away because many counties such as Loudoun had all the same factors you listed. And if you talk to the county government (non-politicians) the Resolution has cost us a great deal more money than it has saved. In fact it is difficult to show any savings at all.

  9. michael

    I have a belief that we are once again left without all of the “FACTS” in this news article.

    Fact: “illegal” immigrants (12 million of them), displace 12 million other potential “legal” wage earners. There is a 9% job loss rate in this nation. if 250 millin people are of employment age out of 360 million, that is 22 million people OUT of work, with at least HALF of them displaced by “illegal” wage earners working for far cheaper wages and generating far less money as a result of their cheaper wages in tax dollars, than the people they displace who worked at almost double the salary. Displaced workers typically earned $20 per hour, while “illegal” wage earners are will to accept less than $6.55 per hour.

    FACT: The skills of “illegal” wage earners are typically less qualified to do those jobs than the people they displace.

    FACT: The income generated by “illegal” wage earners does not go into the economy and middle income business growth as much as the workers they displaced who were legal. 20 billion dollars per year in potential retaxable money goes to mexico alone. The people who profit from “legal” wage earner reductions are large industry (poultry, meat packing, agriculture, janitorial, landscaping) business owners, and the upper 1% of the population does n ot pay as much of this earned income to the government, because they have tax havens the low and middle income wage earners who are displaced by “illegal” immigrants and H1B visa workers.

    FACT: “illegal” immigrant contractors are squeezing legitimate contractors out of business who can no longer compete and can no lon ger pax income tax when they lose their business to “unethical” business owners who do not pay medicare/medicade/social security tax on “illegalL workers. If these workers were legalized, the wages would not go back to the levels that generated medicare/medicade/social security taxes paid by the workers they displaced.

    FACT: Legalizing “illegal” workers will not increase the number of highly skilled workers that still need to come into the country for highly technical jobs on H1Bs, but would increase the ratio of unskilled to skilled workers all looking for the same high paying job. The end result of this is greater competition for less jobs, increasing poverty, and less taxable income as the wages of high paying jobs sought by an increased number of “newly legalized” workers gradually declines with increasing supply and lowering demand for highly paid workers and managers.

  10. michael

    Anothor mis-representation of the resolution by ShellyB. Housing defaults (by low income people, significantly both illegal and formerly illegal who could not afford monthly payments) was the root cause of the financial collapse, when combined with SIV/CDS insurance liability payment defaults that were not backed by capital, and hedge fund investors “betting” that low income illegal and formerly illegal homeowners would not pay their monthly obligations, sold short and put us into economic ruin.
    If you don’t believe this just wait for the 2100 mortgage fraud cases prosecuted by the FBI and DOJ on fraudulent ethnic-centric brokers and lenders who targeted illegal and formerly illegal immigrants by ethnicty, send out their reports.

    You can start with country-wide and Washington mutual fraud cases who targeted 8A and borrowers by ethnic group.


  11. michael

    If you want to understand how “illegal” immigrants and foreign workers have decimated our economy, just take a trip to California, Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Look at the neighborhoods and standards of living compared to 10 and 25 years ago.

    Manassas and PWC is next if we continue to support “illegal” wage earners over “legal” higher skilled workers who used to have “unions” to protect them and paid taxes on wages that were three times what they are now.

    Ignorance is bliss? Naiviety is devastating….

  12. Poor Richard

    – Areas of Fairfax County (Herndon) and Loudoun (Sterling Park,
    Sugarland Run) track much larger parts of PWC and Manassas, MP.
    Anyplace with comparatively low priced housing was victimized –
    they, percentage wise, went up quicker and dropped quicker
    than other locations. The difference is that the PWC area had
    far more housing stock in that range than Fairfax and Loudoun.
    – I didn’t care much for the “resolution” and refuse to credit
    the Corey/Greg crowd with the impact they claim for it as
    some of you apparently do.

  13. Poor Richard

    – Areas of Fairfax County (Herndon) and Loudoun (Sterling Park,
    Sugarland Run) track much larger parts of PWC and Manassas, MP.
    Anyplace with comparatively low priced housing was victimized –
    they, percentage wise, went up quicker and dropped quicker
    than other locations. The difference is that the PWC area had
    far more housing stock in that range than Fairfax and Loudoun.
    – I didn’t care much for the “resolution” and refuse to credit
    the Corey/Greg crowd with the impact they claim for it as
    some of you apparently do.

  14. DB

    Can immigration boost the economy when the decision of Horne v. Flores is decided in our Supreme Court this June? And their decision could very well drain all money from the coffers of numerous states.

  15. Moon-howler

    Poor Richard, I am inclined to agree with you. I don’t want to give them Corey/Greg crowd that much credit either. Neither Loudoun County or Fairfax County really have the type of housing that is in PW and surrounding cities. I will not discount minor influence, however.

    DB, Can you tell us in layman’s terms what that Supreme Court case is really about. If I understood it, I might do a thread on it.

  16. Creative Engineer

    WT – actually you know what – I think you are right about the SEC and predatory lending. Thanks for pointing that out!

  17. Creative Engineer

    And quite right, more government oversight needed with the greedy banks and mortgage companies. Am in total agreement with you there, WT.

  18. Creative Engineer

    Poor Richard – couldn’t agree with you more – the economy caused the decrease in immigration as well as many people leaving PWC due to foreclosures, whatever. People give the resolution way too much credit for that.

  19. ShellyB

    I do know people who decided to move out of the county or decided not to move here because of the unwelcoming stance that our Chairman and his political adviser are taking. And both like to advertise what a great plan the Immigration Resolution was, either by lying that crime went down, or by ignoring the impact on our economy and our housing market.

    If Greg Letiecq and Corey Stewart weren’t out there trying to sell this folly as a good idea, then there would be no reason to point out their lies about crime or their pretending that our foreclosure rate isn’t five times worse than the average county. Honestly the crime statistics are meaningless, particularly when you cherry pick only one category of crime and try to sell that as an overall drop in crime. I wouldn’t try to do the same. But I do have to point out that it is a lie to say that crime went down during a year when it went up. The opposite is the truth. But Corey Stewart keeps saying a lie over and over again.

  20. You Wish

    MH –

    The case DB is referencing is an educational one – the state of Arizona was challenged in court because a law suit was brought against it stating that the amount of money spent on ESOL was too little. The state was able to show that there were educational gains made by NCLB standards in the sub category of ESOL.

    If the Supreme Court finds that that State of Arizona didn’t spend enough on ESOL funding, then it can impact ALL states. EEOA stipulates a certain amount, NCLB doesn’t stipulate ANY amount. So which one trumps it? EEOA or NCLB?

    Here’s a basic rundown:

    Shelly, read what Poor Richard wrote – of course PWC has more foreclosures, because the cost of housing was and always will be cheaper than Loudoun and Fairfax. We’re house hunting and several of the houses that we’ve seen in PWC have been divided up into apartments – one house had 4 families live in. The resolution had little to do with it – look at the housing prices 4 or 5 years ago. People were paying $450k for a house that wasn’t work 1/2 that. My in-laws sold their house in Dale City for $300k in 2003 and now it’s barely valued at $150k. I’ve seen houses going for as little as $60k in Dale City. Lenders were giving money to anyone and everyone – no document loans – no SSN, no W-2’s, no tax returns, no pay stubs. People took out huge loans that they should have never been given (regardless of status – several of the houses we’ve seen are in the “wealthier” parts of PWC – houses that at one time sold for $700 and $800k) Suddenly, their ARM loan goes up, they can no longer afford to pay for it, and BAM – foreclosure.

    We’ve also looked in Loudoun and they have their fair share of foreclosures. Go to and type in Sterling Park and look at what pops up – there are foreclosures everywhere and the resolution had NOTHING to do with it. This would have happened even if there had been no resolution passed.

  21. Moon-howler

    Oh I don’t think for one minute they did us any favors. I just don’t think they need credit for having THAT much of an impact on our economy. They aren’t THAT important, regardless of the big egos.

    Welcome Creative Engineer.

  22. Poor Richard

    Looking back to “BTR” (Before the resolution), please understand
    that was a very unstable period with many people owning homes
    based on loans they could never reasonably repay. This may
    have been one of the factors in the massive number of illegal
    defacto boarding houses in areas zoned for single family homes.
    The whole situation had cracks running all through it.
    Now is the time to make sure we don’t repeat those mistakes.
    I trust the Feds and state will rein the scumbag realtors
    and bankers. And, hopefully, intelligent people of goodwill
    from the entire community can come together and help local
    government establish housing standards and codes with real
    teeth that that will be fair, clear and enforceable to
    protect our neighborhoods from overcrowding, blight
    and abuse. The courts, HUD and DOJ need to helpful
    for a change – not hateful

  23. michael

    I think it is important to clarify the reality that “legal” immigration does help our economy, we control that according to our economic needs and our skill needs, so it will help.

    The problem is “illegal” immigration significantly hurts our economy, increases poverty (because “illegal” immigrants are generally our most poverished segment of society (except inner city low income families that have been that way for 50 years or more. “illegal” immigrants work at the lowest wages” and significantly offset any benefit that “legal” immigration has had in the past 25 years (forget the impact of “immigration” in the 1860s and 1920s when we actually actively solicited “legal” immigrants because we needed the additional labor growth.)

    All you need to do to understand how badly “illegal” immigration has affected our standard of living and overall financial wealth, is to look at the standard of living that declines in every neighborhood “illegal” immigrants have moved into, and every state they have moved into. California alone, was one of the richest states in the country, as a result of IT growth and silicon valley growth 25 years ago. When “illegal” immigrants took over the state, the standard of living in the neighborhoods they moved into dropped significantly, and the tax base of California dried up, making it today, barely able to support its state workers and average income households.

    If you want to know how bad it is, and how bad the economy became in California when “massive” numbers of “illegals” moved into the state, just ask someone who has lived in southern California over the past 30 years.

    If some of you can’t see this you are blind.

  24. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    ShellyB :
    I do know people who decided to move out of the county or decided not to move here because of the unwelcoming stance that our Chairman and his political adviser are taking.

    Oh, and I just bet these were real upper-crust, boost the tax base types, too!
    If you know people who moved away or didn’t move to PWC because of the resolution…I say “Thank God”.

  25. ShellyB

    Yes, I know for the racist types, “Slowpoke,” that was the aim. And that was why so many of the non-racist types were not in favor of such an aim. Do I need to remind you that with a racist moniker everything you type here ends up looking even worse than it ordinarily would. Pathetic.

  26. ShellyB

    Michael, thanks for acknowledging the benefit immigration has been to our country. No matter what laws existed at different times, this has always been true as long as there has been a United States of America. The same is true for our county. And when the laws change and there is path to citizenship, you and I will be on the same side. It will no longer be legal or illegal. It will be about what’s best for our country. I hope you look forward to that as much as I do.

  27. Moon-howler

    Slowpoke, tell us how you really feel. 😉

    BTR pretty much says it all, Poor Richard.

    We can always count on Poor Richard for some good historical information and to always defend the City of Manassas. I think he is correct.

    On the other hand, while he is correct, I have to ask myself if things would be different had that resolution never been uttered on July 10, 2007. While I will never assign cause/effect I also will say, I can’t tell you how, why, where, but it did impact the community and got sucked up into the perfect storm we witnessed here as our house values went into free fall.

    I believe the main thing the Resolution did was ensure Republicans got elected. Well, that ship has sailed.

  28. Witness Too

    M-H, I understand that you don’t want certain people to take credit for an exodus of Hispanics from the county. But given that they are going to attempt to take such credit, I think it is fair to ask ourselves whether this has had an overall positive effect on our county, and, if so, was it worth the cost. Each year when our Board of Supervisors struggles through the budget process, as little as $50,000 can mean the world to programs that are an essential part of the fabric of our community and our quality of life. We struggle to hire enough police officers and firemen so that our first responders are not shortchanged, undermanned, or put unnecessarily in harms way. We agonize over the impact of non-competitive teachers salaries and how this might impact our children’s education.

    So when we consider the cost of the Immigration Resolution, at least $14,000,000, as well as the degree to which our entire police force and county government was distracted by what turned out to be a dead end political strategy for Republicans, it seems to me that things indeed would have been different had the resolution never been uttered on July 10, 2007.

    Chief Deane’s robbery unit was the only aspect of our Police Department that was able to maintain its efforts despite all the distraction, the training, the re-training, and the alarming loss of trust that our Citizen Satisfaction Survey showed between police and minority communities. This caused crime to go up in almost all categories other than the one overseen by Chief Deane’s robbery unit, and thus my sense is we are less safe.

    I think when we ask if this was a good idea or not, we should be asking ourselves about our public safety as a whole, and consider our underfunded and understaffed police and fire departments, as well as the reversal of what had been a falling crime rate up until July 10, 2007.

  29. Gainesville Resident

    MH, agree, it was a “perfect storm” that happened in the county. I agree with Poor Richard though, regarding DOJ, HUD, and the courts. Especially as the city of Manassas is concerned, as controversial as what they did was, they quickly backed down and reversed themselves, yet were still sued. Anyway, since then city very timid on overcrowding issues, I can attest to that personally. Actually before that measure was enacted, I had good success getting flophouse next to me cleaned out – I would file on the record report with my name and address, they’d come, investigate – sure enough tell me there’s 10 people from 3 different families, etc. etc. Don’t think I actually got to make complaint during short time (2 months or less) that measure was enacted. Since then, I’ve filed on the record complaints, gotten the response “we’ll check it out” and nothing ever happens. Made me angry to say the least. Well, I’ve said this all before actually, so I’m repeating myself and apologize for that!

    Point is, city backed down, and still got sued. I suppose some people are happy that happened. As a city taxpayer, I am not. Definitely not.

  30. ShellyB

    Gainesville, how true is the perception that the Manassas Redefine the Family ordinance was to Jackson Miller/Greg Letiecq what the Immigration Resolition was to Corey Stewart/Greg Letiecq. I only have been told but do not know the story first hand. The popular story is that Miller used the ordinance to go from City office to state office.

    Also, I did not know the city had backed down before being sued. Who was it that wanted to back down? Was this after Miller had left for the General Assembly?

  31. Moon-howler

    Witness, I am not sure how much the resolution cost. I am not sure anyone knows. That thing changed so many times, I pretty much lost track of what it said and what it cost. Additionally, 287 g isnt part of the resolution.

    Does anyone really know, in dollars and cents, what it cost and what we got? If it costed $14,000,000 then we really got ripped off because we have nothing but that criminal alien unit and 6 officers shouldn’t cost $14 million.

    I think there was a great cover up as to cost. Not sure who covered it up but I don’t believe the taxpayers of PW really know.

  32. Witness Too

    Gainesville and Richard, I appreciate you insights and certainly do understand that simply citing the fact that PWC has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation and 5 times the average for Northern Virginia is not the whole picture.  That is just a statistic.  Just like crime statistics are just a statistic.

    Politicians use statistics for sound bites and, if they are like famous Chairman Corey Stewart, they deliberately mislead the public and rely on the fact that people are not able to look into what the truth is.  In order to say crime is down, for instance, you have to hope no one saw the PWC Police Department’s crime rate went up 3.1 percent (rather than down, which is widely considered to be the opposite of up).

    Chairman Stewart also relies on the fact that very few citizens are as detail oriented or intellectually curious as Gainesville and Richard. In the one crime category that did go down, aggravated assault (the one that Corey Stewart selectively sites as an overall drop in crime rate, which is a perverse and racially tinged deception), someone like Richard or Gainesville could point out that Hispanic immigrants were more often victims than perpetrators of such crimes, or that Chief Deane’s robbery unit was already cutting down on this category of crime, and doing a great job of it, before the Immigration Resolution went into effect.

    By the same token, when you say PWC has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, but omit Richard’s point that we also had the Manassas area almost urban-like concentration of affordable or semi-affordable housing, you are leaving out one of the most important factors contributing to this number, and implying that it is all because of the Immigration Resolution.

    The difference, there is no politician trying to mislead the public in order to cover his behind using home foreclosure rate statistics. What we have is a politician trying to cover his behind by siting crime statistics. Truly, Corey Stewart reminds me of Dick Cheney, trying to justify a disastrous war in hindsight by saying “well, we didn’t’ get attacked under my watch other than 9/11.”

  33. michael

    ShellyB, You can’t say I agree that immigration is good for the country, because if you say it that way, I do not agree with you, because you MUST qualify what TYPE of immigration first. This is the problem, people assume ALL immigration is good and always has been but it is NOT and has not always beem good, even in history.

    “legal” immigration has usually been historically good for this country. “illegal” immigration has almost in every case not been good for the standard of living in this nation, and has increased the poverty of this country, and decreased the wage level of workers throughout history. We only have a very narrow period of our history where “legal” immigration was especially good for the nation and that was during the period of the Irish, German, Polish, Swedish immigration periods, that tok us into the industrial age, factory sweatshops and steam/coal fired factory output and steelworking. THe skill set also ffit the industry, because workers came from countries with highly developed skill already, just mtoo many people to compete for too few jobs in their native countries.
    When you change the meaning of a word, you change the truth with it.

  34. michael

    Again ShellyB there is already a path to citizenship. It is not overnight, and never will be.

  35. michael

    And there will ALWAYS be “legal” and “illegal”, because the country will never have completely open borders, there is too much terrorist and over-population risk to ever do this, as well as “ideology” risk that destroys nations inherent in any open border policy.

    No nation troughout the world will ever have open borders, and people who cross them without permission, will always be “illegal” and then deported if found.

  36. michael

    What’s best for our country is keeping our standard of living high, and protecting its citizens from people outside and inside our country who would harm them.

  37. michael

    Witness, before you can claim cause and effect with your numbers, or expenditure of 14M being good or bad, you have to explain why crime when down in Manassas, and up in PWC, and mainly only in rapes and assaults if I remember. The percentage increase of murders I think went up 150%, that made the entire OVERALL crime statistics skew upward in one year, because the numerical change from murders was 2 up to 3. The other sample sizes were larger, but still small samples.

    I really don’t think anyone can correlate crime with “illegal” presence, because illegal presence data has only been collected for 9 months. Obviously it takes two years worth of collected data to deterine if it went UP or DOWN. Lets base our claims in facts please, so we know what the truth is, and not what we want to believe is true.

    I think it is sufficient to know we spent $14M to remove 650 criminals from PWC that will not be here to commit more crimes on innocent people in the future. I think $14M is worth saving 650 more people from being victims of future criminal actions.

  38. michael

    Moon, I think you are right I don’t believe it cost $14M either. Especially if a large portion of $14M was used to install new police cameras into police cars. I doubt it was all spent in training, but maybe it was, I really don’t know. I have to agree with your view of this, becuase I believe you are right about the cost.

  39. michael

    A lot depends on the public release of the Chief’s budget and execution disclosure. If he releases that I would be very surprised.

  40. michael

    If it Did cost 14M, then we spent 21,000 dollars per person saved from future crime victimization.

    I believe each person’s personal safety and prevention of horrific experiences is worth $21K don’t you? I’ll bet we spend far more per person on other “services” in the county and the salaries of those persons who provide those “services”, that under closer scrutiny are probably not very “essential” services.

  41. Poor Richard

    Give PWC credit, like the resolution or not, they have yet
    to be sued over it, much less convicted. Chief Charlie Deane,
    in my opinion, played a key role in pulling PWC back
    from going over a dangerous legal cliff.

  42. Gainesville Resident

    WT – you said “By the same token, when you say PWC has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, but omit Richard’s point that we also had the Manassas area almost urban-like concentration of affordable or semi-affordable housing, you are leaving out one of the most important factors contributing to this number, and implying that it is all because of the Immigration Resolution.”

    Not sure if addressed to me, but I know I have stated many times that Manassas affordable housing in my opinion is why PWC housing crash much worse than adjacent jurisdictions. I also said I didn’t feel resolution had that big of impact on foreclosure rate, but didn’t deny that it had SOME impact. I would be lying if I said it had zero impact. I just think some people made it sound like resolution was primary driver of reason PWC foreclosure rate and price drops, higher than adjacent jurisdictinos. Greater ratio of affordable housing and possible lower income of occupants, is the cause. Several posters on here a few months ago were making it sound like resolution 90% of cause of PWC’s problems. i totally disagree.

    Anyway, just wanted to clarify – you might have misunderstood what I was saying in my earlier post. Think we are on the same page, actually.

  43. Gainesville Resident

    Poor Richard – quite true – Deane had to walk a fine line there probably in terms of balancing enforcing resolution with not getting slapped with lawsuits by ACLU, etc.

  44. Witness Too

    Gainesville, I addressed you because you were in the same boat as Richard not the other boat (=

    A last word about home foreclosures and their effect on home values: there has been much made of the viewpoints being odds between the average PWC resident (like me), and those who live in the Manassas, Dale City, and Woodbrige areas where there were large demographic shifts involving immigrants from South and Central America. It seems that almost all of the leaders of Help Save Manassas lived in a small area in Manassas. People who did not have the neighborhood issues they were dealing with had no idea why they were so upset. I think from the 12-hour citizen time we realized, “Okay, there are a lot of immigrants in our county,” but if there had been a change we hadn’t noticed.

    So, long story short, we get to this “statistic” that shows PWC has one of the worst foreclosure rates in the nation, five times worse than the average for the region. Well, hidden beneath that broad brush statistic is the fact that the area where the HSM members all live was completely devastated by home foreclosures and steep drops in property value. Most other areas were affected the same as the rest of the region, but we got dragged down a bit by the devastated areas.

    So, much like the way that our negative reputation is really due to a few bad apples, our poor numbers in economic reports due to a few problem areas.

  45. Poor Richard

    Gainesville Resident and Witness Too, you are both on target.
    Fairfax and Loudoun have fewer older modest neighborhoods
    per capita, and consequently were less impacted as total
    jurisdictions by the real estate boom-bust-foreclosure train wreck.
    Too bad PWC and Manassas City didn’t have a crystal ball
    and forsee the recession and its results. The lousy economy
    has constrained massive immigration far more than any local
    government body could hope. They could have saved more than a little
    money and avoided loads of bad PR.

  46. Brittancus



    Enforce the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli bill, the Immigration Reform & Control Act as enacted. Offer your support to Rep.Shuler (D-NC) on his gov website. Phone: 828-252-1651 and Senator Sessions (R-AL) (256) 533-0979

    Knowing that Amnesty will be passed secretly behind closed doors, no matter what the consequences under a Democratic-Socialist majority? Those 20.000 in town protesting equals another 200.000, because once legalized there want to bring in their Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Nieces. All those they can sponsor, by signing an affidavit that they will not become a financial burden on the population. However our government does not enforce this law and then the Taxpayer ends up paying for their upkeep. THIS IS CALLED CHAIN MIGRATION. Their handicapped and infirm can apply for SSI, SDI without ever paying into the system. These people know the the welfare government benefits, better than the majority of Americans. Sick old folks end up on dialysis machines, that cost around thousands dollars a year and their sponsor pays nothing! Nor does the parasite business that hires cheap labor.

    The grand-slam example is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Economics writer Ed Rubenstein’s new report, “The Earned Income Tax Credit and Illegal Immigration: A Study in Fraud, Abuse, and Liberal Activism,” The author says immigrants collected about $12 billion from the EITC last year, the majority not paying a cent towards it. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation found high school-dropouts-who headed households pay an average of $9,700 a year in taxes but collect an average of $32,138 a year in benefits. All this money in real dollars is procured from unaware taxpayers.

    Senator Sessions and in addition Rep.Shuler, the author of E-Verify and the revised Save Act have a unceasing battle ahead.

  47. Gainesville Resident

    OK, Witness Too, thanks for clarifying. You are right about which boat I was in!

    Poor Richard, as usual I’m in agreement with your analysis of differences of PWC vs. Fairfax & Loudoun. As you say, they have some older more affordable neighborhoods, but the percentage of them in those counties is far less. Indeed, PWC and City of Manassas (as well as Manassas Park) for that matter were just far more susceptible to anything that disturbed the housing market – be it the economy downturn or anything else. I know MH uses the phrase “perfect storm” and she has a good point in that regard.

    You are also right Poor Richard – the economy has done more to constrain immigration than anything else. I’ve heard there’s some evidence that economy is responsible for some people leaving the USA. Makes sense, if you come here to find work and due to downturn you can’t, your only other choice then is to go back home and hope you can find something there. It is just like what’s happening with the gas prices and cars – when gas prices were high, more people were buying fuel efficient cars. When prices dropped, SUV sales started picking up (as a percentage of car sales). Now gas prices are on the upswing, and the percentage of SUV sales will drop again. Not a perfect analogy, but in any event economy is driving some immigrants to leave if they are unsuccessful in finding employment here. How many, i’m sure no one knows, but obviously some.

  48. Poor Richard

    Suggest those interested in this issue read today’s WaPo
    Real Estate section story headlined “The Dream Endangered –
    Many Immigrants Who Prospered in the Boom Now Face Crisis”
    (5-23-2009, F1). While it has a focus on Prince William,
    it never mentions the “resolution”. Also check
    “Real Estate Trends”(F5) that highlights Fairfax County this week
    – note the areas with the highest drop in medium price homes:
    Herndon, Springfield, Bailey’s Crossroads and Mount Vernon –
    what do they have in common with many parts of PWC? They,
    of course, were not impacted by the PWC “resolution”.

  49. Gainesville Resident

    Yes, good pointer to that article Poor Richard. Much along the lines of my theories of why big real estate drop here, and those ares have similar characteristics as far as somewhat more affordable housing than other areas of Fairfax County, as well as lower income levels, I would say. Those people are just going to be more prone to run into financial problems during any economic downturn – just simple probability and really common sense tells you that would be the case. They are probably already on a tight budget, and also in jobs maybe more exposed to loss of work in bad economic times. Certainly builders can’t afford to hire so many construction workers, as there aren’t as many houses being built. That has ripple effect on housing market, and kind of a feedback effect or vicious cycle. Wealthier areas, just have maybe more room in general in their budgets and somewhat better job security. Not to say that there aren’t a fair number of foreclosures in better of neighborhoods, but percentage of houses in foreclosure status much lower.

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