Our State Government’s Failed Immigration Policy

Lenny Mirra ~ 12-23

Back in 2022 I had the honor of representing Massachusetts on an Immigration Task Force for the National Conference of State Legislators where I joined state legislators from across the country to find ways to fix our broken immigration system.

What I remember most is that after just a few zoom meetings, where we outlined problems and issues, we finally met in person in Washington DC to come up with a final policy statement.
It took just a single day.

There were no Ds or Rs in the room, (Democrats or Republicans), no blue team or red team, just a couple dozen state legislators who recognized how the cost of the federal government’s failure on immigration policy fell on cities and states and how it didn’t have to be this way.

And the costs are not minor with some estimates at about $150 billion per year as the net cost at the federal, state, and local levels.

In Massachusetts alone we’re spending about $45 million per month just for housing new migrants, but the overall costs are substantially higher when factoring in things like food, clothing, healthcare, education, and law enforcement. The scary part is that nobody seems to know what the overall cost to the Commonwealth is, only that it’s growing every year.

Done correctly, immigration becomes more of a solution than a problem and we need only look to places like Australia, Canada, and Germany to see examples of how this could work.

Done incorrectly and we need look no further than across the pond to UK and Europe where right-wing political parties are gaining power and winning elections because voters are pushing back against uncontrolled immigration. Worse yet, history shows that out-of-control immigration leads to the rise of hate groups which is happening both here and abroad.

This shows us yet another example of how political parties are at the root of our problems, producing a tribalism that leads to inaction in our governments and deep, damaging divisions in society. Some on the far left want to abolish agencies like ICE and CBP, and decriminalize illegal border crossing, while some on the far right want to close our borders and end birthright citizenship, which is guaranteed under the Constitution.

Meanwhile, moderates on both sides fear primary challenges from within their own party if they appear too willing to compromise.

This is crippling in a rapidly aging country like ours where we have a severe worker shortage, especially in crucial jobs like doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, and military personnel. A well-run immigration system would benefit our economy by helping to fill those needs instead of hurting it with new arrivals who will be a drain on public finances.

Within the next ten years Medicare and Social Security will begin to run out of money as more Americans retire. Those programs rely on workers paying into them to keep them solvent and immigration can be a solution, if only the parties would get out of the way. ◊