Op-Ed: Biden’s Immigration Plan Will Hurt Montana

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If there’s one thing everyone in Montana can agree on, it’s that we love our wide-open spaces. With 7 residents per square mile, we are the 48th least populous state. I wouldn’t trade places with someone in New Jersey, No. 1 with 1,207 people per square mile, for anything. In terms of quality of life, fewer is better.

Of course, the biggest driver of population growth is immigration. Over the past half-century, it has accounted for 55 percent of the nation’s population increase.

That’s why the Biden/Harris program for an unprecedented new wave of immigration is so alarming. With dreams of an electoral sweep dancing in Democrats’ heads, the smart move is to ensure the Senate stays in GOP hands to block this madness.

The future Biden and Harris have in mind includes tens of millions of new immigrants settling permanently in the United States. Their plans include eliminating detention for those illegally crossing the border, amnesty for all illegal immigrants currently here, and deportation only for violent criminals. They also want to expand guest-worker visas and drastically increase the number of green cards issued to the extended families of the foreign-born already here.

Estimates show their proposals would increase benefits to illegal immigrants by $200 billion annually — all at the expense of native-born American taxpayers.

There are few places where taxpayers see immigrants’ financial burden more than in the American healthcare system. A recent study found that 3.9 million uninsured immigrants in the United States account for $18.5 billion a year in healthcare costs, paid for by federal, state, and local taxes.

An additional amount comes in the form “cost-sharing,” in which insured patients are charged higher prices to compensate for the care given to uninsured — often immigrant — patients.

Population growth is also responsible for increased traffic congestion, overcrowding in our schools, and decreased outdoor spaces in Montana. Average commute times here have increased by 20 percent since the 1990s. School enrollment has increased 5 percent since 2010 — endangering Montana’s historically strong commitment to small class sizes. Outdoor spaces diminish by 15,300 acres annually due to development.

Immigration was already chugging along at a rate of 1 million new green cards a year before Covid hit. No state has been immune to its disruptive effects. Montana’s foreign-born population has grown by 42 percent since 2000, and 12 percent of them are here illegally. The share of immigrants in Montana will only grow if the Biden/Harris immigration proposals are turned into the law of the land.

The overall level of migration to the United States is simply unsustainable. It’s disrupting our quality of life.

[Publisher’s Note: Craig Bryant of Bozeman is a co-founder of Montanans for Immigration Law Enforcement (MILE). Visit the organization online at: www.montanamile.org. Edited for post-election publication by MT Daily Gazette]




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