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City study: New federal immigration rules could harm Boston economy, increase risk of communicable disease

A new study by the BPDA tries to calculate the costs of proposed federal immigration rules that would bar anybody who ever applies for any taxpayer-funded programs - including early-childhood nutrition programs and state-subsidized health insurance - and concludes Boston could lose a significant part of its workforce and risk increases in communicable diseases as immigrants drop out of health-care programs to try to stay here.

The BPDA first calculated there are roughly 19,400 Boston residents who could be affected by the proposed changes and looked at the economic impacts:

Loss of Workers
Boston employers could lose approximately 12,000 workers if affected immigrants lose employment authorization, are detained and deported, including workers who are Boston residents and those who commute into jobs in the city. These workers support the jobs of an additional 5,600 workers.

Loss of Consumer Demand
The Boston economy would also lose the purchasing power of the 11,800 affected Boston residents who are not currently employed or who work outside of Boston.

Loss of Income for the City as a Whole
The affected immigrants who live in Boston or commute into Boston contribute $500 million annually to the income of Boston residents through direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts.

Loss of Talent
Of the 19,400 Boston residents who would possibly fall out of status and face deportation, 3,973 are college or university students, and another 1,822 are college-educated workers.

But beyond that, immigrants dropping out of state-funded or subsidized nutrition and health-care programs would leave Boston at greater risk of treatable and communicable disease, because it would mean more people not receiving adequate nutrition, vaccinations or early detection of disease. People who don't get enough to eat are more likely to get sick, the BPDA notes.

[D]isenrollment from immunization services (influenza, mumps, rubella, etc.) aswell as other preventive services against communicable diseases (diphtheria, cholera, HIV, etc.)will have incalculable implications to the local economy as well as potentially severe health consequences for both those disenrolling and the population at large. Loss of productivity and/or missed work due to health issues may also result in lost earnings.

For people who don't care about sick immigrants - and somehow think they don't come down with illnesses that can spread to the native-born - the report says both the city and local hospitals would see costs go up, because hospitals are still required to provide medical care to people sick enough to show up at an emergency room.

Based on preliminary analysis, we estimate that the economic burden to the City of Boston could between $14 and $57 million per year (assuming 20% to 80% disenrollment). ...

[D]isenrollment from programs that provide nutrition assistance (i.e. SNAP) may prove burdensome to the local economy because of increased health expenditures associated with food insecurity. Implicit in this thesis is the relationship between food insecurity and adverse health conditions, identifiable in empirical food security research literature published in peer-reviewed academic journals and reports.



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death and pain are good as long as somebody, somewhere, is getting rich.

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The Trumphards are very clear about how much they hate science, data, information, and rational investigation.

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Pure science is great. Applied science is full of funny business and bullshit. Do you honestly think BRA would have released the report if the findings said that enforcing immigration law would benefit Boston's economy?

It sounds like their study might exclude the opportunity-cost of undocumented immigrants. If illegal immigrants didn't settle in Boston, then that would open up Boston to other people who would gladly take their place. It's not as if the city has a problem attracting people. The city is already oversaturated with people, based on the cost of housing. People avoid moving to this area because they are competing with so many other people who want to live and work in this area.

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I'd love to hear your definition of pure, non-applied science. Are you a xenophobic string theorist? Or just a garden variety racist troll?

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Applicants are already barred from public aid in visa applications and applicants sign, certifying they won't apply for aid. Sponsors and co-sponsors sign to be financially responsible to repay any aid gotten by applicants. Applicants must also submit criminal AND medical exams and immunization records. Many countries have higher immunization rates than lowering rates in the US. The biggest risk may be Hepatitis A, where infection rates outside the US, Canada, and western Europe are higher.

The big change is that applicants who would be a financial burden on the US would now be judged on that in applications. The old and young, and people without English proficiency are also less favored. These people are a net negative to the economy, not a positive as claimed in the report.

These are all the sort of things other developed countries do in their immigration policies. Why not the US? Want to be a Swiss citizen? That will cost you. Want to emigrate to Australia or New Zealand? Don't be too old (unless wealthy) and work in one of the professions they have shortages of. The report is full of bad math. It doesn't calculate the supposed economic benefit of 12,000 minimum wage workers against the millions in public costs for them. The net negative looks bad along with the free college tuition.

The good news is that word gets back to prospective immigrants that other countries would now be on equal footing with the US as a destination because US taxpayers don't want to be suckers quite as much. The report failed to mention how many immigrants already live in public housing, probably because it would look bad. My cousin works for Quincy Housing Authority and has many stories along the lines of how they feel entitled to free/discount housing by right. At Costco yesterday, handicapped parking placards are quite popular for able bodied immigrants, who will probably claim they didn't understand the rules if confronted.

We're just suckers and some immigrants will take every inch just as much as Jared Kushner does for the tax code. If they don't like the new rules here, they are welcome to try another destination country.

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That acknowledges the limits were already in place. What changed is that documentation proving why the person should be exempted would no longer be accepted.

You also missed the part about how this discusses people who are already here, not abused people seeking a better life at your expense who have yet to flee their home countries, and how your costs (assuming you're actually a taxpayer) are going to go up and, who knows, maybe you'll be more likely to contract TB or the flu.

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I kind of didn't have a horse in this, except that my feeling was that the study was for the benefit of Walsh's stance on the issue of immigration (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but brings with it a bias.) I started to look at the source of their 19,000, but it really seems like a made up number.

To show my math, they started off with the ACS estimate of 97,322 residents of Boston who are not citizens. They knock out another 18,000 estimated non-citizens who are students, bringing the number down to about 80,000. They, they estimate that 14,285 H1-B visa holders, who work in well paid positions, live in Boston, knocking the number down to 65,715, rounded to 65,000. Now, here's where the math gets fuzzy. They cannot figure out how many green card holders there are in Boston. For the whole Commonwealth, it's about 2/3 of all non-citizens, but that runs us down to exactly zero people affected by this rule change, which everyone can agree can't be the right number.

Since they have not clear data, one could assume that those greatly affected are potential future migrants and those who are not here legally. Or one could go with the numbers given. Therefore, it's tough to judge either way.

Honestly, I'd love to see some group make an honest account of the ledger on the effects of immigration. My gut is that on balance it is an asset to both the region and the nation, but instead of an impartial group coming out giving impartial figures, people cook the books to further their agendas. The BPDA was tasked with coming up with something, and they delivered what they were asked to do.

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Why is the BPDA releasing this report?

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Mayor Walsh asked them to do it.

And to be fair, they've been creating reports on immigrant communities for several years now.

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Maybe we could use the $322 Million refund check that Exxon/Mobil gets from the IRS Even though they pay no taxes on their $10 Billion in profits.

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