Terry Gorman: The Burning Truth About the Cost of Illegal Immigration
I feel compelled to clarify some of the misstatements made by reporter Gene Emery in a PolitiFact hit piece which gave me a rating of “Pants On Fire”.
First off, when I first spoke with Mr. Emery, he stated that he became interested in the cost of illegal immigration after seeing a RIILE sign at our new Governor’s inauguration that announced that illegal aliens cost RI taxpayers $400 million per year. If that were the case, then why did he begin his article with the statement that Mr. Gorman stated that fact on the Helen Glover Show of January 6, 2011? Why bring someone else into the story if the story is meant to criticize me? Is there an agenda? He then went on to state that reliable data on this subject is difficult to find. His facts seem to bear this out.
Next, he disputes 8,740 as the number of illegal alien children and the US born children of illegal aliens in RI in 2004. I provided him the source for my information to no avail. The same source estimates that number to be 10,770 in 2010. It appears that Mr. Emery conveniently uses the numbers that seem to make his assertions work. The cost estimates for education were completely misrepresented by this reporter. In our conversations and emails, I emphatically stated that I believed the costs associated with my estimates were to educate illegal alien children AND the US born children of illegal aliens – the latter number he seems to have left out. I also stated in our telephone interviews and e-mails that I applied the RIDE statistic of 20.1% of the total student population enrolled in Special Education in RI to my 8,740 estimate to arrive at my total education cost. These figures are easily accessible on the RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website, RIDE, under the heading In$ite. The reporter references data from the Pew Hispanic Center reports that seem to verify his numbers but he neglects to avail himself of ALL the data, some of which would substantiate my numbers. Another agenda in the making?
The RIDE study I mentioned estimates the cost to educate English Language Learners, ELL students, in Providence alone to be in excess of $25 million. Jessica Vaughn, Director of Policy Studies at the well respected, non-partisan group Center for Immigration Studies submitted a Letter to the Editor on February 7, 2011 rebutting Mr. Emery’s assertions. But it was only posted on projo.com and not printed in the Providence Journal. Why? In that letter, Ms. Vaughn gave the reporter her own rating of “Pants on Fire “.
Mr. Emery also mistakenly asserts that, in my estimates, I use Medicaid figures. Medicaid was never mentioned in any of our conversations or emails. I referenced solely RIte Care figures. Although now he has informed all of us that we currently have 350 illegal alien pregnant women receiving social services in our state, he claims that cost to be only $600,000 dollars. Does it not cost on average $10,000 per delivery at hospitals in RI? He also asserts that the state of RI does not keep track of these babies once they are born. These babies are automatically US citizens by virtue of their birth on US soil. They are also entitled to welfare, food stamps, housing and medical care. Does he expect us to believe that our state does not keep track of these costs?
He also asserts that one of my sources for costs was an Interpeter at a local hospitaI. I specifically stated to him that the interpeter informed me that she was required by her hospital administration to record, on a daily basis, any services provided to patients who did not have a Social Security, Green card number, passport etc. According to Mr. Emery, hospitals in RI do not keep track of the uncompensated care costs for services rendered to illegal aliens. If that is the case, how do they justify their requests for reimbursement from the state for those costs each year?
Here is another questionable statement. A spokesman for the Hospital Association of Rhode Island claims that hospitals in RI do not require patients to provide their Social Security numbers or their Green Card number if they have them. If that is the case, how do hospitals pursue them if they default on their payments?
All in all, I find Mr. Emery’s PolitiFact assertions to be classified as “Pants on Fire “. Maybe this post will force the State of Rhode Island to finally reveal the enormous cost of illegal immigration to the taxpayers. When they do, I’m sure I know whose “Pants On Fire” will be extinguished. MINE.
Terry Gorman is the Executive Director of Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement.