CSUMB Students Hold Bake Sale on Campus to Show “High Cost of Illegal Immigrants”

Cookies-300x233.jpgThe Otter College Republicans of CSUMB held a bake “sale” outside the campus on October 19th to raise awareness of the “real high cost of illegal immigrants.” The posters said “Illegal immigration bake sale” and “Cost: $1. Contribution: citizens, legal immigrants: $2, illegal immigrants: free.” Is anti-immigrant sentiment now seeping across college campuses to the degree that they must host bake sales that objectify immigrants and further blame them for the economic woes that the US is suffering? Should these students take a crash course on Alabama’s example and see how the exodus of “illegal aliens” has deeply hurt Alabama’s economy? Cookies, anyone? Iliana Sosa

Via Monterey Herald

It is one of the great American conversations: Do immigrants contribute to the economy? Or do they take more than their fair share?

If immigrants are in the United States illegally, do they take even more?

To bring attention to what they say is the high cost of illegal immigration, the Otter College Republicans of CSUMB held a bake “sale” outside the campus library on Wednesday.

Hannah Plummer, chair of the student organization, arrived at 11 a.m. with a folding table and boxes of goodies. The club got together to bake festive chocolate muffins with vanilla frosting. A group supporter donated apple cinnamon snickerdoodles. Also on the menu was pumpkin spice cake.

Plummer and club members Matt Bolner, Christine Adams and Laura Benitez arranged the sweets on a folding table and taped green posters on the wall with duct tape. The posters said “Illegal immigration bake sale” and “Cost: $1. Contribution: citizens, legal immigrants: $2, illegal immigrants: free.”

They were not really selling the goodies — campus regulations don’t allow selling of food, Plummer said. They could give away the sweets — or ask for donations.

“Illegal immigrants take $113billion in free benefits, like education and health care,” Plummer told passers-by. “Everyone puts into the system, but they get things for free.”

Plummer said she got her data from “multiple” websites and cited IllegalImmigrationFacts.com. The site is an aggregator of news and blogs with no apparent association with a research organization. Plummer and fellow club members have been thinking about doing an immigration event for a while, but decided on the bake sale when the Dream Act was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The legislation, approved Oct. 8, allows students who were brought to this country illegally as children to get financial aid when accepted into California’s public universities. The California Department of Finances estimates the financial aid will cost $14.5million.

“We think it’s unfair,” Bolner said. “We don’t get to take anything for free.”

Growing up in Salinas, Bolner saw how the children of migrant workers — not necessarily legal, he said — received special benefits.

“I never had that type of treatment,” he said. “That’s kind of unfair.”

Now he works weekends to help pay for his education, he said.

Dozens of students walked by the table Wednesday without stopping. A few did, read the posters and asked questions. Bolner was the most outgoing, offering information on the issue.

Dane Clark Jr., a junior majoring in business marketing, said he stopped because he was taking a midterm in a couple of hours, so he needed the sugar boost. On the issue of immigration, he is on the fence.

Undocumented immigrants “help us run California, you couldn’t do it without illegal immigrants,” he said. “At the same time. … Overall, it helps us. I came from an ag town, you see in the orchards how hard the immigrants work.”

Katherine Gante, 18, was lured to the table by a flier in the library. She engaged in a passionate argument with Bolner and other club members.

“I feel this is discriminating against immigrants,” she said. “People have rights as humans.”

“To take from a country they came to?” Bolner asked.

“They come to take the worst jobs, they get paid very little. They could go through the system (to get immigration papers), but it’s a corrupt system.”

“The Dream Act just passed. Guess who’s paying for their education? Me,” Bolner said. “There’s a bunch of holidays I don’t get, and I’m white. My whole family is white. I’m not OK with people taking from me.”

Opinions about how much immigrants contribute, and how much they cost the economy, abound, but many researchers have concluded that, overall, immigration is beneficial to the U.S. economy, and that in the cost-benefit analysis, what undocumented immigrants take versus what they contribute is essentially a wash.

“Adding the small positive immigration surplus to the small negative net fiscal impact, the total short-run change in U.S. national income from illegal immigration is -0.07 percent of GDP,” wrote Gordon Hanson, a researcher with the University of San Diego and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In “The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration in the United States,” published by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, Gordon wrote that “while the value is negative, indicating illegal immigration on net lowers U.S. national income, it’s close enough to zero to be essentially a wash.”

In California, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for many services. They can go to a hospital emergency room, for example, but they are quickly ushered out when they are stabilized. They don’t have access to food stamps or Medi-Cal.

On Wednesday, more muffins and cookies were distributed — and more passionate discussions ensued — before Kelly Mailly, coordinator of leadership development on campus, arrived to tell the Otter Republicans they are not allowed to distribute unpackaged food on campus.

“The campus does not allow food to be sold or given away,” Mailly said. “It’s a liability issue.”

Plus, the Otter Republicans did not ask campus officials for a permit to hold an event. So their give-away was shut down.

Claudia Meléndez Salinas can be reached at 753-6755 or cmelendez@montereyherald.com.

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