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Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics”

 

This month the Museum looks at immigration in an exhibit called “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.” Figures falling into the above catagories Courtesy of 538.com

Part the first:
We are a country of immigrants, what else needs to be said? So we’ll go straight to the three types of lies listed above.

Part the Second: From The Donald
“A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.”

Even forgetting the fact that walls keep people in not out (see Vox.com) there are about 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US now. This number is roughly the same maybe a little less, then it was in 2007. Immigration from and through Mexico has declined and around half of that number got here legally and then over-stayed their work visas. Still that’s a lot of people when you have 92 million US citizens outside the workforce. Oh wait, this is like the famous 47% who pay no taxes, the vast majority of these 92 million people are retired, raising children or in school. Well what about the 8-9 million unemployed wouldn’t they have jobs if there were no illegals? Well as long as a 52 year old laid-off school teacher in Wisconsin wants to pick Avocados in California. There just is not a big overlap in the skill sets of our unemployed and that of the undocumented immigrants. An unemployed factory worker whose job got shipped to China, is unlikely to want to mow one of The Donald’s lawns.

What about the Economic impact, using all those public services? Well, without a Social Security number, they cannot access most of our social services, and living, working and spending in the United States they still pay all the taxes except taxes on income. It is estimated that they pay around $12 BILLION dollars a year in state and local taxes Indeed they also put money into Social Security and Medicaid that they will never be able to “redeem”, thereby contributing to the rest of us, estimated at a rate of another $12 Billion. And businesses reap huge savings on insurance and other benefits they do not have to pay the undocumented. Indeed in a pure economic sense these workers are a large net positive financially, and many a communities infra structure would feel the pinch if these workers were not there.

Crime, yes, there will be crime, in any “set” of the population there is crime, and those on the lower end of the economic spectrum will have a higher proportion than the 1%. Actually that is a misnomer, the 1% commit vast economic crimes, far greater than knocking over a 7-11, but they get away with it though their status and by having the pull to have the laws written in their favor so that their crimes are not accounted as such. Wall Street can cost society billions of dollars through maleficence with no ramifications, but we lock away, at an unprecedented rate for a “western” society and at a terrible cost to our society monetarily and socially, the petty thief. So yes the undocumented will commit crimes, sometimes horrible ones but the vast majority do not. 3 million arrests, well actually the number was 3 million “arrest offences” and many of those arrests were on multiple count, so the factor was more like 1.7 million arrests on 3 million counts. And of those arrests about half were on immigration violation, 40 some percent were drug related, and only around 10% were for “violent” crime. And finally the GAO report The Donald quoted covered decades, since 1955, although most of the numbers come from 1990 to the present.

This is not to say we give free reign to undocumented workers, nor do we not try to “secure” our borders, but we need not fear “anchor babies.” They are American citizens the vast majority of which will become productive members of society. I find this whole “controversy” rather incongruous seeing how we are a country built on immigration, and this is where the tour started.

And as you walk out the door just one last thought. The population growth in the US hovers around 1% per year, and the bulk of that is from our vibrant immigrant culture, both new and established. The U.S has never suffered from immigration, indeed it has always been one of our biggest assets. We would not be who we are today without it, and won’t be as exceptional as we can be without it.

Unkwil

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Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from missguided souls who disagree.