Immigrant Song

Here’s an update on my last post. This Marine finally got his citizenship, and just days after I wrote about it. I assume that the timing is not a coincidence. Well, CNN’s coverage may have helped too…

Anyway, since I started writing about immigration, I might as well go all out today. I figure, hey, why not talk it? After all, this barely examined topic has never been the subject of much discussion. So I guess it’s up to me. Here goes:

When it comes to immigration, I’m for it.

That simple sentence is adequate to provoke death threats in certain parts of the country, and I could just leave my thoughts at that. However, I have a reason for taunting a squadron of Minutemen vigilantes to show up at my front door.

No, it’s not that we’re going to solve the immigration problem within the confines of this blog (although that would be most cool). Rather, I’m hoping for basic acknowledgement of the complexity of this issue, which I admit might be a bit much to ask in a political atmosphere where everybody is either a gun-toting racist or a freeloading parasite, according to whom you listen to.

As I understand it, people who take a hard line claim that illegal immigration is unfair to those who applied legally. Now, I’m sure that it’s frustrating on the principle of the thing, but has anyone ever been denied citizenship because a Mexican got here first?

I’ve also heard that that undocumented workers cost taxpayers too much and drive up crime.  But in actuality, many studies say these workers have a net positive impact on the economy, and I’ve never seen a convincing statistic on skyrocketing crime rates among illegals that wasn’t eventually refuted on Snopes.com.

Finally, we’ve heard that a path to citizenship for undocumented workers only encourages others to come here illegally, or that such an approach is amnesty. But my understanding is that amnesty means a clean slate; every proposal I’ve seen involves paying a hefty fine. And do these individuals really need any more encouragement? They’re already leaving their families, ditching their homeland, and risking death for a shot at a job at Wal-Mart.

Again, people who are concerned about illegal immigration are not all redneck jingoists. No doubt, most are sincere and principled individuals.

But a Hispanic has to ask, would some of these people feel as passionately about this issue if the undocumented were illegal whites? And then there is the hypocrisy of those well-off Americans who advocate for the removal of every illegal. They must recognize that these same workers “make their masters-of-the-universe lifestyles possible” (in the words of Mike Davis in his book City of Quartz).

To be fair, people who push for a more open immigration policy have their own issues to confront. While it’s true that we can’t deport every undocumented worker, does this logically follow that we just stop trying to police the border? And while it’s also true that undocumented workers tend to do jobs other Americans won’t take, are they driving down wages and therefore, undercutting a decent wage for citizens?

We’ve heard that it would be an economic disaster to kick out every illegal, and that the cultural impact of recent immigrants is vital. Yes, but does that mean we just let in anyone at any time?

You see the contradictions and issues between these polarizing stances. But few people can even acknowledge that this bedevils simplistic answers. Perhaps it’s because, as so many have noted, illegal immigrants are a very effective boogyman, especially in an election year. Maybe accepting the fact that no solution is perfect, and none is likely to be implemented any time soon, is the first step toward resolving this mess.

I’ll be upfront about my bias. I was fortunate enough to be born in America. This is not an accomplishment, which is what too many people think. Rather, it is just good luck.

Like many Americans, I have relatives who emigrated here within the past generation. Most of them came here legally. Some of them did not. In subsequent posts, I’ll talk more about them and how they have contributed to this country.


5 Responses to “Immigrant Song”

  1. 1 zeezil
    March 29, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    You should now be painfully aware that illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. The most recent tragedy of four Cottonwood, MN children killed (and the many injured) by an illegal alien driver is a terrible reminder of the failure of our government to simply enforce existing immigration laws. At least on two occasions, local police encountered the perpetrator for infractions of the law, yet did nothing. Due to their ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach which is obviously supported by the police chiefs, city administrators and even the state legislature, four innocent American children are now dead. State legislators must take charge of their own constituent’s welfare and work to require ALL laws are followed and enforced. Obviously, American citizens cannot pick and choose which laws they will follow, but illegal aliens, with government and law enforcement complicity, can. Following the law, abiding by the law and supporting the law is “work” that illegal aliens just won’t do. Two different groups have emerged in America today due to the effect of illegal immigration, those who have to obey the law (citizens) and those who don’t (illegal aliens). How shameful that is.

    It is not racist, bigoted or xenophobic to demand that our country’s borders be secured and to support immigration law enforcement. It is racist, bigoted and xenophobic by illegal aliens, their facilitators and advocates to demand that we allow them free reign with impunity in our country, simply because of who they are. Don’t fall for their ploy, exhibit a staunch backbone and tell them we are the most diverse nation on the face of the earth and welcome more LEGAL immigrants that the rest of the entire world combined does every year. However, where we draw the line is with the “illegal” portion of the term illegal immigrant. Those who want to come to America legally, play by the rules, pay taxes and be a productive contributor to our economy and society, obey the law and assimilate into our culture will be welcomed by all citizens. Those that don’t not only will not be welcomed, they should be told to leave.

    Political power is the real reason immigration advocacy groups are opposed to immigration law enforcement and successful immigration enforcement programs. Any failure by legislators to act and take away the sanctuary status of cities will ultimately lead to a radical shift and upheaval in American demographics resulting in the disenfranchisement of many American citizens.

    Have you heard the saying, when California sneezes, the rest of the country catches the flu? Generally what starts in California eventually spreads to the rest of the country. That is, unless a state takes measures to resist it. Unless every state realistically tackles illegal immigration by instituting Comprehensive Immigration ENFORCEMENT, which California has refused to do, this is what you can expect:

    As of 2006, California contained greater than 25% of the total illegal alien population within the U.S. Many of these illegals concentrate in Los Angeles. New statistics from the Department of Public Social Services reveal that illegal aliens and their families in Los Angeles County collected over $37 million in welfare and food stamp allocations in November 2007 – up $3 million dollars from September. Twenty five percent of the all welfare and food stamps benefits are going directly to the children of illegal aliens. Illegals collected over $20 million in welfare assistance for November 2007 and over $16 million in monthly food stamp allocations for a projected annual cost of $444 million. “This new information shows an alarming increase in the devastating impact Illegal immigration continues to have on Los Angeles County taxpayers,” said Antonovich, LA County Supervisor. “With $220 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $444 million in welfare allocations, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers far exceeds $1 billion a year – not including the millions of dollars for education.”

    Just keep in mind that the $37 million a month is for only one county in one state and is only welfare and foodstamp benefits. It doesn’t include hospital care, education, fraud, wage depression, crime, depreciation of housing values, the portion of bad loans given to illegal aliens by banks, insurance costs and the myriad of other burdensome expenses that illegal aliens put on the backs of American citizens. There are 29 sanctuary cities in California and because of that there should be little wonder why so many illegal aliens stay in this state. They basically operate with impunity and even if they get arrested for a serious crime there is little chance of them being deported. They can sign up for welfare and food stamps with no questions asked and the hospitals provide them with free care as long as there are still emergency rooms that can’t turn them away for lack of funds. All things considered, California has rolled out the welcome mat for them.

    Is there any wonder that California is right now in a fiscal crisis emergency with a budget deficit greater than $14 billion and growing? Reliable estimates calculate illegal aliens cost the state $10.5 billion each year! So what’s Schwarzenegger’s solution? A 10 percent across-the-board reduction in state agency funding,, transferring $2 billion in spending to the next fiscal year and increasing taxes. Why not cut all public services to those not in the U.S. legally? Just a simple thought on my part that would go a long way to putting California back on its feet. A bell should be ringing in you head about right now that tells you this is what is coming your way if you don’t get your state’s politicians to act.

    The Congressional Budget Office in December 2007 (CBO: The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments) stated the tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants generate for state and local governments do not offset the total cost of services provided to those immigrants. Illegal immigrants are a NET COST LOSS and a burden to the budgets of all states. This cost is largely borne by the states and citizen taxpayers. Federal payments allocated by Washington fall far short in reimbursing state and local government expenditures.

    The annual cost for uncompensated emergency care to Mexican Border States (California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas) is $200 million. California taxpayers paid $79 million for illegal alien health care. Texas paid $74 million. –Tom DeWeese, President of American Policy Center.

    The average annual cost per child for education is $7,161, totaling $109 billion to educate illegal aliens annually. The average cost of bilingual education is $1,200 per illegal student. U.S. schools annually educate 1.1 million illegal children. -Tom DeWeese, President of American Policy Center.

    A major cost factor in the conduct of school operations relates to the vast number of children of illegal immigrants in our classroom and the special-training dictates for many of those students being taught in their native language — some 82 languages in San Diego County, 112 languages in Los Angeles County. – North County Times, March 2008. In New York City alone, more than 200 languages are spoken in the public schools. –NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

    $108.2 million is spent each year by U.S. border counties in the four state region to pay for law enforcement, criminal justice and emergency healthcare services to illegal immigrants, states a February 2008 report from the United States/Mexico Border Counties Coalition (USMBCC). Current federal reimbursement returns only 11.5 cents on the dollar to counties for handling criminal illegal immigrant services.

    From 1999 through 2006, the 24 counties along the U.S.-Mexico border spent a cumulative $1.23 billion on services to process criminal undocumented immigrants through the law enforcement and criminal justice system. In fiscal year 2006 alone, the cost was $192 million. Yet, the federal government has only reimbursed these 24 counties $4.7 million for detaining criminal undocumented immigrants for fiscal year 2006 (and $54.8 million since 1999). These are staggering costs considering the rural nature and poverty level of most of these border counties. The costs to process undocumented immigrants come at the expense of basic, vital services to county residents. (Undocumented Immigrants in U.S. Border Counties: The Costs of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Services; U.S.-Mexico Border Counties Coalition February 2008)

    The average illegal immigrant family uses $2,700/year more in services than it pays in taxes. In 2002, this amounted to a $10.4 billion drain on the federal budget. Some of the greatest federal costs included: Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion). According to the CIS report, since most of the illegal aliens currently in the workforce do not have a high school diploma, they only qualify for low paying jobs. That translates into low federal tax payments. Should illegal aliens ever receive an amnesty, it is estimated that net deficit costs would triple to $7,700 per household due to eligibility to all federal, state and local services. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalrelease.html

    Furthermore; nationwide, 40% of households headed by an illegal alien receive welfare benefits and 56% have no health insurance. Standard & Poor’s reports that education of illegal alien children costs the states and federal government $11 billion dollars per year.

    Heritage Foundation research shows in FY 2004, at the state and local level, the average low skill immigrant household received $14,145 in benefits and services and paid only $5,309 in taxes (those that actually paid taxes). The average low skill immigrant households imposed a net fiscal burden on state and local government of $8,836 per year. That is approximately $9000 for EACH immigrant household of which at least 50% are illegal aliens.

    In California, each illegal immigrant will take $50,000 in services from the state beyond what he will contribute in taxes during his lifetime. -The Immigration Solution; Manhattan Institute, 2007

    Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation calculates that each immigrant who is a high school dropout, as most Mexican immigrants are, will end up costing taxpayers $85,000 over his lifetime.

    Taxpayers in our country pay more than $100 billion every year on health care and other services for illegal immigrants, including education, law enforcement costs, and housing. – Congressman Dean Heller-Jan. 2008 http://www.nevadaappeal.com/article/20080127/OPINION/729401847

    A Harvard University study released in January 2008 found that illegal aliens depressed wages in Arizona by $1.4 billion dollars. Hardest hit were low skilled legal workers whose wages fell by 5%. Wage suppression of American workers is a consistent effect throughout the country due to the employment of illegal aliens. http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/0109biz-illlegalscost0110-ON.html

    40% of the decline in employment of black men is due to immigration. Foreign workers are taking American’s jobs and depressing wages. And while Americans from all backgrounds are being harmed, lower to middle income African American workers are being disproportionately affected. –Dr. Frank Morris, former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; February 2008.

    The World Bank reports (Worldwide Remittance Flow to Developing Nations Report) for 2006, $68.1 billion dollars were sent by migrant workers (more than 50% illegal aliens) mostly from the U.S. to Latin America. Mexico received 24.4 billion, South America 24.4, Central America 11 billion and the Caribbean 8.4 billion. This is a direct transfer of a huge portion of our economy to the third world; largely by a group of people (illegal aliens) who are not even authorized to work in our country much less have an established presence here.

    The U.S. government estimates that since 2003, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have repatriated $22 billion to Mexico from the U.S., which is 20% of all money sent to Mexico from it’s citizens residing, legally and illegally here during this interval. Drug money remittances have accelerated since 2002 when the U.S. government allowed banks to accept the Mexican Matricula Consular ID card. This has enabled these crime groups to engage in money laundering. (U.S. State Department report; March 2008)

    Questions you should be asking include “Why is even $1 of taxpayer money being consumed providing services and paying for the huge cost burden of illegal aliens in every state of America? Why are we allowing business and corporations to import cheap foreign labor (both legal and illegal) to drive down wages and put Americans out of work? Why are we importing a foreign workforce that transfers a significant amount of money from our economy to foreign nations?”

    If the illegality of illegal immigration and the tremendous cost burden to American taxpayers, our economy, our society and our culture doesn’t infuriate you, then look over just a few studies that put illegal alien crime in focus:

    (1) Violating the immigration law is a CRIME
    (2) Forging documents is a FELONY CRIME
    (3) Passing forged documents is a FELONY CRIME
    (4) Stealing ID is a FELONY CRIME
    (5) Using stolen ID is a FELONY CRIME

    A US GAO study found in a study population of 55,322 illegal aliens incarcerated, on average, each had been arrested 8 times for a total arrest figure of at least 459,614 times. If that isn’t astounding enough, these 55,322 illegals in the study population had been arrested for committing 700,000 criminal offenses, which averages 13 crimes per illegal alien. So, each illegal alien incarcerated had been arrested 8 times and had committed at least 13 crimes.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, in 2005, 25% of prisoners in federal prisons were illegal aliens, and 4% were legal aliens. This proportion has not gone down; if anything, it has gone up markedly. Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Institute states that today, illegal aliens make up twenty nine percent of the U.S. prison population. Bill O’Reilly is on record more recently stating that illegal aliens account for 32% of the federal and state prison population.

    The US Justice Department reported that in 2003, alone, 270,000 illegal immigrants had served prison time. The Federation for American Immigration Reform reports: “In March 2000, Congress made public Department of Justice statistics showing that, over the previous five years, the INS had released over 35,000 criminal aliens instead of deporting them. Over 11,000 of those released went on to commit serious crimes, over 1,800 of which were violent ones; including 98 homicides, 142 sexual assaults, and 44 kidnappings. In 2001, thanks to a decision by the Supreme Court, the INS was forced to release into our society over 3,000 criminal aliens who collectively had been convicted of 125 homicides, 387 sex offenses, and 772 assault charges.” http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/3/27/114208.shtml?s=ic

    According to the well-respected U.S. Center for Immigration Studies (www.cis.org), incarcerated convicted illegal aliens make up 29 percent of federal, state and local prisons at a cost of more than $1.6 billion annually. This number doubles when the costs for apprehension, the justice system, public defenders, interpreters, prosecutors and the courts add to the total.

    In 2006 – 2007, it cost California roughly $850,000,000 million dollars to incarcerate more than 17,000 illegal immigrants. KGO, San Francisco, March 25, 2007

    Illegals represent about 8 percent of Arizona’s population and the Arizona Department of Corrections reports that Mexican nationals make up 12 percent of the state’s 37,200-inmate prison population.

    In Fresno, California 20% of county jail inmates are illegal immigrants. Riverside County, California: illegal aliens are as much as 25% of their jail population. –The Immigration Solution; Manhattan Institute 2007

    Undocumented aliens, mostly from Mexico and Central America, now total 1953 inmates in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s jail system. That number represents 21 percent of the overall inmate population of men and women housed in the nation’s third largest jail system. Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that is just small part of the story about those incarcerated in his jails. He says that recent figures show that serious crime (class four felonies and above) are committed substantially by illegal aliens. During two recent surveys, between 27 and 53 percent of all suspects booked into the jail on serious felonies had immigration holds placed on them. The vast majority of those with holds were in the United States illegally. According to the Sheriff’s figures, illegal alien inmate population numbers have grown steadily in Arizona and other border states over the last several years. In March 2005, the illegal alien population in Arpaio’s jails totaled approximately 700. (Borderfire Report 2/28/08)

    A new study shows one in five inmates in North Carolina metropolitan jails was not born in this country. The Sheriff’s Association believes a large number of those inmates are here illegally as well. (News 14 Carolina 2/21/08)

    Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation contacted DHS Secretary Chertoff requesting an additional 22 ICE agents for deportations and to investigate crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants. “Our jails are full. The crime rates continue to increase, and we can no longer let this problem escalate,” reads one of the letters, signed by Utah’s two senators and three representatives. Numerous illegal aliens are committing crimes in Utah communities with virtual impunity,” The state now has 25 such agents. (Salt Lake Tribune, 03/05/2008)

    The conservative Federation for Immigration Reform contends that while illegal immigrants made up 3 percent of the total U.S. population in 2003 they made up 5 percent of the total prison population.

    The Violent Crimes Institute conducted a study in 2006 that determined there were more than 100 sex offenders crossing our southern border daily. Data indicates that there are approximately 240,000 illegal immigrant sex offenders in the United States who have had an average of four victims each, totaling over one million sex crimes.

    Illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war, says a report from Family Security Matters that estimates some 2,158 murders are committed every year by illegal aliens in the U.S. The group says that number is more than 15 percent of all the murders reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. and about three times the representation of illegal aliens in the general population. The report from FSM estimates that the 267,000 illegal aliens currently incarcerated in the nation are responsible for nearly 1,300,000 crimes, ranging from drug arrests to rape and murder. Such statistics debunk the claim that illegal immigration is a victimless crime. http://www.gopusa.com/news/2007/february/0222_illegals_report.shtml

    Crimes committed by alien criminals costs U.S. taxpayers $1.6 billion in prison costs alone. The figure doesn’t include the cost of lost property, medical bills of the victims, lost work time for injury recovery, higher insurance costs, etc. –Tom DeWeese, President of American Policy Institute.

    In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens. The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave: City Journal, winter 2004

    One thing that is never even mentioned by the champions of the illegal aliens nor is factored into any crime studies is the fact that ALL illegal aliens have a 3 – 5 crimes committed head start on American citizens (see the 5 point list above).

    Do you ever hear an acknowledgement from the illegal alien facilitators of the more than 50,000 Americans that have been killed by illegal aliens through murder, manslaughter and drunk driving just since 9/11/01? Of course not, that doesn’t fit within their pre-determined conclusion that illegals are only hard working economically displaced ‘migrants’ that regardless of the laws they break by entering, remaining and operating in America, are only here for a better life at the expense of no one. Excuse me for being cynical but I’ve seen the data, read the studies, considered the facts and seen the reality. If you haven’t done the same, I urge you to do so without delay.

    Furthermore, legalizing an illegal alien’s presence in America by rewarding their illegal behavior through amnesty is not the way to build a good system of law and order. It only invites more criminal activity and non-compliance with our laws.

    The central question for everyone, including the facilitators, illegal alien advocates, the ‘no human being is illegal’ compassion crowd, EVERY LEGISLATOR, EVERY COUNCILMEN, EVERY MAYOR and responsible media reporters is this…Why should even ONE American suffer a crime OF ANY SORT at the hands of an illegal alien? With border security and zero tolerance for illegal immigration, these crimes against our citizens are essentially 100% preventable.

    I urge you to view this video that puts the tragedy of illegal alien crime victims into perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpomTIkv0V8&feature=PlayList&p=4EED1264205A2408&index=3

    Isn’t it about time that we engage in Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement rather than allow amnesty that would foster even more problems than we already have with Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

  2. 2 zeezil
    March 29, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Illegal aliens come to America and expect us to turn our country – its laws, its culture, its system of citizen benefits – on its ear to benefit them. Then they accuse us of being racist, bigoted, and hateful xenophobes for requiring them to follow the law that countless LEGAL immigrants took the time to follow. They refuse to acknowledge how their actions can rightfully be interpreted as insulting. They’re essentially saying, “We don’t give a damn about you, your laws, your country or your culture…gimme, gimme, gimme.”

    I’m quite sure that anyone who opposes illegal immigration would have no problem with immigrants of any stripe coming here legally, according to our laws, to make a better life for themselves. But by countless millions invading our country and overwhelming our schools and social systems, criminal justice system, hospitals, degrading our economy, taxing our already fragile infrastructure, crowding our cities and elbowing their way into jobs that are required by law to be given to citizens and legal workers; its just a bit of a problem to those of us who demand that our immigration laws be followed. It’s not racist or bigoted to demand that anyone who wants citizenship show their dedication to their new country by following its laws pertaining to immigration. Breaking those laws as your first action in your “new country” does not sit well with the vast majority of American citizens nor will they ever accept it.

  3. 3 rogerg
    March 30, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Not only the American worker is hurt by illegal aliens, but those who have gone through the time and expense of getting a green card have their wages depressed and a lack of employers who are willing to go through the H1B visa program. Reward illegal activity and watch it grow.

  4. March 30, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Of course, we want our laws enforced. However, there have been only meager efforts to enforce immigration laws for the last half-century. Most immigrants who have come here had one intention: work to provide for their families. They had no knowledge of immigration laws. All they were doing was taking advantage of an opportunity to better their lives.

    Immigrants, legal or illegal, who have settled here, worked to make homes for their families, achieved education for their children, and have shown that they can be good citizens should be granted “fast-track” opportunity for citizenship. They are our neighbors and should be treated as such: humanely and with compassion.

    For a different perspective on immigration issues, read “The Immigrant” by Charles Clark. A heart rending story about how one sensitive immigration issue was resolved.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

March 2008
    Apr »

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7 other followers

Share This Blog

Bookmark and Share

On Twitter


%d bloggers like this: