Why Americans Think (Wrongly) Immigration Hurts the Economy – Newsweek.com

Immigration is a divisive issue for Americans. Both legal and illegal worry people when the economy turns down. Of course those who enter our country illegally are much easier to vilify. They are not really criminals–but they are not here legitimately either.

These facts make the issue one that is ripe for exploitation by people and groups who want to manipulate people.

This Newsweek article:  Why Americans Think Immigration Hurts the Economy – Newsweek.com points out that immigration overall has a positive effect on our economy but lists several reasons why people do not see it that way.

One of the reasons is the outcry in the media about criminals entering our country illegally, poor women and children coming here to soak up all of our free services and depriving citizens of access because of it or women having babies here to make it easier for them to stay as parents of a US citizen, and not paying taxes because they aren’t earning money legally.Stop the Invasion

First off, the people who enter or stay in our country without permission are not criminals until they defy a criminal statute. And while many do break laws with fraudulent documentation, driving without a license, and failing to file income taxes they do pay taxes. They pay taxes because they work for companies who automatically take out the taxes and send them to the tax collecting agencies of the State and Federal governments. And they pay sales tax and their money goes to pay property taxes whether for their own homes or through paying rent to landlords.

But because they are using fake credentials, they are never able to collect any of the direct benefits these taxes pay for–Social Security, Medicare, Pell Grants, mortgage and rental assistance, or other programs citizens take advantage of from the Federal Government.

At the local and state level, people are more likely to take advantage of services. Children attend school; workers go to emergency rooms when injured; and some manage to qualify for food stamps. And low wage workers don’t pay as much to state treasuries as they do to Federal ones because of SS and Medicare.

But divide and conquer has a long-standing tradition in our country. We wanted free land so we called Native Americans savages and moved onto barren reservations. After the Civil War, white men in power convinced poor whites they should align with other whites instead of the more similar poor blacks so they would agree to policies against their own economic self-interest just because it made them feel closer to the rich and powerful people.

Now people who are in power–or want to be in power–are on an extended marketing campaign to make immigrants and minorities into evil interlopers who will steal jobs and use up our government services so that they will organize together again against their self-interest and the interest of the country as a whole so the manipulators can keep or gain power.

Granted, the gain for the country is not large. But saying it is a drain on the economy is a lie. But people under economic distress will believe lies if it gives them something to hope for. And the ones who do see localized economic drains are eager to believe that the solution to their issues could be taken care of so easily–just send all of those illegals home and the economy would be OK.

The Arizona Governor is preying on that fear and hope. And other parts of the country are now feeling the strain of an influx of people who had concentrated in a few large states in the past. The fear is spreading so it’s easier to spread the lies rather than spread the burden so no locality suffers so the country can benefit for that little economic boost.

  1. A non-lawyer way of understanding criminal vs civil is to answer the question: can the perp be sent to jail for the infraction, or is the punishment a fine, or both. Entering the country illegally is punishable by either a fine or by six months in jail. Therefore it is a criminal violation. If you enter illegally, you are a criminal. If you actively evade a customs officer, you are a criminal.

    The real issue is assimilation, or lack thereof. The 10 – 20 million illegal Mexicans living here are the first foreign group to actively resist assimilation. I have seen corporate presentations by hispanic businesses touting that latino assimilation is a “myth”. This is the real problem, for the latin culture and political economy is vastly inferior to the anglo-saxon model. This is an objective economic and political fact (compare economies and political stability of UK/USA/Australia/Canada to those of South America, Spain, Mexico, Central America). I am not making a comment about the “happiness” index (I prefer Italy as the best place to “live the good life”, but they have had 50 different parliamentary governments in 50 years and have substantial corruption), only the economic and political index, and former colonies of England have outperformed by a wide margin.

    Acquiescing to the presence of tens of millions of non-assimilating, non-English speaking people whose home culture has produced political instability and economic stagnation is quite literally insane.

  2. You actually believe that “…people who enter or stay in our country without permission are not criminals until they defy a criminal statute…”???

    If, after thinking about your statement, you still believe it, then try this next time you leave the country and fly back into LAX or JFK: run past the immigration and customs agents, refuse to show identification, refuse to answer questions about where you’d been and the reasons for your travel, and see how far you get before you are tackled, shackled, and thrown in jail for interrogation.

    Bending over backwards to excuse what Mexicans themselves call the re-conquest of the southern territories is unflattering at best. The irony has been and continues to be Mexico’s own treatment of its own illegal invasion from Central America. They crack those people’s heads and feel not one ounce of guilt. Yet you make excuses for the illegal (yes, illegal) trespass of 10 – 20 million people.

    • Yes I believe being in this country without documentation is not a criminal offense. It is a civil offense. So I won’t belabor that point anymore until the laws change.

      As far as how the Mexican government treats immigrants into their country, that’s the government–not the individuals who flee abject poverty because their government is corrupt and will not assist them. Any more than I would necessarily blame an individual American citizen for torturing of people at Guantamo Bay by our government.

      And I will NOT respond if you start a discussion on terrorists. That’s not my point. The point is government action is not the fault of an individual citizen who is not a part of the government.

      And many, many immigrants who are in this country illegally are not from Latin America. They come from Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. Most of them arrive legally with visas and permits all in order, they just stick around. Using the face of Latino/a people as the face of immigration is another way to divide our public.

      We need to work together not pull apart over lies sold to us by people who are grasping at power to keep us little people fighting among ourselves instead of standing up to the real drain on our economy–disappearing jobs, failed banks, industry that borrows until it’s bankrupt and then asks for help to climb out of their own pit so they can keep the personal stashes of wealth they have accumulated while ripping off the country and their own employees.

      And the US people are just too happy to take the bait. It absolves them of any responsibility for rectifying their own situation. It’s hard work to fight the powers that be and a lot easier to sit back and blame the millions of people below you on the food chain for your problems.

      I don’t make excuses for the people who are here without permission. I just don’t think we should blame them either. Almost all work hard, pay taxes, and take care of their families–all “American Values.” And not the cause of our economic woes.

      If we don’t want people here without permission, but we reap rewards from their presence, then we need to find a way for them to be here legally and recognize the value to our country.

      And if we really don’t want them here, we need to come up with ways to assist their countries to make staying home a better option through real development, not the free-for-all of free trade experiments of the Clinton years, but real economic development.

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