- Politicians and pundits are defending
illegal immigration with worn-out myths that can easily be proven wrong.
- Myth: Illegal immigrants contribute greatly
to the American economy.
- Fact: So-called statistics supporting
this myth are typically a deceptive amalgam of statistics and supposition
arranged to conceal an undeniable truth. Consider, for instance, this statement
from the ACLU paper Immigrants and the Economy (2002): "Immigrants
pay more than $90 billion in taxes every year and receive only $5 billion
in welfare. Without their contributions to the public treasury, the economy
would suffer enormous losses." If 32.5 million immigrants (the total
of legal and illegal immigrants, according to the recent U.S. Census figures)
really pay $90 billion in taxes, then they pay half the taxes the average
native-born American pays. Note too that the ACLU combines both legal and
illegal immigrants into its statistic. Most taxes paid by immigrants are
paid by legal immigrants. Illegal immigrants often pay little or no taxes
because many of them are working "under the table" in the underground,
- Welfare is a term limited to only a few
federal subsidy programs, and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)
notes: "Even though illegal aliens make little use of welfare, from
which they are generally barred, the costs of illegal immigration in terms
of government expenditures for education, criminal justice, and emergency
medical care are significant." CIS estimates that the total net cost
of illegal immigration is an annual drain on the government of $11-22 billion
- Myth: We are a nation of immigrants.
- Fact: This myth is false on its face.
Nearly 88 percent of the people living in the United States today are not
immigrants; they were born here. This is a nation of natives, not a nation
of immigrants. "But," the liberal propagandists reply, "we
all have ancestors who come from other countries." And, one might
reply, so does just about every other nation on Earth.
- Are not the French merely descendents
of the immigrant barbarian Franks, who drove out the Roman era Celtic Gauls?
And the English are simply immigrant Angles and Saxons who virtually wiped
out the Celtic Britons in the fifth century A.D. They too are simply nations
of immigrants under this liberal myth, as is practically every other nation
on Earth. The myth descends to meaninglessness upon any serious analysis.
Yet whenever this myth is uttered, we are expected to nod our heads in
agreement that a deep and salient point has been made.
- Myth: You cannot deport 12 million people.
- Fact: This is nothing more than a slogan
for people who have stopped trying to address the problem. The U.S. government
needs to begin deporting illegal aliens, and even if it only deports a
fraction of them over the next few years that would be progress. If the
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency deported only two million of
the 12 million illegal aliens, 10 million illegals would be better than
- Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) notes
that enforcing employer sanctions could lead many to go home on their own
without deportation proceedings: "If you can't get a job in this country,
and if you can't get social service benefits, you go home." Additionally,
a lot of immigrants visit families on their own, and wouldn't be able to
get back in if Congress decides to secure the border.
- On the other hand, if the 12 million
illegals are legalized, none would be deported. Moreover, this amnesty
(whether called amnesty or not) would simply induce more illegals to cross
the Rio Grande in the hopes of waiting until the next amnesty.
- Myth: Illegal immigrants are only taking
jobs Americans do not want.
- Fact: Many illegal immigrants are able
to work for less than market value because they don't pay income or Social
Security taxes and are able to take their entire paycheck (or cash) home.
This is not only unfair competition against employers who follow the law
and pay employees "above the table," but it depresses the wage
scale for Americans who would otherwise select jobs currently filled by
illegal immigrants. These are jobs that Americans "do not want"
only because the illegal immigrants have depressed the wage scale for the
positions. Take away the illegal immigrants, and the market would raise
wages to the level where Americans would take the jobs.
- Myth: Guest workers would only be here
- Fact: History demonstrates that "guest
workers" would be as temporary as the "temporary" telephone
tax, still in effect, that Congress enacted in 1898 to pay for the Spanish-American
War. And what would happen if 12 million "guest workers" decided
not to leave? Those who argue against deporting the current 12 million
illegal aliens as impractical are likely, if challenged, to say they find
the prospect of deporting "guest workers" impractical as well.
- Thus, it is hardly surprising that President
Bush fails to mention a time limit on the "temporary" worker
visas the federal government would permit under the "guest worker"
program he is pushing in his public addresses. Most pending congressional
legislation would limit the "guest worker" to three years - but
- Myth: Illegal immigrants have a right
to come here. It is our Christian duty to provide hospitality.
- Fact: Nearly two-thirds of the 32.5 million
foreign-born people living in the United States entered this country legally,
and the United States has more legal immigrants than any other country
in the world. That's hardly poor hospitality, and no bill before Congress
that has a chance of becoming law would change this nation's hospitality.
But it is poor hospitality to say to the nearly 22 million legal U.S. immigrants
who waited in line that they wasted their time following the rules because
illegal immigrants will now get the same status.
- The need to deport illegal aliens and
secure our borders has nothing to do with persecuting minorities or lack
of hospitality. The United States can continue to allow a large or small
number of immigrants into this country legally, depending upon how many
can be reasonably assimilated without destroying our American identity.
Rather, securing our borders is necessary as a matter of principle - in
the interests of equal justice under law - as well as practical security
in this age of international terrorism. And this nation can no longer afford
to allow "myth-information" slogans to sidetrack the nation from
fulfilling the mandate of controlling the borders.