The United States of America is a country built on immigration. However, those in charge of determining the fate of present and future immigrants seem to be working from a script of rhetoric and doctrine that completely violates the foundations of our country. This rhetoric, vicious and indignant in its execution, vilifies foreigners and spins a hateful web of xenophobic paranoia, describing cartels near the border, millions of jobless Americans, and an unsafe atmosphere to live in because of these scary people from a distant land.
However, ridiculous costs and hoops that would-be immigrants must jump through are what push many to enter the country in a illegal and dangerous manner. These attempts cause many people to die trying to cross the border and creates a reality of increased costs, immigration raids, and about 12 million people living in secret.
The costs associated with undocumented immigration mostly stem from money paid out in social services to these immigrants, who do not pay taxes. Though the massive business they create pays sales tax and partially recoups the costs, liberalization of immigration policy would let them participate more, work for higher wages, spend more money, and pay taxes, compensating for the services.
We at City on a Hill Press seek to dispel and clarify some common fears and myths concerning immigration, documented and otherwise, to better allow the free exchange of ideas without being bogged down in partisan subjectivity.
Myth: Immigration is bad for the economy.
Fact: Over the past 30 years, California has seen a growing working immigrant body, culminating in immigrants making up over one quarter of the labor force. California has also seen massive economic growth, and according to the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit think tank, immigration has “contributed to California’s faster economic growth compared to the rest of the country.” In addition, stable immigration reduces poverty. According to a 2005 report from the California Regional Economies Project, “The poverty rate declines as the immigrants’ length of residence in the U.S. increases.”
Myth: Immigration leads to increased crime.
Fact: Native-born men are actually five times more likely to go to jail or prison than foreign-born men, according to a 2007 UC Irvine study. “Even as the undocumented population has doubled to 12 million since 1994, the violent crime rate in the United States has declined 34.2 percent and the property crime rate has fallen 26.4 percent,” the study found.
In the last two years, May Day has shown something phenomenal. Last year over a million people demonstrated, and this year the only dampening factor to these numbers came from fear of the government attack-dog policies: immigration raids and deportation.
These overwhelming numbers calling out for immigration reform demonstrate the spirit of the new generation of Americans, people who want nothing more than to come to this country and work to support themselves and their families.
Corporations seeking cheap production costs exploit undocumented immigrants coming into the country, and consumers who like their tomatoes cheap sign off on these practices.
These people should be given the right to enter the country as true workers, live open lives, and fully realize the so-called American Dream we keep hearing about.