Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Immigration solutions--Part 1
Possibly the place to begin is debunking a few myths surrounding immigrants and the debate over immigration policy and reform.
Myth #1: Undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes. Not true. These immigrants pay sales taxes just like the rest of us. They absorb the cost of property taxes that is included in their monthly rental payments to property owners who receive those tax statements. Property owners pay property taxes. Many undocumented immigrants pay into the Social Security system--annually an amount roughly equal to 10% of the program's reserve funds--a payment on which they will never be able to collect any benefit. In fact, I'll collect on what they pay in as a by-product of their hard work.
Myth #2: Undocumented immigrants cost the rest of us as we provide health care, public education and law enforcement for people who pay no taxes. See Myth #1 above. National studies indicate that the net economic impact of providing undocumented immigrants local, state and federal services is a wash or a little better for the rest of us.
Myth #3: Undocumented immigrants take jobs away from American citizens. Study after study reveal that this is not true and that, in fact, the labor of undocumented immigrants helps create jobs that citizens are eager to fill. Remove undocumented immigrants from a major city like Dallas, Texas and see how things work in terms of who fills certain job positions. Consider as well the lost revenue spent by immigrants in local retail and service establishments in a city like Dallas.
Myth #4: Most undocumented immigrants involve themselves in criminal activity, especially crimes related to the "drug wars" along portions of our southern borders. False. The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are hard-working, law abiding residents who seek a better life for themselves and their families in the great promise of America.
Myth #5: Undocumented immigrants present a real national security threat to the U. S. in our post-9/11 world. In fact, the threat to our national security along our southern borders is not the result of undocumented workers coming to the U. S. Rather, the threat is due to the fact that there is no systematic, reasonable guest worker registration process in place that would allow national security interests to be addressed and better managed.
Next: a platform for comprehensive reform now.