Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Immigration solutions--Part 1

We engage thousands of people every year at Central Dallas Ministries who come to us seeking solutions, answers and hope in the face of the severe, persistent difficulties associated with poverty.  A large percentage of these neighbors are also undocumented immigrants from south of the U. S. border.  As a result, we understand something of the difficulties facing these individuals and families.  We also are very aware of the need for comprehensive immigration reform now

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.


Anonymous said...

What a pile of crap!

Anonymous said...

Comprensive immigration reform is just another name for amnesty.

Anonymous said...

I think numbers 1 and 2 are true. While it's hard to gauge a shadow society, most less biased studies indicate contributions and costs are most likely a wash.

Number 3 is pretty obviously true. I know several employers. They would rather hire someone legally than have to engage in any subterfuge, but the only people applying for some jobs are immigrants. There just aren't any legal takers.

About number 4: I have known a number of undocumented immigrants. The fear of being entangled with the authorities is an ever present aspect of their lives. The last thing they want is to do anything that could get them involved in the criminal justice system. They even drive safer than I do (more slowly, anyway) because they are afraid of getting pulled over.

It is also undeniable that the Texas economy would likely enter a depression without the bottom-level-of-the-pyramid work done by undocumented workers. Denying this aspect of the issue is just not dealing with reality.

Anyone who doesn't think the current system is unworkable, unjust, and just plain broken just isn't paying attention. Thanks for continuing to raise this issue.

belinda said...

Thank you for posting this! I'd like to be able to "LIKE" it on Facebook so I could share the facts with everyone I know.

Anonymous said...

Just another example of how to reduce crime. You want to cut down on murder? Change the law so that there is no murder.Want illegal immigrstion reform? Give them amnesty.
Anecdotal evidence -evidence, which may itself be true and verifiable, used to deduce a conclusion which does not follow from it, usually by generalizing from an insufficient amount of evidence. For example "my grandfather smoked like a chimney and died healthy in a car crash at the age of 99" does not disprove the proposition that "smoking markedly increases the probability of cancer and heart disease at a relatively early age". In this case, the evidence may itself be true, but does not warrant the conclusion.
Now here's an anecdote for you. Most illegals don't have liability insurance or use fake proof of insurance cards. My wife was in a serious accident caused by an illegal. The illegal had no insurance. This is the norm.
Please give us the specific studies that these myths were concocted from.

rcorum said...


I think that many people with right leanings get very frustrated with the terminology such as "undocumented worker." The issue has been discussed several time before, and I doubt that I can add any additional useful information except to say that many people see and hear about a nation that to this day has a legal way to enter this country and people come here legally everyday. There is a very high level of frustration. I also don't think that non Mexicans do not tend toward any resentment with Mexicans who have entered this country legally. I am willing to listen to your side of the argument and I do, but do your believe that people who oppose undocumented workers entering this country illegally have any valid reasons to feel the way they do? As always I enjoy your blog and will always post openly.

rcorum said...

I would also like to recommend a 2006 Christian Science Monitor article concerning how President Eisenhower dealt with a very similar situation that he faced during the early stages of his presidency.


Anonymous said...

Here's the problem. I love America. The America that has always been painted as the country that says, on its most iconic image:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

It is right there, at the base of the statue of liberty, where people who could find a way to get to that point were "processed" and welcomed, and they helped build our country. For all of those whose staring point is "get rid of them," such people simply do not know our history, or our promise. Their attitude makes me ashamed.

I give you one simple challenge. Go stand at the Statue of LIberty. Read the poem. Take the tour.

If your starting point is "get rid of them," you deny our very heart and soul

Randy Mayeux

Steve said...

You all have forgotten the clear effect of illegals on the investment bankers and insurance giants. Allowing these people to stay in our land obviously caused the BILLIONs of dollars devastation on our economy in which these poor confused investment bankers were merely the honest hardworking stewards.

Oh yes...the Gulf oil spill would not have happened if we had stricter immigration policies.

This is as connected as the other "facts" in these comments, to the actual impact of immigrants on the U.S. economy.

How the heck did the poorest, most disenfranchised members of our society get so powerful?

Maybe we need to consider that they wear a special label, to make sure we can identify them, and be sure to handle them correctly?

maybe a six pointed star?