Mar 19 2007

Jeff Jacoby Explodes Immigration Myths

Published by at 1:23 pm under All General Discussions,Illegal Immigration

I pointed out in an earlier post the simple, hard math that this country doesn’t have the law enforcement and incarceration facilities to handle 20% of the immigration population (supposing the immigrant crime rate is much higher than our national average) because that is equal to our entire, current prison inmate population. Today Jeff Jocaby knocks down other quaint and fantasiful myths about immigration and where we should be focused (it is either terrorism or immigrants – we cannot do both):

According to a new Gallup poll, when asked to choose among three options — deporting all illegal immigrants, allowing them to remain temporarily in the United States to work, or allowing them to stay permanently and become US citizens after meeting certain conditions — a majority, 59 percent, chose permanent legalization. Fifteen percent favored the temporary-worker option. Just 24 percent supported deportation.

74-24%, or 3-1. Talk about being on the losing end of an issue. Those who are still in denial that the Reps lost the Congress because there was a groundswell against them need to wake up. Bush is responsible for the Iraq war – Congress was responsible for punting on immigration and crowing about it. 3-1. And these numbers are simply solidifying against the fence-only, no-guest-worker-program hard right. This debate is over and now the question is will the right ride their stubborness into long term political oblivian. Jocaby focuses on why recent efforts to close down the border have actually made the immigration problem worse:

“Between 1986 and 2002 the number of Border Patrol officers tripled,” notes Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey, an expert on Mexican migration, “and the number of hours they spent patrolling the borders . . . grew by a factor of about eight.”

Yet driving up the risks and costs of crossing the border hasn’t shrunk the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border — only the number prepared to run that gauntlet more than once. Historically, Mexican migrants came to the United States sporadically, working for a while, then heading home. Now, millions figure it is better to stay put and risk deportation than to go back to Mexico and risk being unable to return. In 1986, the probability that an illegal entering from Mexico would leave within 12 months was around 45 percent. Today it is half that.

Transient workers are good for our economy, but we need them to feel like they can go home. The problem is not the immigrant worker, it is the number some bureacrat pulled out of his backside to determine how many jobs we will give documentation out for – not how many we have to fill:

The United States creates more than 400,000 new low-skill jobs each year, a tremendous employment magnet for hundreds of thousands of foreign workers. But because US law authorizes only 5,000 visas annually for low-skilled immigrants, there is no lawful way for most of the workers we need to enter the country. So they enter unlawfully — a wrongful act, perhaps, but hardly an evil one.

Some crimes are indisputably wrong acts. It is wrong to kill, rob, etc. But some crimes are made up crimes because someone drew a number out of the air and said everyone after this number is a criminal. There is no difference in intent or impact between the 1st documented worker, the 5,000th, or the first undocumented worker (5,001). None.

But wroker 5001 is supposedly an evil criminal. Anyone saying that is no different from some liberal saying people who make over $100,000 are evil, greedy bastards. It is not right or accurate and reflects a simplistic view wrapped around a preconceived bias rationalized by an arbitrary number. But somehow that 100,000th or 1 millionth dollar is all it takes to go from a hard working, middle class person to the devil incarnate. The hard right on immigration use the exact, same ‘logic’.

54 responses so far

54 Responses to “Jeff Jacoby Explodes Immigration Myths”

  1. crosspatch says:

    I believe that the military currently takes non0-citizens. If you are wounded in combat, you get citizenship.

    To date, USCIS has naturalized more than 26,000 servicemembers, with 1,006 of those becoming citizens while serving outside the United States. About 40,000 members of the armed forces are eligible to apply for naturalization.

    Recent changes of the Immigration and Nationality Act have streamlined the naturalization process for military personnel serving on active duty or those who have recently been discharged. Since October 2004, servicemembers no longer have to pay a fee when filing for citizenship.

    DA Article link

  2. Bikerken says:

    While it is true that the military will take non citizens, you still have to be a legal resident, you cannot be an illegal alien or join directly from a foreign country. That is the difference between now and the old Phillipines program. I think we should have recruiting offices in Mexico and allow young men and women to join right from there. If they can show good character and allegience for four years, they can get US citizenship.

  3. crosspatch says:

    That might be a security problem. All we need are mexican drug dealers signing their employees up to get military training and then going right out into the countryside after discharge forming platoons for the dope dealers to engage in combat with the Mexican police and our border forces. No thanks.

  4. crosspatch says:

    The concept works, but not for Mexico until they get a better grip on their country. Maybe Costa Ricans, Canadians, Australians, Germans, Brits, Spanish …

    Heck, maybe we need a force like the French Foreign Legion.

  5. sbd says:

    Company: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
    Publication Date: 16-Mar-2007 14:43:30

    Mayor: Crime prompted immigrant law: Barletta details controversial act\’s origins

    SCRANTON — Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta on Thursday finally got to tell a judge the story he\’s been sharing with the rest of the world for the past nine months — but in greater detail.

    Barletta said blight was growing in the city, with residents complaining of an increase in overcrowded properties in disrepair, and the city\’s difficulty in locating absentee landlords.

    Barletta said the first shocking violent crime he had to deal with was a fatal stabbing in October 2001 during a drug deal gone bad within 100 feet of young adults leaving a high school football game.

    The suspect — Hector Roldan-Luna — was among 18 people arrested in September 2002 in one of the most significant drug busts in the region\’s history. It took out an entire drug network that had ties to the Dominican Republic.

    Barletta described other violent and drug-related crimes he said were committed by illegal immigrants. He said three illegal immigrants were arrested between 2001 and 2004, five in 2005 and 19 in 2006.


    [note: I had to edit this down since it is not legal to reprint whole articles. Folks, it is really important you follow the laws when posting! Thanks SBD for the article, sorry if I chopped it too much. – AJStrata]

  6. retire05 says:

    To assign the Republican losses last November to “immigration” only, is, without a doubt, a myopic view of what really happened. But for some reason, this is the view AJ seems stuck on. I have to wonder why.
    I have asked those who favor amnesty (and yes, it is amnesy when you forgive a crime) one question that never seems to be answered; would you allow someone to break into your home, move into one of your bedrooms and stay there as long as they did your dishes and mowed your lawn? Would you be willing to absorb the cost of educating their children and provide them with medical care? Or would you call law enforcement and have them physically removed?

    Do not forget that while AJ seems to have no problem with illegals violating our border laws, he had a problem with illegals violating the zoning laws of his community by exceeding the number of people in a residence.

    Our current laws are more than sufficient. And no new law will improve the situation if it is dealt with in the same way current laws are; no enforcement. If you really want to stop the flow of illegals into our nation, you stop the attraction. No social benefits, consequences for employers who hire illegals. End the reason they come, and they will stop coming.

    Mexico is a beautiful country and to think that illegals come because they want to be citizens of our nation is extreme arrogance. They come to do what they can’t do in their own nation. Most who are illegal do not pay taxes, do not pay into the Social Security system, and if they do, they do it on a stolen or false SS# that they have purchased somewhere like Trader’s Village in Houston for $100.00. A small price to pay when they have already paid a cayote $2,000.00 to bring them across the Arizona desert. Sure, there are the Tyson Chicken plants that hire 100’s of illegals, putting 100’s of Arkansas residents out of a job, but for the most part, illegals are hired by small businesses that increase their profit margin by using illegals. The lawn maintainence company, the plumber, the home builder who contracts out their work to many small contracting firms, the farmer/rancher who needs 5 men to do day labor jobs.

    I hear the questions about how we will fill the jobs left empty by the baby boomers and I want to laugh. How many boomers are leaving jobs that will be filled by illegals? How many of the boomers work as frame carpenters, unskilled plumbers, day laborers who work on lawn crews? How many boomers are in entry level positions that can be filled by an illegal with no skills and very little education? To think that the illegal who is now here will fill the vacancies left by the boomers is delusional, at best.

    Illegals are here to earn enough to go back to their own nation and live much better than they can live here. That is why they are crammed 15 to an apartment, so they can cut their expenses and send as much money back to their home country as possible. They do not want to be citizens, they want to be well-off citizens of their own nation. Living 15 to one apartment or house is not so they can stay under the radar, as that only draws attention to them, it is pure economics. The economics of providing their nation with billions of American dollars a year. That is why the money sent back to Mexico by it’s citizens in the U.S. is the second largest souce of revenue for Mexico.

    Bush may have approved the fense but it is only a pipe dream until it is fully funded. And to say fenses don’t work, then please explain to me why there is a fense around the White House and Area 51. If they do nothing to keep people out, why bother?

    And what about the cost of illegal immigration? No one wants to talk about that. How much does the illegal contribute into our economic structure compared to how much it costs to allow them to be here? The state of Texas currently spends between $5-7 BILLION a year to provide three things: education, medical assistance and incarceration for illegals. This does not include AFDC, WIC, TANIF or any other social benefits. The estimated revenue from illegals in Texas is $1.8 billion. I am not a math whiz, but it seems to me that leaves, at the minimum, $3.2 billion to be picked up by the legal taxpayer. In Texas that means that every legal man, woman and child absorbs over $1,000.00 a year to provide services to illegal immigrants.

    We are doing no more than importing a whole new segment of society that will be poverty level. Even Pew Hispanic Research found that the new crop of illegals are driving down the wages of the ones that have been here for awhile. There are only so many houses to be built, so many lawns to be cut, so many hotel rooms to be cleaned and as the number of those wanting those jobs increase the value of those jobs decrease, lowering the hourly wage.

    For those of you, who for whatever reason, feels the need to support amnesty, let me ask you also: if you had a child that you told could not eat in the living room and you found that child sitting on the couch with a ham sandwich, would you reward that bad behavior with cake and ice cream?

    You don’t reward bad bahavior. And you don’t tell those who have entered our nation illegally, knowing it was illegal to do so, “that’s fine, we forgive you. Now be good little stewarts of the faith we place in you”. And to discount the fact that most of the illegals do not have our value system, but rather a Pan-American value system where corruption is the norm, is nothing less than fool hearty.

    End the system that attracts illegals in the first place and mass deportations will happen. Not because we do it, but because there will no longer be a reason for them to stay. Illegals will return home on their own when it is no longer beneficial for them to be here.

    We will need workers to replace the boomers. But those will, for the most part, be skilled workers and not the un/undereducated from nations that don’t want to assume responsibility for their own.

  7. Bikerken says:

    Retire05, very well said, couldn’t agree more! You have obviously been personally aquainted with this problem instead of just reading drivel in the papers.

  8. Bikerken says:

    Just a semi-related story here. A few years ago, my nephew was in elementary school here in San Diego and he befriended a six year old Iraqi immigrant boy whos family had recently moved in. My mother asked the little boy, “where did you move here from?” and he said “Detroit”. This interested my mother because we all used to live there. She said, “How did you like Detroit?” He said, “I didn’t like it at all, it’s just like Iraq.” Then today you see this: Cars cheaper than houses in Detroit.

    Now you can’t tell me that the displacement of the citizens by the now large majorities of arabs did not did not play a factor in what was once one of the most robust cities in the country falling to this level. Sure, I will agree the unions had a lot to do with it, but you can’t let a whole other culture come in and push everyone else out with virtually no assimilation whatsoever without this kind of thing happening.

  9. retire05 says:

    BIKERKEN, there is not one person who posts here whose job could be filled by the average illegal immigrant. Unless they themselves are uneducated and by the posts here, I would have to say that is doubtful.
    We are not importing the best of the best. We are not getting replacements of doctors, scientists, accountants who are going to be reaching retirement age. We are getting what is referred to in Mexico as the peons.
    The fact of the matter is simply that the state of Texas alone spends on illegal immigration in one year what it would cost to build the fence. And I can tell you that the attitude is not one of gratitude for being able to work here. My daughter, a beautiful young woman, cannot pass illegals on street corners without having them cat call at her while they grab their crouch. Is that what we want to make legal? Those who have absolutely no respect for us or our society?

    As I said, no one wants to look at the cost. They want to feel good about their sympathy for the underpriviledged. But somewhere you have to temper your sympathy with common sense.

    Remove the attraction that brings illegals here and they will remove themselves back to their nations of origin when there is no longer any benefit of being here illegally.

  10. Bikerken says:

    I agree completely Retire, and if some of you are not convinced about the unintended consequenses of non-assimilation, theres always this little tidbit:

    How would you like to wake up at six in the morning AJ to muslim prayer call? And then listen to it again for four more times? No problem with that? This is happening in Hamtramck Mi just outside Detroit.

  11. The Macker says:

    Bikerken ,
    Must AJ also face East?

    I understand your frustration (feel your pain?), but choke on your two analogies. The illegal immigrant-home invader example fails because of privacy issues. The amnesty- reward for disobedience example fails because it is patronizing and assumes a need to “teach a lesson.”

    Our present need isn’t for professional workers. It is for unskilled workers.

    Let’s focus on identification ,tracking and syncing data.

  12. retire05 says:

    Macker, we are an independant (private) nation. Illegals who enter our nation without our government’s permission are just like those who would enter your home without permission. This nations IS OUR HOME.
    And just how many carpenters, sheet rockers and lawn maintainence guys do we need? Just how many people are needed to clean hotel rooms or sweep out apartment hallways? Housing starts are down. As I said, it is the experienced workers, the ones who have acheived some success, that will need to be replaced. And they will be replaced by their underlings, but the average illegal will not be able to fulfill those jobs left vacant by the underlings who are going to be promoted to the job vacated by the boomer.

    Don’t believe me? Research where the jobs that will have a shortage in people to fill. Nurses, accountants, professional jobs will require filling, not day labor positions.

  13. The Macker says:


    Illegal nation entry is like illegal home entry in that:
    – it is illegal

    It is not alike in that:
    – generally, no one’s personal privacy is compromised
    – generally, personal property and safety aren’t directly threatened.
    – this nation is our “home” metaphorically, not literally.

    How many low skill workers do we need? As many as can find jobs.

    And, remember, immigrants from India and the Philippines are moving into the professional jobs (those that aren’t being outsourced). Our population growth is barely at replacement level and pretty soon the ostriches will look up and ask “Where did everybody go?”

  14. patrick neid says:

    good points, bad points a lot of us know the drill. i have been listening to this back and forth since the early sixties. the only thing i am absolutely certain of is it all means nothing, as it has for the last 40 years without a fence from stem to stern. every proposal these last forty years recommended a fence. as you can see none were built and illegal immigration has gone from a few hundred thousand to 20 million on its way to forty. as well intentioned as many of you are, you are mostly delusional if you think illegal immigration will be influenced by any meaningful amount without a fence. the past forty years is my proof. what’s yours. open borders are exactly that. if i lived south of the border i would cross it without any concern as millions have for a better life. as for the people here, they are not going anywhere–get over it. ten year green cards. all criminals, now and in the future get thrown over the fence. after ten years of work and crime free–welcome to america.

    along with a lot of other myths–global warming comes to mind, we don’t need an endless line of 8th grade dropouts to do the jobs we won’t. the best thing that could happen to this country would be a shortage of blue collar types–wages would go up and innovation would ensue. virtually all of our mechanical farm implements came from these shortages. as to wages–people would dig ditches at $30/hr. i doubt very seriously that i’m the only kid that put himself thru high school and college working as a greens keeper, in a auto factory, laying track on the railroad and painting apartment buildings. in the 60’s i got a fair wage during the summer that paid for 8 years of tuition. in san francisco the painting wage has not changed since 1978–then the union wage was $16/hr. the city is no longer union for the most part and you can get painters all day long for $15 cash an hour. yes that’s right they are all hispanic–and very good painters by and large.

    the american economy will adjust.