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FearMongering On Immigration

Category: Immigration
Posted: 07/08/15 13:09

by Dave Mindeman

I would say there is a very good chance that during the Presidential campaign we are going to have another round of fear mongering on immigration. It is a favorite conservative topic -- and one that seldom deals in real facts. Because when it comes to undocumented residents most of the numbers and statistics are just guesses.

Here is how the Census Bureau estimates the undocumented:

Most use data from a survey taken by the Census Bureau each March that asks individuals in a very large and statistically controlled sample to identify their country of birth, and compare the number born outside the United States with the number of permanent resident aliens, authorized temporary workers, asylees and naturalized citizens known to be present. When the latter is subtracted from the former, the residual number of persons are presumed to be illegally present after adjusting upward for an estimated undercount of individuals likely missed in the surveys.

That method has an enormous potential for error. Our complicated LEGAL system of immigration makes it difficult to maintain contact with many who enter the country legally and even more difficult to determine if any of them have stayed past their Visa, left, or have changed status. The immigration service simply doesn't have enough staff -- although we seem to find plenty of money for border agents.

The days of the "drug mules" and people wandering the desert has become an outmoded caricature of our own perceptions of illegal immigration. The majority of it comes from the expiration of legal visa stays.

Pure illegal entry has been dropping for a decade:

At the height of the illegal-immigration crisis in 2000, 1.6 million illegal immigrants entered the United States. Since 2012, the numbers are down to about 400,000 -- and they've gone down so far this fiscal year by another 28 percent over last year.

Frankly, the money we are spending on fences and barriers and more agents is wasted money. At some point, a huge, long fence will become a monument to our own foolishness. Money that should have gone to basic infrastructure is going to attempts at appeasing our fearmongering.

Donald Trump exploits those fears and we let him get away with it, as he uses made up numbers and exaggerated examples. It is noted that in the US about 80 million people are either first or second generation LEGAL immigrants. Our population is a mixture of the world's cultures. Yet, we lump legal and illegal together in this constant parade of fear mongering politicians....all too willing to exploit ideas that can't be factually proved.

I would hope that this surge in discussion will find its way to real facts and solid numbers that give us the true picture of our actual dependence on immigration for our growth and stability.

Unless you are a Native American, we all came from somewhere else.
comments (1) permalink
07/08/15 21:34
The Donald gets traction in the public view because he voices what many of them feel.

This isn't going to get fixed until the other countries of North America figure out how to improve the fate of the ordinary people who occupy their lands.

US Charities are internationally connected and devoted to improving the fate of the hopeless. They channel small children into northern states using air plane tickets, not the cloak of night. Children surrendered to border agents are arrested, and turned loose to the Nuns with the understanding they must appear before a judge. There will be no appearance. These children are put on planes and shuttled to New England, the fly-over-states, etc. They are not coming back. And the nuns do it with all the urgent need and charitable intentions we have not seen the likes of since the Underground Railroad funneled slaves to the northern states and away from their fugitive status in the slave states. We saw this in nazi occupied Europe. And we see it here.

All the fuss about a fence is just smoke. No fence so it happens and we don't have enough bodies to link arms across a 1200 mile border.

Your last comment about getting "...solid numbers that give us a true picture of our actual dependence on immigration for our growth and stability." I applaud your quest.

I question our need for growth. And I absolutely question the system's ability to absorb that many people and remain "stable." The middle class is taking serious hits in this. The rich will get richer the poorer the population and the poor and middle class dependency on the products and services only the rich can provide.

I agree with our mutual view of a need for stability. Overwhelming our schools, our health-and-welfare infrastructure, our medical support systems, jeopardizes everything. Displacing work force already here is a serious threat the Donald's admirers face every day. And damaging the middle class ability to contribute to paying for it all is a double-whammy perfect storm for slow growth for a very long time--as in a generation.

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