Tag Archives: immigrants

Report Challenges Immigration Complaints Expressed By GOP Candidates

While some GOP candidates have made statements pertaining to immigrants learning English and committing crimes in the United States, and have used them as talking points, a recent report suggests that immigrants are succeeding in learning English and are, on average, less likely to commit a violent crime than the average American.

A 443-page report, released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on Monday, studied “The Integration of Immigrants into American Society” and looked at how immigrants assimilate into American culture by learning English, adopting similar values and achieving certain socioeconomic outcomes.

The report compiled data from 41 million foreign-born immigrants in the United States, 11.3 million or over 25 percent of which are undocumented.

Several of the GOP candidates have made statements concerning the use of English as the official language of the United States, and have suggested that immigrants should speak English exclusively.

Carly Fiorina told CNN that “English is the official language of the United States.” HoweverThink Progress noted that the United States does not have an official language, but that “many states have already passed or are trying to pass legislation to make their official state language English.”

Candidates such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have also expressed their belief of the importance of immigrants learning and speaking English.

During the second GOP debate, hosted by CNN last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that while he wouldn’t deport millions of undocumented individuals in the same way that candidates such as Donald Trump have called for, he does think they should learn to speak English.

“They can come here, but they should learn to speak our language,” Graham said. “I don’t speak it very well, but look how far I’ve come.”

The report states that “there is evidence that integration is happening as rapidly or faster now than it did for the earlier waves of mainly European immigrants in the 20th century.” This knowledge is influenced by the fact that many of the immigrants have taken English classes in their native countries or have been exposed to English media.

[pull_quote_center]Today, many immigrants arrive already speaking English as a first or second language. Currently, about 50 percent of the foreign-born in surveys report they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well,’ while less than 10 percent say they speak English ‘not at all.’ [/pull_quote_center]

The stereotype of immigrants as violent criminals has been used by GOP candidate Donald Trump, who kicked off his presidential campaign with choice words on immigration.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In contrast to Trump’s statements, the report claimed that “increased prevalence of immigrants is associated with lower crime rates,” and that “among men age 18-39, the foreign-born are incarcerated at a rate that is one-fourth the rate for the native-born.”

[pull_quote_center]Cities and neighborhoods with greater concentrations of immigrants have much lower rates of crime and violence than comparable nonimmigrant neighborhoods. This phenomenon is reflected not only across space but also over time.[/pull_quote_center]

The report noted that there is also evidence that crime rates for the second and third generations from immigrant families “rise to more closely match the general population of native-born Americans.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose parents are Indian immigrants, used the idea of a lack of immigrant assimilation to criticize the presence of “hyphenated Americans,” using the phrase “immigration without assimilation is invasion.”

“We need to insist people that want to come to our country should come legally, should learn English and adopt our values, roll up their sleeves, and get to work,” Jindal said.

According to the report, current immigrants and their descendants are integrating into U.S. society, and they have found that the outcomes of “educational attainment, occupational distribution, income, residential integration, language ability, and living above the poverty line,” increase when they “become more similar to the native-born and improve their situation over time.”

[pull_quote_center]Across all measurable outcomes, integration increases over time, with immigrants becoming more like the native-born with more time in the country, and with the second and third generations becoming more like other native-born Americans than their parents were.[/pull_quote_center]

For more election coverage, click here.

Arizona immigrants are now applying for driver’s licenses

Many young immigrants in Arizona are enjoying their new level of protection from deportation under President Obama by putting in requests for driver’s licenses and identification cards on Monday.

According to the AP, young immigrants waited patiently outside of various Motor Vehicle Division offices throughout the state, and when the doors opened, a cheer from the crowd went up.   Reporters interviewed some young people who said they were excited to get their licenses and drive legally without the fear of getting pulled over.

Over the next few weeks, state officials have said they are expecting many more young immigrants to apply for licenses and ID cards.

This is a shift from Gov. Jan Brewer’s policy which initially denied licenses to an estimated 20,000 immigrants.  On Dec. 18 though, according to FOX News, U.S. District Judge David Campbell barred the state from enforcing Brewer’s policy.

Attorneys for Brewer have said the move to deny licenses to immigrants was based on liability concerns, as well as making sure immigrant license holders do not improperly access public benefit programs.

Brewer has since asked the Supreme Court to review the decision.

The transportation officials have said they will begin work immediately on processing the applications for licenses and IDs for eligible immigrants.  Those who are eligible for licenses and IDs are immigrants younger than 30 who came to the U.S. before they were 16, who have lived in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years, who are enrolled in or graduated from high school or an equivalent program, or those immigrants who have, or are, serving in the military.

More illegal immigrants to be able to serve in military

A policy adopted by the Department of Defense in 2008 which allows a number of illegal immigrants to serve in the US armed forces for the first time in decades, has been extended by two years.

The program is known as the Military Ascensions Vital to National Interest, or MAVNI, and is open to immigrants who do not hold a proper visa.  The caveat though is these individuals had to come to the US with their parents before they were 16.  Those eligible must also meet the requirements for the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals policy, which was adopted by the Obama administration in 2012.  Requirements range from having no criminal record to have graduated high school or working towards a GED.

When it was adopted, MAVNI was meant to target immigrants who can comprehend and understand foreign languages such as Chinese, Persian, Pashto, and Arabic.  However one insider revealed to the Daily Mail, out of the 3 million people who might apply for the military, the administration is unsure how many of those have the language skills to meet the basic requirements.

“We’re just not sure how many within that existing population of DACA would have the linguistic skills to qualify,” said a defense official according to USA Today. “These are kids who entered the country at a fairly young age and have basically grown up in the United States, so the limit of their language talents would probably be the language that they received at home.”

The MAVNI program has only been open to a small number of illegal immigrants, but the cap has been raised to 1,500 recruits, according to the Military Times.  The program has one large incentive for illegal immigrants and that is a path to citizenship upon the completion of their service.

One important note though is the military branches are not required to accept MAVNI recruits, and since the program’s inception, many of those who have qualified for the program have been accepted into the Army.  The Air Force has accepted a small number of these recruits while the Navy and Marine Corps have not accepted any MAVNI recruits.

Granting temporary legal status a possibility for illegal immigrants

As the debate on illegal immigrants grows with every child and person who crosses the border, the president and his administration are considering giving the millions of immigrants temporary legal status.

Before President Obama’s June 30 announcement to use his executive powers to move forward with immigration reform, the president blamed House Republicans and their unwillingness to stand up to the Tea Party when it comes to immigration reform, according to the Hill.

In his Rose Garden announcement last month, President Obama said, “I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing…And in this situation, the failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, it’s bad for our economy, and it’s bad for our future.”

Even before this, the president said he had no authority or power to change the immigration laws in the U.S.

Now, according to TIME, pro-reform activists say the president will be seeking to give millions of illegal immigrants “temporary relief from deportation,” which would protect them and allow them to work in the U.S.  These claims come almost a month after these activists met with the president, where he disclosed his plan was to act before November.

Until then, the president and his administration are looking into how far they can legally and politically go to protect the millions of immigrants from deportation, according to Politico.

In a similar move, President Obama and his administration want to begin screenings to grant child immigrants from Honduras refugee status, according to CBS News.  The administration hopes this will slow the influx of youths into the country illegally, while allowing the children to escape gang violence throughout the Central American country.

This plan is similar to the plan proposed by senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.  According to New York Magazine, this plan would increase the number of refugee applications already available to countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, but the time for deportation would be lessened.

Screening for refugees is not a new plan of action for the U.S. government though.  In the 1990’s, the U.S. began screening children in Haiti to give them refugee status, while immigrants from El Salvador were granted temporary protective status starting in 2001.

According to the NY Times, critics of this plan are claiming the administration would only increase the flow of immigrants to the U.S. as the legal definition of refugee would be changed.

As of now, the recognized definition of a refugee in the U.S. is a person or group of people who are fleeing their country on the basis of fears of persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a given social group.

Minutemen militia recruiting for ‘Operation Normandy’

The militia group known as the Minutemen Project, has set plans to recruit and send 3,500 volunteers to the border between the U.S. and Mexico, in what the group is calling “Operation Normandy.”

Co-founder Jim Gilchrist released a letter on the group’s website, saying, “Operation Normandy will provide a vital defense against the waves of illegal aliens flooding over the border in search of welfare benefits, jobs and school places that rightfully belong to American citizens.”

Gilchrist helped to establish the Minutemen Project in 2005 on the basis of curbing illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S.  The group held training sessions and sending volunteers to the border in the past.

Operation Normandy plans on establishing points of observation along the border between the cities of San Diego, CA, and Brownsville, TX come May of next year.  These points of observation will be on the lookout for any immigrants trying to cross the border illegally along the 2,000 mile strip of border.

A recent commentary from Gilchrist calls the surge of immigrant children a “human shield tactic” to allow more and more immigrants to cross the border and “anchor” themselves into their communities.  It is this “human shield tactic” which has made Gilchrist say he wants the group to focus their efforts on fortifying the border.

Concerns have been raised though about the militia volunteers growing potentially violent with immigrants, but Gilchrist promised he does not plan for physical force to be used along the border.  “You do not put a hand on anyone, you do not talk to anyone, you do not confront anyone,” Gilchrist told KPHO-TV. “You report to Border Patrol.”

It will take an estimated 10 months to recruit and train all the volunteers, so Operation Normandy is scheduled to begin on May 1, 2015.

Republicans May Approve Half the Funds Requested To Assist Border Situation

Republicans in the House have been holding discussions recently on a bill which would give President Obama about half of the $3.7 billion the President requested to deal with the tens of thousands of immigrants who are illegally crossing into Texas, and other border states, in droves.

The problem has been the large numbers of immigrant children who have been finding their way across the border and how the government decides to handle the children.  Currently, many of the 57,000 immigrant children who have made their way into America since October are being housed in government facilities.

Part of the funds would provide the child immigrants with proper housing while the government processed the thousands of children who are, according to Quartz, escaping the violence of their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R), told KVUE in Austin, “The humane answer is to stop the pattern of lawlessness, of amnesty, of refusing to secure our border that is causing so many children to be subject to such horrific abuse.”

President Obama made his way to Texas last Wednesday to assess the situation first-hand and to meet with Gov. Rick Perry in Dallas.  The meeting between the two saw the border issue discussed, and the president asked for Gov. Perry’s help in getting the appropriate funds to help fix the problem.  They also discussed solutions to which the president said he agreed with many of the recommendations Gov. Perry laid out.

Another problem which has slowed down the process of what to do with the children is figuring out where they came from and where to send them back to.

Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) said Tuesday, according to Politico, “An average case of someone coming across the border illegally, going through the process that we have, will take between a year and a half or as long as five years… With 57,000 unaccompanied children, that’s just not acceptable.”

Half of the original funds requested would go towards the health agency, which at this time, is in charge of providing housing for the children.

More than half of the public who participated in a poll for the Hill approve of the funds while some 43 percent oppose the funds, or think the price tag is high.

Immigrants ARE “American Exceptionalism”

Immigrants have become more, not less important as technology grows more complex. Immigrants in the 1800s built the nation’s railroads, but today’s immigrants have built the information economy. 60% of our 25 largest tech companies were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. Apple, IBM, Google, Oracle, Amazon, Intel, Ebay, EMC, Texas Instruments, VMware, ADP, Yahoo!, are all children of the Statue of Liberty. Most of our best jobs are the result of immigrant brainstorms… even to look for a job we use LinkedIn, founded by an immigrant.

Scapegoating Immigrants: Good Politics, Bad Logic

So why are immigrants blamed for our economic problems? Because as politicians before and after Hitler have known, scapegoating “foreigners” is the easiest path to political success. Also, it’s the safest… it takes no bravery to attack working-class immigrants, rather than facing up to the wealthy corporate-welfare interests.
So, let’s go through the various economic fallacies used to blame working people for the collapse of the US economy…

“Immigrants Don’t Pay Taxes”

Immigrants, tragically, do pay taxes. Everyone knows that immigrants pay sales and gasoline taxes. They also pay property taxes (passed on in their rents) and corporate income taxes (passed on in the products they buy).

Less well publicized is the fact that two-thirds of illegal immigrants pay Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes. Starting in 1996, the IRS began issuing tax numbers to about 8 million illegals. Of course, being illegal, they can never collect Social Security or Medicare; the taxes paid by poor illegals go to support the improvident American middle class in their old age. This robbing of the poor to support the rich amounts to about 50 billion per year.

In fact, these immigrant SOBs pay too many taxes. How un-American! Haven’t they ever heard of the Boston Tea Party?

“Some Immigrants Are On Welfare”

As in any welfare state, this is a problem. The problem is the welfare, not the immigration, however.

In 1996, Clinton took time out from launching cruise missiles at medical factories in the Sudan and signed the welfare reform bill. The 1996 bill banned illegal immigrants from food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid and Medicare-funded hospitalization. So welfare for the able-bodied poor is still a crisis… but primarily a crisis caused by native-born Americans who adapted to the ecological niche offered by ADC and other family-replacement programs.

Immigrants, like other Americans, do use government-provided emergency medical care and public schools. Both education and medical care are dysfunctional… in fact, it may be our terrible public schools (25th out of the 34 OECD countries) that cause our STEM worker shortage. Again, it’s not immigrants that decided to Sovietize US education and medicine.

The only solutions for government-created failures are markets. We have to privatize medical care and public schools. This has to be done anyway, unless we want to produce yet another generation of expensively uneducated Americans.

“Immigrants Hurt the Economy”

Every economic success story is based on free trade. Regardless of cultural or ethnic factors, it’s always economic freedom that drives success. Liechtenstein or Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai, they’re all free trade zones. There are even the “controlled experiments” of East vs. West Germany, North vs. South Korea, Taiwan vs. Mao-era China, New Hampshire vs. Vermont… freedom always wins.

The laws of economics are impersonal. They don’t distinguish between trade in different factors of production. Human beings are a factor of production, and blockading immigration has the same economic effect as blockading steel or computer chips.

In the time of Adam Smith, people understood the good effects of free trade. In war, you blockade the enemy to prevent trade. This is how you destroy an economy. Today economic literacy is less common… so our politicians have convinced us to blockade ourselves.

Trade is not war. You can’t make yourself better off by hurting your trade partners; that just means they have less wealth to buy your products, and the prices of your goods suffer. Other people’s work, in the long run, makes you richer. Everyone specializes, the overall economy becomes more efficient, and instead of a nation of 99% peasants we have a nation with thousands of occupations.

Economists disagree on how much new immigrants help the economy, but the effect is clearly positive. If sealing borders made you rich, North Korea would be the world’s most thriving economy… instead of a dark blot on night-time satellite pictures.

“Immigrants Take Our Jobs”

Yes, all those tomato-picking jobs that Americans clamor for. Not to mention all those molecular biology postdoc jobs that require Ph.Ds. Most immigrants take jobs that Americans can’t or won’t do.

But even in those cases where an immigrant is “competing” with an American job seeker, it’s still a good thing. “Competition” in the job market just creates more niches, more new and different jobs. This shouldn’t be surprising… real wages rose in the US for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, even though the workforce was growing steadily.

“Comparative advantage” is a basic economic concept. Comparative advantage doesn’t mean that there is an economic “winner” who gets all the money. It means that in a free economy, everyone does what they are relatively better at, and everyone’s income is raised. Even if Bill Gates were twice as good at picking tomatoes as the average tomato-picker, he would still specialize in making annoying operating systems. (Which is a good thing, because tomatoes engineered to carry every possible virus would be very dangerous).

In the same way, even if you are a tomato-picker, if there is an influx of immigrant tomato-pickers, that doesn’t mean that you will be forever unemployed. You will just move on and get a better job, as did the 96% of Americans who no longer work on small homesteads plowing behind mules. Perhaps as a tomato-picker supervisor, or perhaps as a Wal-Mart manager who sells things to tomato-pickers. Somewhere, the new wealth created by the tomato-pickers is making new jobs for you.

“Immigrants Cause Crime”

We, the descendants of the drunken, violent Irishmen, Jewish gangsters (the feared Kosher Nostra), Ital… uh, other ethnic groups, accuse today’s immigrants of “causing crime”. Well, when you make it illegal for people to work, then by definition they commit crime by supporting themselves with honest labor. Amazingly, the vast majority of them manage to do so in spite of every obstacle that government puts in their way.

Of course people living with insecure property rights cannot be as stable as those whose natural rights are (somewhat) respected by the laws. Making immigration legal would instantly raise the stability, incentives, and productivity of all the currently illegal workers. Legal status would make it more profitable for the workers to invest in their own homes, education, retirement funds etc.

The high (though falling) crime rate in the US comes from two things that are not part of our traditional Irish-German-Italian-African-Japanese-Chinese-etc. culture (and therefore did not exist during the previous immigration waves): a permanent welfare class, and Drug Prohibition. Illegal immigrants did not cause either of these problems, Congress did.

 “Immigrants Threaten Homeland Security”

Terrorism, the all-purpose excuse for any program that doesn’t produce any tangible benefit. “We have to control our borders to keep out terrorists”. This certainly sounds nice; everyone would like to keep out terrorists. If we could deport the CIA officials who funded terrorist groups in many countries, that might actually help. But the fact that all the 9-11 terrorists were here legally (while millions of honest workers were here illegally) should make us very skeptical that North Korea’s security solutions are going to work for us. (Considering that Dennis Rodman got into North Korea, maybe their system isn’t working that well for them either).

Legalizing immigration (at least, if we also ended Drug Prohibition) would make security much better. Under the current system, we have millions of illegal crossings… there is so much nightly traffic that an armored division or two would barely be noticed. If workers were allowed to cross at freeway checkpoints in a civilized fashion, then anyone sneaking across the desert would really stand out on a drone’s IR sensor… and could be assumed to have bad intent.

And when push really comes to shove… in an isolated America we wouldn’t have to worry about minor terrorist attacks. Without Einstein, Fermi, and the other immigrants who built our defense technology and defeated the Nazis, we would already be part of the Thousand-Year Reich and/or Rising Sun Co-Prosperity Sphere. Do we really want to force the high-tech geniuses of the world to stay home and work for dictators?

The Real Threat to American Exceptionalism: Welfare for the Rich

Welfare for the rich costs trillions of dollars. Bailouts and routine subsidies for our new privileged class cost so much that they have rendered the dollar, our very means of economic calculation, unstable and untrustworthy.

When Obama took office in 2009, the national debt was $10.6 trillion. It’s now at $17.5 trillion. (This is only the “official” debt, which doesn’t count Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, finance-industry guarantees, military obligations, etc. Estimates of the real debt vary, but are over $100 trillion). The US GDP was $16.8 trillion in 2013. If the US were a family we would be in credit counseling.

Since 2008, Federal Reserve “quantitative easing” has kept interest rates at artificially low levels. This has allowed the government to evade paying market rates on its debt. But an economy cannot function forever without real, market-driven interest rates. Interest rates, like all prices, are information. An economy without real information cannot function. Nor will the dollar hold its value if we keep printing like Zimbabwe.

Fed Chairman Paul Volcker is famed for “saving the dollar” under President Reagan. In order to do this, he had to reduce the rate of dollar creation, and allow interest rates to rise. By 1982, the prime rate was at 21.5%.

But in 1982, the Federal debt was only $1.1 trillion. If Ms. Yellen tried to “save the dollar” with Volcker’s interest rates, 21.5% of our current debt would be $3.76 trillion. The OMB estimates that total tax collections for 2014 will be $3 trillion dollars. So the entire US Federal budget would be absorbed by interest payments… and wouldn’t be enough.

It wasn’t Mexican construction workers or Indian computer programmers who bankrupted our country. It was bailouts for banks, crony deals for car companies, subsidies for the many faux-Green Solyndras, endless military interventions and nation-building. The US economy is broken because we turned away from free markets and put our faith in crony socialism.
To be Exceptional, We have to be Free

America can be exceptional again, if we choose to be. We can follow the recipe of economic success again. Our children can go on to cure cancer, colonize the Solar System, rebuild ecosystems; possibly even Detroit can be made habitable again. But we can’t do it with mindless ethnic-cleansing tribalism.

We are all immigrants or children of immigrants, whether our ancestors traveled by 747 or walked across the Bering Land Bridge. If we are going to fulfill the Founding Fathers’ dreams, we will do it as a nation of immigrants.
Bill Walker of Plainfield, New Hampshire is a member of the Sullivan County Republican Committee. His ancestors immigrated from Prussia in 1870. 

Your Tax Dollars Going Towards Hotel Rooms For Illegal Immigrants

Your hard-earned tax dollars are going towards hotel rooms for illegal immigrants.

Yes, you read that correctly.

There has been a recent surge of Mexicans seeking asylum in the US. This increased demand has lead to federal agents purchasing hotel rooms for the illegal immigrants.

New documents, originally released by Fox News, reveal that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has been releasing illegal immigrants into cities around America and spending up to $99 per night for families to stay in hotels. Federal agents assert that this is necessary due to overcrowding in Mexican border processing centers. They say there is simply not enough room.

Illegals Crossing Fence

A border patrol source said, “People were sleeping on floors – they had nowhere to put them. This shouldn’t be happening.” He argued that the hotel rooms are absolutely necessary.

Here is how it works: federal agents put the illegal immigrants in a van, and bring them to a hotel, which they aim to keep unidentifiable. The immigrants are then escorted into their rooms by other agents.

Most are brought to hotels in Texas, Florida, or New York.

Obama has given the go-ahead on this practice from the top.

The illegal immigrants who fail to show up for their hearings are supposed to be removed by an immigration judge, but often end up staying in the US, unaccounted for.

Officials believe they know the reason for the increase of Mexicans attempting to cross the border. Those looking to enter the US have been taking advantage of a “loophole” of sorts — they have been told to use special “key words” while speaking to border officials, which has been the root cause of the increase.

For instance, about 200 individuals who tried to cross into San Diego last week told border officers they had “credible fear” of large Mexican drug cartels.

Many think this is an organized effort.

Peter Nunes, a former California US Attorney, said, “This clearly has to have been orchestrated by somebody. It’s beyond belief that dozens of thousands of people would simultaneously decide that they should go to the U.S. and make this claim.”

It is easy to think that it may even be the Mexican drug cartels themselves that are organizing this campaign. That way, they could get more of their operatives into the US.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments section below.