Basic Immigration Facts

There’s a lot of debate about immigration these days.  Most Americans are coming to understand that the truly critical issue is border security first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean immigration itself isn’t an important issue.  This article from AR contributor MS presents some excellent background on some prevalent myths about legal and illegal immigration in the United States.
- Editor (Robert Wallace)

In between homework I’ve been reading a lot about Arizona and immigration to the United States in general. I thought I’d share some of my findings.

1) “Illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes.” Yes, they do.

According to this CBO Report,

“…there are about 12 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Federal, state, and local governments spend public funds that benefit those immigrants, and those immigrants pay individual income, sales, and property taxes.”

Many people believe that illegal immigrants always get paid under-the-table cash, but this is simply not true. It is not uncommon to fake the right forms and get actual paychecks, nor is it unusual for employers to look the other way. Putting aside whether or not this behavior is right, it does mean that (not all, but many) illegal immigrants will have money taken out of their paychecks, including sums for Social Security and Medicare–two services they do not have access to.

2) “Illegal immigrant labor boosts our economy.” Actually, illegal immigration is a net cost to state and local governments.

The above CBO report lists multiple reasons for why data on this subject is difficult to acquire and analyze. That being said, it is the most reliable source I’ve been able to find so far, but if anyone has additional verifiable sources, please link me to them.

Anyway, the report concludes overall:

a) State and local governments incur costs for providing services to unauthorized immigrants and have limited options for avoiding or minimizing those costs.
b) The amount that state and local governments spend on services for unauthorized immigrants represents a small percentage of the total amount spent by those governments to provide such services to residents in their jurisdictions.
c) The tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants generate for state and local governments do not offset the total cost of services provided to those immigrants.
d) Federal aid programs offer resources to state and local governments that provide services to unauthorized immigrants, but those funds do not fully cover the costs incurred by those governments.

(I argue, however, that if people are worried about the financial situation of their state–or our country–there are bigger issues at hand. And in my state specifically, I also argue that if Californians are worried about giving out money to those who haven’t earned it, there are much more obvious groups to take aim at. But I digress.)

3) “They should get in line and wait their turn.”

Some people want immigration reform simply because they feel it is unfair that illegal immigrants can break the law and then stay when legal immigrants have gone through the effort to enter the country legitimately. I’m sympathetic to that notion. However for those of you who believe that most illegal immigrants could get in legally if they were more patient, I’d like to draw your attention to our country’s laws regarding legal immigration.

Our country doesn’t allow people to immigrate for any reason. Congress sets a limitation on how many visas can be granted per year, and those visas are granted based on certain priorities.

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), first priority goes to the parents, spouses, and children (under the age of 21) of US citizens. Next, visas are granted to people “who want to become immigrants based on employment or a job offer.” This does not mean that anyone who needs work can obtain a visa. First preference for employment-based visas goes to “aliens with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.” Second preference goes to “members of professions holding an advanced degree or persons of exceptional ability.” After that visas are granted to “skilled Workers, professionals and other qualified workers,” “certain special immigrants including those in religious vocations,” and “employment creation immigrants (investors or entrepreneurs).”

Correct me if you have data otherwise, but I’m fairly sure that most illegal immigrants don’t follow under those types of employment categories.

But there’s more..

USCIS outlines the requirements for becoming a US citizen.

An immigrant may receive citizenship through naturalization only if said immigrant has been a permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 years (3 years if you are the spouse of a US citizen.)

So how does an immigrant become a legal permanent resident? He or she has to get a green card. There are several requirements for obtaining a green card, one of which is to “Be eligible for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).” So maybe we should take a look at that Act.

Section 212 of the INA specifies “general classes of aliens ineligible to receive visas and ineligible for admission.” This list includes things you would expect, such as terrorists, people with communicable diseases, etc. The INA also states:

“Any alien who seeks to enter the United States for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor is inadmissible, unless the Secretary of Labor has determined and certified to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General that-

(I) there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified (or equally qualified in the case of an alien described in clause (ii)) and available at the time of application for a visa and admission to the United States and at the place where the alien is to perform such skilled or unskilled labor, and

(II) the employment of such alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed.”

If I’m reading this correctly, it seems to indicate that if an immigrant wants to come here to do unskilled work, they will not be able to obtain a visa. The options are to enter illegally or not enter at all. Of course, you can argue that they ought not enter at all, if that’s the case. However just please be aware that saying they ought to come in legitimately is misleading, because, well, they can’t.

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Comments

  1. T.I.M. says:

    Monica / Jeff / Robert The links in this article end up at a page that says:
    “The page you tried to access does not exist on this server. This page may not exist due to the following reasons:”

    (I’m sure some of our readers would like to see what’s in those links.

  2. T.I.M. says:

    I appreciate the detail in this article. Doesn’t it just confirm the idea that
    illegal aliens (redundancy intended) are breaking the law and that we do not
    have either the need or the resources to allow them here?

    True equal opportunity (the American Way) should dictate that people coming across ALL of our borders should meet the requirements. To be here and not do so means they are breaking the law. And as far as I know, that’s criminal.

  3. Gail B. says:

    One of my assignments while working at the newspaper in North Carolina was to cover the school board meetings. The illegal aliens attended schools, and the county had to expand their budget for new schools and (Spanish-speaking) teachers because of them.

    There was a hosiery mill in Penderlea, near Burgaw, in eastern NC, that hired immigrants with green cards. The girls spoke English, were not hesitant to show their green cards when asked, and were very nice to work with. It was even fun to learn their language for everyday comments.

    One of my neighbors asked me for a ride to his job. His coworker mentioned that he had to pay only another $5,000 to a coyote to get the last daughter into the United States. He had four children, and expected to get her in by the beginning of fall.

    The problem with immigration overall is that criminals are coming across the border from everywhere, not just Mexican citizens. I haven’t researched lately the number of tunnels that were created for crossing illegally, but in 2005 there were 25 or 30! They were used to smuggle guns, drugs, and humans.

    Blueservo.com or Blueservo.net sites have surveillance cameras set up along the Texax border online that you can watch and report illegals attempting to cross the border. You can comment, ask a question, or (the red button) report activity immediately. I’ve caught three and reported them. Later I learned that I was actually watching a shootout with law enforcement!

    What bothers me is that Pelosi can take $100,000 in liquor to Copenhagen, that Obama has time for Paul McCartney at the White House, but they can’t find any money for a fence or effort of any sort to secure our borders. Georgia has more illegal aliens than Arizona!

  4. Gail B. says:

    Texas, not Texax!

  5. donttreadonmeAZ says:

    great read!
    fyi- the active link at “are bigger issues at hand” does not work. here is the direct web address referenced:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/ce/Fy2010_spending_by_category.jpg

  6. Michelle Zhang says:

    I do want to point out that you can come here legally for unskilled work, but it is harder because there are a lot more applicants for unskilled work versus skilled work. And there are limited spots. They do let people in for unskilled work. The issue of “can’t” usually comes from the fact that the line is REALLY long.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Not that it matters to anyone, but, this article makes me want to move the AR off of my favorites.

    I fault the editor for not catching the inaccuracies in the conclusions presented. This desperately needs a re-write.

    I hope Jeff’s bar exam finishes well and soon.

  8. Robert Wallace says:

    T.I.M. and donttreadonmeAZ-

    Thanks for noticing and fixing the broken link.

    Anonymous-

    I’m sorry the article rubbed you the wrong way. If you have any specific facts you’d like to correct, you can do so either here in a post or – if you’d like the time – you could write up a piece for submission as a Featured Commentary. Can’t guarantee I’ll post it, but if it’s well-written I probably will.

    In any case, I hope Jeff comes back soon, too.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is the CBO a valid litmus for basis?

    Section 1)

    12 million – laughable

    http://www.theamericanresistance.com/ref/illegal_alien_numbers.html

    “but this is simply not true”

    Yep, each one of these guys (see clip below) are expecting payroll checks, (I am curious where the writer lives. It appears she has never seen a sanctioned ‘hiring corner”)

    [warning: very offensive, yet poignant example]

    http://www.dirtybutton.com/videos/330-amazing-racist/

    “illegal immigrants will have money taken out of their paychecks, including sums for Social Security and Medicare–two services they do not have access to.”

    False premise

    a) their employer pays these taxes TO a specific SSN# (illegals don’t really pay)
    b)Has any research by the writer gone into the rampant fraud of BOTH services using false SSN#’s by illegals? (this would mean they receive access to both services) (plus, I am pretty sure current law allows them to pay into

    Shouldn’t there be a part c) where’s the education discussion?
    see education section:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_illegal_immigrants_in_the_United_States

    Section 2
    “net cost” that would be similar to saying Hoover Dam is a little generator.

    any amount of BILLION in cost is boggling.

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/immigrationnaturalizatio/a/caillegals.htm

    (pssst… it’s “difficult” data because the truth wreaks to high heaven and contradicts the “agenda.”)

    a) (duh) BECAUSE Fed and State LAW PROHIBITS investigation into legal status

    b) (duh) what part of BILLIONS in one state alone is unclear?

    c) (duh) (DOH!) wait… I agree, but the language doesn’t do the discrepancy justice.

    d) brilliance at it’s best.

    Section 3)

    again, laughable… so if I were to follow this line of thought, there really should be no need for sovereignty, therefore, borders, or admission granted by law.
    I believe the context has been lost from the quoted section 212 and the actual application of rule. There are many unskilled green card recipients who have been granted admission on a daily basis. Side note – look up “anchor baby,” it’s a lot easier than you may be aware.

    The writer has failed to understand the definition of illegal. Illegal is defined by law. Life’s hard, it’s too bad we all “just can’t get along (sniff sniff),” but the trivialization and dilution of the Rule of Law undermines civility and fairness leading to anarchy. Why, next thing you know, a sitting president will be justifying a clearly illegal act with the excuse of, “is it really that illegal”…. (Blagovich, Sestak) (oh crap).

    ps. I know annon. may be weak, but it allows me to reference questionable content links without easy identification.

  10. Michelle Zhang says:

    @ Anonymous

    1) It’s hard to really pinpoint exactly how many, or even estimate closely how many illegal immigrants there are. The article you posted yourself referenced a few places that estimated around 12 million.

    If you read what Monica wrote, you will see that she didn’t say that ALL illegal immigrants get paychecks. She said that not ALL illegal immigrants are paid under the table. So the video you posted doesn’t really dispute what she said at all.

    2) I can’t tell if you are just writing to agree with Monica or trying to dispute what she said…

    3) I may be reading this wrong, but it seems you read what Monica wrote and concluded that she is for illegal immigration, when she was really just trying to dispel myths that a lot of people believe when it comes to immigration.

  11. Linda B. says:

    I do believe the Immigration Laws do need an overhaul, but my concern regarding illegal immigration is the open borders of our country which are open to not only Mexicans, but others who come into this country to promote drugs, crimes, trafficing of human beings and terrorism. Since I work for an agency in Washington, D.C. connected to the immigration problem, I can assure you the concern here is for terrorist entering this country. Many believe the H1N1 virus was deliberately introduced into this country by those crossing the unchecked borders in our country. Many also believe nuclear parts may be smuggled across the borders unchecked to be used at a later date.

    My sister lives in Arizona and the people there are very concerned for their personal safety. The Federal government has a “turn the other way policy” about those crossing the borders in Arizona. Many of the ranchers are afraid for their families and their livelihood as more and more immigrants cross over their properties. Many people in the rural and urban areas are afraid for their families and properties. Many immigrants are used by the drug cartel to bring drugs into this country or are used for prostitution to obtain passage into this country. An open door policy encourages those who traffic in human beings to continue this practice. The public health hazard posed by the entrance of those under the radar of our country is incredible since they are not screened for diseases and may even be carrying new strains of viruses, etc. The current immigration laws ensure medical examinations and health care for those entering this country to protect those here. The mass entrance of illegal immigrants into the area is creating an environmental problem as they dispose of clothing, bags, trash, etc. Also, a cost to the states and to us all as the desert environment becomes toxic to the life currently living there.

    My concern is for the people already in this country and for their protection. One of the purposes of our government is provide protection for her citizens and yet it appears the only protection for many states is to do it themselves. Someone should research the amount of crime committed by illegal immigrants and the number of car accidents causing the loss of life and property. Gangs are a big factor in our area as I know they are in others.

    This government was founded by immigrants seeking a better life and I have no problem with that premise. The immigration laws need to be changed. So where are the people introducing this legislation into the Congress? The only thing we hear about is amnesty for those here, but no real solution to the problem. This is politically motivated. Mexico needs to clean up its act and help its fellow country men so they are not used as pawns and our government needs to encounage that move. We need to protect our country from those who would bring harm to us through our open borders and those who would use others for that purpose. We need to change the law on immigration and not as a previous writer pointed out ignore it because the law protects us all and offers us the guidelines for behavior. If we choose to ignore this law what others might also be ignored?

  12. NuMexPhil says:

    One bit of additional info, and something of a correction. If an illegal is paying SS taxes under a false ID (a fairly common occurrence), and they later go through the process of ‘getting their papers’ to be here legally. The SS Administration will allow them to ‘correct’ the assignment of the taxes collected under their false ID and reassign them to their new legal ID. Given that for most of us we’ll get paid far more in benefits from SS than we paid in, this means that many illegals actually do drain even more resources from an ever shrinking pot.
    I’ve seen this happen over and over again here in NM. An illegal comes here as a working adult, later ‘gets their papers’, and then gets their SS ‘account’ reassigned to their new ID–often then promptly retiring. What a deal.

  13. matthew says:

    Concerning the false employment forms, I do know this occurs. I know one person who came here legally has allowed 5 different illegal alien family members to use her identity (and papers) to gain employment. I wonder how it looks to the SSA when they see the same person is working 5 full-time jobs in five different states? Maybe they aren’t paying attention to this obvious case of fraud, but I imagine they will investigate just as soon as one of those 6 people retires and attempts to draw SS benefits. This process is helping no one in the long-run.

    Some can’t ever come here? There are loopholes in every law. They could come here on a tourist visa, get married, return home only to find themselves on the top of the priority list. Or become married to an American in their home country and apply for a family visa after he returns home to the U.S.
    This is assuming they aren’t terrorists and such, which we don’t want here under any circumstances (legal or illegal).

  14. Anonymous says:

    @Michelle

    1) 12 Million would be a grossly low estimate by any standard, let alone dated. But this is a census year I am sure we’ll get more ‘accurate’ numbers soon enough [rolleyes].

    If you read what she wrote “yes, they do,” the dispelling of the myth hasn’t happened with what she wrote. Thereby, her argument is invalid.

    2) Nearly everything she quoted and wrote I would dispute. The effort she made in listing “Basic Immigration Facts” is flawed and not factual at all. When a reader stumbles upon AR, absorbs an article like this with the “great job” comments, I puke at the placating conceit of making invalid (non-factual) arguments. (comments like “duh” usually are not complimentary)

    3) “trying to dispel myths that a lot of people believe when it comes to immigration.” IOW, she dispelled myths which are true? This becomes circular logic and very very dangerous. Myths are, right or wrong, generalizations, using generalizations to disprove generalizations is just not good form, unless of course your Chris Matthews.

    Knowing your stated history and entrance into citizenship, are you truly going to accept the following statement?
    “The options are to enter illegally or not enter at all.”

    I would love to introduce the writer to two (at least) families, citizenship by legal processes, who would find that statement highly offensive.

  15. Michelle Zhang says:

    @ Anonymous

    1) So because she wrote “Yes they do” that invalidates everything else she wrote after it? “Many people believe that illegal immigrants always get paid under-the-table cash, but this is simply not true.” She also wrote this “Putting aside whether or not this behavior is right, it does mean that (not all, but many) illegal immigrants will have money taken out of their paychecks, including sums for Social Security and Medicare–two services they do not have access to.

    2) And that’s why we have conversations. And that’s why we’re debating. I think this is a great thing. Not everyone is right about everything and debating is a great way to learn from each other. Since you have made it clear you were trying to dispute her 2nd point, I would like to point out that she is actually agreeing with what you disputed with.

    “Illegal immigrant labor boosts our economy.” Actually, illegal immigration is a net cost to state and local governments.

    She is disputing the idea that illegal immigrants boost our economy. So I’m not sure what you were disputing.

    3) I understand that immigration law and the dynamics are very complex. I think you would agree with me on that one.

    The way Monica read the statute about getting into the country made her conclude that for many it is either enter illegally or not enter at all, which is true for a lot of people. Though as I pointed out earlier not for how Monica concluded it. But I’m offended that she concluded it that way. Why should I be? Should I be offended whenever anyone misunderstands something?

  16. Kahleeka says:

    A friend of mine lost her nursing job of 12 years when her patient died. When she went to unemployment, she found out her SSN was used by an illegal alien. It’s a long story, but the ramifications ruined her credit, ruined her ability to get a background check, she was unable to get unemployment and fought hard at every turn to get employed again. She quickly found out this is happening so frequently, the police cannot keep up and barely investigate . . . they do not have the resources. Even after she had been fighting this for a year, this illegal got arrested and posted bail with HER SSN! She has spent thousands and lost that and so much more.

    It didn’t matter that the illegal was paying taxes . . . she lost her life for many years and that can never be recouped.

  17. Anonymous says:

    @Michelle

    1) no. Sadly enough, my elucidation of concepts is being confounded by the loss of linear surface meanderings. Illegal immigrants, by definition, can not be paid, by law, in any other way than illegitimately.

    Money is not “taken out of their paycheck.” It is paid by their employer. Do you seriously think an illegal who is hired for $100 per day is going to expect anything less than that “contract” of 100? A quick knife in the back will result from business expectations like that! Additionally, most, if not all, illegals know how to have access to both. Please re-read my original response, and other posters.

    Debate? lol, read the Marxist Manifesto about the tool of debate. Dilution of truth perpetuated by the one who performs the best argument (not necessarily truth).

    Please re-read my original post, again (I liked this analogy, edited a little) Stating, A “net cost” to state budgets, is like saying the Hoover Dam is a “net gain” for power generation. You may think it’s semantic, but a sucking a BILLION dollars annually (minimal estimates at best) in one state is hardly a “net loss.”

    3) Actually, I don’t agree with it at all. The law is clear and concise in it’s definition of what constitutes “illegal” and “immigrant” and basis for citizenship. It is the application of said law and the enforcement, or lack thereof, which has become “complex.”

    A statement like hers lends validity to actions which are defined to be illegal. Has anyone thought how restrictions could be lessened for unskilled labor immigration if those unskilled positioned weren’t presently being filled/burdened by a massive supply of illegal immigrants. (and lest we forget about the tremendous resources illegal aliens have consumed in prison, education, medical, etc. (each a huge financial burden in their own right))

    ps. on a side note, ever notice how much more palatable it is to NOW label them illegal immigrants instead of illegal aliens?

    Michelle, you are much more forgiving than I, and obviously youthful, as find it unconscionable for any individual to steal what I have obtained by legal means. The wound gets extra salt, when the aforementioned theft ends up consuming more of what I have worked, especially at the cost of my child’s future.

    In conclusion:

    Methinks you’d both benefit with a trip out west to visit the true foreign occupation which has occurred. Before you come, please familiarize yourself with La Raza, Mecha, and the concept of Atzlan.

    There is and has been a battle raging, and not a single shot has been fired. (except, of course, for those citizens who have been murdered at the hands of illegal immigrants)

  18. Michelle Zhang says:

    @ Anonymous

    It is clear now that you really don’t want to engage in debate, and I suppose you see debate as a loser-winner thing. I don’t. Even when I “lose” I look to learn something. And I’ve actually learned a lot from what you said and I hope you step back and read Monica’s article with the knowledge that Monica is not pro-illegal-immigration. She’s just pro-being-more-truthful. Maybe she doesn’t have a full understanding but she tries and I think forums like this should be used as a teaching tool rather than an “AH HAH! You were wrong. I was right. Neener neener.”

    1) I agree. Anything gained is gained illegally. No one is arguing against that. I know certainly Monica doesn’t think it is legal. She’s simply saying that some illegal immigrants get their money not through under the table methods, but some use the fake/stolen identity they get and live a life as if they were that identity. So they “pay taxes”. No one here is arguing that this legitimizes what they do. Just presenting a fact. Some illegal immigrants “pay taxes”

    2) Monica’s point was “Illegal immigrants don’t boost our economy.” Your point was “Illegal immigrants don’t boost our economy.” How is that not an agreement?

    3) I think you are putting too much stock on choice of certain words over the meaning of the whole. I do like your analogy and I actually would agree. I’m just saying that the analogy doesn’t apply to how Monica is presenting it. Yes she is using the term “net cost” but not in the way you are interpreting it.

    “ps. on a side note, ever notice how much more palatable it is to NOW label them illegal immigrants instead of illegal aliens?”

    This happened because LEGAL aliens didn’t like the term. So it universally changed too “immigrants” Maybe it happened before my time, but I’ve always referred to these as “legal immigrants” and “illegal immigrants” :: shrug :: Though for me, if you want to say legal alien I won’t be offended. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, people get too caught up with terms. I’ll just blame it on semantics I suppose.

    “Michelle, you are much more forgiving than I, and obviously youthful, as find it unconscionable for any individual to steal what I have obtained by legal means. The wound gets extra salt, when the aforementioned theft ends up consuming more of what I have worked, especially at the cost of my child’s future. ”

    Trust me. I’m frustrated too. Especially knowing how hard it was for my parents and the years of sacrifice they went through to come here legally. But the one thing that I hold to as high of a value as this issue is the issue of truth. And finding that truth. Even if that truth hurts my position. Even if that truth doesn’t comply with my pre-conceived notions.

    “Methinks you’d both benefit with a trip out west to visit the true foreign occupation which has occurred. Before you come, please familiarize yourself with La Raza, Mecha, and the concept of Atzlan. ”

    I probably will and I really want to go back to visit again one day. Thank you for the suggestions and I will definitely check them out.

    “There is and has been a battle raging, and not a single shot has been fired.”

    I don’t know. I think Arizona fired a pretty nice shot.

  19. TNelson says:

    The whole “illegal immigrants pay taxes” argument is entirely flawed taken as a whole. My wife works in social services, and these people find a way to squeeze every dime out of us. Not just Mexicans by the way.

    If I claim 7 dependents (just using any ol’ number), how much am I going to pay in taxes? Not much would be withheld, would it. I probably qualify for an earned income tax credit. After all, If I have a fake SSN, I can get a refund. (if you think they are too stupid to figure that out, you’re the dummy.) If I paid $100.00 dollars in ‘taxes’ but used $10,000 dollars in public services, I’ve paid -$9,900 dollars in taxes. That goes a long way towards ‘paying’ local sales taxes. If I end up getting caught, what are they gonna do? Deport me? HA!

    The section regarding legal immigration being impossible is self contradicting using the quote that was given to support the writers opinion. Really, really confusing. The left wingers have justified illegal immigration for years saying “no one else will take these low paying jobs!” If that’s true, doesn’t that qualify them for legal immigration according to the info provided. Talk about contradictions. Is the line long, yes! As it should be.

    The article has some major flaws. If you want to present ‘facts’ then fine. Half truths are still factual, just not fully explained. If you want the ‘real’ truth you have to look at the whole picture and see how it plays out. Is it possible for an illegal immigrant to ‘pay’ taxes and not pay taxes? Yes, in fact it is likely. Is it possible to come here lagally to work even if you are not a rocket scientist? Yes, and each individual state has latitude in deciding how many people that is. If is the state of California needs all these immigrants to work full time in the service and agriculture industries, I’m sure the the governator could figure out a way to talk with the Secretary of Labor to determine and certified to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General that-

    (I) there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified (or equally qualified in the case of an alien described in clause (ii)) and available at the time of application for a visa and admission to the United States and at the place where the alien is to perform such skilled or unskilled labor, and

    (II) the employment of such alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed.”

    Seems cut and dried to me. If they are not taking jobs from people who are citizens already, and if they are noy depressing the wages of the industry, they can be allowed in to work here. Not hard. Business does not want that though, because illegal immigrants depress the wages, not legal immigrants.

    Everyone seems to forget (and the left don’t want it known) that no one is advocating for no immigration. All we want is for immigration to be legal and orderly. Nothing makes me happier than to see new immigrants granted full citizenship….. in many cases, they appreciate it more than we do. Not so sure about the Mexican side of the border though, they think it’s owed to them.

  20. Robert Wallace says:

    Here at AR we take sides. We have a viewpoint, and you can easily figure it out from the title of the site.

    As a result the pieces we put up here are almost always opinion pieces. This piece by Monica is not one of those pieces, however, and I think that’s why so many folks are reacting negatively to it.

    Monica’s goal when she wrote this was simple: dig up some facts about illegal immigration. She wasn’t interested in using those facts to make some broader argument. Just the facts, that’s it.

    It so happens that some of the facts are often cited by liberals/progressive to defend illegal immigration. For example the notion that illegals pay taxes has often been used as a kind of “See? There’s no problem here” argument.

    Since Monica didn’t flat-out specify her opinion in this piece, a lot of folks noticed that some of the facts have been used in liberal-leaning pieces and just assumed that Monica was trying to imply that. And – in a world of political innuendo, plausible deniability, and saying without saying – I can see why people might want to jump to conclusions.

    But in this case that’s the wrong conclusion to jump to. Monica is not defending illegal immigration either by saying it’s morally right, legally right, or economically beneficial. She’s simply dispelling some myths so that we’ve all got more facts to work with.

    As for notion that there are half-truths in this article, I don’t get that. Look, if Monica said “Hey, some illegals pay taxes” and left it at that you would have a point. That makes it sound – without any context – as though illegals are good for society, or at least not bad. But she said “Some illegals pay taxes” and then in the next section “But guess what? They don’t pay enough to make up for the cost.” She clearly addressed *both* facts, and there’s nothing half-way about it.

    I’m glad for the responses we’ve gotten. Shows people read and shows people care. That’s good. But I just wanted to help ease some of the misconceptions. Just because this article doesn’t condemn illegal immigration doesn’t mean it’s defending it. It’s doing neither. And – even on an opinion site like AR – there’s room for pieces that simply bring more facts to a contentious issue.

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