Monday, April 30, 2007

Useful Facts to Inform the Immigration Debate

Like my last post, I'm offering little analysis or argument here - only the promotion of an article I found informative with respect to an important policy issue.

This article provides some useful facts on the positive economic impact of illegal immigrants and the small negative effect they have on U.S. tax bills. It also provides statistics that refute flawed assumptions about immigrant crime rates.

Unfortunately, the article does not discuss the essential national security aspect of immigration policy. Nevertheless, I thought it worth the time of any one interested in a summary of most of the implications (both positive and negative) of our current situation and the policy proposals on the table.

The author expresses some frustration that similar facts are not being used more often in the current national debate.

I agree with him.

After numerous discussions with opponents of comprehensive immigration reform I have concluded that there are dramatic and deeply held misperceptions of the common illegal immigrant.

These must be corrected if a pragmatic, moral and ultimately effective policy (from an economic AND security standpoint) is to be reached.


Bryan said...

I have several friends who are legal immigrants and I love them. I think the workers from Mexico are an incredible asset to our nation and economy. They have a great work ethic and they are grateful for the opportunity to make 10 times the wage they would make in Mexico. While there are some legitimate concerns like securing our borders, fraudulant documentation, increased strain on social services, etc. I find our immigrant guests add value to our nation. I think the only real solution is to make Mexico our 51st state!

Tim said...

Thanks for the great link, Jared. Such a contrast from Pat Buchanan's article here:

Pat sometimes has coherent thoughts on MSNBC, but what kind of intellectual laziness is this:

"What was Cho doing here? How did he get in?

Cho was among the 864,000 Koreans here as a result of the Immigration Act of 1965, which threw the nation's doors open to the greatest invasion in history, an invasion opposed by a majority of our people. Thirty-six million, almost all from countries whose peoples have never fully assimilated in any Western country, now live in our midst.

Cho was one of them."

Whereas Sebastian Mallaby lists facts, research, and numbers, Pat Buchanan likes to make broad statements such as, "Many immigrants do not assimilate. Many do not wish to."

Then Pat lists examples of "immigrant criminals" without real analysis such as comparing % criminals in immigrant populations vs. % criminals in native populations, positive impacts of immigration, or even simply that Cho lived in the U.S. for over half of his life.

This somewhat relates to the latent racism/stereotyping of America's "model minority," but I'll save that for another day.

benhood said...

Regardless of my position on immigration, I think it might be a little naive to treat the Mallaby article as a presentation of unbiased "facts" in the immigration debate. Facts are easy to spin, and sometimes people use references in order to buttress weak arguments.

From my reading of his op-ed piece, he followed this methodology:

1. Decide position
2. Find references which nominally support argument
3. Ridicule people who disagree

After reading through a few of the references he cited, I am trying to decide if he was in a hurry or was just plain lazy. A lot of the references don't actually speak to the specific argument he is making, or he is misleading in referencing it for support.

I am a big fan of facts, and numbers specifically, but I think this bastardization of research in support of a previously decided conclusion is a disservice to his readers.