Tag: deportation

Debunked

We all know math can be scary. In fact, I recently wrote about how intimidating all those numbers and figures can be.

But math is never more terrifying than when it crushes our deeply held beliefs and contradicts our political agendas.

For example, a recent study has shown that despite all the screaming and cries of calamity from the right wing, immigrants are not taking Americans’ jobs.

no-stealing

The study “found little to no negative effects on overall wages and employment of native-born workers in the longer term.” Basically, this means that when the GOP candidate for president slams immigrants — especially Latin American ones — he has no idea what he is talking about.

Of course, we all knew that already, but it’s nice to have hard data confirming that the guy is a lying shithead.

In any case, the report went on to state that immigration is “integral to the nation’s economic growth” because immigrants “bring new ideas and add to an American labor force that would be shrinking without them, helping ensure continued growth into the future.”

Specifically, high-skilled immigrants, especially in technology and science, have a significant “positive impact on Americans with skills, and also on working-class Americans. They spurred innovation, helping to create jobs.”

Furthermore, by flipping this argument on its head, we see that the GOP candidate’s plan to deport undocumented workers “would result in four million lost jobs by 2030.”

OK, so it’s settled that immigrants are not stealing jobs, and in fact, they may be kickstarting the economy to create new ones.

But what about that side claim that immigrants cost the US government bazillions of dollars each year in handouts and “free stuff”?

Well, the math is a little fuzzier on this one, and it may be true that recent immigrants cost more in government expenditures. However, any deficit is gone by the time the second generation (i.e., kids of immigrants) enters the work force, and “by the third generation, immigrant families contribute about $223 billion a year to government finances.”

The bottom line is that the net effect of immigration is positive, especially when one looks at the long term.

So I’ll ask again — don’t you just love math?

 


This Is Either the Best Idea or the Worst Plan Ever

So I’ve been following the advice of the Freakonomics guys, who advise us to think like a child and ask seemingly naive questions in the pursuit of higher truths.

At first, my childlike wonder led to such inquiries as “Why do men have nipples?” and “Can you hit a baseball thrown at the speed of light?” and of course, “If zombies aren’t alive, why do they need to devour the brains of the living?”

But let’s face it, some questions are just unanswerable.

questionmarkleaning

So I turned my attention to one of America’s big issues, and a subject that I have written about at length: immigration.

I asked myself, “Would something like the Homestead Act for undocumented immigrants be a good idea?”

For those of you who skipped U.S. history class to go smoke in the parking lot, here is a quick refresher: The Homestead Act was passed in 1862. It encouraged Western migration by giving settlers 160 acres of land. In exchange, homesteaders paid a filing fee and completed five years of residence before receiving ownership of the land.

So how does that relate to undocumented immigrants?

Well, right now, undocumented immigrants are either caught in an expensive, inefficient loop of deportation/return/deportation, or they live in constant fear of la migra. The system doesn’t work very well, which is something that both conservatives and liberals can agree upon.

And don’t fall for the classic mistake of saying undocumented immigrants should just wait in line to get their papers. It is well-established that for many people, there is no line and never will be.

So here’s my proposal: We say to undocumented immigrants, “Well, we can’t just hand you citizenship. But you can stay in the country if you agree to move someplace where your insane work ethic and tireless pursuit of the American Dream can benefit the nation.”

And then we give them the option of claiming an abandoned house in Detroit’s inner city, or moving to a small town that’s dying, or going to some other location where they can help reestablish a troubled community and work off their debt. If they live in the location for a certain number of years without getting into legal trouble, and pay a filing fee, they get citizenship.

Yes, that’s crazy. Because we can’t solve a societal issue by giving away vacant homes… except that we can. And an influx of newcomers won’t revive rural America or fading cities… except that it can. And the cultural clashes that would erupt over such a policy are insurmountable… except that they’re not.

In essence, there is a precedent for each element of this idea. It would be a massive undertaking loaded with political landmines, but hey, what isn’t these days?

Also, this would not be the only way for undocumented immigrants to obtain citizenship. It would be one of several potential pathways available to them.

Now, I’m not saying this a great idea. I’m just asking the question and looking for feedback. So what do you say? Is a new Homestead Act for undocumented immigrants worth pursuing?


The Best of Intentions

President Obama recently held a town-hall meeting to pitch the finer points of the Affordable Care Act to Latinos. And when I say, “the finer points,” I mean that he basically said, “This is driving me nuts. You should be signing up in droves.”

But Hispanics are doing no such thing, and despite the fact that “the Latino population is disproportionately uninsured and relatively young… enrollment hasn’t been going well.” This is because, like all things related to the Obamacare rollout, things were botched and fumbled.

Fumble

For example, “instead of starting with what would resonate with Latinos, outreach campaigns were developed in English for English-speaking audiences,” with the result that Obamacare details and benefits were not “directed particularly at the Latino population.”

Even more alarming, many Hispanics are under the mistaken impression “that signing up for the Affordable Care Act could get family members deported.”

So now some of Obama’s biggest supporters — who also stand to benefit greatly from the ACA, and who are also more likely than most Americans to be uninsured, and who are more at risk for some particularly vexing diseases – are cowering in fear rather than bum rushing the registration desks and swamping the ACA website.

It’s a cruel irony, and one that could have been easily avoided, if the Obama administration had put as much effort into proper outreach as they do in fending off right-wing attacks.

But a quick and easy solution isn’t coming. Indeed, at Obama’s town hall, “as the questions came, some of the challenges the president and his administration face in selling the health care law were brought into focus.”

Hopefully, they got the message.

 


The Sting of Rejection

OK, the Democratic president who insisted, “Si, Se Puede” hasn’t kept his promise to make immigration reform a top priority. Furthermore, he has deported more Latinos than anybody in history, despite the fact that there are fewer undocumented people to arrest.

So getting the Hispanic vote should be easy for the GOP, which continues to insist that Latinos are Republican but don’t know it. In essence, conservatives say Latinos are voting against their own interests, which is ironic considering that Republicans depend on their rural white base to do exactly that.

There’s just one problem.

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 

 


Kiss and Make Up

I’ve written before about the Republican Party’s image problem with Hispanics. For the most part, conservatives are content to appear as unappetizing as possible to Latino voters. It’s almost as if the GOP is saying, “We’re not really a bunch of redneck nativists who despise your culture, but you’ll just have to take our word on that. Now, who’s up for some stereotyping and deportations?

Perhaps many Republicans are afraid of offending their hardcore base, which is, let’s face it, not the most open-minded group. Or maybe conservatives were heartened by their “shellacking” of the Democrats in the midterms. Or possibly they’re feeling no pressure because U.S. Census figures indicate that red states are growing much faster than blue ones.

But wait — upon closer inspection, maybe that last one isn’t so uplifting to conservatives after all. As Fox News Latino points out, “the irony is that many of these growth centers … are the beneficiaries of population growth due in large part of immigration and brisk Latino birthrates.” In other words, one reason that the red states are bursting is because Hispanics are moving in. As such, these states have “a strong Republican Party presence, and an increasingly unsympathetic Latino electorate to counter that party’s influence.”

So if anything, conservatives should be bending over backwards to attract Latino support. At least a few Republicans know this.

Among them is our old friend Newt Gingrich (!), who recently admitted the truth about immigration reform when he said, “We are not going to deport 11 million people. There has to be some zone between deportation and amnesty.”

Gingrich’s surprising statement got the Washington Post’s attention. The newspaper opined that “making nice with Hispanics has become an incipient Republican cottage industry” and expressed “hope it grows enough to shut down the hateful rhetoric and demonizing of Latinos by too many Republicans in recent years.”

Well, let’s not get carried away. As the Post makes clear, nativists “have cowed the Republican Party with a message of rejection and hate that most Latinos take personally.”

And here is where the GOP fails to understand a basic truth: Slamming immigrants doesn’t just offend undocumented people. It also pisses off Latino citizens, many of whom are naturalized immigrants, have family members who recently arrived here, or just don’t like to see people who look like them get blamed for everything.

Indeed, as the National Council of La Raza states, the recent elections brought to power “some of the most extreme members of the House who are going to be the calling card of the Republican Party to Latinos.” This doesn’t really help conservatives, who “need to rebuild their relationships with Latinos.”

Still, it’s not all bad news for the GOP when it comes to Hispanics. There is one group of Latinos who are positively giddy about a significant part of the Republican platform. Unfortunately, these Hispanics are not citizens, or even residents.

It seems that the GOP insistence on making guns readily available is a big hit with Mexican drug cartels. Yes, although the right to carry a firearm is supposed to deter crime, the truth is that “Mexico’s most violent drug cartels are exploiting U.S. guns laws to acquire massive quantities of assault rifles and other firearms for use in their war.”

Ouch — somehow I doubt this fact will help win over Latinos in 2012.


Just Words?

Earlier this week, the United States celebrated MLK Day. For the last quarter-century, we’ve marked this occasion with tributes and speeches that restate ideals that shouldn’t need to be restated. I’m talking about the basics: shunning bigotry, treating individuals of different backgrounds with respect, judging people by the content of their character, and so on. We really should have these concepts down by now, but we don’t.

In any case, Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is framed within the context of civil rights. Indeed, the phrase “civil rights movement” is practically trademarked to refer to the quest of African Americans in the 1960s to gain the privileges promised to them in the U.S. Constitution.

To continue reading this post, please click here.


Will They Take a Check?

Recently, I wrote about the inaccuracies and myths surrounding the supposed crime wave that illegal immigrants have created in America.

I’m sure many readers said, “OK, Hispanic Fanatic, you displayed sound reasoning… even though you have a creepy way of referring to yourself in the third person, with an alias no less, and you remain obsessed with hourglass-shaped blonde women. But logically, you were correct.”

The Fanatic appreciates your vote of confidence.

As such, I will now address that other boogeyman of the illegal-immigration debate: the economic burden to our country.

To continue reading this post, please click here.


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