Mr. Robinson said: “There are plenty of explosive words in this debate. When we talk about the 12 million or so people who are in this country on expired visas, or who never bothered to get visas at all, do we call them "undocumented migrants," which implies that the thing to do is get them proper documents? Or do we call them "illegal aliens," which implies that they are criminals who need to be punished?
I'm in the "undocumented migrants" camp, basically on aesthetic grounds -- I think it's dehumanizing to use the same noun for a Mexican day laborer who sneaked across the border that one would use for a six-armed visitor from another planet. Let's be honest, though. Coming into the United States on a tourist visa and staying for months or years after the visa expires is a violation of U.S. law. Crossing the border with no visa at all is another violation of U.S. law. "Illegal" is a harsh word, but accurate.
We can and should argue about issues of culture and assimilation -- I happen to believe that those cultural issues are a crock and that recent Latino immigrants are strengthening this nation, as did previous waves of Irish, Italian, Eastern European and Asian immigrants, but it's legitimate to debate that proposition.”
The 10Q Detective responds:
Mr. Robinson, I am afraid of the ‘A’ word for the following reasons:
- You are dismissive of the demographic and economic implications of the mass migration across our southern border. Recognizing that the U.S. does not have the political will to say “NO!”—the government of Mexico is exporting their poverty to the United States.
- According to recent reports, demographics suggest than an average of 577,000 Mexicans migrated to the U.S. each year between 2000-2005, compared to 495,000 deaths a year in the same period. In 2006, 559,000 migrated and there were 501,000 deaths.
- Almost two-thirds of adult Mexican immigrants have not completed high school, compared to less than 10 percent of natives. Ergo, the primary effect of Mexican immigration on the U.S. labor force is to increase the supply of unskilled workers — 22 percent of all the high school dropouts in the U.S. labor force were born in Mexico. Albeit most Americans have completed high school, some 10 million adult native-born workers lack a high school education in the U.S. workforce. By increasing the supply of unskilled labor, Mexican immigration has reduced the wages of these workers who lack a high school education.
- Mexican immigration has added significantly to the size of the poor and uninsured populations, and to the nation’s welfare caseload.
- When looking at the root causes of many civil wars, one issue that comes up time and time again in these conflicts is the language barrier. Sri Lanka (Sinhala and Tamil tongues), Balkans (Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians), East Timor (Tetum vs. Indonesian)—tell me again how flooding our nation with non-English speaking aliens is just an ‘aesthetic’ inconvenience?
- Contrary to The Washington Post’s disinformation campaign, the wave of recent Latino immigration is not strengthening this nation. According to recent data from the Center for Immigration Studies:
- More than one-half (52.6 percent) of Mexican immigrants do not have health insurance, compared to 13.5 percent of natives, and Mexican immigration by itself accounts for 3.3 million or 29 percent of the growth in the size of the nation’s total uninsured population since 1987. Even among legal Mexican immigrants who have lived in the country for more than 20 years, more than one-third are still uninsured. Obviously, Messer. Robinson, you have not been to one of our overcrowded and understaffed emergency departments recently!
- Because of their much lower average incomes and resulting lower tax payments, coupled with their heavy use of means-tested programs, Mexican immigrants have a significant negative effect on public coffers. Based on estimates developed by the National Academy of Sciences for immigrants by age and education level at arrival, the estimated life-time net fiscal drain (taxes paid minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is negative $55,200.
I do fear the “A’ word.
This morning I called Comcast because I was having a problem with my landline. An automated voice in a monotone voice said: “Press #1 for English; Press #2 for Spanish.” Forced to press #1, I waited 20 minutes on hold.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the editor of the 10Q Detective, David J. Phillips.