Tuesday, July 6, 2010

(sigh) Another distorted portrayal of unauthorized immigrants

July 6, 2010. Today, Fox News [aka Faux News] is reporting on data provided to them by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The "data" presents a highly misleading fiscal snapshot of the costs allegedly imposed on U.S. taxpayers by unauthorized immigrants. However, in its rush to portray unauthorized immigrants as nothing more than a drain on the public treasury, FAIR completely discounts the economic contributions of unauthorized workers and consumers. Moreover, FAIR inflates their cost estimate by indiscriminately lumping together native-born, U.S.-citizen children with their unauthorized parents.
FAIR's report suffers from three fatal flaws:

  1. The report notes that the single biggest "expense" it attributes to unauthorized immigrants is the education of their children, yet most of these children are native-born, U.S. citizens who will grow up to be tax-paying adults. It is disingenuous to count the cost of investing in the education of these children, so that they will earn higher incomes and pay more in taxes when they are adults, as if it were nothing more than a cost incurred by their parents
  2. The report fails to account for the purchasing power of unauthorized consumers, which supports U.S. businesses and U.S. jobs.
  3. The report ignores the value added to the U.S. economy by unauthorized workers, particularly in the service sector.

In contrast to FAIR's report, the Perryman Group estimated that:
if all unauthorized workers and consumers were somehow removed from the U.S. economy, the United States would lose $552 billion in total economic activity ("expenditures"), $245 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 2.8 million jobs.

FAIR's data is meant only to reinforce their vision of "attrition through enforcement." It is not rooted in an effort to move the immigration debate forward. Long-time readers of this blog will recall the day that FAIR discovered Border Explorer and jumped on my back, indicting themselves with their vicious personal attacks. They are not to be trusted.

The public and the President have made it clear that deporting 11-12 million immigrants isn't reasonable or feasible. Therefore, passing comprehensive immigration reform - which would yield a cumulative $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years - is the only sound economic decision the United States can make.

I regret that this blog is unlikely to reach FAIR, but upon second thought, one must doubt that facts can have any influence upon prejudice.

Primary source: Immigration Policy Center


Jan said...

Thanks for posting this. I keep thinking of the human trafficking over the border and how that is not addressed at all and it is definitely ILLEGAL immigration!

One Fly said...

The dilemma and the reality the cause for much of the stupidity of the other side is that our side (the other view point) barely gets heard. The dark side is very polished in their presentations on all theses issue we face.

matt said...

Great work, Billie.

Thank you for being a light to our undocumented brothers and sisters. Your voice and work are crucial in revealing the truth about the disenfranchised and oppressed.

This is great info for us!

mucho amor.

Border Explorer said...

Jan, you're so right. Another consequence of "securing the border" that isn't considered is how it makes only way needed labor can cross become through the intervention of illegal agents, including traffickers, cartels, and coyotes.

One Fly, you're right that we need to learn how to present ourselves so that we can be heard and understood.

Matt, thanks for your ever-positive perspective. You never fail to inspire me. Thanks for reading and commenting. I was just on your blog this afternoon. It is breath-takingly beautiful!