Illegal immigration: the myths and the facts
By JOE R. DAVENPORT 10/14/2006 Buffalo News
Myth: We are a nation of immigrants.
Fact: This myth is false on its face. Nearly 88 percent of the people living in the United States today are not immigrants; they were born here. This is a nation of natives, not a nation of immigrants. "But," the liberal propagandists reply, "we all have ancestors who came from other countries." And, one might reply, so does just about every other nation on Earth.
Are not the French merely descendents of the immigrant barbarian Franks, who drove out the Roman-era Celtic Gauls? And the English are simply immigrant Angles and Saxons who virtually wiped out the Celtic Britons in the fifth century A.D.
They too are nations of immigrants under this liberal myth, as is practically every other nation on Earth. The myth descends to meaninglessness upon any serious analysis. Yet whenever this myth is uttered, we are expected to nod our heads in agreement that a deep and salient point has been made.
Myth: Illegal immigrants are taking only jobs that Americans do not want.
Fact: Many illegal immigrants are able to work for less than market value because they don't pay income or Social Security taxes and are able to take their entire paycheck (or cash) home. This is not only unfair competition against employers who follow the law and pay employees "above the table," but it depresses the wage scale for Americans who would otherwise select jobs currently filled by illegal immigrants.
These are jobs that Americans "do not want" only because the illegal immigrants have depressed the wage scale for the positions. Take away the illegal immigrants, and wages would rise to the level where Americans would take the jobs.
Myth: Illegal immigrants have a right to come here. It is our Christian duty to provide hospitality.
Fact: Nearly two-thirds of the 32.5 million foreign-born people living in the United States entered this country legally, and the United States has more legal immigrants than any other country in the world.
That's hardly poor hospitality, and no bill before Congress that has a chance of becoming law would change this nation's hospitality. But it is poor hospitality to say to the nearly 22 million legal immigrants who waited in line that they wasted their time following the rules because illegal immigrants will now get the same status.
The need to deport illegal aliens and secure our borders has nothing to do with persecuting minorities or lack of hospitality. The United States can continue to allow a number of immigrants into this country legally, depending upon how many can be reasonably assimilated without destroying our American identity. Rather, securing our borders is necessary as a matter of principle - in the interests of equal justice under law - as well as practical security in this age of international terrorism.
Joe R. Davenport recently moved to Niagara Falls from Del Rio, Texas, on the Mexican border.
In 1999, the US homicide rate, over all, was 5.7 per 100,000. This is a high rate compared with most countries in Western Europe: Italy (2.25), Belgium and England/Wales (1.41), and Ireland (.62), but America seems safe when compared with Mexico, which despite very strict gun laws, has a homicide rate of 17.58—-over three times the US rate.
It is difficult to make comparative generalizations, but according to the Overseas Security Advisory Council (a “federal advisory committee” whose mission is to advise Americans on security issues in foreign countries): “In the categories of murder, rape and robbery, Mexico’s Distrito Federal (Mexico City and the surrounding region) posts 3 to 4 times the incidence of these crimes than does New York City, greater Los Angeles or Washington, D.C.
What this means when Mexicans enter the US can be measured by the fact that in 2003, while about 27% of prisoners in federal prisons were aliens, 67% of that figure were Mexican—or 18% of the total. When other Latin Americans were added in, the percentage reaches 23%
JOBS AMERICAN CITIZENS WON'T DO? According the the Pew Hispanic center, and data from 2005 census reports, the largest percentage of those jobs are done by US CITIZENS.
About 7.2 million unauthorized migrants were employed in March 2005, accounting for about 4.9% of the civilian labor force. They made up a large share of all workers in a few more detailed occupational categories, including 24% of all workers employed in farming occupations, 17% in cleaning, 14% in construction and 12% in food preparation.