The big lie about immigration

To the Editor:

Everyone wants to feel safe. We want to protect our lives, our property and our jobs. When we see a threat to our safety, we react. Politicians know this and have used it to get elected since Roman times. Donald Trump has said immigrants are a threat, they are criminals, they steal our welfare and take our jobs. I promise you I will send them all home and build a great wall to keep them out, and America will be great again. This works on a gut level, no proof needed, “Everyone” knows it’s true.  

But of course it is not true. What follows are facts. If you don't believe in facts just skip to the last paragraph. “With few exceptions, immigrants are less crime prone than natives or have no effect on crime rates.” This is the conclusion of the Cato Institute, which was founded by Charles Koch — the same Charles Koch that liberals love to hate. You don’t need a think tank to know that this is true. If you are here illegally the last thing you want is any contact with any authorities.

Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits. These programs require proof of legal immigration status. They do send their children to school, they do use the emergency room, and access other local services, so there is a cost to the taxpayer. 

But they also pay lots of taxes; in 2010 they paid over $10.6 billion in state and local taxes. They are also paying over $15 billion a year in Social Security taxes with no intention of ever collecting any benefits. In fact, without that $15 billion a year Social Security would already be facing a shortfall to cover existing payouts.

My parents used to run motels, and their biggest problem was always finding women to clean the rooms every morning. If you grow vegetables, run a packing plant, need apples pickers, or kitchen help, most of the people willing to do this kind of work are here illegally. Why? Because they will work for less.

If you got laid off from your dry wall job because some Mexican will do it for less, whose fault is that? They are taking advantage of a system we created. As long as business want cheap labor and we want cheap apples, there will be a demand for undocumented labors who can be exploited.

Threatening to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and build a beautiful wall will not solve any of these problems. In fact it will drive these workers deeper underground. That will inevitably increase crime and social unrest. It appears that Donald Trump does not really want to solve this problem, he is happy to let the big lie fester and keep his base happy.

Louis Vitale


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