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Fact-Based Policy

There isn’t any actual crisis in immigration. If that sentence surprises or infuriates, you’re probably paying far too much attention to the news. The situation which has the entire nation worked into a frenzy was entirely made up for political purposes.

It’s not exactly clear why, either. While Trump aid and Politischertacitischerführer Steven Miller thinks that opposing immigration is a huge winner for Trump, surveys show that Americans strongly favor immigration. It’s as if the nation knows in its guts that we are at or near full employment and there is indeed a net labor shortage. This furor might fire up the base and make sure they show up in November, but that is still a long way away

Nevermind all that. We have a crisis on our hands because for one dumb reason or another Trumplandia thought it would suit them. Let’s look at facts and see if there is something more calm and human that can and should be done.

Logic. Facts. Things that are supposed to rule our world.

All I have ever really asked for is fact-based policy. The most significant problem we have in politics as we know it is that each side seems to have their own set of “facts.” There is no doubt that immigration policy is riddled with problems, and that most have been festering for a long time. But if we look at the reality of the situation we can see even more clearly that the current crisis is not only manufactured but totally counter-productive.

It may seem cold to insist on facts first. Isn’t there a place for empathy, for taking care of those in pain and fear? The long and short of it is that suffering comes from the earthly realm, and understanding suffering in a way that truly allows us to help it, to break it has to start with reality. High ideals do not fill bellies or heal the sick. Big words from university studies do not unite in love to end racism and injustice like simple words from the heart.

Facts are kind because facts acknowledge and facts validate. And these are the facts on immigration:

America is bigger than you or I can ever imagine. But we need to try to imagine how big it is once again. That used to inspire us.

  • Immigrants are not criminals. Every study that has looked at the issues has shown that immigrants, including the undocumented, are more peaceful than the general population. The rate of violent crime is about half the general population, not just low but very low.
  • Immigrants contribute. This is more controversial, but most studies including those from Pew Research, the Cato Institute, and the Brookings Institution show a net economic gain from all immigration. Despite tremendous barriers to getting a job, 71% of all undocumented workers have one compared to just 63% of the general population.
  • There is no path to legal residency, let alone citizenship. Before the law was changed in 1997, any undocumented person here more than five years could apply for permanent residency. Keep in mind that this means no encounter with the law during that time, as anyone convicted of a gross misdemeanor or a felony would have been deported. That is not the case. It is estimated that 9 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants have been here more than 5 years. Under the old law, they could have applied to stay, but currently they cannot.
  • Immigration is down. The number of immigrants arriving in total is down from over 2M in 2001 to around 1.3M today. Requests for asylum are down from the peak in 2001, but are starting to spike up again.  They are still well below the peak.

There is no crisis other than the one created by the US government. Period. That is what the facts very clearly tell us no matter how you look at them. While that is disheartening, it shows that once there is some kind of rational leadership in this nation the problems can be fixed.

Of course, we are not in a position to simply let everyone into the nation Ellis Island style. But sensible limits based on skills or, in the case of asylum seekers, sheer desperation is completely reasonable. Consider for a moment a market-based system for allowing people into the US.

Such a system could be tied to the unemployment rate for the overall number of visas. Quotas by nation, which can only be called racist, could be replaced with quotas by skill or education level. Employer sponsored visas, which encourage a kind of slavery tied to employment, could be dispensed to promote independence.

There is no limit to what we can do if we pay attention to facts, for once, and not let emotion and nonsense run our immigration policy. There is no crisis, there is only a need for genuine leadership.

8 thoughts on “Fact-Based Policy

  1. Great post, Erik! It’s about time somebody pointed out the facts, the reality. Trump operates by stirring people’s emotions and creating fear where there need be none. I shall reblog this one!

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Most of us see Trump’s manufactured immigration ‘crisis’ for what it is … a loud and bombastic effort to instill fear in the populace. While it is true that we have some problems in the way we handle immigration, it is by no means the crisis that Trump would have us believe, with criminals and rapists coming in taking jobs and threatening our very lives. Fellow-blogger Erik Hare over at Barataria has put together an excellent fact-based post that I hope you will take a few minutes to read and check out some of his links. Thank you, Erik, for this excellent telling of ‘the real story’!

  3. Dear Eric,

    Thanks for sharing facts. It is disheartening to learn that refugee families are being equated with MS-13 gang members, rapists, murderers when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Last year, the President’s administration refused to give credence to a study by the US government which showed that over 10 years, immigrants contributed $63 billion dollars more than costs attributed to them.

    What’s sad is that there are constructive, effective, less costly ways to deal with any immigration problems if we just dealt with facts instead of a Trumped up crisis that doesn’t exist.

    Hugs, Gronda

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    FACT … ‘There isn’t any actual crisis in immigration. If that sentence surprises or infuriates, you’re probably paying far too much attention to the news. The situation which has the entire nation worked into a frenzy was entirely made up for political purposes.’

  5. As an immigrant (to Canada, not the US “thank God?”) I can fully appreciate the facts you are stating. Facts, for immigrants, are that generally a “shit hole” condition is left to go to a country of strangers, not speaking the language, not knowing the rules and for the most part the people of that country (employers particularly) see you as convenient prey, something they can use and benefit from, and that is what they do, until you learn the ropes, earn your rights, and fight, it seems, forever, to establish yourself in that new society. Those who can go back waste little time in doing so. Those who cannot, learn to swim, but it is an uphill struggle for most immigrants. The reality is a far cry from what is generally believed by the rednecks who so easily jump on the Trump and Co. bandwagon.

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