Debunking Anti-Migrant Email Misinformation

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I wrote something a while ago debunking an anti-migrant email full of misinformation that has been making the rounds.  It came up again recently, and I was asked if I could publish what I wrote online.  Here it is:

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Below is another chain email that spreads misinformation about migrants.  It is wrong in so many ways but we'll start with the sources that it quotes.  All of the links below lead to several dubious sources such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Immigration Studies which is a spin-off of FAIR, transcripts from Lou Dobbs, and Frosty Wooldrige who is a nativist lunatic.  All of these sources have agendas that they want to push, and anyone who uses them to make factual arguments should be heavily scrutinized.

Pointing to faulty sources in itself does not stop the spread of misinformation.  I don't have time to check up on all of the facts that FAIR points to, but the math in the email below is fuzzy in itself, adding up not only "the cost" of undocumented immigrants, but legal immigrants and U.S. citizen born of immigrants.  The email is written in a way to make people believe that it is only undocumented migrants that account for the "costs" they add up, but if it were made clear that they are demonizing legal migrants and U.S. citizens in this email, as well, it would run strongly against the tide of U.S. citizen public opinion.
Furthermore this email does nothing to quantify the benefits of migrants to the U.S. and subtract them from these costs.  It mentions nothing about the taxes that legal and undocumented migrants pay, as well as the economic activity that they generate.  It says nothing about the cents we save off of our fruits and vegetables, restaurants, the construction of our homes, and landscaping, as well as all the money that migrants inject into local business to survive themselves.  But, describing millions of immigrants and their U.S. citizen children as a cost, rather than as human beings that live and contribute to U.S. society is just another way to dehumanize them.

This fuzzy math begins with the first point:

1.  This point links to a FAIR page that argues legal migrants, not undocumented migrants, cost from $11 to $22 billion dollars in welfare.  This from an organization that is supposedly "pro-legal immigration".  Undocumented migrants are not eligible to receive public welfare benefits, ever, even though they frequently pay federal income taxes.  Legal migrants are eligible to receive limited public services, but they pay taxes just like every U.S. citizen does, and in some cases they use welfare at a lesser rate than the native born population.  Needy populations like refugees and asylees frequently do use public services at higher rates, but again these are legal immigrants, and sets of people that with humantiarian concerns and legal rights.
http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33809_20070119.pdf
http://www.diversitycouncil.org/immigrants.shtml#myth8

2. Undocumented migrants are not eligible to receive any public benefits. 

3. Again undocumented migrants are not eligible to receive any public benefits, not even Medicaid, and legal immigrants have to into Medicare for 10 years before they are even eligible to receive benefits.  Every hospital has an obligation to treat people in emergency rooms but even then, undocumented immigrants use medical services at much lower rates than the native population, and perhaps if they were brought out of the shadows they wouldn't have to resort to emergency care.
http://www.aollatinoblog.com/2008/02/08/top-5-immigration-myths-of-this-campaign-season/

4. I don't have time to go into specific statistics but frequently undocumented immigrant children that go to school in the U.S. are not at fault for being brought into the U.S. illegally and consider themselves as culturally "American as the children they sit next to in class.  They have a right to an education according to the Supreme Court. 

5.  This point tries to demonize the U.S. citizen children of immigrants, by calling them anchor babies.  When someone is born in the United States they become a U.S. citizen regardless of their sex, race, creed, religion, etc.  Adding the cost of the U.S. citizen children of immigrants into an email that tries to demonize undocumented immigrants is ridiculous and neglects the U.S.'s history as a nation of immigrants.  Pointing to this cost is like arguing a certain subset of U.S. citizens don't deserve to be educated, if the numbers on that cost are even correct.

6-7.  Equating undocumented migrants with criminality is a frequent argument that anti-migrant advocates try to make, but the truth is that undocumented migrants commit crimes at a far lesser rate than the native born population, and the vast majority of undocumented migrants are otherwise law-abiding residents that only hope to work for a better life for themselves and their families.  Statistics on federal prisons are also very misleading since the vast majority of people are incarcerated in state and local prisons.
http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/index.php?content=fc080313a

8. Notice how this email sticks in one of the largests figure, $90 billion for undocumented migrant welfare and social services, in a small sentence in the middle of the email with a broken link where no one can see it.  Again, undocumented migrants are not eligible for any type of welfare or social service, even though they do pay taxes. 

9.  The myth about migrant criminality is addressed above in 6-7

10.  It's always great to equate migrants with drugs and terrorism.  It's funny how whole countries become terrorist to anti-migrant advocates.  I would ask the question, who is paying for the drugs that migrants are bringing over?  If there weren't so much U.S. citizen demand for drugs there wouldn't be a need to bring them over.  It is the majority world countries that migrants come from which suffer from U.S. demand for drugs as they try to tackle a drug trade that in many times competes with their entire nation's GDP to satisfy U.S. citizen consumers.

11. $230 billion to deport undocumented migrants?  Maybe that's why the majority of U.S. citizens support a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants.  It's strange how one of the largest costs in this email is one that anti-migrant advocates want to spend.

12.  Remittances count as a cost now too?  If their adding up the $45 billion migrants send back to their home countries, maybe they should also take away the billions more that migrants spend within the U.S. to live and eat.

13.  See point 6-7 for the myth of migrant criminality.

So let's add up all the costs.  $11-$22 billion on legal migrant welfare + benefits that undocumented migrants don't receive + benefits that migrants don't recieve + $12 billion for education + the cost of education U.S. citizen children + benefits that migrants don't receive + $230 to deport undocumented migrants which only anti-migrant advocates want to spend + $45 billion that migrants send home to their families.

That's supposed to equal $338.3 billion?  The only real costs I count is for legal migrant benefits at $11-$22 billion and the $12 billion for education, which certainly comes up short of $300 billion.  And that assumes migrants do not benefit U.S. society at all, and pay no taxes, which is not true.  Since immigrants pay between $90-$140 billion in local, state, and federal taxes and they only cost around $30 billion according to this email, we'll say immigrants bring in $60 billion every year!  Alright!
www.immigrationforum.org/documents/TheJourney/MythsandFacts.pdf

THE EMAIL

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This should Really Tic you Off!

RIDICULOUS!!!!
 
It's time we wake up.  We have been hammered with the propaganda that it is the Iraq war and the war on terror that is bankrupting us. I find that to be RIDICULOUS.  I hope the following 13 reasons are forwarded over and over again until they are read so many times that the reader gets sick of reading them. I have included the URL's for verification of all the following facts.

1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to aliens each year . 
               http://tinyurl.com/zob77 
 
2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
        http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html

3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.
        http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html

4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English.    
        http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.0.html

5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html

6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.
        http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html
        http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html

7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.
        http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html

8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.
        http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.html

9. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US .
        http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/12/ldt.01.html

10. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500
illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine and marijuana, crossed into the U. S from
the Southern border. Homeland Security Report:
        http://tinyurl.com/t9sht   
 
11. The National Policy Institute, 'estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.
        http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/pdf/deportation.pdf

12. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin.
        http://www.rense.com/general75/niht.htm

13. 'The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States '.
        http://wwwdrdsk.com/articleshtml

The total cost is a whopping $338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR

Are we THAT stupid???  If this doesn't bother you then just delete the message.  If, on the other hand, if it does raise the hair on the back of your neck, I hope you forward it to every legal resident in the country including every representative in Washington, D.C. - five times a week for as long as it takes to restore some semblance of intelligence in our policies and enforcement thereof. 
 
Listen to the Presidential hopeful of what they are saying or not saying about Illegal immigration

Better to fight for something than live for nothing. (Gen. George S. Patton)

Calling an illegal an 'undocumented immigrant' is the same as calling a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist

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1 Comments

yave begnet said:

Are we THAT stupid???

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on October 24, 2008 10:21 PM.

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