June 1, 2007

Commentary:

“Does Myth or Truth Rule?”

By Raoul Lowery Contreras

“65% of voters would be willing to support a compromise including a “very long path to citizenship” provided that “the proposal required the aliens to pay fines and learn English” and that the compromise “would truly reduce the number of illegal aliens entering the country.”
Rasmussen Polls, May 23, 2007

Despite that very clear sentiment, talk show hosts and immigration critics continue to bang on the Senate proposal on immigration currently being debated. Critics such as Rush Limbaugh and his regular substitute, former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock continue to lie and dissemble about the U.S. Senate’s immigration proposal.

On May 25 the New York Times published polling results that, unlike the Rasmussen Poll did not poll on bills not in Congress, like border enforcement only, but on elements of the proposal actually being debated and voted upon.

For example, the Times wrote: “Two thirds of those polled said illegal immigrants who had a good employment history and no criminal record should gain legal status as the (Senate) bill proposes, which is by paying at least $5,000 in fines and passing background checks.”

These are important elements of the Senate proposal.

This poll result is consistent with every single national poll in recent months. Nonetheless, the Limbaughs and Hedgecocks continue to viciously attack the proposal, its sponsors and the President of the United States.

Before illegals, covered by the Senate proposal, can be fully welcomed into the U.S.A. fines and other conditions make these people wait years before they can even apply for a “green card.”

The Limbaugh’s of the world continue their rants as if the entire future of the USA depends on them. They are not alone. They are joined by, of all people, the leading conservative intellectual of the 90s, George F. Will.

To his shame, Will buys into immigrant and Hispanic myths that are promulgated by intellectual charlatans. In so doing, Will almost, but not quite, legitimizes their cause.

For example, Will quotes the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald who says that between 1990 and 2004 “Hispanics” accounted for “92% of the increase in poor people.” She forgets that a recession occurred in 2001-02 which primarily led to more poor, not immigration.

Will goes on further in smearing Hispanics by quoting the greatest charlatan of all, Robert Rector of the normally important Heritage Foundation. Rector maintains and Will publishes the greatest myth of all about Hispanic immigrants, especially the ones here illegally.

Rector maintains without any proof at all that “amnesty” for the “9 to 10 million illegal adults already here” will cost an “average of $300,000—cumulatively, $2.5 TRILLION (Will’s emphasis) in various entitlements…” That figure has become the battle cry of the anti-immigration cabal that Will now champions. Racist U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, for example, uses that figure every two minutes in disparaging the Senate’s proposal.

While Limbaugh, Hedgecock, Rector, MacDonald and George F. Will drink in and pass on this swill, they all forget something. These soon-to-be-legalized people won’t be eligible for many entitlements. They will have to live under restrictions placed on all legal immigrants in 1996 that cut the usage of entitlements by a huge percentage.

Ron Haskins, the intellectual father of the 1996 reform laws, reports in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article that “Between 1994 and 2004, the percentage of immigrant households collecting traditional cash welfare payments, supplemental security income, and food stamps fell by about half.”

The WSJ also reports that “…Social Security actuaries recently calculated that over the next 75 years immigrant workers (including those presently illegally here) will pay some $5-trillion more in payroll taxes than they will receive in Social Security benefits.”

Facts destroy MacDonald’s thesis. In the WSJ we find this: “According to Census data for 2005, immigrants who have just arrived have median household incomes of $31,930, or about 30% below the U.S. average of $44,389. But those in the U.S. for an average of ten years have earnings of $38,395; for those here at least 25 years, the figure is more than $50,000.”

Fortunately for the American Republic, the majority of senators are ignoring those for whom the “sky is falling.”

Limbaugh, Hedgecock, Rector, MacDonald and George F. Will and their false sky-is-falling cries may influence some people, but not a majority of the Senate or the House. More importantly, they offer no ideas that might solve the immigration mess except for establishing a police state to harass and deport anyone who looks “Hispanic” as happened during the Depression and in the Fifties or to send employers to jail.

Contreras is a frequent writer on immigration with several books published on the subject, “The Illegal Alien: A Dagger into the Heart of America” and “A Hispanic View of American Politics and the Politics of Immigration” which can be found at www.amazon.com and www.barnesand noble.com

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