Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Roger Algase

Bloggings: CIR: The Battle Against Anti-immigrant Hate and Hypocrisy Continues. by Roger Algase

The die-hard, bitter-end opponents of America's change from a white-dominated society to one of racial diversity and equality have now apparently given up on their attempt to link the Boston Marathon bombing to immigration reform. Instead, they are back to their old scare tactics of using distorted economic arguments about the alleged costs of legalizazing up to 11 million unauthorized immigrants in order to try to defeat CIR this year.

This strategy worked in 2007. They are hoping it will work again.*

But, beneath the veneer of figures and statistics about the alleged costs of legalization, there are implied assumptions about the earning capacity of unauthorized immigrants, and their alleged needs for social services, which have a good deal more to do with unvarnished, old-fashioned racism than they have to do with economics.*

A May 6 Politico article: Behind the immigration rhetoric shows that most objective analysts of this issue, on both sides of the political spectrum, believe that immigration reform would speed up economic growth. For example, according to the article, Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the conservative American Action Forum concludes that reform could reduce the deficit by as much as $2.5 trillion, because immigrants will participate in the labor force at higher rates, and are more likely to own small businesses.

But the anti-immigrant Heritage Foundation does not believe in including the economic benefits of immigration in its analysis. Instead, it only wishes to focus on the alleged costs in terms of entitlements and other social programs. According to its new president, right wing former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), the costs will be even higher than the $2.6 trillion which this group claimed in its 2007 study.

But what about the fact that the newly legalized immigrants would not be allowed to receive benefits from social programs under the current Senate CIR bill until they become permanent residents, something which would take at least 10 years? That does not bother the anti-immigrant right.*

According to the same article, Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (whose state happens to have enacted the most draconian anti-immigrant law in the nation) only wants to focus on what will happen after those ten years. Moreover, Heritage assumed in its 2007 study, and (according to Politico) is still assuming, that legalized immigrants would have few work skills and therefore cost the taxpayer a great deal of money when they retire.

Attempts like these to stereotype all unauthorized immigrants as people with few skills, little or nothing to contribute to the economy, and only a burden on society are typical of the slurs against minority group immigrants which have been standard fare in the immigration debate ever since Irish immigrants began coming here in the first half of the 19th century, and Chinese, Jewish and other discriminated-against immigrants (including Latinos) arrived in the latter part of that century.

How much has America changed since then? Are we ready to enter the diverse world of 21st century immigration, or will we continue to follow the path of hate and hypocrisy, dressed up as pseudo-economic statistics?


About The Author

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.