–Return the Statue of Liberty

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology.

Arizona patriots have spent, and apparently will continue to spend, enormous amounts of money, to track, arrest, try, jail and deport illegal immigrants. In addition, the ongoing legal costs to create and defend in court, the various anti-immigration laws, are substantial.

All this money is spent because of the perceived economic drain on legal taxpayers, for schools, medical facilities and other welfare and human services support programs, the belief illegal immigrants take jobs from American citizens and the belief illegal immigrants are responsible for illegal drugs in Arizona.

An Arizona law (mostly overturned) would have allowed police to demand proof of legal residence from those stopped or arrested, when there was “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally.

What constitutes “reasonable suspicion”? What factors, for instance in a traffic stop, would give a police officer “reasonable suspicion” that a person was an illegal alien? Skin color? Accent? Are white people exempt? And if the officers “reasonable suspicion” were wrong, would an innocent person be detained? Will every person in Arizona now be required to carry official citizenship papers or a birth certificate, (ala Nazi Germany) in case a police officer has a “reasonable suspicion about him/her?

Pro-immigrant groups say Arizona’s expensive efforts merely are a manifestation of bigotry, and are not supported by economic considerations. For instance, the words and actions of Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Arizona do bear a strong resemblance to the words and actions of “Bull” Connor, the notorious bigot from Birmingham, Alabama, who claimed he merely enforced Alabama’s segregation laws.

With all the emotional shouting, facts are not being heard. Perhaps it all begins with a simple question: What is the real difference between an illegal immigrant and a legal immigrant? While much has changed recently, a REPORT completed for the year 2004 is instructive. Summarized, it indicates that on balance, illegal immigrants provide an overall economic benefit for Arizona.

While we’ve heard no outcry against legal immigrants, it’s may be possible illegal immigrants are even more beneficial. They are more likely to be of working age, more likely to work (they came here to earn money) and possibly less likely to commit crimes (for fear of deportation).

A chart on p. 58 of the above report says: “Fiscal costs of immigrants in 2004 were an estimated $1.4 billion. Tax revenues attributable to immigrants as workers were approximately $2.4 billion, resulting in a net fiscal gain of approximately $940 million.

It is quite common, when a nation experiences difficult economic times, for the citizens of that nation to look for scapegoats and especially to develop xenophobia. I suspect that is what has happened in Arizona and in the several other states considering tough, anti-alien laws. It’s become so crazy, some Republicans want to deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants!

Sadly, during times of stress, some “patriots” forget our heritage: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore; send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.“ Shall we return the Statue of Liberty?

Or better yet, perhaps we simply should stop making the path to citizenship so darn difficult.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity

4 thoughts on “–Return the Statue of Liberty

  1. Well said!! Once again, sad that people don’t look at the facts–they just accept the emotionally charged things people say as fact. It is a sad commentary on our times when people accept what politicians and pundits say as fact without questioning the veracity of their claims. What happened to “think for yourself”? Some of that laziness is what allowed this bunk law to pass in Arizona in the first place.

    Maybe if the govt. actually crafted a decent immigration policy, this wouldn’t be quite the issue everyone makes it out to be. One can only hope.


  2. We should have learned from Prohibition and from our drug laws, that outlawing something a substantial number of people want, merely creates lawbreakers, occupies our police and fills our jails.

    Perhaps if the procedure for becoming a citizen were less onerous, less time consuming and less discouraging, fewer people would brave deadly deserts, walls, barbed wire and murderous “coyotes,” to become hunted illegals.

    Legal immigrants have proved to be assets to America. So the solution to illegal immigration is not to spend enormous amounts of time and money to chase, try, imprison and deport these people. Rather, we should do everything possible to encourage legal immigration as an attractive alternative to illegal immigration.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  3. Phony patriots:

    (CBS) Updated Monday 1:44 p.m. ET

    “Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., said today that Congress should hold hearings to look into denying citizenship to illegal aliens’ children born in the United States, as the fight over immigration widens into the explosive “birthright” issue.

    “Last week Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he was considering introducing a Constitutional amendment to repeal a provision of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born within U.S. borders. Graham suggested that children born in the United States whose parents are here illegally should not automatically become U.S. citizens.

    “The 14th Amendment was enacted in 1868 to ensure that states would not deny citizenship to former slaves. It reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

    “Arizona’s Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce – the architect of the controversial immigration law that was largely struck down by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton – also separately proposed the same measure.”

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


  4. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the latest Republican to say Congress should reconsider the guarantee of birthright citizenship provided by the 14th Amendment. statute, rather than constitutional amendment.

    There was a time when I leaned Republican, because I felt Republicans had a better understanding of our economy. But this latest group is the most hate-filled, frightening bunch I ever have seen. For almost two years, they’ve been the party of “no,” obstructing everything for politics, no matter whether or not beneficial for America.

    They were cruel to fight extending unemployment insurance. Newt Gingrich wants to prevent a mosque near ground zero. Today, the Republicans have lost their moral compass and are trying to legislate their own bigotry. They have become the anti-people party.

    My old Republican party has fallen a long, long way from Lincoln. I’m saddened and frightened lest this recession turn America as xenophobic and mean-spirited as the Republicans have become.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


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