Do you wonder why our Liar-in-chief and his silent congressional chorus are so determined to slam our country’s door to immigrants? So do I. What drives this attitude? When one considers the historical truth that immigrants built the United States with their incalculable contributions to its economy, rich, diverse culture and inner strength. We truly are a nation of immigrants.
Why do we want to slam the door in their faces now?
The Center for American Progress describes itself as an independent nonpartisan policy institute “that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.” Here is some illuminating information from a 2017 report from the Center. In the report’s opening summary, the Center states:
“Immigration has long supported the growth and dynamism of the U.S. economy. Immigrants and refugees are entrepreneurs, job creators, taxpayers, and consumers. They add trillions of dollars to the U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP, and their economic importance will only increase in the coming decades as America’s largest generation — the baby boomers — retires en masse, spurring labor demand and placing an unprecedented burden on the social safety net.”
What effect will the Trump administration’s restrictive policy have on this? The Center suggests:
“Increased immigration enforcement — as well as potential restrictions on legal immigration and refugee resettlement — will impose fiscal costs on taxpayers and threaten immigrants, their families, and their communities across the country. Stepping up detentions and deportations will not only cost taxpayers billions of dollars but will also break apart families and place vulnerable individuals — such as survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States, as well as women and children fleeing violence in their homelands — in peril.”
We’re paying for all this? Yes. Billions, with a B.
So what is it about immigrants that makes them undesirable? Why do we want to keep them out? Excellent question. Here are a few pertinent facts provided by the Center for American Progress.
- About 43 million foreign-born people live in the United States. Slightly more than half (22.6 million) are noncitizens.
- Women outnumber men in this foreign-born population.
- Fewer than one in five immigrants live in poverty. In 2015, the poverty rate for immigrants was 17.3 percent, compared with 14.3 percent for the U.S.-born population.
- More than half of immigrant heads of households own their own homes.
- They rely less on public benefits and social services than comparable U.S-born households.
- Their children are earning more than their parents.
- Immigrants are less likely to commit crime or be jailed than those born in the U.S. A 2017 study by the Cato Institute found that the 2014 incarceration rate for immigrants — both authorized and unauthorized — ages 18 to 54 was considerably lower than that of the U.S.-born population.
We — you and I — are Americans because of immigrants. My ancestors were immigrants. So were yours.
Emma Lazarus had it right when she wrote in her poem The New Colossus, “Give me your tired, your poor . . . send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Why would a nation of immigrants slam the golden door in the faces of immigrants?