What kind of people are willing to walk 1,000 miles from Central America with their entire family in order to enter the United States? What kind of people are willing to risk all, including being preyed upon by outlaws, just to try to obtain asylum status here? I’ll tell you what kind of people they are – the kind we desperately need more of in these United States.
While the President brays about criminals and terrorists invading the country, the reality is starkly different. James Pethokoukis, a Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote that “immigrants account for nearly half of the U.S. workforce with a science or engineering doctorate, including 60 percent of workers in computer and mathematical sciences,” and that 64 percent of the engineers in Silicon Valley are foreign-born. And, most important, “more than half of U.S. startup ‘unicorns’ have at least one immigrant co-founder.”
Further, the children of immigrants are crucial to our economic growth. The Brookings Institution, hardly a leftwing organization, published an article by Ian Hathaway of the Center for American Entrepreneurship—the title alone tells the story: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/12/04/almost-half-of-fortune-500-companies-were-founded-by-american-immigrants-or-their-children/. From Intel to Google, from Panda Express to Chobani, from eBay to Yahoo!, not to forget Tesla and the Huffington Post, immigrants and their children make waves here.
This writer has not conducted any academic studies on immigration. But the evidence is right in front of anyone who wants to see. I dare anyone who uses Lyft or Uber to ask the drivers about their backgrounds. In Houston and elsewhere, my personal experience is that over half of them are immigrants, that the single ones are attending some kind of school to increase their skills, and the ones with children have enrolled them in school and take pride in their achievements. Are they “taking advantage?” No, they aren’t. They are raising our future computer programmers, healthcare professionals, secretarial staff, and oilpatch roustabouts (and engineers), all of whom will pay taxes.
Put simply, contrary to the President’s claim, we’re not “full,” and there’s plenty of room. Immigrants are not flooding the country. If anything, the number of immigrants illegally residing here is declining slightly, from around 12 million to around 11 million over the last decade. The replacement rate for a country to merely maintain its population is approximately 2.1 children per resident female. We are quickly aging and the birthrate in the United States is now 16% below that. https://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2019/01/u-s-fertility-rate-continues-to-decline-reaching-lowest-level-in-40-years/. To steal a line from a close friend, “Pretty soon we’ll have more people sitting in the wagon than people pulling the wagon. When that happens, the wagon stops.” Wouldn’t it be great if we had new citizens and they were paying income taxes and social security taxes, too?
And, by the way, they are not terrorists. How many mass shootings are attributable to immigrants, let alone illegal immigrants? From Charles Whitman in the University of Texas Tower in 1966, to Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris in Columbine, Colorado, to the perpetrators of horrific massacres over the last two years, virtually all of them were American-born:
• Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, killed 58 people in Las Vegas in 2017.
• Devin Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas, killed 26 people at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas that same year.
• Nikolas Cruz, a nineteen-year-old who had been expelled as a student, killed 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018.
• Also in 2018, 28-year-old Ian David Long, a troubled Marine Corps veteran, started shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, and when he was done, 13 people were dead, including himself and a police officer.
• 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers killed 11 people at Or L’Simcha synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2018.
• Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at Santa Fe High School in Texas, killed 10 people there in 2018.
What do these shootings tell us about illegal immigration? Nothing. None of these gunmen were immigrants, let alone illegal immigrants. Most of them were homegrown Caucasian males who were mentally unstable, full of hate, or both.
Once upon a time, there was a group of levelheaded Senators—the Gang of Eight—who sponsored a comprehensive immigration reform and border security package. It passed the Senate overwhelmingly in summer 2013. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Security,_Economic_Opportunity,_and_Immigration_Modernization_Act_of_2013#Developments_after_Senate_passage_of_June,_2013 And there progress ended. By that time, then-Speaker Boehner had lost control of the Republican House caucus. The legislation died. And since that time border security has become uber-politicized, and discussion of immigration “reform” consists of little more than family separation and idiotic threats to close the border.
What are we doing? Are we really going to let a golf aficionado, whose most intimate contact with illegals is hiring them at his resorts, bamboozle us (or worse, incite us) for 2 or 6 more years?
It is long past time for the job creators and employers in this Nation to find their collective backbones and insist on immigration reform. (And to deny all political contributions to the politicians who insist on blocking it.) And everyone should visit the websites of their Senators and Representatives and provide comments where the officeholders purport to seek constituent input. Ask what they are FOR, not just what they are against. Then monitor the responses you receive from them once you post your message. See whether the responses make any sense, or are simply deceptive pablum or worse, dogwhistles for some unreasoning “base.” And if that’s what you get, then support their opponents. Loudly and financially. It’s time we reassert common sense.
Thank you Lee. It was lovely meeting you Tuesday. Keep up the intelligent work! Nina McKissock