Immigration: The truth behind the liesGabriel A. Fraire / September 18, 2015
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When Donald Trump first came out with his horrible description of Mexican immigrants, I was asked to write an editorial response because I am Mexican-American. At the time, I said I wasn’t interested in giving this hatemonger more space in the news media. Nothing he says is real and I question if he even believes the things he says. But, he has noticed that others believe it and by continuing to spout hatred Trump has captured center stage in the ever sordid circus we now know as the U.S. “presidential campaign.”
I, personally, refuse to believe that the majority of Americans believe this nonsense. I refuse to believe that the spewings of Mr. Trump have any credence. I believe we Americans are smarter than to fall for all this claptrap.
However, I know as fact that when a lie is told often enough people begin to believe it. And that can be very scary. We have already seen how lies to the American public have put us into wars where we did not belong, allowed crooks to make financial deals that were not sound, and have made us question just about everything we see, hear or read.
Lies have to be challenged.
Most immigrants who come to this country (whether they are Mexican or otherwise) do not come here by choice. No one leaves their homeland because they want to. They are forced to leave by the circumstances. And we are lying to ourselves if we refuse to accept any responsibility for the circumstances that create these migrations.
We Americans must realize, by now, that the American government (in the form of the CIA) has worked behind the scenes establishing more governments in Central America, Africa and the Middle East, than the people who live there. And not governments aimed at helping the populous but governments that were friendly to American business interests.
It was the NAFTA agreement that caused the demise of the family farm in Mexico. It was the damming of the Colorado River that made the river dry up by the time it reached Mexico. It is the American demand for drugs that has created the powerful drug cartels in Latin America. And, who do you think supplies the weapons that are used in these drug wars – American corporations.
Our actions create refugees (and this same scenario is being played out in Syria right now.) We have helped create all these refugees. How can we not take some responsibility?
Studies are now coming out that show that immigrants are good for the country and the state of North Carolina. A recent report by the North Carolina Justice Center notes that immigrants in North Carolina generate a larger share of the state’s economic activity than their share of the population. And, that 20 percent of the “Main Street” business owners are immigrants and account for more than 80 percent of the new businesses on “Main Street.” New business means increases in jobs and tax payments.
The report also noted: “On average, counties with large immigrant populations have lower unemployment rates, lower levels of poverty, and higher wages than counties with few immigrants.”
These are facts not rants and hyperbole to generate excitement for a candidate that is otherwise highly unqualified.
When I hear people complain that immigrants take benefits and don’t pay taxes I just shake my head. Anybody who lives in this country pays taxes. We pay taxes on everything we purchase from chewing gum to gasoline. Whether we own or rent we all pay property taxes. And any immigrants with “legitimate” employment have taxes withheld from their checks. The U.S. Social Security Administration estimated that in 2013 undocumented immigrants—and their employers—paid $13 billion in payroll taxes alone for benefits they will never get.
So, when you hear someone say immigrants don’t pay taxes it is a lie.
When Mr. Trump tried to blame crime on Mexicans he was also way off base. From 1990 to 2010 while the population of immigrants exploded, the violent crime statistics were lowered by 42 percent. And According to the conservative Americas Majority Foundation, crime rates from 1999 to 2006 were lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates.
We are a country of immigrants. We should not allow a politician or businessman to take something we all feel is an important and vital part of our culture and turn it into something “dirty” or evil or non-American.
I don’t give Mr. Trump much heed, he is not for real. I don’t even believe he believes the malarkey he speaks. What does bother me is that by spreading lies and making false accusations he creates distrust and hostility when none should be there.
We are all human. We all want the same things: food, shelter and love. What we need is more compassion and politicians with solutions not politicians who only create chaos.
Gabriel Fraire has been a writer more than 40 years. He can be reached through his Web site: gabrielfraire.com.