Saturday, 17 March 2018

Putting the Science back into Political Science - Immigration Part I

by Jefferson Pinto

June, 2010, Issue #27 Pg 9: I don’t really know what is more stupid: Non U.S. Citizens (including the president of Mexico) protesting the laws of the United States or Californians, protesting the laws of Arizona and escalating it into a boycott.

I had an internal debate in my head whether I ought to even dignify this topic in my column. I’m sorry to say, the devil on my one shoulder over powered the angel on my other.

Specifically I’m referring to the outcry and colossal amount of media attention given the recently passed Arizona State Bill, SB 1070, named Safe Neighborhoods; Immigration; Law Enforcement.

Sneaking Into The Drive-in

On warm summer nights, my Mom would make brownies and popcorn, load us kids into the station wagon and go to the drive-in movie theater. In those days, the cost to get in was based on the number of adults and children in the car. When we grew old enough to understand money, we suggested to my mother that one or more of us ought to hide under a blanket to save on the drive-in entrance fees. She rightfully challenged us that our proposal was both deceitful and wrong. She insisted on paying the posted price as it was intended. We got a little older and smarter and came up with a new argument. “The pricing is stupid and it doesn’t cost them any more if three or eight people are in the car.” Thankfully, my Mom didn’t buy that line either. “If we don’t like the price, we can stay home, but we’re not going to cheat because we may think the pricing is stupid or wrong.”

A few years later, my grandmother decided to take my cousin and myself on a bus trip to see relatives in New York. At the time, I was fourteen and my cousin was thirteen. Herein lied the rub. Grandma told the bus company we were both under twelve to get the lower children’s fare. My Mom wasn’t one to pick a fight over a minor issue. But when she found out, she confronted her mother-in-law and said, “That’s not OK and it sends a really bad message to our children. I’ll pay the difference.” The argument got a little heated when grandma said, “It’s too late; I already bought the tickets.”

Although I couldn’t appreciate it at the time, my mother didn’t passively stand on the sidelines. She stood up for something that violated her core values, those same values she passed along to me. Who got hurt? The bus company took the economic brunt of the scheme. I learned a valuable ethical lesson. Thanks Mom.

Just The Facts Ma’am

The United States government (at the local, state, and federal level) has both the right and duty to decide who may enter and or stay in our country. SB 1070 is infinitesimally more aggressive than existing California laws as it obligates law enforcement officers who upon “any lawful contact” and “reasonable suspicion,” verify immigration status. An Arizona Driver’s License, Arizona State ID, Tribal ID, Green Card, or selected Federal ID serve as “proof” of appropriate immigration status. Folks, if you get stopped by a police officer, they ask for your ID anyway. Arizona was smart enough not to issue driver’s licenses or state IDs to illegal immigrants in the first place.

"Purely emotional arguments have no business in the formulation of public economic policy."

Perfection or Nothing

No public policy is perfect. Not all law enforcement officials are free of racism or corruption. Most law enforcement officers are good folks that took a job to protect and serve. I’m not saying there aren’t a few bad apples in the barrel. If there’s one rotten apple, that’s one too many, but that doesn’t mean we ought to abandon the rest of the barrel. Doing so is applying the same sort of prejudice associated with discrimination itself. If there are some bad law officers out there, they need to be dealt with, aside from the existing immigration laws.

Economic Impacts on the U.S.

It appears the facts about the costs of illegal immigrants are stale and asynchronous. Some studies are old and the extrapolation to current figures are disputed. It appears our politically spirited Government [Obama Admin.] really doesn’t keep reliable information, which is no surprise. A few of the more credible sources are listed below:

A 1996 Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) study estimates 20 Billion annually ($33 Billion in expenditures, offset by taxes paid of $12 Billion).

• In 2009 According to the Federal Observer, Illegal immigration cost Arizona $2.7 billion.

A 2004 FAIR study estimates illegal immigrants cost California’s education system $7.7 billion. The study also noted 15 percent of the students were children of illegals.

• Another $1.4 billion of the taxpayers’ money goes toward providing health care to illegal aliens and their families; the same amount that is spent incarcerating illegal aliens criminals.

• According to a 2008 CBS news report 300,000 babies are born in the US to illegal mothers at an average cost of $6,000 each, computing to a $1.8 Billion total.

Forty Percent of children born at the McAllen Texas Medical Center were born to parents who immigrated illegally.

Political Science Less the Science

The problem: it’s not possible to have an information exchange with pure emotion in the absence of facts. A purely emotional argument is one of convenience because it doesn’t require any proof, basis in fact, or logic. Purely emotional arguments have no business in the formulation of public economic policy.

If the law is in your favor, argue the law. If the facts are in your favor, argue the facts. If neither the law nor the facts are in your favor, just argue,” said a law professor once to me.

How many of the protesters, (shown by the TV cameras in broad daylight while the rest of us are trying to earn an honest living), have read the law in question? Based on the text of the law and the uninformed idiot bloggers, I’ll bet none of them have. How do you take a pro or con position about something with which you are completely ignorant?

I hate to be the party pooper, but it isn’t a debate, and it’s not up for debate. It’s a big media space filler.

Have you heard of the “silent majority?” Well this faux debate is a fabrication of the “vociferous minority”.

The whiners’ arguments lack facts and logic. Note to Illegals: If you don’t like the laws in the state or country, feel free to vote with your feet, and leave. Don’t let the constitution hit you in the butt on your way back over the border. The whiners have already played their card. Turn back the clocks to May 1, 2009. The same folks already declared Immigrants Rights Day and many didn’t show up to work, demonstrating instead. Helpful Hint: If you immigrated here legally you already have all the rights shared by U.S. citizens (with the exception of running for president. Sorry Arnold).

The Immigrant Solidarity Network’s slogan: “No Human is Illegal.” Folks the “person” isn’t illegal for being human, their actions are illegal by virtue of their choice to trespass, across our border. Ask Duane “Dog” Chapman!

Takers vs. Givers

Illegal Immigrants are uninvited “guests” who surreptitiously take from the citizens and invited guests of this country. It’s trespassing and a very low level theft. Here’s the flawed reasoning, “I know, if I take it and no one says anything, it must be OK”. Let me say it again. It’s not OK. Please give it back and leave. Definition Of A Taker: As soon as someone else decides how much you (we) give them, that makes them a taker, not a gracious recipient of a gift.

Amnesty Sham-nesty

If you fool me once, shame on you. If you fool me twice, shame on me. Think back to the 1980s when the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was passed during the Reagan Administration. It’s also known as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. (One of the best ways to create confusion is to assign three different names to the same thing.)

This “reform” granted amnesty to illegal immigrants and imposed penalties on employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. With between 12 and 20 million illegals in the country today, I think it’s fair to say ‘it’ didn’t work. We study history so we don’t repeat it. Well folks, I’ve seen this movie once before and I don’t like how it ended the first time.

- Jefferson Pinto

Jefferson Pinto is a retired CPA, and holds an MBA from one of the finer accredited universities in this country.

Original Article Source/LINK: VIEW, June, 2010, Issue #27 Pg 9

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