Dear Fellow Citizens,
There is no immigration crisis at the border. Given how much our President tweets about it and how much time it gets in the news cycle lately, it’s easy to think there is a crisis… until you examine the facts.
Please allow me to point out some facts:
The total number of illegal immigrants in our country has been steadily declining since 2007. (1, Pew Research Center). Why is it being called a crisis now?
About 3.5% of our population are illegal immigrants. (2, FactCheck.org) Let me put that into perspective: If I were to gain weight by that much, nobody would think that an extra 5.5 lbs. took me from fit to obese. I put on 5 lbs. every winter and have never gone into crisis mode about it.
Roughly two thirds of the illegal immigrants in any given year came here legally and simply overstayed their visas. (3, Center for Migration Studies) Clearly, illegal border crossings are not the cause.
Illegal immigrants are not bringing a scourge of crime. Natural born citizens have that covered by a wide margin. (4, The Washington Post)
I don’t think any of these things constitutes a border crisis, but for the sake of argument let’s say it is. How do we stop it? A 40 foot wall won’t work: Home Depot sells 40 foot ladders. They also sell shovels for those who prefer to dig a tunnel. Fences and locks don’t work since they can all be cut and picked. Guards at checkpoints fail to find people being smuggled in. Legal visas expire, but they don’t automatically transport the holder out of country. These things help to reduce the problem, but they don’t stop it from happening. It can’t be stopped.
I don’t think illegal immigrants, in and of themselves, are a problem. The problem comes when they consume social resources without paying their fair share of taxes. This happens because corporations, small businesses, and individual homeowners hire them and pay them off the books. If we’re serious about addressing the problem, we need to do two things: Make if far easier to become a documented worker who pays taxes and impose hefty fines on people who continue to employ undocumented workers.
As I said earlier though, illegal immigration is not a crisis. Here are some real issues that are critically important: The “best country in the world” has a healthcare system that ranks last of 11 first-world countries, for both quality and cost. (5, the Commonwealth Fund) We rank 8th for education (6, US News). We are the best at putting people in for-profit prisons though, having 655 of every 100,000 citizens behind bars. That’s more than twice the rate of the next runner up. (7, The Statistics Portal) We have an opioid epidemic that’s being promoted and sustained by pharmaceutical companies. We have homeless veterans and desperate poverty. I suggest that these issues are far more important for a country that strives to be the best.
I encourage all of you to be wary of jumping on to the next manufactured crisis of the day. Take the time to do a little reading and research. Apply your critical thinking skills. Evaluate how big a problem it really is compared to the problems we know we have.
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
Thank you for your time and consideration,