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By Walter Ewing

The ever-hysterical Tea Party is now hysterical about unauthorized immigrants.  In a frenzied email blast to its members, the Tea Party Nation warns that the Obama administration wants to grant “amnesty” to the millions of unauthorized immigrants in the United States, whom the Tea Party alleges have inflicted various “horrors” upon Americans by stealing their jobs and committing unspeakable crimes.  Not surprisingly, the Tea Party Nation gets its facts completely wrong.  As a litany of evidence-based reports have demonstrated, most native-born workers are not in competition with immigrants for the same jobs, and immigrants are less likely than the native-born to commit serious crimes, regardless of their legal status.

As a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) illustrates, native-born and foreign-born workers differ markedly in terms of the occupations in which they work, the amount of education they have, and the parts of the country in which they live.  For instance, the report found that the top three occupations for immigrant workers in 2009 were construction and extraction; production; and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance.  In contrast, the top three occupations for native-born workers were administrative support, management, and sales.  Moreover, roughly 63 percent of immigrant workers lived in six states (California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois), while 66 percent of native-born workers lived elsewhere in the country.

The CBO report reinforces the findings of other, more detailed studies that immigrants and natives are filling different niches in the U.S. labor market and are not simply interchangeable.  A series of reports by Rob Paral and Associates has demonstrated, for example, that immigration is not associated with high unemployment at the regional, state, or county levels; nor is it associated with high unemployment among minorities.  In fact, as a study by the Economic Policy Institute points out, while immigrant “workers add to the supply of labor, they also consume goods and services, creating more jobs.”  The end result is a bigger economy with more employment.

Also undermining the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Tea Party is a century’s worth of evidence demonstrating that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.  The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform reached a similar conclusion in a 1994 report, as have academic researchers using data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Census; the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health; and the results of community studies in Chicago, San Diego, El Paso, and Miami.  The problem of crime in the United States is not caused or even aggravated by immigrants.

By its very nature, Tea Party rhetoric is immune to evidence.  It is about emotion, not fact.  Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that, when it comes to the subject of immigration, the Tea Party has no facts.

Originally posted to ImmigrationPolicyCenter on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 07:49 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Never let facts get in the way of (6+ / 0-)

    a good lie so that you can make laws to take people's rights' away.

    Classic propaganda practiced at his best by the extreme RW regressives.

  •  well said...rationality and the right wing (5+ / 0-)

    got divorced with the arrival of Gipperism in 1980 and all its acoutrements of Laffer curves, tree-caused pollution, etc - while the corporate and industry reactionaries moved in.

    what we're seeing is the end stage of a long process of corruption, IMO.

    There really are reasonable conservative values:  individual freedom, respect for private property, limits on governmental power etc.

    but the GOP "philospophy" we have now is like a tumor that's grown so malignant you can't even tell what kind of tissue it arose from.

    All that's left is a shredding veil of lies.

    "There has been an abdication of responsibility within the profession, most particularly in the networks. . . ." D Halberstam

    by al75 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 07:54:29 AM PDT

    •  This is not a Republican/Democrat divided issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We are going to see some strange bed-fellows of both left and right aligning with each other on immigration. We already have a "differnce of opinion" in this thread. It will get worse. I expect it to get worse than the primary wars.

      "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 10:06:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  will dems grow a backbone? (0+ / 0-)

        dems are the party of colored people + a minority of the white vote, including gays, most jews, and a variety of other historically vulnerable people.

        repubs historically are the party of wealth + power. for them to lock in the country-club vote + the bigots = "the base"

        for dems, that door was closed when LBJ introduced the voting rights act and lost the south "for a generation" (more like, forever)

        dems by the nature of their coalition MUST acknowledge minority rights - or else they stand for nothing.

        "There has been an abdication of responsibility within the profession, most particularly in the networks. . . ." D Halberstam

        by al75 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 10:26:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Against immigration from the left (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DBunn, al75

          I have seen profound objection to immigration from the left. On the grounds of population growth and over use of resources; on the grounds of pulling down fair wages and diluting union influence; on the grounds that if we did more in foreign aid peole wouldn't need or want to immigrate; etc.

          For immigration from the right -
          Business leaders who need immigrants to fill jobs, economists who see immigration as the only way our economy can grow (and needed for support of Social Security).

          This is not going to be a straight Dem/Rep fight.

          "I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction." Rep Joe Barton

          by Catte Nappe on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 10:34:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tea Party members are the greatest enemies (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Temmoku, al75, Pris from LA, OHknighty

    of the Republican party and Corporations.
    The Tea Party members are a destruction force with unflinching determination to bring down the Republican Party. With the complete destruction of the Republican Party the Corporations will lose their political influence.

    Tea Party members are the most insidious form of racist, homophobic, sexist, and intolorent behavior. They are obsessed with fear and self-loathing. They will leave a trail of wreckage throughout the Republican Party.

  •  Immigration is the new shiny thing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoxerDave, Temmoku, Pris from LA

    for the teabaggers. The Republicans know exactly how to play those who live in fear and ignorance.

  •  I have been saying this to my wing-nut (3+ / 0-)

    relatives, over and over, I doubt if it will sink in... seems that spelling a word correctly 30 times also refers to learning facts. I'm not up to 30 times for each relative....yet.

    Courage is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lazzardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 08:37:48 AM PDT

  •  We Are All Being Played (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DBunn, Pris from LA, OHknighty

    The money behind the scenes is playing us all.  

    The focus on immigrant bashing is a right wing frame that the left and the Democratic Party are unable or unwilling to change.

    There is a big, Grand Canyon sized elephant in the room.

    It is very big business.  On the one hand, there have been trillions invested in moving indigenous subsistence farmers off of their land, in order to create a large scale profit potential that oligarchic dictators and land barons are motivated by.  On the other hand, displace people become trapped in low wage work in the US, thereby lowering labor costs.  That's a win-win to Wall Street.

    The controversy over the immigrant is a "look there!" dodge intended to keep the focus off of what is really going on.  

    True immigration reform would come from supporting a movement to create equity for people in local communities throughout Latin and South America.

    If it doesn't happen because we can't get away from the frame we are stuck in, then by default, the people of those countries will become, over time, more and more interested in controlling their own destinies.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 08:48:27 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, DBunn, Pris from LA

    As I wrote in my diary today, anti-Latino rhetoric is leading to anti-Latino violence.  In that diary, I also have a link showing that the higher Latino immigration is in a communicty, the lower that community's crime.

    •  Of course... (0+ / 0-)

      While it seems almost silly to challenge the Tea Party movement's agenda, people still need to push back.

      The Atlantic Monthly ran a really great article about the Tea Party movement's lack of patriotism a while back. Good stuff:

      "Some people think that what unites the Tea Party Patriots is simple racism. I doubt that. But the Tea Party movement is not the solution to what ails America. It is an illustration of what ails America. Not because it is right-wing or because it is sometimes susceptible to crazed conspiracy theories, and not because of racism, but because of the movement’s self-indulgent premise that none of our challenges and difficulties are our own fault. "

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