Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bigotry Dressed as Research

The anti-immigrant faction likes to hide their bigotry mostly as “concern” for the largely fabricated crises attributed to immigration. In effect, they’re demanding that my rights (or the rights of any person of color) be abridged in the name of “national security.” In this way, they hypocritically hide behind the racism of the “show me you papers” Arizona immigration law (AZ SB1070) and other such measures.

Never mind that a large body of research on undocumented immigrants from a broad range of sources show the allegations of the anti-immigrant crowd are groundless. Disregard that the most vocal and well-funded anti-immigration organizations are hate groups -- documented nativists and white supremacists. No! Don’t look at that! The anti-immigrant bigots assure us that all they want is to make us all safe from the feces-smearing, disease-ridden, promiscuous, lazy, shiftless messakins, and their third world ways, who come here to live off welfare and (paradoxically) take away all the good jobs.

Two organizations, FAIR and CIS (actually, they are one organization, both founded, funded, and run by documented eugenicists, nativists, and white supremacists) are often cited by the goobers as viable, credible supportive evidence for their claims. (I will have more to say about the historical connection between immigration and white supremacists, xenophobes, and racists at a later date.)

Anti-immigrant hate groups' studies make the wildest claims and if you're debating a goober anti-immigrant bigot, you can be sure they will try to slip by a FAIR or CIS-backed study. The problem is the studies are hugely flawed.

Notice that a broad range of credible research organizations, using well-known and accredited social scientists, largely dispute the findings of CIS, FAIR (and also NumbersUSA). Notice also these organizations have documented ties with white supremacists, or actually have these cretins in positions of power. This should make anyone looking to honestly inform themselves about immigration think twice. But conservatives have never been known for their moral reasoning or honesty (though they love to pontificate on morality).

Take, for example the following FAIR “study” (one often cited by the anti-immigrant goobers) which makes the claim regarding the economic impact of immigration:
“The fiscal costs of illegal immigration do not end with these three major cost areas. The total costs of illegal immigration to the state’s taxpayers would be considerably higher if other cost areas such as special English instruction, welfare programs used by the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, or welfare benefits for American workers displaced by illegal alien workers were also calculated.”
Yet, when a credible researcher analyzed the FAIR study (looking at the economic impact of the children of undocumented immigrants), he found it made many unsupported claims and that its numbers just didn’t add up:
“... the report’s own statistics do not support this claim. Even if the report is correct in its assertion that the cost to states was $7.4 billion in 1999-2000, this represents only 1.9 percent of the $381.8 billion spent nationwide on public elementary and secondary education and a minuscule fraction of the roughly $1 trillion in total spending by state governments. Moreover, the report neglects to mention the estimated 1.1 million undocumented K-12 students in 2000 comprised a mere 2 percent of the total student population and that many state governments -- including California’s -- were running budget surpluses at that time. [emphasis added]  It is no more plausible to claim that undocumented students are somehow largely to blame for current budget deficits than it is to claim they deserve most of the credit for the budget surpluses of three years ago.”
He goes further:
“... the FAIR report argue[s] that ‘communities’ limited tax dollars are being diverted to accommodate mass illegal immigration.’ This conveniently ignores the fact that immigrants are part of the taxpaying community. The report attempts to get around the issue by saying that while it ‘is reasonable to ask whether the costs of educating illegal alien students is offset by the taxes paid by their parents…study after study shows that immigrants cost taxpayers more in public services use than they pay in to the system via taxes.’”
Notice that last sentence. The FAIR study makes the factual claim (without documentation) that undocumented immigration has a negative impact on the US economy. Not only is this a false claim, the exact opposite is true:
“However, this simply is not true. In the most authoritative study to date on the economic costs and benefits of immigration, 1997’s The New Americans, the National Academy of Sciences estimated that ‘the average immigrant pays nearly $1,800 more in taxes than he or she costs in benefits’ and that immigrants make a net contribution of “as much as $10 billion a year” to the U.S. economy.”
But here’s the kick in the ass:
“It also is worth noting that The New Americans emphasizes a key fact overlooked in any analysis, such as FAIR’s, which tries to estimate the net “costs” of immigration by taking a single-year snapshot of the economy: ‘Children who consume services and pay no taxes today become contributing taxpayers tomorrow.’” (click here for the full summary)
In short, FAIR and CIS are not so much “research” organizations, but rather a part of a loud and hysterical anti-immigrant movement given free reign on mainstream media though they are thinly veiled racist organizations spewing hate propaganda.

And I have found the same methodologically flawed tendency in most of the studies done by anti-immigrant organizations. For example, there was the one study claiming that Mexicans were responsible for a spike in rates of leprosy. That study’s “findings,” repeated for weeks on the now defunct Lou Dobbs program on CNN, and done by someone with no real social science, or epidemiological training, was later found to be totally false. When Dobbs was confronted by this on a 60 Minutes segment, he refused to acknowledge the mistake and continued airing segments connecting undocumented immigrants with fabricated “disease plagues.” The same was found to be true of studies blaming immigrants from everything to crime to the theory that undocumented immigrants are part of a conspiracy to retake the southwest (click here for a full expose of the hate groups featured on mainstream media as credible organizations)

Whatever your position on immigration, the one criteria for a sane public discourse should be a discussion based on the facts, not the hysteria of bigoted goobers masquerading as legitimate organizations.

Fuckin’ redneck muthafuckas dressed in labcoats. SMH

-- Eddie


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