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article imageOp-Ed: Facts and myths about illegal immigration

By Justin King     Jul 6, 2014 in World
Washington, D. C. - Once again the sideshow distraction that occurs along the US-Mexican border is gripping the headlines. It’s time for Americans to receive a reality check about the myths and facts of illegal immigration.
The starting point is the acceptance of the fact that the United States is a nation of immigrants. With the notable exceptions of those cultures now confined on reservations and those that were brought here in chains, every demographic in the United States pushed its way into the country against the wishes of the inhabitants. Those currently attempting to block buses filled with would be immigrants will be viewed by history with the same contempt that is granted to those that hung “No Irish need apply” signs on their storefronts.
The No One is Illegal banner being waved at Nathan Phillips Square during a May Day/Occupy Toronto/N...
The No One is Illegal banner being waved at Nathan Phillips Square during a May Day/Occupy Toronto/No One is Illegal rally in toronto.
Those born in the United States won a geographic lottery that placed them in a nation that constantly assures itself that its citizens are better than the others of the world based simply on the flag that was flying outside the hospital they were born in. This attitude has granted Americans a self-entitled nature that will ultimately be the main cause of the empire’s fall from prominence.
Examining key points of the illegal immigration debate demonstrate exactly how far from reality the national narrative has fallen.
They took our jobs
The most common objection to allowing immigrants from south of the border into the United States is that they will flood the job market with underpriced labor and force “real” Americans out of work. First, American labor is already underpriced. The right-wing party that is so opposed to immigration is the same party opposed to raising the minimum wage. If Republicans truly cared about the positions of low-income workers they wouldn’t be fighting tooth and nail to keep them working 40-hour weeks for a wage that isn’t even above the poverty level.
Second, if an employee is able to be put out of their job by someone that did not attend American schools and most likely doesn’t even speak English, that employee was probably not that company’s employee of the year and job security wasn’t really a realistic concern of theirs.
Lydon Johnson who initiated the War on Poverty in the nineteen sixties.
Lydon Johnson who initiated the War on Poverty in the nineteen sixties.
National Institute of Health Library
These are the same divisive tactics the wealthy have used to keep the poor in line since the beginning of time. President Lyndon Johnson said it best when he said
I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.
The only difference is that now this plan is executed on all of America’s poor working class to make them feel they are better than a foreigner.
Criminal elements
In every instance throughout American history when a demographic began to show up in large numbers they were painted as criminals. As with most stereotypes, there is an element of truth. Those that are willing to engage in the act of risking imprisonment or death to move to a nation where they don’t speak the language and may face a hostile local population have the same characteristics as those that are willing to disobey the government of their home country. There is nothing more American than angering your home country to the point where your only option is to flee to another nation. After all, that is exactly what the nation’s founding fathers did.
Some of those currently crossing the border have had ties to Mexican drug cartels. In light of this objection, it’s slightly humorous how Americans look back on poverty-stricken Southerners who engaged in moonshining as folk heroes that simply did what they had to do to survive. This forgiving view is not afforded to Mexicans who live in a nation with 39% of the workforce out of a job, and those that do have a job are lucky to earn a quarter of the average US income. When faced with a corrupt government owned by drug cartels, a Mexican might consider himself lucky to end up with such employment. If that Mexican happens to have a moral issue with narcotics, one of their only options is to flee the nation in hopes of finding greener pastures. Of course, that is the very action that gets them condemned.
Protests against Mexican drug violence.
Protests against Mexican drug violence.
Knight Foundation/flickr
Those that seek to disparage Mexicans with this drug cartel connection always forget to mention that those cartels are serving the demand for drugs in the United States. If the cartels did not have US buyers for their product, they would not hold the nation of Mexico by the throat.
Another common complaint is that those pesky illegals are using services paid for by “real” Americans. A “real” American should know how his or her government services are funded. Schools, police, fire departments, road maintenance, and so on are primarily paid for via state or county level taxes. Illegals pay sales tax at Wal-Mart, just like everybody else. Illegals pay property taxes whether directly for a property they own or after it is factored into the rent they pay their landlord, just like everybody else.
When it comes to federal taxes, it is often cited that illegal aliens engage in identity theft to secure social security numbers in order to work. Those that do, pay federal taxes. More importantly, they end up paying more than a “real” American of the same income level, because at the end of the year when other American workers receive a tax refund, illegals do not file for fear of giving away their address.
That’s the reason the Internal Revenue Service has almost $1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds.
Social Security Administration
Trade Agreements
People often talk about how the factory where they were once employed closed and moved to Mexico. If all of the good paying jobs moved south, then Mexicans shouldn’t be fleeing in massive numbers. Those free trade agreements pushed by bi-partisan efforts don’t bring good jobs from the US to Mexico. They provide large corporations with the ability to exploit cheaper Mexican labor. Those jobs aren’t increasing the average Mexican’s standard of living, they are just making more money for the corporations that pay off US congressional leaders.
The United States maintains a policy of economic domination of Mexico and many other nations. By keeping the country subjugated, the US government creates the conditions for illegal immigration to flourish.
It might be important for Americans to remember this as the US government tries to rally support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other secretive trade deals.
The Wall
Those freedom-loving Americans that are militantly opposed to illegal immigration suggest building a wall across the nation’s southern border. It would be a wall that could easily be climbed, tunneled under, or circumvented by boat. The next suggestion is to station the US armed forces along the wall, in essence recreating the Berlin wall brick by brick along the border of the land of the free.
The United States could happily join the ranks of other oligarchies that maintained militarized borders. North Korea, Cuba, East Germany, and all of the other symbols of tyrannical rule would certainly be happy to have the United States as their newest partner in security.
Berlin Wall
East and West Germans converse at the newly created opening in the Berlin Wall, Dec. 1989
SSGT. F. Lee Corkran, U.S. Air Force
If one was to follow the chain of events stemming from armed forces along the border, the end result is US soldiers shooting those attempting to cross the border. Supporting the idea of a wall being built is the equivalent of advocating killing someone for simply seeking a better life for their family. In the minds of those supporting this suggestion, it is ok to kill someone who just wants to get a job at McDonald’s or as a landscaper.
Who is to blame?
The American psyche has become tortured by the desire to find a scapegoat for every single problem the nation faces. This is one time when the blame can be squarely placed; it falls on the American voter. For too long, Americans have simply trusted their betters in Washington to make decisions on their behalf. The government hasn’t represented the will of the people or sought to enact legislation in the people’s best interest in decades. The government has simply enforced the economic policies that were written by the same corporations that exploit the American people on a daily basis.
This is not the fault of a political party, or a President, or any public figure. This is the fault of the American voter that can tell the difference between the Kardashian sisters, and can’t identify their own legislator.
Beacon for freedom
The Statue of Liberty, the iconic symbol of the United States is inscribed with
The Statue of Liberty is pictured in New York  on May 14  2014
The Statue of Liberty is pictured in New York, on May 14, 2014
Jewel Samad, AFP/File
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
The United States is held as the beacon for freedom by its citizens. If the nation is to be a beacon for freedom, it must accept the fact that the beacon will be followed by those seeking to improve their lot in life. The single most important facet of the American character is the boldness of its people. A couple of generations ago America was filled with Rosie the Riveters and Johnny Getyourguns. It was a nation of people who held self-reliance and a willingness to go where others wouldn’t as cardinal virtues.
Close-up photograph of Norman Rockwell s Rosie the Riveter  1943.  Crystal Bridges Museum of America...
Close-up photograph of Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter, 1943. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Bentonville, Ark.
Those unwashed masses streaming across the border exemplify everything that was once great in the American character; the search for a better life, the boldness and fortitude to disobey unjust laws, the willingness to risk everything in the pursuit of happiness, and a fearlessness that is only found in those willing to uproot and travel to a foreign land. These have been American traits since the beginning of the nation. In this journalist’s humble opinion, it is those who are currently sneaking across the border to secure their piece of the American dream that are the “real” Americans, not those whining during the commercial breaks of American Idol or Duck Dynasty.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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