Connect Responds

Liberty Ashamed

Alan Webber’s March 20th rant against all things immigration is riddled with inaccuracies. Connect addresses just one that illustrates a common tactic by those who seem consumed by hate. Our reply, which was submitted to Voice of the People, is copied below. Alan Webber’s commentary can be read here:

Connect responds to Daily Journal Newspaper Commentary

When the Daily Journal publishes commentary by its regular contributors on the opinion page, readers should be able to expect a certain level of factual accuracy. Quotes used from extremist groups often fall far short of this ideal.

Take for example the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Alan Webber sourced information from this group in his commentary on Tuesday March 20. Despite the clever acronym, in 2007, the Souther Poverty Law Center branded FAIR a hate group, stating that:

“The founder, chief ideologue and long-time funder of FAIR, John Tanton, is a racist. Key staff members have ties to white supremacist groups, some are members, and some have spoken at hate group functions. FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation devoted to studies of race and IQ, and to eugenics — the pseudo-science of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazi euthanasia program. It spreads racist conspiracy theories.”

Alan Webber’s anti-immigration tirade used numbers concocted by FAIR to support claims of the high cost to taxpayers of undocumented immigrants. An overview by of the actual study completed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on this complex subject titled “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration” offers a far different perspective:

“Estimates of the fiscal impacts of immigrants are complex and depend on the time horizon chosen for the analysis. Over the long horizon such estimates, under the most likely scenarios, generally find that immigrants are not a significant fiscal drain. The evidence does not suggest that current immigrant flows cost native-born taxpayers money over the long-run nor does it provide support for the notion that lowering immigration quotas or stepping up enforcement of existing immigration laws would generate savings to existing taxpayers. We do see, however, that there is a disconnect in the level of government that bears the greatest costs of immigration (state and local governments) versus the level which reaps the greatest tax rewards (federal). Overall, immigrants contribute substantially to paying for public expenditures, including sharing in the burden of paying back public debt.”

A 2007 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office examined 29 reports on state and local costs published over 15 years in an attempt to answer this question. CBO concluded that most of the estimates determined that illegal immigrants impose a net cost to state and local governments but “that impact is most likely modest.” CBO said “no agreement exists as to the size of, or even the best way of measuring, that cost on a national level.”

And finally, the conservative National Review published an article discussing a study by the National Academy of Sciences titled “ The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration”. In “What Does the National Academies’ Immigration Report Really Say?” it concludes “If we then take the report’s estimates of the surplus and the fiscal burden at face value, it is self-evident that the impact of immigration on the aggregate wealth of natives is, at best, a wash.”

Opinions based on information sourced from recognized hate groups have no place in a mainstream newspaper. Rhetoric based on sources led by racist extremists confuses the issue and does not serve the readers best interest. As the immigration debate continues, it’s important for residents to seek out trustworthy sources of information and balance prejudiced perspectives with one’s own review of the facts.