Letter to the Editor: Illegal immigration debate continues

The data, presented by Bessie King in “Illegal Immigrants Deserve Consideration” (April 4) is either severely misinterpreted or intentionally misleading.

King’s first argument pertains to jobs. She cites that 65 percent of Americans don’t believe illegal immigrants are taking jobs from American citizens. Using this statement as an argument for the employment of illegal immigrants is both flawed and dangerous. What about the other 35 percent, representing tens of millions of Americans, who do believe illegal immigrants are taking American jobs? Or those who may have actually lost a job to an illegal immigrant? Do they not count?

King goes on to ask who will take the place of these illegal immigrants if a hypothetical mass deportation occurs; the logical answer is American citizens and legal immigrants. Laws, including those regarding immigration, are designed to benefit the country that makes them. Therefore, if there happens to be a job shortage, as King’s scenario assumes, the United States could simply increase the quota of legal immigrants.

Regarding healthcare, King writes immigrants’ per-capita health care expenditures are 55 percent less than U.S. born citizens. Once again, the context of this data is misleading, as King uses it to imply that illegal immigrants are not consuming a significant amount of taxpayer money.

First of all, though U.S. born citizens’ health care expenditures are higher, the majority of citizens are paying for that discrepancy out of their own pocket through health insurance. Health care, however, is not the only drain illegal immigrants have on the economy. Without paying taxes, illegals are able to freely use our infrastructure, police services and school systems.

King goes on to equate services for illegal immigrants with those for poor, U.S. born, citizens. They are not the same. The U.S. government has an obligation to its citizens to provide basic provisions (though the extent of these provisions varies widely based on your view of government and interpretation of the constitution); the same cannot be said for illegal aliens.

King’s last point touches on crime. Once again, the data is so flawed it is almost irrelevant. King concludes that because immigrant men ages 18 to 39 have a lower incarceration rate than native-born citizens, crime among illegal immigrants is not a problem.

The first error in logic is that the study takes into consideration legal immigrants (people who respect the laws of our nation and its immigration policy) and lumps them into the same category as illegal immigrants (people who have already shown, through their act of crossing the border illegally, they have no respect for U.S. law). The second major flaw in this study, which King conveniently fails to mention, is incarceration rates are not the same as crime rates. Illegal immigrants, by definition, are undocumented, thus making it extremely difficult to identify, arrest and prosecute them when a crime is committed. Also, taking into consideration that many illegal aliens who commit crimes in the U.S. are deported rather than tried and incarcerated, the incarceration rate is obviously going to be low.

Immigrants across the world have helped make America great. However, immigration policy must be made and enforced to the benefit of the United States; in its current state, it clearly is not. Our lack of immigration enforcement is leeching money from hard-working Americans, allowing American jobs to be taken, contributing to drug and gang violence and crime and threatening national security by allowing terrorists to enter this country.

– Timothy Dicesare is a sophomore electrical and computer engineering major.

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