The Morrison Institute for Public Policy at the Arizona State University in Tempe recently issued an interesting report. The non-partisan organization, founded in 1982 with the intent of bridging academia with public policy makers, has come up with some illuminating numbers in regards to Immigration in the United States.
I’ve been shouted down by people who claim that opinion polls in Arizona show that 70% of the public supports the law SB 1070. The Morrison Institute does not dispute this, but its figures show that 57% of Arizonans support open immigration for honest citizens and exclusion only to those who have criminal backgrounds.
It has been argued that immigrants are responsible for the rising levels of violent crime here in Arizona. That is a fiction. The levels of violent crime in Arizona have steadily been decreasing for the past seven years and is below the national average. Additionally, the crime statistics that supporters of SB 1070 use don’t factor in the violence perpetrated by the Sinaloa cartel against its rivals and those who have betrayed them. The Sinaloa cartel is the greatest threat to law and order in Maricopa county, that much is true. Why are we hassling Maria, who is just trying to do her job at the Holiday Inn?
The crazy people are saying that Arizona is being overrun by Mexicans. We are being invaded! By the millions, no less! The fact of the matter is that illegal immigration in Arizona peaked in the 1990s, and the numbers have been going down, not up, every year since. And there are not millions of them! The total number in Arizona, right now, is about 460,000.
Some say that these illegal immigrants are a drain on our economy, but the truth of the matter is that there is no evidence of this whatsoever. Here in Arizona, we have very low state income and property taxes, we rely on a very high sales tax to fund our local governments and programs. (The numbers vary depending on where you shop, but where I live, it’s 11%.) We hire Mexicans to do work on our property, but I can assure you that they pay rent to an American landlord, purchase their clothes and tools at American stores, and fill their bellies with American purchased food and drink.
Some say that illegal aliens are flooding our prison system. Well, if you call 15% flooding, I suppose they are right. Because that’s the actual number.
There are those who say that our immigration problem is a result of lax enforcement. According to the Morrison Institute, it is not needed because immigration rates have been dropping like a stone for the past decade. By about 60%.
This next one I really like: some insist that undocumented foreigners in Arizona are overwhelming our state’s health care system. Only legal citizens can apply for the state’s AHCCCS (that’s Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the acronym that is ironically pronounced like the word “access.”) So this is simply utterly false. It is true that hospital emergency rooms are, by law, required to attend to anybody who walks through the door. But according to Arizona state records, undocumented patients who were unable to pay only made up 6% of the state’s total. Also, studies have shown that the undocumented are far less likely to visit an emergency room than a native citizen.
“They took our jobs!” A tired refrain which has little to do with reality. Yes, the low-skilled work force will face more competition, but because the Baby Boomer generation is starting to retire, America will actually need an influx of new laborers in the very near future.
“These immigrant kids are taxing the resources of our schools.” Another tired old refrain. For which there are no government statistics. By law, all children are required to receive an education. It has, however, been estimated that there are 1.5 million undocumented children enrolled in schools in the USA. There are 50 million children enrolled in public school in America. Do the math.