Most of Those Anti-Immigrant Memes Are Just Wrong

From this great article, here are two

 1.  Immigrants aren't here for the welfare, they are here to work



2.  Immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes than similar native-born folks



  1. August Hurtel:

    If you want to make immigration great again, don't try to 'educate' those who are tired of it.
    Instead, make sure the progressives can't touch it as an issue.
    Then, when all the really angry people are dead, maybe you can quietly introduce a concept- if people here, want immigrant workers, then they can contract with them and bring them here, as long as they are responsible for them. If you are right, then they won't suffer from the extra liability. If you are wrong, then they will. It would sort itself out over the long term, with Americans choosing- more or less directly- how much immigration they want, rather than any particular policy being foisted upon us unilaterally.

  2. Viktor Elefant:

    Fig 1: The meme isn't the men going on welfare. That's for the women and children. For the immigrant men, it's "dey terk er jerbs", which I note is consistent with Figure 1. (red line trends down, blue line trends up)

    Fig 2: On incarceration rates, Asian < White < Hispanic < Black.

    So yay!! less dyscivic than native-born blacks!! But.... more dyscivic than whites or asians...

  3. mlouis:

    Seems to me like most of the backlash is against illegal immigration, and my sense is those charts would be completely erroneous if framed as such.

  4. mckyj57:

    With our demographics, I take the incarceration rate thing with a grain of salt. Compare it to college-educated males, for instance. Or other things I will leave to your imagination.

    Bottom line is immigrants *should* far exceed our indigenous people.

  5. McThag:

    If I broke into your house and slept in your basement, would it matter that I did the dishes cheaper than your kid's allowance and didn't steal anything from the living room?

  6. herdgadfly:

    With unemployment rates high for natives and immigrants, why would we permit any immigration of the under-educated? Too many cooks stirring the pot! I think that Coyote is his own worst enemy on this issue. The straw man in the room is the illegal welfare recipient without license to be here in the first place. The remaining cooks will then have more jobs to chase if they leave.

  7. steamboatlion:

    No it wouldn't but the analogy is flawed. An undocumented person does exactly what you do - uses public spaces and only those private spaces to which they are invited. They take nothing from anyone.

  8. steamboatlion:

    If that were the case we could simply solve the problem by making them legal.

  9. chembot:

    We could lower pretty much any crime statistic you choose to name by that same logic. Why have laws if all they do is increase the crime rate?

    Oh, and inB4 "rights of free movement and contract, yo, and by the way borders are artificial and sux0rs" Borders are reality, whether you choose to accept that fact or not. We enforce them, mexico enforces them, and so do all of the nearly 200 other nations extant on planet earth. If I show up in Guadalajara for a job, I have to have a "Visitor Visa with Permission to Engage in Lucrative Activities" that is good only for a specific field. I will need a corporate sponsor. I will need supporting documents like a birth certificate, proof of residence, etc. just to be able to legally work there. Does this sound familiar? Why does every nation in the world have roughly similar setups for work eligibility and immigration?

  10. chembot:

    Analogies are inexact pretty much by definition. I note that citizens also do not have unrestricted access to public spaces. Bums can be kicked out from public parks at night. I can't stroll about military bases or other federal land like national parks without authorization (day use permits, passing checkpoints, etc.) I can't hunt on them or use them for other private activity like cattle grazing or resource mining without permission. And if the undocumented use taxpayer funded services, they do take indirectly from all of the citizenry that is paying for those services.

  11. David in Michigan:

    Can one actually draw conclusions about anything from these charts? In my humble opinion they are meaningless. Meaningless first because where does one even obtain actual data which relates "foreign born" and "employment" and "education level" and "incarceration rates"? Second, even if I believe these charts with their comparisons of "native born" and "foreign born", what has this got to do with ILLEGAL immigration? Do these charts represent foreign born U.S. CITIZENS? Because if not then someone is pulling your leg because NO ONE really knows how many illegal aliens are in the U.S. (Hint: illegal aliens are not all from Mexico and Central America. A more complete list (not inclusive) would list Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, India, Pakistan, China, Venezuela, Vietnam, Poland and yes, even jolly old England.) Think about that for a moment. Then tell me if your charts mean anything.

    I know you're and advocate of open borders. You'll need to do better than this to win me over.

  12. Daniel Barger:

    I presume by 'immigrants' you are referring to those who obeyed the law, followed the prescribed legal path and came to the US legally. Implying that 'immigrants' should include those here illegally would mean the statistics are worthless as ALL illegal immigrants are criminals and ALL of them have a higher propensity to crime than ANY group of native born Americans.

  13. Tanuki Man:

    What's the cost of schooling for unassimilated "undocumented" children?

  14. Nehemiah:

    What is an "undocumented person"? Are you talking about someone who came here in defiance of our laws? An illegal immigrant? One citizen killed by an illegal is one too many. And the fact that we have citizens that do crimes in greater numbers doesn't mean we should give an illegal the opportunity to commit crimes at a lower rate.

    And how does it make sense for the US to be the pressure release valve for corrupt governments in Mexico and elsewhere? Rather than staying in-country and striving to change their political system, people leave insuring the corrupt officials retain power. Wouldn't it be more humane if they were able to stay in the land of their birth, where their ancestors lived and died? Shouldn't we be prepared to assist in that regard? The United States could put tremendous pressure on Central and South American countries to encourage adoption of such principles as consistently applying the rule of law and recognizing the importance of individual property rights. Yeah, I know, America has fallen away from those very principles, but perhaps we have an opportunity to reestablish them while promoting them in our hemisphere.

  15. Ruggerbunny:

    What do they pay in property taxes that support said schools?

  16. Ruggerbunny:

    "With unemployment rates high for natives and immigrants"
    Source? Around my parts we are nearing full employment and companies are having difficulty filling positions.

  17. Ruggerbunny:

    So you would be in favor of greatly increasing the amount of legal immigration so as to remove this issue?

  18. Penkville:

    While my natural inclination is towards open borders, these statistics are so incomplete that they really do tell us nothing and certainly can't be used as some sort of counter to all the arguments out there. For a start; what percentage of the total immigrants does this cover? Is it only those in the conventional economy? If so, it's not surprising work participation is high, since most legal immigrants will come to the US on work visas to do pre-arranged jobs. One assumes many immigrants currently living in the US aren't recorded by the federal government at all.

  19. Jon Murphy:

    That's not really a reply to steamboatlion, chembot. If the only problem with immigrants is that they cross the border illegally, then that is easily solved (or, at least that is where the conversation should revolve). We should be discussing why closed borders in the first place instead of simply saying "teh law is teh law and we must obeyz!"

  20. Rewired actuary:

    Earth to Coyote - not anti-immigrant, just anti-illegal immigrant.

  21. sailor116:

    1) Why only men? Not all immigrants are men, much less men between the ages of 18 and 39.

    2) Is there any controlling for legality of work? For location of work? If many such men are working in agriculture and you're comparing them to unemployed men in South Boston, that seems like a bad comparison.

    3) Similarly, comparing incarceration rates is pretty generic given that (a) deportation or a return to one's home country is often a functional alternative to incarceration; (b) intra-immigrant crime is almost certainly underreported; and (c) you aren't controlling for some of the largest variables such as city/rural and race.

  22. TruthisaPeskyThing:

    First, given your background in Climate science, you should be aware of the need to understand data sources and the data. I do not know where one gets the data of those graphs, but even if the data is derived in a sound manner, the graph is deceptive even if well-labeled. I examined it three times before I realized that the top one was limited to men without high school diplomas, and the bottom graph was limited to young men without high school diplomas. The top graph is deceptive for two reasons, immigrants tend to be younger and not retired so you would expect immigrant men to have higher employment rates. And a problem with both graphs is that you basically comparing immigrants to the dysfunctional inner-city culture that is plaguing our cities. You are putting yourself up for success when you use such a group for comparison.
    Second, the issues of immigration are additive not dilution. The risks of being a crime victim go up with immigration, especially illegal immigration. When my niece was raped by an illegal Hispanic immigrant, that crime would not have occurred if he was not here. A statistic that says immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than young men from the inner cities does not dilute the probability of rape, rather it adds to the risks, especially for those who do not hang out in the problem areas of the inner city.

  23. GoneWithTheWind:

    I'm a little suspect of the stats quoted. A huge percentage of the prisoners in California are immigrants. What clouds the stats even more is often illegal aliens who commit crimes are deported rather than charged.

    The real question should be do we need immigrants? I see no shortage of under educated non-English speaking people such that we "NEED" to import them. We should place a moratorium on all immigration until all recent immigrants are assimilated AND all citizens are working. Put citizens first.

  24. freereel:

    These comparisons are interesting, I grant you. But they are completely skewed by the native-born underclass, both African-American and 2nd + 3rd generation immigrant. To present a complete picture, you need to break down native-born by race. The issue isn't "where someone was born." It's who they are. Figure 4 smells like cooking the books. They are being way too specific with the immigrant groups (Salvadoran and Guatemalan?) while being way too general and lumping all "native born" groups together.

  25. Seekingfactsforsanity:

    Due to illegal immigrants, the trades are now much cheaper for those who have the money to hire them and the standard of living for US citizen tradesman have fallen tremendously. Bring another 30 million, why not 100 million?

  26. Aajaxx:

    Why? Because governments exist to perpetuate themselves and grow their power. They adopt successful growth strategies from each other.

  27. Rick C:

    Once again, Warren dishonestly conflates legal and illegal immigration.

  28. wreckinball:

    And those here illegally should be sent home.
    If you want to change the law pass one and get it signed by the president.

  29. wreckinball:

    Doesn't the president take an oath to enforce the law?
    Case closed do your job

  30. chembot:

    Yes I would. I am in favor of greatly increasing work visas and having non-citizenship path options for people to work here in addition to the traditional immigration options. If for no other reason, you bring a whole class of workers above board and reduce the exploitations they potentially face now as illegal workers.

    I am not, however, a fan of open borders. It is unfair to those who have chosen to go through the legal immigration process as well as being a potential national security risk.

  31. chembot:

    And what are governments? They do not erupt from the phantom zone like an alien invading force to oppress everyone. They are an emergent property of human beings being social animals. We try to adopt an order and secure resources and seek to enforce that order against those who would disrupt it. This seems to be true whether you are talking about communes, tribes, monarchies, or whatever. Even areas that start "borderless" like the original colonies don't stay that way long because it is an unstable equilibrium.

    As a thought experiment consider this: If we send people to mars of fairly libertarian mindset (minarchists, anarchocapitalists, whoever), how quickly do you suppose these communities would split over small doctrinal differences that prove to be incompatible? How quickly do you suppose these splits would lead to land grabs to secure a space for like minded individuals to live together. What if they can't get away from each other because the space is too small? Di they remain borderless (-ish) like the indians but still war for territory and resources, or do they start making fences and calling themselves a nation?

  32. chembot:

    Sure, lets have that discussion.

    1. Open borders is incompatible with a citizenship based welfare state
    2. Open borders is a national security risk. This is still true even if 99% of people coming over here don't have incurable communicable disease like ebola, aren't spies, nor are terrorists

    But lets be honest about the unstated corollary built into his comment here and further up the thread: "Borders are immoral infringements on personal liberties, including in particular the individual right to free movement and to freely contract ones own labor" All laws are limitations on personal freedoms. Many are stupid. Many I don't agree with. As a minarchist I would like to see 90% of government disappear. But we do have a mechanism for removing or changing them. In this country it resides in elected legislatures and in some cases judicial action.

    Too many libertarians however find the nuts and bolts of our society too icky and distasteful to work with and so they don't vote. They don't lobby. They don't effectively band together to effect change. But they do complain alot and alienate potential allies whenever they get the chance. The anarchocapitalists in particular cloak themselves in ideological purity and hound everyone else about being statists. How well has that worked?

  33. Tanuki Man:

    I asked first.

  34. herdgadfly:

    See Figure 1. above.

  35. jandr0:

    [If I broke into your house and slept in your basement...]

    Who exactly did precisely that? Hhmm, sounds like a leading, deliberately provocative statement from you to emotionalise the issue.

  36. jandr0:

    [ An illegal immigrant? One citizen killed by an illegal is one too many. And the fact that we have citizens that do crimes in greater numbers doesn't mean we should give an illegal the opportunity to commit crimes at a lower rate.]

    Actually is does. Replace all your currently esteemed citizens and replace them all with so-called "undocumented persons" and the gepgraphical area currently called the US will be in a MUCH better situation regarding incarceration.

    More citizens killed by "legal US citizens" are even MORE than one to many.

    [And how does it make sense for the US to be the pressure release valve for corrupt governments in Mexico and elsewhere?]

    That is a narrow view of the situation.

    Or to put it in different words, but extracting and overamphasising aspects that apply to some and making it sound as of it applies to all you are creating a strawman.


  37. jandr0:

    [When my niece was raped by an illegal Hispanic immigrant, that crime would not have occurred if he was not here.]

    I am very sorry to hear that.

    However, it is what is called an anecdotal fact and does not change the statistical data.

    [A statistic that says immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than young men from the inner cities does not dilute the probability of rape, rather it adds to the risks, especially for those who do not hang out in the problem areas of the inner city.]

    That is a disingenious argument!

    If the immigrants do less crime then it does in fact ON AVERAGE dilute the probability of rape. What you really shoud do then is have less US citizens who are keeping the average so high.

    In fact, you are actually arguing AGAINST US citizens and highlighting that immigrants will be better.

    Please sir or madam, think with your brain and not your preconceived biases.

  38. CC:

    Many (most?) illegal immigrants work in a cash economy. That means they don't pay taxes. Yet they use public services and send their kids to school. In border towns this is bankrupting them.

  39. DanSmith:

    I have no reason to think the Cato Institute is deliberately pushing false data, but I question its accuracy. The numbers come from census data. What assurance do I have that illegal immigrants are going to cooperate with government census workers? The graphs and tables don't differentiate between foreign born people in this country legally and those that are illegal. I don't think one can assume that the two groups have similar utilization of government services. Nor can we assume that they are paying payroll and other taxes, especially if they are off the books so to speak.

  40. morganovich:

    this is just narrow legalism masquerading as justice.

    just because something is a law does not make it just or right.

    it's funny how the same people who laud the underground railroad for helping runaway slaves escape suddenly ignore justice and look just at legalism when it suits them.

    the fact that we have anti-immigration laws is abhorrent.

    just how do those who favor them defend them from first principles and without resorting to an appeal to common practice fallacy?

    i am ALL for not giving out welfare to new immigrants. THAT is the problem. but immigration has been the lifeblood of the US. no fair trying to pull up the ladder once you are in.

    imagine you desperately wanted to get yourself and your family out of a corrupt, dangerous country where the police shake you down and the drug lords extort you. wouldn't you want to get out? anyone would.

    no one is saying the US should pay to take people, but allowing them in as guest workers who can live, work, start businesses, etc is fantastic for the US.

  41. morganovich:

    that seems like a really specious comment and one that misses the meat of the issue:

    if we make immigration too difficult, of course we force people to do it illegally. all prohibition works like that be it booze, drugs, or prostitution.

    ignoring the fact that it is our bad immigration laws causing this and automatically equating "legal" with "just and ethical" is the truly dishonest argument here.

  42. Eau de Javelina:

    The choice of which political party they vote for hasn't been mentioned which is of course why blue states support illegal immigration (although they may deny it). Do we really want to import future Democrats into the country that just vote themselves more and more benefits?

  43. Nehemiah:

    Here is a report from the GAO, the Government Accountability Office, which conflicts with the premise that illegals are law abiding residents. Incarceration rates for criminal aliens have run between 25% to 27% of the total prison population. At the same time the best estimate on the number of illegals in the country is what 12-million? That is less than 4% of total population.

    Add to that the fact that just being here in the United States without proper documentation is illegal per se. How many illegals use fake social security cards to obtain work (fraud). How many vote illegally (voter fraud)?

    Sheesh, back at you.

  44. Rick C:

    Here's a crazy idea: perhaps people should try not breaking the law by coming here illegally. I'd like to see you pick any other country in the world and come in against the law, the way it's apparently OK to do in the US.

    You think we should have increased and/or easier immigration, or even unrestricted immigration? Fine. Work to change the law. Don't just declare that people don't have to follow it.

  45. TruthisaPeskyThing:

    Jandro, you are not showing understanding of risks. If sky diving is my hobby and I add car racing as a second hobby, I am increasing the risks in my life, not diluting them. The risk per hobby hour may go down, but I am adding risks to my life, not diminishing them.
    You proposal to replace urban blacks with Hispanics is an amazing idea. I can follow the logic of how you get there, but I think it is quite impractical Moreover, I suspect that racism would be charge against your idea.
    Interesting, you accuse me of bias, and yet you show a degree of racism that is absolutely disgusting to me.

  46. Aajaxx:

    The original colonies only had borders because they had government. They didn't have governments because they had borders. And for the first 150 years, just about anyone who was not diseased or of a barred race could basically walk into the country. It's not clear to me why that successful approach had to change permanently.

  47. chembot:

    I agree. Organized communities precede borders. The rest of your statement is true, although I would argue that an ocean was a far more effective natural border in the 16-18th centuries than anything we could possibly have today. (3 months on a boat is quite the deterrent!) As for land crossings, well, The Oregon trail was not an easy journey. Modern technology has rendered these natural borders less effective. In some ways that is good, in others it is not. It has, however, meant that communities had to devise other methods to determine who was entering their community in pursuit of their national interests.

  48. Ron H.:

    Heh! You should probably ditch that 'illegal voter' meme unless you're suggesting that a lot of illegals voted for Trump.

  49. Ron H.:

    You might want to look at recent election results before dragging out that tired old meme. Did a lot of illegals vote for Republicans this time around?

  50. Nehemiah:

    Expand your news sources. This is a news report from SW Florida. 100 here, 100 there and it adds up to a spoiled election.