Monday, February 20, 2017

Fighting Back Against The Trumpist Know Nothing Agenda-- Immigration Made America Great, Not Trump

>

Continuing to make America great

The dark strain of American Know Nothing hatred towards immigrants is hardly new. German, Irish, Chinese, Jewish, Italian, Polish, Japanese families... have all felt its ugly sting-- and their progeny have then gone on to inflict it on those who came after them. So horrible! Saturday there was a report by Sam Levine in HuffPo about the campaign of one of the GOP sociopaths running for Tom Price's abandoned seat in the Atlanta suburbs, Karen Handel. Handel, best known as an unhinged anti-Choice fanatic sent out a fundraising e-mail promising "to build a wall on the border and end Muslim immigration." David Perdue, another Georgia racist and vicious modern day Know Nothing--joined by Arkansas' bigoted kook Tom Cotton-- have let the GOP anti-immigrant mask slip by authoring a bill to drastically cut back on legal immigration. Perdue, Cotton, Handel have long ugly records as racists and hate mongers and there are plenty of "conservatives" who buy their vitriol.

Did you notice the chart up top? I hope so. And a report last week from ABC News reinforced it by explaining the disaster the U.S. economy would become without immigrants.
"If all immigrants were just to disappear from the U.S. workforce tomorrow, that would have a tremendous negative impact on the economy," said Daniel Costa, the director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, an economic research think tank based in Washington, D.C.

"Immigrants are overrepresented in a lot of occupations in both low- and high-skilled jobs," he explained. "You'd feel an impact and loss in many, many different occupations and industries, from construction and landscape to finance and IT."

Though some U.S.-born workers could fill some of those jobs, large gaps in several sectors would remain and cause a decline in the economy, Costa said.

Immigrants earned $1.3 trillion and contributed $105 billion in state and local taxes and nearly $224 billion in federal taxes in 2014, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy, based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's latest American Community Survey. The partnership is a group of 500 Republican, Democratic and independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms that create jobs for Americans, according to its site.

In 2014 immigrants had almost $927 billion in consumer spending power, an analysis of the survey showed.

"Immigrants are a very vital part of what makes the U.S. economy work," said Jeremy Robbins, the executive director of the Partnership for a New American Economy. "They help drive every single sector and industry in this economy."

He added that without immigrants, there would be fewer businesses and inventions.

"If you look at the great companies driving the U.S. as an innovation hub, you'll see that a lot of companies were started by immigrants or the child of immigrants, like Apple and Google," he said. Apple was co-founded by Steve Jobs, whose biological father was a Syrian refugee, and Google (now Alphabet) was co-founded by Sergey Brin, who was born in Moscow.

Though immigrants make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they contribute nearly 15 percent of the country's economic output, according to a 2014 report from the Economic Policy Institute. The report contains the institute's latest data on immigration and the U.S. economy.

"Immigrants have an outsized role in U.S. economic output because they are disproportionately likely to be working and are concentrated among prime working ages," the EPI report says. "Moreover, many immigrants are business owners. In fact, the share of immigrant workers who own small businesses is slightly higher than the comparable share among U.S.-born workers."

David Kallick, the director of the Immigration Research Initiative at the Fiscal Policy Institute, said Americans should not be fearful that immigrants are stealing jobs from them.

"It may seem surprising, but study after study has shown that immigration actually improves wages to U.S.-born workers and provides more job opportunities for U.S.-born workers," he told ABC News. "The fact is that immigrants often push U.S.-born workers up in the labor market rather than out of it.

"Kallick added that studies he has done found that "where there's economic growth, there's immigration, and where there's not much economic growth, there's not much immigration."

According to Meg Wiehe, the director of programs for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, "Undocumented immigrants contributed more than $11.6 billion in state and local taxes each year. And if the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants here were given a pathway to citizenship or legal residential status, those tax contributions could rise by nearly $2 billion."

Despite their status, unauthorized immigrants still contribute "so much in taxes" because they, just like U.S. citizens, have to pay property taxes for their homes or apartments they own or rent, and they also often pay sales taxes for purchases they make, Wiehe explained.

"Researchers have also found that the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants also pay income tax using something called an I-10 income tax return form," she said.

Wiehe added that it is "critical to remember that we are talking about real people here-- mothers, fathers and families who are contributing to our society through their work and the taxes they're paying."
This ugly strain in the American psyche pre-dated Trumpism, of course, but Trump certainly incorporates it as part of his morbid appeal to the worst among us, part of what the NY Times editorial board referred to over the weekend as his regime's "malevolent incompetence." Trump is having a very negative impact on the mental health of Americans. People, wrote the Times editors "lie awake, thinking about losing their families, jobs and homes. They have been vilified by the president as criminals, though they are not. They have tried to build honest lives here and suddenly are as fearful as fugitives. They await the fists pounding on the door, the agents in black, the cuffs, the van ride, the cell. They are terrified that the United States government will find them, or their parents or their children, demand their papers, and take them away."
About 11 million people are living in this country outside the law. Suddenly, by presidential decree, all are deportation priorities, all are supposed criminals, all are threatened with broken lives, along with members of their families. The end could come for them any time.

This is not an abstract or fanciful depiction. It is not fake news. It’s the United States of today, this month, this morning.

In El Paso, a woman is picked up at a courthouse where she had been seeking an order of protection; immigration agents were apparently tipped off by the man she said abused her. Near Seattle, a 23-year-old man who was protected from deportation and allowed to work lawfully under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is picked up anyway, accused of being a gang member. He furiously denies this, and his lawyer presents paperwork suggesting that agents altered his words to falsely implicate him.

Another DACA recipient, Daniela Vargas of Jackson, Miss., barricades herself in her home after agents detain her father and brother. A mother of four, Jeanette Vizguerra, seeks refuge, alone, in a Denver church basement. A group of Latino men leaving a church-run homeless shelter in Alexandria, Va., are surrounded by a dozen immigration agents who question them, scan their fingerprints and arrest at least two of them.

President Trump’s defenders say the arrest numbers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are comparable to those under President Barack Obama, an energetic deporter-in-chief. That may be true, for the moment, but the context is vastly different. Mr. Trump’s campaign pledges, his flurry of immigration-related executive orders, including his ban on certain travelers from Muslim countries, have a common thread. They reflect his abandonment of discretion, of common sense, his rejection of sound law-enforcement priorities that stress public safety and respect for the Constitution.

They prioritize fear instead.

ICE and the Border Patrol under Mr. Obama were ordered to focus on arresting serious criminals and national-security risks. Mr. Trump has removed those restraints in the name of bolstering his “deportation force.” He wants to triple the number of ICE agents. He wants to revive federal agreements to deputize state and local police officers as immigration officers. He wants to increase the number of detention beds and spur the boom in private prisons.

This vision is the one Donald Trump began outlining at the start of his campaign, when he slandered an entire country, Mexico, as an exporter of rapists and drug criminals, and an entire faith, Islam, as a global nest of murderers. This is the currency of the Trump aides Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, who have brought the world of the alt-right, with its white nationalist strain, into the White House.

Where could the demonizing and dehumanizing of the foreign born lead but to a whiter America? You have heard the lies from Mr. Trump: that immigrants pose a threat, when they are a boon. That murders are up, when they are down. That refugees flow unimpeded into the country, when they are the most meticulously vetted people to cross our borders. That immigrants and refugees are terrorists, when they are the ones being terrorized.

For those who would resist the administration, there is much to do, and not a lot of time. Congress is not a check. Democrats there are outnumbered, speaking out but waging symbolic resistance for now. Republicans are mostly split between avoiding the subject and cheering on Mr. Trump.

States and cities are freer to act. Many recognize the dangerously anti-American mood and are striving to protect their immigrant populations. They are refusing to allow their police officers to join deportation dragnets, and are readying legal representation and other aid for immigrants. The Trump administration falsely calls these places “sanctuary city” lawbreakers and threatens to withhold federal funding as punishment. It’s not yet clear what actions the administration can take, or who will win the legal battles that are bound to ensue.

And anti-sanctuary, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee sentiment is hardly confined to the federal executive branch. Governors and legislatures in red states will be blocking money to blue, pro-immigrant cities, rolling back in-state tuition and other immigrant-friendly policies, and jumping onto Mr. Trump’s all-out-enforcement bandwagon. This battle has many fronts.

The other best lever available, besides the courts and the Constitution, is people power. Protesting and public actions will embolden others to join in, and hearten the vulnerable. If senators and representatives can’t show courage, then churches, universities, schools, philanthropies, health systems, corporations, farmers and artists can.

The days of protests at airports over the Muslim ban were a magnificent surprise, a spontaneous uprising of Americans who said: This is not who we are. Think of the power in that. Think of the message sent if the “day without immigrants,” in which foreign-born workers stayed home, became a week or a month.


And remember, a typical Trump voter is far, far more likely to overdose on oxycodone, hydromorphone, codeine, fentanyl or heroin than a typical immigrant to this country. Immigrants come here to make better lives for themselves. Typical Trump voters are here to play the victim and blames everyone else for their failures as human beings and for the inability to function successfully in society.



Labels: , , , , , ,

2 Comments:

At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Immigrants are not the only ones losing sleep over the Trump et al. nightmare. Many Americans who were born here are, too. We will soon be a country of neurotics and emotional wrecks, and when the devastation hits (the recent threats are only the beginning), it will become much worse. Trump has done a lot for the field of psychiatry!

Oh, and all those Trump supporters who are on drugs and smoke pot, you may soon be ineligible for unemployment if the Republicans have their way. I think Congress, the President and anyone in the administration should be drug tested, too, in order to serve! Adderall snorting, anyone?

 
At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't a "know nothing" agenda so much as simply a hate agenda.

All who are wealthy and/or white males are fine. Everyone else is on their agenda.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home