So You Want to Build a Wall

The Idiot’s Guide to the Immigration “Crisis”

Chelsey Engel
Jan 30, 2019 · 7 min read
Photo by Peg Hunter, Flickr

Americans like simple things. We’re busy working our asses off and binging Netflix, so keeping complicated issues as simple as possible is just how we need it to be in order to survive.

So, when you hear “Build a wall and crime will fall!” it’s understandable you might cling to that Dr. Seuss-like phrase and run with it as your only ammo when arguing with a Dummycrat (y’all are so clever) on social media about our so-called immigration “crisis.” You don’t have the time or energy to do much more research.

Lucky for you, I have done the work for you.

What is this “crisis” and why is a wall the solution to ending it?

Well, we know the “crisis” is not related to the actual number of undocumented immigrants crossing the border thanks to actual data from the incredibly liberal biased Department of Homeland Security.

Since its peak in 2007, the population of unauthorized immigrants has been steadily dropping. And the number of deportations has been dropping every year since 2004. The number of unauthorized immigrants actually apprehended at the border has also been dropping ever since 2000.

If you’re still convinced this government data is wrong and that immigrants are crossing the border in high numbers, you probably also think they’re committing violent crimes once they get here, as our president likes to throw out.

However, data also shows us that unauthorized immigrants commit less violent crime than US natives. States with higher levels of unauthorized immigrants also tend to have lower crime rates.

This contradicts the right-wing talking point that says states like Texas and California are high-crime states. They aren’t. Their crime levels are lower than average and, yes, they also have more immigrants.

Still convinced a wall is necessary to stop this non-crisis crisis? Still saying things like, “But they’re bringing drugs!”

Traffic across the border in illicit drugs has indeed been rising, mostly because pharmaceutical companies have shoved opioids down people’s throats, causing a drug epidemic that they’re paying politicians to convince you ISN’T their fault and is somehow the fault of immigrants and black people and George Soros.

Anyway, nearly all of this drug traffic happens at legal ports of entry, where the drugs are hidden in cars or trucks. A wall will do nothing to stop this.

Also, the majority of fentanyl comes from China, not across the US southern border. Again, a wall will do nothing here.

So far, we’ve established that there is no actual immigration crisis related to illegal crossings or immigrant crime rates.

So what is the real crisis?

The number of migrants requesting asylum (which is legal) has been rising steadily for the past six years due to instability in Central American nations, countries whose elections we have meddled in, causing corruption and increased violence, leading to more people seeking asylum elsewhere.

The denial rate has risen from 55 percent to 70 percent under President Trump. He also closed a bunch of legal ports of entry, leaving asylum seekers to come to overcrowded lines, clogging up an already backed-up system.

Chart thanks to Mother Jones using data from US Citizen and Immigration Services

This very real crisis could be lessened by hiring more judges to process the more than 800,000 asylum requests currently pending. A wall, however, would do nothing.

But they cost us taxpayers so much money!

Actually, they contribute a shit ton of money to our economy, including taxes. Here’s a breakdown on the tax myth regarding undocumented immigrants.

One thing we can say for certain is that, yes, undocumented immigrants often buy fake Social Security cards. They do this so they can get a job and, you guessed it, pay taxes!

Thanks to this detailed article by The Atlantic, this is all explained as such:

‘Many immigrants who aren’t authorized to work in the United States buy fake Social Security cards and present them to their employers, who either don’t know they are fake or don’t look too closely. When the employer submits a W-2 form and a tax payment on those workers’ behalf to the Social Security Administration, the federal government holds onto those payroll taxes, even if the Social Security number isn’t linked to anyone on file. And then, a large chunk of that money ends up in the Social Security trust funds, from which retirement benefits are doled out to aging Americans.

The Social Security system has grown increasingly reliant on this stream of revenue, particularly as aging Baby Boomers start to retire. Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, estimates that about 1.8 million immigrants were working with fake or stolen Social Security cards in 2010, and he expects that number to reach 3.4 million by 2040. He calculates that undocumented immigrants paid $13 billion into the retirement trust fund that year, and only got about $1 billion in benefits. “We estimate that earnings by unauthorized immigrants result in a net positive effect on Social Security financial status generally, and that this effect contributed roughly $12 billion to the cash flow of the program for 2010.”’

Another tidbit you may want to know is that our own President Trump has hired thousands of undocumented immigrants for his business ventures throughout the years. He does it even today, at Mar-a-Lago, making sure his business benefits from cheap, undocumented labor. His own managers have even taken undocumented immigrants to go get these fake IDs!

This is a criminal offense. So, if you want to talk about crime, you have to look no further than Trump himself.

As long as businesses and CEOs like Trump demand cheap labor, immigrants in need will always seek out jobs here in the US, in any way they can get them.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy also estimates that about half of undocumented workers in the United States pay income taxes. This helps fund schools and local government services. They also pay sales and property taxes like any other resident. This added up to about $10.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.

Also, you can still pay income taxes WITHOUT a Social Security number, using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

As you can see, there is no real crisis regarding money either. We pay WAY more in taxes to our bloated military then we do to social programs like food stamps, which undocumented immigrants do not qualify for. Parents, however, can apply for them on behalf of their lawfully present children. And Republicans love children and are pro-life, so OBVIOUSLY this shouldn’t even be an issue. We are supposed to do whatever we can for children, both those currently born and unborn. Right?

But how are we supposed to know everyone crossing the border is a good person??

How do we know every person born right here in the United States is going to be a good person when they’re brought into this world? We don’t. But we aren’t making it illegal for people to have babies because they might turn out to be “bad”, are we?

But, but, border towns are overrun by bad people!

Actually, from 2011 to 2015, all but one of the 23 United States counties along the border had violent-crime rates lower than the national average for similar counties, according to federal crime data.

Mirror Check

At the end of all of this, if you still believe a wall is necessary to stop some sort of immigration crisis, then I have news for you…you are the crisis.

We are absolutely seeing a crisis of common sense in this country, of critical thinking skills, and of compassion. Politicians and the corporations who lobby them are also dead set on keeping that crisis going because it serves their personal agendas. Remember, these are the same corporations who don’t care whether we live or die. They’ve proven that by poisoning our waterways and our bodies because it boosts their bottom lines.

Do not let these bastards make a fool out of you. Do not let them think you are that stupid.

A Summary in Screenshots

As a wrap-up, here is an array of fact vs. myth screenshots from the Chamber of Commerce for you to come back to whenever you find yourself shouting, “Build the wall!”

Chelsey Engel

Written by

Chelsey is a writer and activist living and working in Pittsburgh. Her debut novel, A Summer of Fever and Freedom, is out everywhere now.

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