Home / Myth-Busting Florida Report Sheds New Light On Latino Immigration

Myth-Busting Florida Report Sheds New Light On Latino Immigration

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The idea that the United States is a nation of immigrants has been repeated so often that today it is a cliché.

Though it is uncertain when the Americas were first populated (estimates range from 35,000 years ago to 14,000, according to Jared Diamond in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs, and Steel), archaeologists and anthropologists agree that North and South America were the last continents to be inhabited. Thus, it can be safely said that we Americans are all immigrants.

The first of today’s United States to host permanent immigrants was the peninsula now known as Florida. Following Ponce De Leon’s first exploration in April, 1513, of the wild land he named Pascua Florida, meaning Feast of Flowers (Easter) in Spanish, the Spaniards first established a colony at Pensacola, which quickly failed.

The first permanent European settlement, San Agustín (later Saint Augustine) did not appear until 1565. The city was founded by the Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Aviles on September 8, 1565. Menéndez first sighted land on August 28, the feast day of Augustine of Hippo, and consequently named the settlement San Agustín; 20 years before the first English settlement at Roanoke Island, in the Virginia Colony (today’s North Carolina). Thus, it can be said that the first immigrant state is Florida.

This early tradition of immigration continues today. Florida is one of the top-ranking states in its rate of immigration and in the assimilation of its immigrant population, offering us an early glimpse into the impact and effects of immigration today, both legal and illegal, on the United States as a whole.

According to a report released this week by Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, and published in The Miami Herald, foreign born residents make up nearly a quarter of Florida’s workforce, and “also receive less public assistance and government healthcare benefits than their native-born neighbors…”

Produced by FIU’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, the report sheds new light on the impact of the immigrant population on the state, according to Emily Eisenhauer, one of its authors. The report uses data obtained from the US Census Bureau, and includes figures on both legal and illegal immigrants. The USCB estimates that Florida’s illegal population is somewhere between 850,000 and 1,000,000. The state’s total population currently is approximately 18,100,000.

Contrary to popular myths about immigrants, the study found that “ Immigrants contribute significantly to state and federal coffers but receive fewer government benefits than native-born individuals. Immigrants, legal and illegal, receive on average $1,619 per capita in public assistance like Social Security, food stamps and welfare, while non-immigrants average $2,217 annually.

The imbalance goes up when Medicare and Medicaid are factored in: Immigrants get $3,256 in health benefits on average, compared to nonimmigrants, who average $3,873.42. Some reasons for the gap, said Eisenhauer: Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for some programs, and others may have difficulty obtaining social services.”

The largest single group of Florida immigrants, as everyone knows, is Cuban: 21%. But the fastest growing immigrant population in Florida (as it is throughout the USA) is the Mexicans, increasing by nearly 50% between 2000 and 2005, the period of the study.

As a point of comparison, in 2005 (the last year for data), according to the Migration Policy Institute, the foreign-born populations of California, New York, Florida, and Texas, the four states with the largest such groups, were, respectively: 27.2%, 21.4%, 18.5%, and 15.9% of their total populations.

What are the implications of these findings for the rest of the United States? In a press release dated June of 2006, the American Political Science Association notes, "The fight…over who is an American, and what constitutes 'American-ness,' is and has been an ongoing one for virtually the entire history of the United States.”

The Quincy, Massachusetts Patriot Ledger notes in an editorial, “The percentage of immigrants in the population is no larger than it was a hundred years ago but the demographic is vastly different. Most new immigrants, legal and illegal, are Spanish-speaking, hence the proliferation of Spanish-language signs across America, not just in Texas, Arizona and other borders states.”

This, of course, is one of the phenomena associated with the Latino immigration that most rankles the native-born folks. It also gives rise to the myth that these immigrants are not learning English as quickly as previous immigrant groups did. Yet, according to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, “From New York City to Portland, Ore., immigrants' organizations and volunteer groups are facing intense demand from people desperate to learn the words that will help them win better jobs and decipher the customs and curiosities of American life.”

The Patriot Ledger editorial concludes with, “As Americans, we are tolerant of other people’s heritage, religion and attitudes. And this country has always fostered the idea of celebrating different backgrounds within the American framework.

But we must emphasize those shared values – tolerance is one among many – that identify us as a nation and a society. To do otherwise is to invite a Balkanized nation characterized by feuding along nationalistic, ethnic or religious lines. That is not acceptable or sustainable.”

Good advice that we all would do well to heed, for the alternative is the ultimate dissolution of our society into internecine conflict at a time in our history when we have the greatest opportunities for the growth and maturation of our culture.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • Dr Dreadful

    Like your Canadian friend, I also plan on staying here long-term on my green card. I won’t be applying for citizenship because US law requires that new citizens must renounce their previous nationality (although in practice, many don’t) – something I have no desire to do.

    My only beef with the situation is that although I live, work in and pay taxes to the United States, I have no say in how it should be run: I am disenfranchized. However, that’s my choice, and it does get me out of jury duty!

    The arrangement works for me because the law happens to allow me to do what I want to do in the US. But for these millions of illegal immigrants, it doesn’t. That’s something Bush’s guest worker idea tries to address (about the only thing I agree with him on), even though the way Congress now wants to enact it is half-assed to say the least.

    But criminalizing everyone left, right and center out of righteous indignation isn’t going to solve anything – any more than that approach is solving the drug ‘problem’.

  • Howard, Thanks for your kind words.

    As I explained above, I really don’t mind being called Clav or Clavvie, etc., and many folks on BC do have a nickname for my nickname. :>) I think the first to shorten it was Stan Denham, whom I admire greatly, even if he IS one of those strange surfer dudes.

    “This morning I had a discussion with my velador (guard, bodyguard, gardener and friend) and an albanile (mason). They had heard that men could make $10-15 an hour in the US. I had to agree that was true — and even more!”

    Uh oh. Should have lied to ’em Howard. Now you’ll have to find a new velador AND a new albañil. They’re probably already halfway to Texas.

    Howard, just for the record: if you know, please tell us how much money those two guys make?

  • Nancy writes:

    I presume to call him “Clavvie” because we are old buds on this website…or at least, I think so. BTW, what does “clavos” mean in Spanish, Clavos?

    We are indeed, Nancy, although we don’t always agree, we’ve always respected each others’ points of view. “Clavos” means “Nails” in English. It’s a nickname bestowed on me during my childhood in Mexico City.

    The immigration problem:

    First: it’s huge. I think everyone can agree on that point.

    Second: The distinction of “illegal” is largely a semantic one, IMO. While it is true that many (perhaps half of the nationwide Latino population, according to various government and NGO sources) are “illegal” in the sense that they came here clandestinely and without registering with the government, the problem is largely of our own making:

    Twelve million did not arrive overnight. They came, seeking “the American Dream,” over a period of many years, even decades. We have not enforced (REALLY enforced) immigration laws for decades; American employers, as you’ve pointed out, have turned a blind eye and hired them without demanding papers. Again, no (or very little) enforcement for decades.

    Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans in the US have actually been here since before the US existed as a country. Most of the city of San Antonio, for example, are Mexicans whose families have been here for several generations, some were here before 1836, when Texas declared its independence from Mexico. Those folks are, if anything, MORE entitled to be here than anyone except Native Americans, and many of them ARE, in fact, descendants of indigenous peoples.

    But I digress.

    Back to the “illegals:” the genie is out of the bottle. Despite what the rabid nativists insist, deporting 12 million people is NOT a practical (nor humane and in keeping with American principles) solution.

    I’m actually more conservative than the government in that I DO NOT think the 12 million should EVER be granted citizenship. Guest worker status, yes.

    But the Bill currently before congress screws up even that concept. I believe the period they’re allowed to stay should be longer, and at the end, if they can show they are gainfully employed and paying taxes (in other words, productive residents), they should be allowed to extend without the necessity of going home first.

    I have a Canadian friend (with green card) who has lived in this country for more than thirty years without being required to go home periodically (though he does, frequently); and why should he?

    I favor the guest worker program because I DO believe the vast majority of the 12 million have much potential to contribute positively in exchange for their being allowed to stay with legal status. Again, NOT citizenship.

    Before we do ANYTHING, however, THE BORDER NEEDS TO BE SEALED (REALLY sealed). If we don’t seal the border, then granting legal staus to those already here amounts to an invitation to the entire world to ALSO come here. This is what happened when we granted amnesty a few years ago without sealing the border.

  • Nancy

    I presume to call him “Clavvie” because we are old buds on this website…or at least, I think so. BTW, what does “clavos” mean in Spanish, Clavos?

    I’m sorry about the wife needing a wheelchair. If I had access to boats, I think I’d live on a nice, big houseboat, if I could find a good, safe anchorage, altho I suppose in Florida/the hurrican belt that’s near impossible to do. That way you never need to mow the [eel]grass. Once I re-learn to balance, I’ll be out on the water so fast …. whitewater rafting, too.

    As for throwing everyone out, I have no trouble with legal immigrants from ANYWHERE. I like the people from everywhere; it makes life so much more interesting & rich. I love being able to celebrate anything from Eid to Cinco de Maya to St. Patricks Day to Holi (& in this area, w/so many different people, we do!). I love the incredible variety of restaurants, from Afghani to Zimbabwean. I can shop for everything from saris to lutefisk, & it’s great.

    I DON’T like illegals from ANYWHERE – including England, Canada, or any other northern European source – any more than I dislike them from elsewhere. I don’t care if they’re black, brown, gold, or white. In fact, the first illegal I ever met was a white Canadian woman, & if I could have I would have sent her home so fast her head would still be spinning. I tried, but the INS ignored me, per Dubya’s instructions/policies. NO ONE should be here illegally, for any reason, nor should we be granting amnesty to anyone here illegally, or granting automatic citizenship to their kids born here.

    As for First Nations peoples, they’re immigrants, too, albeit more established ones. Frankly I always thought it was a shame they didn’t just up & massacre every European they encountered, but hindsight is 20-20. However, modern Mexican/Latinos have no more right to be considered FNs than I do, since their geopolitical citizenship is with Mexico, not the US, unless they can somehow demonstrate they stem from locals who have been in the area since before the US Civil War, which I’d pick as about the latest cutoff date as far as immigration status is concerned, since after that point it became more codified, while before it was fairly open, without significant laws.

    This is the crux of it: at some point, the laws WERE laid down as to immigration, & the gates WERE closed, & definite parameters as to who was an American & who was not WERE made. Once that point was reached, then things changed. I’m not saying for better or worse, but at that point, it did become a matter of law how one enters this country & stays. As a citizen, I try not to violate the laws, even when I think they’re not right. If I don’t like them, I should try to get them changed. Laws are NOT for “selective enforcement”, as BushCo seems to think. In no case should anyone wanting to settle here do so by violating immigration law, and subsequently other laws involving benefits, taxes, etc.

    The bigger scandal, to me, is that US citizens are intent on deliberately & maliciously cheating & violating US laws, both immigration & tax, by hiring & encouraging illegal immigration for their own selfish ends. We should be rigorously enforcing our employment tax laws on scofflaw employers of illegals. That alone, IMO, would send most illegals back where they came from, if these tax-cheating employers dried up because the punishment for employment tax evasion became too stiff.

  • Ps. You recall that Pres. Roosevelt once started a speech to the DAR with the line, “My fellow immigrants”.

  • Great article, Clavos. I came in late and am too overwhelmed by some of the responses. A national debate really brings out the worst in some people. Someone actually threatened to “execute” the Congress and, worse, called you “Clavvie”. That is really below the belt.

    This morning I had a discussion with my velador (guard, bodyguard, gardener and friend) and an albanile (mason). They had heard that men could make $10-15 an hour in the US. I had to agree that was true — and even more! One chided me for bothering to learn Spanish when I could be speaking Mayan. Language preferences are based on who you speak to.

    My grandfather came to Tampa after WWI (legally). He spoke 7 languages — English being the hardest and his worst. He still contributed to America. And he, too, was harassed by the 110% Americans.

  • STM

    “But they were legal immigrants.”

    Yep, “legal” would be the right word. 30 years’ legal. It’s very funny when English people rib us about our convict past. We think it’s great, and to to be able to trace ancestry back to one of the convict transports is a badge of honour.

    My youngest daughter (12) was very upset when she learned there was direct convict line in our family, just marriages to others that have branched off.

    Even our current PM and his wife have direct convict lineage – in his case, highly appropriate as he is a robbing, lying bugger.

  • Nancy,

    I’m a broker, I don’t own the boats I sell; I provide a service for sellers and buyers, just like a real estate agent, except it’s more difficult (and thus pays better), because nobody needs a boat.

    I do own one boat of my own that my wife and I lived on for several years until she became wheelchair-bound, but I’m selling it because of that.

    We now live in a rental apartment.

  • “About half of Arkansas immigrants are undocumented; most come to the state for work. Like other southern states with large shares of Mexican immigrants, Arkansas has many undocumented immigrants. In 2004–05, 51 percent of Arkansas immigrants were undocumented, compared with 29 percent nationally. In 2000, the employment rate for undocumented men (81 percent) was higher than that for legal immigrant, naturalized citizen, or U.S.-born men.”

    Full report

  • Zedd


    Was the Arkansas report about Latino illegal immigrants?

  • Nancy

    Clavvie – is that one of the boats you own?

  • I also wrote a post on blogcritics about the new immigrants.

    Mine was basically a little bit conservative and a little bit liberal. It’s the black view of the issue.

    Basically, I’m a liberal who doesn’t mind immigrants coming into the US but I wish that they shared many ideals of equality. Our town which historically has been a very mixed town is presently becoming very Ecuadorean who for some reason can be very prejudiced. They have bought up many houses and run refuse to rent to black people. Many of the businesses where blacks and whites used to work now employ only hispanics because the hispanic people got control of the hiring. It’s also sad to see one half of the town — the newcomers– treating the other half of the town (the old-timers) like dirt. But that seems to be what happens in many areas. As a black person who is an immigrant I would like many of the new Immigrants if they weren’t prejudiced aagainst me or my people. We blacks have suffered a lot and have finally tasted freedom and equality and to have folks coming in and taking over and treating us like dirt…well it just kinda hurts. As my Jewish friend describes it, it’s as if a Holocaust survivor has finally found peace in a town and some islamic terrorists have moved next door. One wants to love one’s new neighbor, but what does one do if one’s new neighbor treats one like dirt? And trust me.. some of the new neighbors have peed on their black neighbor’s yard and seem to think that all black women are whores. What do we do with that?


  • More published myth-busting, this time from a study on Latino immigration by the Urban Institute, relating specifically to Arkansas which, according to the Institute, has the fastest growing Latino immigrant population in the USA:

    “Economic and Fiscal Effects of Arkansas Immigrants

    Arkansas immigrants had an estimated total after-tax income of $2.7 billion in 2004. About 20 percent was sent home to families abroad, saved, or used for interest payments. The remaining spending reverberated throughout the state’s economy for a total impact of $2.9 billion, over half of which was concentrated in Benton, Washington, Sebastian, and Pulaski counties.

    Immigrants and their children have a small but positive net fiscal effect on the state budget. Some $237 million in 2004 went to immigrant-related education, health services, and corrections. Those costs were offset by direct and indirect tax payments of $257 million, resulting in a net surplus to the state budget.

    Immigrant workers contribute substantially to the economic output of the state and to the cost-competitiveness of key industries, the researchers pointed out. For example, without immigrant labor, manufacturing’s output would likely be lowered by about $1.4 billion—about 8 percent of the sector’s $16.2 billion contribution to the gross state product in 2004.”

    If enacted as written, the proposed Kennedy/McCain Bill would inevitably deprive Arkansas (and all other states with significant Latino immigrant populations) of this important, economically valuable human resource.

  • Zedd


    You are very right about diversity. My Dad came with dreams of a world where anyone can make it and differences are celebrated. While we need to spread that perspective through the entire country, the fact that we do have it is a blessing.

    The dilemma has to do with illegal immigration. Its really hard to become a US citizen as it should be. I am grateful that my parents worked towards that end when I was a child. They had to prove what specific benefit they brought to America. After five years of attempts, they were successful.

    Its not fair to the rest of the planets inhabitants who dream of America that those who live next door can just walk in and stake their claim, work, not pay taxes (for the most part) and demand rights.

  • Zedd


    What I discovered was just how enterprising the women were. I suppose because many of them were already familiar in “economic exchanges”. It seems that they played a major role in the establishment of the new colony.

    What I found most compelling is that without the judgement and barriers of the British class system, these individuals, became industrious, law abiding, respectable contributors to society. Actually I suspect that had the first cargoes been filled with upper class women, we wouldn’t have an OZ today, at least not in the form that it exists in.

    There are so many lessons to be derived from this story. Made me appreciative of your country even more. Beautiful!!

    Talk about an immigration story…..

    But they were legal immigrants.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    When I was a child in Brooklyn, my mother had a huge (to a ten year old) red and white box of salt on the kitchen table. In Yiddish, in BIG Hebrew letters, it said Diamond Kristal Kosher Zaltz – Diamond Crystal kosher salt. It was one of the ways I learned how to read Yiddish.

    As a smaller child in Williamsburg, I saw signs in Yiddish and Spanish. Wherever you look in New York, you see signs in foreign languages, with newspapers in at least 15 languages. The same is true today in Jerusalem.

    When I lived in the Midwest, I missed a lot of that international flavor. Life gets awful boring if it all vanilla ice-cream, all in English. And while New Yorkers are provincial, the folks in Saint Paul and Minneapolis seemed infinitely more so to me over the two decades I lived there.

    In short, if you live in a country of immigrants, get used to the fact that before they entirely assimilate the local culture, a generation or two must pass. Since America has an open border with a large piece of land that has far fewer opportunities, it is no surprise that Spanish is so important there.

  • STM

    Zedd: They sent the extra women on the Juliana to “improve the morals of the colony”, ie to promote matrimony and to make it more of a colony rather than just a penal colony. That was the theory, anyway. The Juliana, of course, became a floating brothel (the first of many) – and that was only on the trip over.

    The big problem was, they filled the Lady Juliana (and all the many subsequent female transports) with prostitutes, thieves, conwomen and women of general ill-repute.

    And thank the Good Lord for that!! It’s why all the world loves an Aussie woman … they tell it like it is, no pussyfooting around.

    I still believe Britain’s greatest ever mistake was to send all the party people to the best place (sunshine, beer, beautiful beaches, beer, fresh air, wide open spaces and let’s not forget beer, either, shall we), whilst the rest of the poor buggers stayed on in that grey, miserable rainy place.

    They should have done it the other way around.

  • Zedd


    Illegal aliens are “un-American”.

    Today I watched a wonderful documentary on the arrival of women to Australia. If it weren’t for your contributions on OZ I would have probably passed on it. But since you have wet all of our interests, I was compelled to watch. It was extraordinary. They chronicled some of the passengers of the Lady Juliana. I was glued. Good stuff

  • Zedd

    Clav and Stan

    Rather, it’s the nationality and skin colour of the immigrants that’s the problem, and the perception that they are “un-American

    Not true. First Clav you know that Hispanics come in all races.

    Also, unless you live in Texas or Cali, In cities that are inundated and drastically changed in the past 5yrs, you don’t know what you are talking about. We know and respect Mexicans, we don’t like what illegal immigration is doing to our society.

    It is language among other things. Stan if every teller, customer service person, clerk, receptionist or front desk person HAD to be Japanese because the language issue was so significant, you would be startled.

    If they were Russian, we’d still say the same thing.

    There are some people who are truly racist and would make comments if only two Mexican illegals entered the boarder. They are idiots and powerless individuals. They will be silenced by the majority.

  • zingzing

    i kind of like having things in other languages. i like going into the japanese grocery near my place and seeing all sorts of japanese all over the place, with lovely little english translations on it. i like going abroad and seeing english signs and people who can speak english. i like being able to get around in a foreign place. i like living in a city where you frequently see signs written in chinese, spanish, japanese and english. it’s cosmopolitan. it’s welcoming to visitors and to newcomers. if you want all english all the time, don’t bother living in a real city. go out in the country where you can shoot your guns and toss your unwanted babies into the woods and snear at the “faggots” and the “spics” and all those “damn muslims” you never have to see. lalala.

  • Stan sez:

    Australia, which also has a very large immigrant population, does this mostly, but provides written translations in about 10 different languages, and translator services for all government services and departments, State and federal.

    This is exactly how it works in the USA, too, Stan.

    Rather, it’s the nationality and skin colour of the immigrants that’s the problem, and the perception that they are “un-American”.

    Quoted for Truth.

  • STM

    Could all this nonsense be solved through the simple expedient of legislating for English to be used in all official and business transactions, etc, except of course when they are conductied solely among Spanish-speaking people – you can’t outlaw anyone’s right to speak the language they want between themselves.

    Australia, which also has a very large immigrant population, does this mostly, but provides written translations in about 10 different languages, and translator services for all government services and departments, State and federal.

    I suspect, however, that the real issue here, despite what some people say, is not really about the use of the Spanish language.

    Rather, it’s the nationality and skin colour of the immigrants that’s the problem, and the perception that they are “un-American”.

  • Zedd


    Are you alright?

    Illegal immigration. STAY focused.

    Its you who mentioned Medicaid and Medicare. What that has to do will illegal immigration is strange. Why did you bring it up if it had nothing to do with illegals? You were deflecting.

    Their cost to us comes in other ways. Ways which I have metioned a billion times and you never addressed. GET IT NOW?

    BTW California has the most ILLEGAL aliens then Texas. Not sure what you are talking about re: Florida.

  • Nancy

    It’s doubtful the figures even exist, given the ‘invisibility’ of illegals anyway, Clavvie. They don’t like to own up to being illegal for fear of deportation, so I have my own suspicions where such “statistics” are quoted.

  • Illegals have NO rights. Period.

    So wrong, and typically over the top, Nancy. Illegals still have basic human rights. Their minor transgression of border law doesn’t take those away.


  • Zedd,

    One more time:

    I’m not trying to present solutions, I am trying to dispel myths about Latino immigrants (legal AND Illegal) which are rooted in racism, and I think I’ve done that quite successfully.

    You say:

    The problem is that Hispanic illegal immigrant’s kids have the highest drop out rates. Have some of the highest crime rates; have the most rapidly increasing crime statistics; have high teen pregnancy rates.

    The fact is, as the FIU report notes:

    “A much smaller percentage of the immigrant population is under 16 years of
    age (6.3 percent) than is true of non-immigrants (23.8 percent).

    So, the data about their children (where are you getting this data, anyway? You link nothing, so I can only consider it anecdotal) is not even significant, given how few children they have on a per capita basis.

    None of that can be quantified by looking at Medicare, Medicaid or any other form of welfare. Your report dealt with none of that and that makes your report null and void.

    Medicare is linked to Social Security eligibility. Unless you consider SS as welfare, Medicare is NOT welfare. Medicaid, which is for people below the poverty level, is. My ARTICLE PROVED that immigrants are NOT the burden on taxpayers that you say they are. YOU have NOT proven your point.

    Give me a report that looks at Texas or California, the health care costs, school burdens, costs to the criminal justice system (administrative et al) and then tell me how they are contributing more to this country than its own citizens even though they send a great deal of the money back home.

    Since Florida actually has a higher percentage of immigrants than Texas, I’m sure Texas’ numbers will come out even better for the taxpayers than Florida’s, but I have a better idea:

    Why don’t you write your own annotated and source-linked article for all of us to review and discuss? Put your money where your mouth is Zedd.

  • Nancy

    Zedd, Ma’am, that won’t happen until & unless we first execute or deport all of congress & the white house to boot. Maybe the Pentagon for good measure.

  • Zedd


    I know many professionals with expired SS cards, they do pay taxes.

    You are probably right about cash paid workers.

    I fully agree with you that the focus should be on finding a solution. This has to be fixed. I don’t understand the energy being waisted and faining offense when none is required.

    The same thing happened with African Americans. A lot of time was waisted denying the truth instead of fixing the problems. While they had every reason to be defensive, it was detrimental to their own people. Lesson learned. Now the younger generation is saying lets just fix things and stop deflecting.

  • Nancy

    Someone ought to have been out there with pellet guns peppering the bastards in their nether parts. Illegals have NO rights. Period.

  • Zedd


    Although I think it is premature, I think that once a good bill is passed that holds everyone accountable, citizens also should play a part like those of Farmers Branch. Those citizens voted that any landlord who houses illegal aliens will be prosecuted and fined heavily. Those fines should be stiff and certain.

    What was interesting to me is that some illegals actually protested in Farmers Branch. Is it me???

  • Nancy

    Lump, it doesn’t work that way: with fake IDs, the illegals are able to access bennies, but they DON’T PAY for them, because their employers don’t withhold or PAY them, because these people aren’t even on the “official” payroll records. They’re paid under the table, cash only. So they don’t get the withholding taken out, either – but they present the fake ID, they DO get the bennies: welfare, housing, schooling, food stamps, the whole 9 yards. Comprende?

  • Lumpy

    On fake IDs. The government ought to be encouraging them. They mean the illegal will pay SS taxes, but since the number is fake they’ll never get benefits so the miney just goes into the system to benefit those of us who are legal.

  • Zedd


    I get it. You don’t think what is going on with illegal immigration is a big deal.

    Clavos the point is they CANT receive welfare. I am very sympathetic to illegal immigrants coming here to work. I would do the same thing. However go into any hospital emergency clinic in a major city in Texas or California, do a survey….. While racking up thousands of dollars of emergency room fees and not paying (its impossible because of our system, its high) we pay for it. You saying that they are not as bad as Americans is mute. They are not Americans though. We like every country can and should deal with our poor. Why you would right an article stating that Another country’s poor don’t cost us tax payers as much as our own, is strange. They shouldn’t. They are not Americans.

    Also you mixing in Cuban immigrants is just cheating and you know it. You keep mixing illegal immigration and legal immigration to try and make a point which is not a point at all actually.

    You know full well that the contention is not legal immigration. Most children of legally immigrated people go to collage and do well. You keep trying to make this an anti Hispanic thing and it is not. I have had many friends and co workers who are from Mexico, being immigrants we would engage in fascinating topical discussions and political matters. Most of our natural born co workers had no clue what we are talking about. So you don’t have to do cartwheels trying to convince one of the fact that Hispanics are not inferior. That is not the point here.

    The problem is that Hispanic illegal immigrant’s kids have the highest drop out rates. Have some of the highest crime rates; have the most rapidly increasing crime statistics; have high teen pregnancy rates. That is problematic and THAT is topic focused. The problem is that our local taxes are going up (mine went up $300 monthly last year) in order to support the burden to the hospital and school system. None of that can be quantified by looking at Medicare, Medicaid or any other form of welfare. Your report dealt with none of that and that makes your report null and void. You didn’t discuss the real contention at all. You made up a contention to divert from the real issue.

    Give me a report that looks at Texas or California, the health care costs, school burdens, costs to the criminal justice system (administrative et al) and then tell me how they are contributing more to this country than its own citizens even though they send a great deal of the money back home.

    Clavos, you DO get it, you just don’t want to acknowledge it. Focus on solutions as opposed to excuses. They are illegal. That is not good for them or us. Figure out a way to solve that. You are waisting time with your justifications. Why do you think its useful to do so anyway. It doesn’t make you more caring. It just makes you lazy to come up with solutions for this problem.

  • Nancy

    Actually, Arch, in the 19th & even early 20th centuries, the Irish & Jews were looked on with horror & loathing by the Yankee natives because they DID regularly riot, demonstrate, & demand rights, jobs, housing, decent wages, and/or just plain respect. These barbarians actually proceeded to form PACS that got their own elected to public office. The outrage of it all! In fact the politics of immigrant Irish was so notorious, it even spawned several novels, including O’Connor’s immortal “The Last Hurrah”. If you saw “Gangs of New York”, that was another historically-based reflection of the very NON-passive role now-assimilated immigrants from Ireland & elsewhere played in earlier US history, altho you’d never know it from the way the current discourses are going. I guess it’s being conveniently overlooked, but it certainly demonstrates the truism that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. Or at least, not to realize that it’s all happened before, somewhere else.

    That said, I agree that statistics can be twisted in any way you want. A good statsplayer can make those illegals wind up being the main support of the US economy, or it’s biggest drain; it all depends on how you twist the numbers. So stats impress me not at all. I once sat thru a demo where a master statsman ‘proved’ that inflation was caused by blue-eyed blondes. That sort of ruined the numbers game for me from then on.

    We DO have to get a handle on the borders. And yes, it’s pitiful what some people have to suffer & why they come, but that’s just tough: we are no longer a nation of wide open spaces & unlimited resources. Time to close the gates & melt down Lady Liberty, I think, or at least tighten the standards considerably & be ruthless & draconian about booting &/or punishing those discovered sneaking in from now on. Something to the effect of, you come in legally via a work permit, you have a chance of citizenship, provided you’re clean; we catch you here w/out papers, you’re not only out, you are forever barred of any chance of citizenship, we’re confiscating your assets, & the next time we catch you, we’re cutting off your legs … or something like that maybe not so extreme. It goes without saying, anyone w/criminal records here or back home is an automatic no-no. Perhaps we could just drop them off the side of a boat out at the legal sea limit & see if they can swim home? I’m sure their native land wouldn’t cry much about their inability to backstroke, either.

    Immigrants who are here need to get greater access to English language classes. As I pointed out in another thread, in this area, the few existing classes are jammed, with huge waiting lists, of people willing to get up before dawn & work til long after dark laboring at a language which, frankly, is NOT easy, even for native-born speakers, to learn properly. I have to give a lot of these people credit: they can at least manage basic English, even if it is heavily accented & hard to understand. I can’t manage a simple sentence in Spanish/Spanglish, or any other language for that matter, except ‘yo quiero Taco Bell’, so they have one up on me in that regard. Additionally, the process for naturalization is deeply flawed & still working with 19th century (not even 20th century) techniques, thereby creating huge backlogs of applications for people who DO want to come in legally. It shouldn’t take 5- 10- or even 20 years to get citizenship. That’s ridiculous & obscene. If Bush & those halfwit maggots in congress would spend half as much time & money to fixing the INS/Naturalization Services as they do to posturing & preening themselves, we’d have no further problems. In this regard, the primary root of the problem is TAX-CHEATING EMPLOYERS, who are basically unpatriotic, greedy, dishonest, & selfish enough to be more than ready to cheat their fellow citizens & the government (not to mention their employees) of their rightful withholding taxes by employing illegals. Alas, this aspect of the problem is unlikely to get fixed, because the biggest tax cheats of all employing massive numbers of illegals are the same corporate slimebags who have the congressmaggots & Presidental maggot firmly in their wallets. Why should these scum have to pay taxes when congress & BushCo are more than willing to let The Public (that’s you & me, Bub) foot the bill so they can have fatter profits?

    The obvious solution is stringent (& fast) jail time/enforcement/fines against CEOs & management, as well as individual employers or anybody else who gives an illegal a job. And extremely tough penalties for those who import, smuggle, or provide false IDs for illegals. I do think the death penalty isn’t too harsh for those scum.

    Which brings me to…

    …fake IDs. The point was made above, that you can’t get benefits if you don’t have an ID/SSN. Wassamattayou? Never heard of the booming multibilliondollar business in underground/stolen, or just plain forged/faked SSNs that allow illegals to get all kinds of bennies they aren’t entitled to, including entry to the voting booth? Where the hell do you think those come in? To claim illegals aren’t a major drain on legit resources because they don’t have legit SSNs is stupid, naive, & just plain obtuse. Of course they are, & they do, courtesy of the ID vendors, who steal my or your SSN, change the data a little, & sell it on the street. A major vendor of same was just caught a few weeks ago here in Virginia, with over 10,000 falsified & stolen SSN/ID cards in his possession. They’re easy to get, if you’re an illegal. Some coyotes even supply them as part of the smuggling fee, or employers supply them to give their illegal employees a start. One of those big corporations was found to have a stash of them in their HR office. Nice, huh?

    The point to that is, we’ll never be able to stop illegal immigration if our own citizens are greasy enough to be the ones opening the gates, and that starts at the top. Consider how many of our highest officials in past decades have been caught harboring illegals as nannies & other household help. A wannabe presidential candidate as well as a potential supreme court candidate got shot down for that, if I remember correctly.

    All said, tho, I think that in the end, if we want to really get anything done to fix this, we have to work at both ends, making it easier to come in for those qualified, while hardening our bleeding hearts against all the hard luck stories out there & getting militant about enforcing the rules. For everybody, not just the illegals. Let’s start at the top.

  • zingzing

    jerry–well, you are quite a bit more reasonable than i assumed. my fault.

    you say: “Finally, it isn’t unreasonable to deport those who don’t get with the program. Do you disagree with any of that? If so why?”

    of course it’s not unreasonable to deport those who make no effort to follow the rules, once we actually have some rules in place, and those rules are working. (that could be never.) most of what you have to say (in #19) is perfectly reasonable and i wouldn’t argue against it.

  • Zedd,

    Re-read the article.

    In fact, read the report.

    You aren’t getting the central point, which is that the Latino immigrants including the ILLEGALS, are paying more money into the system than they are costing. That’s the third (or fourth) time I’ve said that (and proved it with HARD data that absolutely DOES include illegals, because the totals are computed based on the total number of immigrants residing in the USA.

    They come here to work, Zedd. You think they’re going to pay the coyotes the kind of money you yourself point out they pay to draw welfare and free medical care?

    Did you look at the data? Most of them are of working age, a demographic that uses very little medical service.


    You just don’t get it.

  • Jerry

    Zing, I agree with some of what you’re saying. The aliens that are here need to be accepted and assimilated, and of course it is impossible to deport 20 million people.

    My issues have been, and always will be that uncontrolled illegal immigration is taking a huge toll on citizens in countless ways: America needs to take care of her own first, starting with border security, however that can be done.

    Secondly, the immigrants need to be brought quickly into an understanding that being in America is a privilege, not a right. And yes, the assimilation needs to include such things as learning English and appreciation for American values (Constitutional concepts, not corporate greed). This not some magical process affected by free enterprise.

    We should be considering such things as what types of skills and education are going to be the best fit for national needs, not just a free-for-all labor force, which much of the business community is fighting for.

    Finally, it isn’t unreasonable to deport those who don’t get with the program. Do you disagree with any of that? If so why?

  • Zedd


    Lets clarify, I am only discussion illegal aliens.

    My point is that the government through us has to offset the expense through various other sources.

    You quote sources on government contribution that don’t and CANT contain information about illegal’s cost.

    What about our local taxes going up? What about the numerous subsidies to various entities such as hospitals by THE GOVERNMENT to help with the burden that illegal aliens have put on them.

    Your report is not a report at all. Its like writing an article citing the misunderstanding of shopping expenditures that women make by citing their dismal purchases of jock straps (excuse the crudeness) for personal use. We don’t use such items so what point does the article make right?

    Illegal aliens don’t get governmental assistance. What is YOUR point.

  • Jerry #15:


    I’m trying; that’s why I wrote the article.

    “Every journey starts with but a single step.”

  • zingzing

    jerry, i won’t say you’re a racist, and i won’t say you’re COMPLETELY stupid… i’ll just say you are a fool. what’s the point in trying to stop them? we try now, they still come in anyway, right? as flawed as the bill in congress is, it is a step in the right direction. if these people are legal citizens (or at least have work visas), they pay taxes and are documented. they are more likely to assimilate. they won’t feel like criminals just for living their lives.

    what’s the real problem here? do you not want them reaping the benefits of living in america without paying for it? then let them pay for it. or do you think they are all criminals? they ARE all criminals as things stand… so why not be a criminal if you already are? or do you just not like them as a people? too bad on that one.

  • Jerry

    Clav & Doc –

    Points well taken, now if you can convince about 160 million more citizens (stupid, nativist, racists) you’ll be doing good.

  • Jerry

    Zedd –

    Sorry that I forgot to put “ILLEGAL” in front of immigrant, on my #6 post. Problem solved.

  • Zedd writes:

    You have to have a social security number to get social security…..

    True. Non-citizens are routinely issued SS accounts. What’s your point?

    You have to have legal status to apply for medicare and medicaid.

    Illegal aliens don’t qualify for food stamps.

    My point (and the point of the report my article is about) is that Latino immigrants (legal AND illegal) are contributing more than they are receiving from the government, and that point is proved.

    What’s your point?

  • Zedd


    Do you support Native Americans more than you support yourself or others who have immigrated to this country?

    If you were educated or even slighly informed (sorry to say), you would be embarrassed to hold the views about immigrants that you do. Its all been done and said in the previous century and nothing horrible happened (except the mafias).

    We have gained our greatest scientific achievements from the input of immigrants. What makes us the greatest country in the world is that we get some of the best from all over the world.

    If your issue is with illegal immigration then your frustration is understandable but you don’t seem to be articulating that position.

  • Jerry, here’s a comment from Alec on another thread:

    Despite all the hysteria over Hispanic immigration, if you take even a cursory glance at Spanish language television, you will find numerous commercials for English language schools. Advertisers wouldn’t waste their time if there were no market for this.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Nativism – 1) “A 19th century political program favoring the interests of native inhabitants over those of immigrants”. (any society that doesn’t do this will fail).

    Jerry, Jerry, the US is a nation of immigrants, like it or not. There’s this tall bronze chick hangs out in New York Harbor who has some ideas about that – you should really go and have a chat with her.

    American society isn’t failing, it’s evolving – by taking the best of what immigrants bring with them and combining it with what’s already here.

    You have to strike a balance. A society that refuses to take in new blood and ideas from the outside will fail – through stagnation, corruption and collapse.

  • Zedd


    We ARE talking about illegals right? Why are we comparing how much we have to pay for illegal aliens compared to American citizens? Why are we having this dialogue? Is it just me?

    You have to have a social security number to get social security…..

    You have to have legal status to apply for medicare and medicaid.

    Illegal aliens don’t qualify for food stamps.

    Your numbers don’t say anything really Clav sorry.

    Texas receives $46million from the federal government to HELP off set the emergency room care for illegal aliens. California $71M, Arizona $45M and so on. Why is that Okay with you when Mexico’s GDP is fat because of the money that is being taken away from American citizens.

    Clav stop waisting your time being disingenuous. You know full well that the real beef is with ILLEGAL immigration and not just immigration. Why don’t you focus on working on a bill that will be sensible for Americans and illegals instead of pretending as if we don’t have a SERIOUS problem in our hands. Your deflecting puts into question your allegiance to this country in my eyes. You are more concerned with protecting the image of your illegal people today than the quality of future for America.

    Also comparing the burden of non citizens to citizens in our society is just weird. Should non citizens costs the nation more??? What was your point?

  • Jerry

    Dave –

    Who made you Inquisitor of the thoughts and intents of mankind?

    “the current mania against immigration is entirely the result of a kind of passive racism.”

    Oh really. You deligitimize yourself.

    Ok, I will define myself as a Nativist according to the first definition in The American Heritage Dictionary: Nativism – 1) “A 19th century political program favoring the interests of native inhabitants over those of immigrants”. (any society that doesn’t do this will fail).
    2) “The doctrine that the mind produces ideas that are not derived from external sources; the doctrine of innate ideas”. (your definition of Nativist’s? It’s all in their heads).
    3) “The re-establishment or perpetuation of native cultural traits, especially in opposition to acculturation”. (my definition of illegal immigrants)

  • Thank you all for your comments.

    First, I would like to reiterate that the purpose of this article is NOT to argue the the extremely complicated and very controversial problem of what steps should US take to resolve the immigration (in particular, the illegal immigration) problem.

    My intent was/is, as stated in the title, to help dispel the popular myths about immigrants (legal AND illegal) which are so prevalent among the native-born population. Aside from the fact that many of these myths border on being racist, they are (as I have pointed out) baseless, and only serve to complicate and obfuscate the discussion of a situation that affects us all.

    That said:

    Doug, in regard to your point about relative ages of immigrants in the study VS the native-born population, particularly here in Florida, which every one knows is God’s Waiting Room, here are two relevant excerpts directly from the report itself:

    • The state’s immigrant population is more heavily working age than is the native born population. A much smaller percentage of the immigrant population is under 16 years of age (6.3 percent) than is true of non-immigrants (23.8 percent).

    • Comparing taxes paid to assistance received shows that immigrants in Florida contribute nearly $1,500 per year more than they receive, while non-immigrants contribute about $1,390 more than they receive.

    Arch, I agree with you; the “major part of the debate IS a character issue.” Obviously, I disagree with your assessment of the immigrants’ character, and I think the report backs me up there. Dave has done a fine job of refuting your factual contentions, so I won’t go into them.

    Maurice, Thank you. I value your opinion, as you know. Nice to hear from you again, BTW.

    Dave, nice comment. As always, you get it.

  • Jerry

    Unfortunately the Balkanization is well underway, unwittingly spearheaded by the immigrants themselves. The article indicates that immigrants are making huge efforts to learn English yet all the while proliferating Spanish signs everywhere…some kind of disconnect there.

    It is true that previous waves of ethnic groups like the Chinese and Italians have their sections which resemble respective native countries, but the Mexican influence is very far-reaching in comparison.

    Lat-Am immigration is beginning to create a self perpetuating society and economy that doesn’t necessarily need or want to assimilate, and that is at least an element of the Balkanization process.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Well said, Dave, and kudos for neatly upending Arch’s hysterical historical perspective.

    But I don’t think you can really reach Arch. He is committed to fight to the death against all conservative demons, chiefly:

    1. Baby butchers;
    2. Worthless immigrant scumbags;
    3. Evil liberals;
    4. Hillary Clinton;
    5. Pretty much everyone on this site.

  • I think that comparing the influx of illegals now with that of the early twentieth century is absolutely ludicrous and I suspect most reasonable people would agree.

    Then most ‘reasonable’ people would in fact not be reasonable at all. As Clavos points out in the article, the level of illegal immigration and legal immigration combined is lower today than it has been at most times in our history. There is no ‘flood’ of illegals, and those who claim that there is are the ones being irrational.

    The fact is that the current mania against immigration is entirely the result of a kind of passive racism. Because our current crop of immigrants come from poor backgrounds and have dark colored skin and speak an unpopular language they’re seen as more of a threat than other immigrant groups. This is exactly the same reaction which nativists had to immigrant groups from eastern Europe in the early part of this century. They were fine by that point with the Irish and the Gemrans who their grandparents had hated and reviled, but they described the current crop of immigrants as:

    The poles, slavs, huns and italians come over without any ambition to live as Americans live and accept work at any wages at all, thereby lowering the tone of American labor as a whole.’

    or as

    Long haired, wild eyed, bad smelling, atheistic foreign wretches

    or as

    europes inhuman riubbish

    or as

    cuthroats of beelzebub from the rhine, the danube, the vistula and the elber

    (all quotes from contemporary newspapers)

    Now let me ask you. Do you feel that way about Poles or Italians or Russians today now that it’s 3 generations later?


  • Maurice

    Thanks for a great article, Clavos.

  • Arch Conservative

    Ummmm ok.

    I think that comparing the influx of illegals now with that of the early twentieth century is absolutely ludicrous and I suspect most reasonable people would agree.

    There are a lot fo pretty numbers int he article to support a pro illegal immigration standpoint but what the article fails to mention and I think should be a focal point of any discussion on the AMerican immigration situation is the “character” of today’s illegal immigrant.

    I am sure there are many immigrating here illegally from south of the border who have noble intentions of finding a job, paying taxes, respecting the laws and citizens, and learning to speak English. However there are far, far, far too many who come here only to skirt the law, evade taxes, display nothing but sheer disdain for our LEGAL citizens and our culture and other wise disrespect this nation while sucking off of it’s teat.

    History doesn’t show us the Irish, Italian, German etc….. immigrants in the early 19th century behaving int he way that the current crop does. They did not March in the street and demand to be catered to in their own tongue. They did not routinely engage in disrespectful behavior such as desecrating the American flag while hoisting their own. Instead they made every attempt possible to, while still maintaining their native culture in their own homes, assimiliate into the American society in every possible way once they left the confines of their personal abodes. This really cannot be said of today’s ILLEGAL immigrants.

    So I see a major part of the debate as a chracter issue. Basically too many of the ILLEGALS coming here now are, for a lack of better wording, worthless scumbags. Maybe the government should devise some kind of test to be applied by the border patrol that singles out the worthless scumbags. “What’s that you say? you want to come live in America? OK we’re gonna give you a little test here. Oh sorry you didn’t pass it…..our results point to the conclusion that you are in fact a worthless scumbag. We’re full…please turn around and go back to where you came from.”

  • Doug Hunter

    Statistics can say anything you want them to. Was the age of immigrants vs. native born citizens taken into account? Disproportionate numbers of illegals are healthy, working age people who obviously aren’t going to consume as many benefits immediately upon arrival.

    Also, legal and illegal immigrants were lumped together. It takes money, persistence, and connections for law abiding immigrants to get here and I wouldn’t be surprised if those traits don’t translate into better education and other indicators of success. Seperate out the illegals and I’d imagine you have quite a different picture.