Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Letter from Silvia Brandon Perez

But first - I was gone all last week entertaining the grandson with enough to make a kid's entire summer - the beach, fairs, swimming, parks, playgrounds and more.

The spammers are now pretending to be the IRS, looking for the truly greedy. They send mail indicating you are due a small refund, and if you bit...! Probably illegal, so maybe this time they have went too far.

Silvia is an old friend who devotes her life to peace and immigration law. The following letter was sent to her local paper, but was not published. I will include another in the next issue of FireWeed due out soon (if I quit traveling modumless).


As someone with over thirty years of experience in the immigration field, I dispute, refute, and am appalled by the newest spate of racist scapegoating of our immigrants.

In study after study, it has been shown that immigrants do not have a negative effect on the economy, nor are they the cause of more crimes than the general 'native' population. For example, in 1998, a 32-page report incorporating the findings of more than two dozen national studies, published by Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute and entitled, "A Fiscal Portrait of the Newest Americans," ended with the comment:

"Overall, the research findings cited in this report suggest, first, that the American economy is greatly enriched by immigrants of all educational levels and ethnicities and, second, that immigrants are a fiscal bargain for American taxpayers."

In the August 2005, Vol 95, No. 8 of the American Journal of Public Health 1431-1438 © 2005 American Public Health Association DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.044602, a report on health care entitled: Health Care Expenditures of Immigrants in the United States: A Nationally Representative Analysis, found that

"Health care expenditures are substantially lower for immigrants than for US-born persons. Our study refutes the assumption that immigrants represent a disproportionate financial burden on the US health care system. "

Concerning Latino immigration in particular, a study released in 2003 by Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D. and Benjamin Johnson* of the American Immigration Law Foundation indicates that "Latinos experience substantial socioeconomic progress across generations compared to both their immigrant forefathers and native Anglos. But this fact is lost in statistical portraits of the Latino population which don’t distinguish between the large number of newcomers and those who have been in the United States for generations. Advocates of restrictive immigration policies often use such aggregate statistics to make the dubious claim that Latinos are unable or unwilling to advance like the European immigrants of a century ago."

The study cites the then campaign by immigration restrictionists concerning European immigration; Henry Cabot Lodge's comments are cited below. Sound familiar?

Representative Henry Cabot Lodge (R-MA), spoke about the worries concerning the wave of immigration (1891) by warning that “that immigration to this country is increasing and…is making its greatest relative increase from races most alien to the body of the American people and from the lowest and most illiterate classes among those races.” He was speaking principally of the Italians, but also the Russians, Poles and Hungarians. He observed that these immigrants, “half of whom have no occupation and most of whom represent the rudest form of labor,” are “people whom it is very difficult to assimilate and do not promise well for the standard of civilization in the United States.” Lodge complained that many of them “have no money at all. They land in this country without a cent in their pockets.” Of the Italians in particular he objected that many “stay but a short time in the United States” in order to “then return to their native country with such money as they have been able to save here.” He warned that these sorts of immigrants, “who come to the United States, reduce the rate of wages by ruinous competition, and then take their savings out of the country, are not desirable. They are mere birds of passage. They form an element in the population which regards home as a foreign country, instead of that in which they live and earn money. They have no interest or stake in the country, and they never become American citizens.”

In fact, a recent study by professors at Babson College reported in Inc. Magazine, July 19th of this year, shows that immigrants are an essential component of the nation's entrepreneurial culture.

"Immigrants tend to be younger and have more children to help build new businesses," said Maria Minniti, a Babson College professor who co-wrote the study and directs research at the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an international research group that gauges entrepreneurial activity in 39 countries worldwide.

Concerning crime among immigrant populations, that is another fallacy not supported by the facts. The Migration Policy Institute in Washington has completed a study about immigrants and the justice system, based on a micro sample from the 2000 National Census.

"Contrary to a lot of erroneous public perceptions, immigrants actually have the lowest rate of incarceration for criminal offenses of any population group in the country," according to director Kathleen Newland. Those most likely to be incarcerated are males with low education, usually high school dropouts; for the immigrant population, however:

“Some of the lowest educated immigrant groups on average like Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, have an incarceration rate of about half of one percent," she said. "They are lower even than the general immigrant population."

This is business as usual. We are living in an imperial, colonialistic society, which attempts to blame its problems on outsiders, rather than looking closely at how the society's own racism and colonial practices actually creates the conditions complained of, so that 'immigrants' become the scapegoats for all the social ills. The scapegoat is an old social animal... the newest ones are the Latino immigrants.

*Benjamin Johnson is the Director of the Immigration Policy Center and Walter Ewing is a Research Associate with the Center

Respectfully submitted,

Silvia A. Brandon Pérez, J.D.


I read a lot about immegration in the editorial pages and am convinced most of what is said is disquised racism.

Closing with a Chinese Brush Limerick

The Beat Goes On...

Beware of when the Browns immigrate,
they want us to be a third world state
with their gangish ways
and saint holidays.
Fence our borders before it's too late.

Read a little American history, not the kind found in UStates' schools and tell me when official policy did not warn of a red, brown, black or yellow peril.

Gone next week again, so see you in two.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to harp on 'anti-immigration' when the fact of the matter is that most anti-immigration activists are pro-immigration if it is legal immigration. These people are illegal and I don't care if you are white, brown, red, or did I say white, they gotta go. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, the invasion is real and we will stop it.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Gary B said...

Anonymous is way cool and gutsy. Something needs to be done, but most of what is said about them is lies and thinly disquised racism.

My ancestors chased the tribes out of the east, but I suppose that was ok, and not illegal by their lights.

Next time sign your name.


3:29 PM  
Blogger Silvia said...

Gary mi amor, thank you for publishing my letter; you send anonymous my "let us not remember the Alamo."

I am happy to report that two months after I submitted this letter as an "opinion piece," my local paper finally did publish... They asked me to resubmit because they had lost it... I actually bought the paper that day!

And to anonymous, sweeheart, when you change the borders willy-nilly, by killing those who were there, then that makes you "illegal." Learn your history, plis (spanglish for por favor...)

5:19 PM  
Blogger Gary B said...

Silvia, glad you dropped by. Might not be a blog without your content.

As for Anon, some never learn...



8:53 AM  

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