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We Need to Change How We Treat Undocumented Immigrants

Fnord12 and i recently attended a Board of Freeholders meeting. In a previous meeting, the Board had decided that the county sheriff's office would not arrest and detain immigrants for ICE unless ICE had an actual warrant, which is basically the very least that should be required if one wanted to follow the law and the Constitution. This apparently caused a bugaboo amongst the conservatives in the county so they tried to organize people to show up at this last meeting to lodge a protest to the Board's decision. Catching wind of this, progressive orgs put out their own call to get people to show up and support the Board. Hence, fnord12 and me actually leaving the house for once.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, so many people against the policy were just generally misinformed, with a smattering of good ol' racism. They misinterpreted the Board's decision to mean the sheriff's office was just going to let people who had committed actual crimes go free. "Would you stop them if they just came up and stabbed me?" O.o

Then there was the "My parents/grandparents/great-grandparents came to this country legally and they worked hard to make a life here", not like those lazy undocumented immigrants who just sit around all day selling drugs with their free Obama phones, collecting social security, welfare, free health insurance, and free college.

But, luckily, there were plenty of people who actually knew what the policy said and also were informed enough to know that undocumented residents a) pay taxes, b) don't get to collect any social assistance, c) and are more likely to be victims of crimes than the ones committing them.

Indeed, studies routinely show that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, and instead contribute nearly $12 billion dollars in state and local taxes. Many come to the United States to escape economic insecurity or other harsh conditions, and -- like most immigrants -- are only interested in building a better, safer life for their children in America.

Yet, federal immigration law which seeks to persecute, prosecute, and criminalize undocumented immigrants only succeeds in wasting taxpayer dollars to destabilized and break up immigrant families, to deport people who often have lived peacefully for years in America to a country they may not know, and to drive the remaining immigrant population deeper into the shadows. Whereas programs like DACA have been shown to significantly improve the wellness and outcomes for those who receive protection, immigrants deported by the United States government undergo significant personal and emotional stress -- as do their children who remain in the United States. It is unclear if deportees ever fully recover from the experience of being forcibly separated from their homes and families by the U.S. government; for example, a Korean American adoptee who was adopted at age 10 by an American family but who was deported to Korea in 2012 was found dead of suicide last month.


Fun fact: while most people might picture a person from Mexico or Central America when they hear about "illegals" or "undocumented immigrants", Asians are becoming the fastest growing population of undocumented immigrants. Don't think Trump's wall will do much good now, huh?

Turns out that, since 2000, unauthorized immigration from Asia has grown at rates much faster than from Mexico and Central America. That's according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute.
At 6 million, Mexicans still represent the majority of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country. But the percentage of those arriving has slowed since the recession. During that time, however, Asian unauthorized immigration has increased considerably. From 2000 to 2013, it increased 202 percent, according to the report.
Asians now represent about a third of the foreign-born population in America--equal with the Mexican foreign-born population. They also represent 14 percent of the unauthorized population. That number, by the author's own projections, will grow in the coming decade.


This country was built by immigrants and the economy continues to rely on them in order to flourish. For selfish reasons alone, we should be changing our policies on immigration. That it's also morally right doesn't hurt either.

By min | June 17, 2017, 12:44 PM | Liberal Outrage