BY AARON GALVAN
Photo courtesy of AP Images. President Donald Trump reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego.
With midterms elections coming up Nov. 6, the Trump administration continues to put forth the narratives of undocumented immigrant high crime rates throughout the United States. Myths and misperceptions continue to be shared despite studies and data illustrating otherwise.
Since announcing his run for president, Donald J. Trump has put forth a simple and straightforward immigration agenda. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people.” Trump made this statement when first announcing his candidacy.
Immediately after taking office, President Trump initiated his policy restricting legal immigration and increasing measures to round up immigrants crossing illegally. The rhetoric put forth consists of instilling fear in people of immigrants taking jobs entitled to Americans and highlighting horrific crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
If one was to take the message at face value, then the carrying out the role of enforcing the laws of our nation would not be wrong, if the facts were correct that is. New data concerning immigration paints a different picture of immigrants both legal and undocumented immigrants along with their tendency to commit crimes.
According to a recent by a Cato Institute brief by the author, Alex Nowrasteh, undocumented immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans. The study’s data came from the Texas Department of Public Safety and accounted for convictions and arrests over the course of six years. According to Nowrasteh, arrest rates for illegal immigrants were 40 percent below that of native-born Americans. The arrest rate for all immigrants and legal immigrants were 65 percent and 81 percent below that of native-born Americans.” The arrest rates for all illegal and legal immigrants were 65 percent and 81 percent below that of native-born Americans,” according to Nowrasteh.
Also, the point of undocumented immigrants taking American jobs continues to be proven wrong since working undocumented immigrants are more likely to be found in specialized labor fields. According to a study by Giovanni Peri and Chad Sparber, foreign-born workers specialize in occupations intensive in manual and physical labor skills since natives often pursue jobs more intensive in communication language tasks. To be fair, the rhetoric coming from the White House is no different than the nativist language found in the midterm elections every four years. Candidates spewing misinformation to inflame emotion.
The solution to wild rhetoric is a focus on real-world solutions to foreign-born citizens who wish to enter the United States legally. Such as comprehensive reform to applications making it easier to apply and work in the United States. Sadly, neither political party wishes to stick out their necks to make the process easier for fears of getting them cut off during the next election cycle. Application for legal status to work takes years to process, with over four million on a waiting list to be approved. Unchanged work quotas created in the 1990’s have not been updated to reflect the United States’ growing economy or population. A system that allows for more immigrants during economic booms rather than less during economic recessions appeases both opponents and advocates.
The sad fact is scaremongering works in putting forth an agenda by the Trump administration creating the illusion of a simple solution when the problem is far more complex. A solution afraid to be confronted by anyone in Congress. And so false narratives are repeated. The truth is obscured or as the old saying goes, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” But who’s truth?