HERE'S THE oddest thing about the ongoing--never-ending may be more apt--donnybrook over immigration: Amidst all the finger pointing and fury, all the column inches and congressional speeches dedicated to hammering out the last best hope for keeping foreigners from our shores, the nativists and restrictionists forgot to document what problems immigrants actually pose to these United States.
A good chunk of this issue is given over to our "guide to reality-based reform" (see page 30). The discussion starts with simple facts that undercut the hysteria about invasion by immigrants. As one of our contributors puts it, "Immigration is not the pox neo-Know Nothings make it out to be." Indeed, continues this writer, illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly from Mexico, provide "a helpful prop for sustaining American economic growth and cultural dynamism."
He notes that more than 60 percent of illegals--illegals--pay income tax and two-thirds kick in to Social Security (money they, like many of us, probably will never see again); that Hispanic unemployment is barely above the national average and that Hispanics start their own businesses at three times the national average; that immigrants are "generally less involved in crime than similarly situated groups"; and that crime rates in border towns "are lower than those of comparable nonborder cities."
The writer in question is George W. Bush's new press secretary, Tony Snow, who wrote so glowingly of immigrants in a syndicated column shortly before joining the administration in April. Here's hoping he brings his commonsense perspective to whoever is making policy these days at the White...