Haley’s Comments: Questioning immigration reform
Wisconsin will have its own version of an immigration bill that will be similar to Arizona’s under the soon-to-be Republican state Legislature, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The bill, which would be introduced next year, would make it so that people who are arrested, charged of a crime, or even pulled over for a broken headlight would have to prove they are in Wisconsin legally by providing documented proof.
Those organizations who believe in immigration reform have their reasons, for sure. But do they have evidence to back up their claims?
The Federation for American Immigration Reform is one of the most well known anti-immigration organizations in the U.S.
FAIR argues that both immigrants who are here legally and illegally harm Americans’ quality of life.
For having no locations in Wisconsin, as it is stated on FAIR’s website, they sure do have a lot of statistics about Wisconsin.
FAIR argued that in 2005, 18.4 percent of Wisconsin immigrants had incomes below the poverty level. Illegal immigrants reach 23.7 percent at the below poverty level.
To FAIR, this is a legitimate reason why immigration to the United States should be limited. Immigrants often come to America to seek the American Dream. To get an education, make money, live freely: you know the drill. Many struggle in their home countries, yet they’re supposed to come here with money because we don’t want people living below the poverty line. Not too long ago, the ancestors of the members of FAIR more than likely came to America poverty stricken, too. Yes, that’s a cliché argument when it comes to defending immigrants’ rights to be in America, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Keep in mind that 2010 Census data showed that one in seven Americans, that’s 43.6 million people, fall below the poverty line.
FAIR has found a way to blame immigrants for what they call “disappearing open space.” Each year, 37,600 acres of farmland and green space are lost due to development in Wisconsin, FAIR said.
But Wisconsin is developing all the time. More often than not, it’s to build condominiums, or rows of houses that look the same, or creating space for new businesses to move in. If most immigrants are as poverty stricken as FAIR says they are, I really doubt that they’re buying those houses. And if they are able to get a job at one of those new businesses, then isn’t that a good thing? They might be able to make some money to support their family and leave poverty behind.
One of the more ridiculous accusations that FAIR and other organizations like them make is that immigrants are also making traffic conditions worse. No kidding, FAIR attempts to blame the length of a Wisconsin resident’s commute to immigration. To quote from FAIR’s website, “As population growth put more traffic on the road, the average commute for Wisconsin residents increased from 18 minutes in 1990 to 21 minutes in 2005.”
Air pollution can be blamed on immigration, too, apparently. Wisconsin is the eighth smoggiest state in the nation, which FAIR attributes to population growth.
And all of Wisconsin’s population growth is because of immigrants, right? Well, no, not really. Born and bred Americans are birthing and breeding too, so it’s not as though the graduating class of 2038 is going to be entirely comprised of first generation Americans.
Americans are guilty of committing all of the above crimes, and at a larger rate than immigrants are, because, well, the population of Wisconsin is largely made up of Americans, not immigrants.
So, if we’re questioning immigrants’ rights because of poverty, pollution and population, we should probably question Americans’ rights, too.