Monday, December 03, 2007

Immigrant Circumlocutions

We have commented before about the tendentious tendency of some folks-self-described as "pro-immigrant"-to ascribe an anti-immigrant bias to those of us who are upset by the rising tide of illegal immigration. An editorial in yesterday's NY Post highlights some of this dishonesty.

The Post was commenting on a study put out by the Fiscal Policy Institute that highlighted the real contributions that are made by immigrants to NYC's economy: "FPI's study concluded that immigrants contributed $229 billion to the New York state economy in 2006; that's about 22.4 percent of the state's GDP." FPI, however, saw its study as a powerful rebuttal to that old standby-"anti-immigrant" sentiment.

As the Post points out, however, the controversial is not raging over immigration per se: "While the report is a quaint reminder of the part immigrants play in the New York story - as they always have - it does nothing to speak to the issue of the moment: that is, illegal immigration."

Which is exactly what emerges from another study that was highlighted in yesterday's NY Times. This report, done by the Center for Immigration Studies found that, at least in New York: "Foreign-born New Yorkers are better educated, more likely to have health insurance and less likely to have entered the country illegally compared with immigrants in the rest of the country, according to a new analysis."

Which may be why, as the Times speculates, the immigration issue has generated less controversy here (but, as the Post points out: "To the extent that immigration is controversial these days, though, the issue is generally how much illegal immigration should be tolerated - and what, if any, social and societal benefits should accrue to those here illegally.") And it may be that, since we New Yorkers recognize the contributions of legal immigrants, we are less likely to be motivated by immigration animus.

All of which underscores the extent to which it is the cheer leading claque for illegal immigration that has tried to hijack the debate through a dishonest use of language. The more the DMI Drummers do this, the more they will marginalize themselves and the electeds who think its good to march under their flag.