By Patrick F. Cannon
One of the hallmarks of our recent political discourse is that many people prefer not to let actual facts sway them from their cherished opinions. I am indebted to David Brooks of the New York Times, our most rational conservative voice, for pointing out some of the following.
While most Americans accept that there are probably something like 10 million illegal immigrants currently in the country, they also seem under the impression that the thieving and raping hordes continue to pour across our border (you know, the one that Mr. Trump wishes to beautify with a wallier wall). In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, more Mexicans left the country from 2009 to 2014 than arrived, to the tune of 140,000. As Brooks points out, maybe Trump wants the wall to keep them from leaving? You know, he does own quite a few golf courses. Would you care to guess the nationality of the folks who maintain them?
Then, there is the question of the criminals and rapists. Here are some more facts to ponder:
- Approximately 1.6 percent of immigrant men between the ages of 18 and 39 end up in jail.
- Three percent of their native born neighbors are in there with them.
- If you’re born in this country and lack a high school education, you have an 11 percent chance of ending up in jail.
- If you’re from Mexico or Central America, with similar educational attainment, you have less than a 3 percent chance of being a burden on the taxpayer.
It seems hardly necessary to point out that this is a country of immigrants. My own father was born in Ireland. The people who came over on the Mayflower were themselves immigrants, after all. And legal immigrants, many from Asia, tend to be highly educated and able to make immediate contributions to our growth and prosperity.
That’s why it’s so sad for me, an independent conservative, to see the great Republican Party turn itself into a contemporary version of the 19th Century “No Nothing” nativist party. If it survives that long, how will it appeal to a country that will be minority Caucasian by 2044? It should remember that its first president was Abraham Lincoln, who had been a Whig, a once thriving party both in this country and Great Britain. The Whigs died because they were no longer relevant. It is well to remember that history can repeat itself.
Copyright 2016, Patrick F. Cannon