Immigration: Crisis or not, it is a problem

So, what is the reality of immigration into the United States? Is it the “humanitarian crisis at the border” some speak about, or is it, as others maintain, nothing much to worry about?

Both statements are correct — to a point. Border apprehensions had been declining for years. But it used to be the majority of immigrants were solo males looking for work to send money home. Today, it is mostly families with children attempting to enter the U.S., and we are simply not equipped to handle them all.

Americans hardly know what to believe anymore. We live in a facts-be-damned era when assertions are made and then reported by the news media, often with no perspective or assurance that the comments are true.

Take the august New York Times, for example. After Trump’s February State of the Union speech, The Times declared the president’s description of the current immigration situation as an “urgent national crisis” false. The Washington Post warned readers not to be fooled by the “make-believe crisis.” CNN said flatly, “There is no national emergency.”

Less than a month later, The Times ran front-page articles on the explosion of sex crimes against women migrants and a piece with the breathless headline “Border at ‘Breaking Point’ as More Than 76,000 Migrants Cross in a Month.” No explanation for The Times’ flip-flopped attitude. No retraction of its report that there is no crisis.

The reality is that clear thinkers cannot just look at what the immigration system is right now. We must look at the issue with a wider lens and realize that the cumulative effect of our lackadaisical immigration policies over the last few decades has brought us to this reckoning point.

The snowballing economic strain that immigration (both legal and illegal) has put on our welfare system, public schools, health care programs and hospitals has drained billions of dollars that could have been spent on needy U.S. citizens.

There are those who argue that the economics will all level out over time because the children of immigrants will mature to become contributing, tax-paying members of society. Maybe. But there is no guarantee that their collective contribution will ever amount to what U.S. taxpayers have already shelled out.

Let’s just take a look at one fascinating slice of the federal budget, that of the federal prison system, to gauge the impact of immigration. David Olen Cross is a crime researcher who writes on immigration and crimes committed by foreign nationals. Cross regularly compiles both state and national figures that should make every rational policymaker grow pale.

Using the February 2019 U.S. Bureau of Prisons citizenship statistics, Cross discovered that 19.3 percent of the federal prison population holds a foreign passport. The highest percentage of foreign-born prisoners are from Mexico (12.1 percent), Columbia (0.9 percent), Dominican Republic (0.8 percent) and Cuba (0.7 percent), and 4.9 percent are from other/unknown countries.

What crimes did these 179,917 convicts commit? Well, 76,789 of them are serving time on drug offenses. Convictions for weapons, explosives and/or arson account for more than 30,652 prisoners, while 16,539 were found guilty of sex crimes, and 5,435 committed a homicide, aggravated assault or a kidnapping.

Imagine if our federal prison system were to not have to care for those tens of thousands of convicts. Uncle Sam’s 2018 fiscal year prison budget of nearly $7.2 billion could be lowered by nearly 20 percent. Yep, the Bureau of Prisons could have saved an estimated $1.44 billion in just one fiscal year. If you don’t think that sounds impressive, ask yourself how happy you’d be if you were to suddenly have 20 percent more money in your savings account. Imagine what other sectors could save if illegal immigration were brought under control.

Look, don’t call it a crisis. Don’t call it an emergency. But don’t fail to call it a real problem for this country.

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To find out more about Diane Dimond,

visit her website at www.dianedimond.com.