“I totally stand with immigrants. Just not the illegal ones. If they want to be here they have every opportunity to do it the right way.”

“I totally stand with immigrants. Just not the illegal ones. If they want to be here they have every opportunity to do it the right way.”

I don’t know this guy but I am willing to bet he is a decent person. Nothing about that comment is particularly bigoted or racist. And this is something that I hear all the time. People have no problem with the immigrants among them. It is their actions they have a problem with and the fact that they broke a law. They feel justifiable moral outrage that someone chose to do something illegally that they could have done legally and because of all that they get to mete out punishment. It makes sense and it is a pretty simple moral calculation.

Except that commenter is wrong.

A Case for Learning: Immigrants and our Economy

A Case for Learning: Immigrants and our Economy

There are nearly 214,000 immigrants living in NM. That’s about 10 percent of the population. About 1/3 of those folks are undocumented. In 2014 that 214,000 earned $4.5 billion income. $394 million of those billions went to state and local taxes and $756 million went to federal taxes. $447 million was paid into Social Security and $112 Million went to Medicare. 

Around 12,000 immigrants in NM are self-employed and that generated $190 million in revenue in 2014. Furthermore 24,000 people in the state are working at immigrant owned businesses. Also: Immigrants comprise 42 percent of the dairy industry workforce. This industry brings in $1.8 billion in receipts for NM. This too: NM Immigrants we responsible for creating 9,600 manufacturing jobs in 2010.

Report from Baby Jail on our Border

Report from Baby Jail on our Border

I cannot put into words the sadness I feel when I play with a child in one of these facilities. I think about my own sweet niece and nephews and all the beautiful kids in my life and how intolerable it would be to me if they were detained and suffering like this. These kids should be no different.

We need to insist publicly that our country stops criminalizing the need to migrate and have faith that we can develop fair and humane policies if we let go of the need to punish people who are trying to stay alive against the ruthless violence and indifference of our world.