I’ve got a few news stories to throw out at you, all of which, in my mind, are related. At the end, I’ve got a couple of questions for you. First, the news stories, many of which are just from the last couple of days:
Under the Labour Government, England has had an overwhelming influx of immigrants, which is balanced out by the almost equally high number of native Britons leaving the country. In a few decades, immigrants will be in the majority. The country’s social services are crumbling under the strain.
Although the media is playing coy, reading between the lines we understand that Arab and African immigrants are running riot in France, again.
In North Carolina, state funded colleges and universities are being forced to admit illegal immigrants.
San Francisco is handing out official IDs to illegal immigrants.
And now two more news stories:
In Australia, which has had a huge influx of Muslim immigration, pigs’ heads were placed on the site of a controversial proposed Islamic school. (Hat tip: RD) This rendered the land unclean by Muslim standards.
In Padua, Italy, native Italians arranged to have a pig run over land that was being slated for a controversial mosque. Again, the land was made unclean.
These last two headlines can easily be classified as racist or, at least, religion-ist. Nimby-ism in its nastiest sense. But I think that’s a bit too simplistic.
What people are seeing, both here and abroad, is that their governments have failed to control immigration, whether by having open border policies or by allowing unchecked illegal immigration. They’re also seeing that their governments, having failed to stop immigrants at the borders, are either encouraging further illegal immigrants or destroying their economies handing out benefits to immigrants, both legal and illegal.
These government policies would be fine if the people actually agreed with them — but they don’t. Americans, for example, are overwhelmingly opposed to illegal immigrants and to extending benefits to illegal immigrants. (See here and here for examples of poll results.) Native Europeans are also disturbed by the enormous influx of immigrants. None of the polls, incidentally, indicates overwhelming xenophobia, with immigrants being castigated as evil. Instead, people are mad at their respective governments for losing control over a situation that is desirable under limited circumstances. After all, immigration, especially in America, is a very healthy antidote to societal stagnation. In other words, immigration, like medicine, can be wonderful in small doses and toxic in large doses.
So what I think those last two stories show isn’t racism or religion-ism. I think they show an exasperated population trying, without violence or overt face-offs, to step in and act in the vacuum their governments have created. Heck, it’s not even a vacuum. All of these governments, whether deliberately or through inaction, are flouting the will of the people. If governments would control their borders and stop handing out benefits like candy, local populations wouldn’t feel obligated to exert some minimal control over their own environments.
Do you agree or disagree? Alternatively, do you have a whole different theory I didn’t even think of?
UPDATE: As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet about dishonestly presenting actual facts. The sin of omission especially gets me, because the author of a particular report self-righteously points to the accuracy of what he did say, without having acknowledging the inaccuracy created by what he didn’t say. Into that category falls a new study out of UCLA that announces that illegal immigrants are underutilizing the free services offered to them at American emergency rooms. Below, you can read the headline and the first few paragraphs in the LA Times version of the story:
Study finds immigrants’ use of healthcare system lower than expected
UCLA researchers find that Latinos in the U.S. illegally are 50% less likely to visit emergency rooms.
By Mary Engel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 27, 2007
Illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries are 50% less likely than U.S.-born Latinos to use hospital emergency rooms in California, according to a study published Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
The cost of providing healthcare and other government services to illegal immigrants looms large in the national debate over immigration.
In Los Angeles County, much of the focus of that debate has been on hospital emergency rooms. Ten have closed in the last five years, citing losses from treating the uninsured, and those that remain open are notorious for backlogs.
By federal law, hospitals must treat every emergency, regardless of a person’s insurance — or immigration — status. Illegal immigrants, who often work at jobs that don’t offer health insurance, are commonly seen as driving both the closures and the crowding.
But the study found that while illegal immigrants are indeed less likely to be insured, they are also less likely to visit a doctor, clinic or emergency room.
“The current policy discourse that undocumented immigrants are a burden on the public because they overuse public resources is not borne out with data, for either primary care or emergency department care,” said Alexander N. Ortega, an associate professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health and the study’s lead author. “In fact, they seem to be underutilizing the system, given their health needs.”
Reading that headline, sub-headline, and packet of six paragraphs, you are of course meant to understand that the illegal immigrants are not, in fact, a burden on health care, and that it is racist, classist, imperialist, capitalist, and any other -ist you can think of for the anti-illegal immigration crowd to base its arguments on our overburdened health care system.
But did you figure out what’s missing from the story? The question isn’t whether the illegals are under-using the system relative to their own health care needs. From the point of view of the American tax payer, the only question is whether they are over-using the health care system compared to their contribution to the system. And only in paragraph seven of the story does Mary Engel touch upon that pivotal point:
Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that lobbies for tougher immigration controls, said that usage rates are just one measure of illegal immigrants’ effect on healthcare. The other factor, he said, is the cost to taxpayers, which Ortega’s study did not examine.
Cost estimates vary widely. A Rand Corp. study published last year in the journal Health Affairs put the cost of healthcare for illegal immigrants nationwide at $1.1 billion a year, excluding care for those younger than 18 and older than 64.
FAIR called the Rand number a “low-ball” estimate. Its own study of healthcare costs of illegal immigrants and their dependents, including U.S.-born children, estimated California’s portion alone to be about $1.5 billion a year.
Mehlman said $1.5 billion “is still a significant amount of money, unless you’re Bill Gates.”
Having made an intellectually honest women of herself, Engel goes right back to her dominant point, which is that the immigrants are sacrificing their health so that we don’t have to bear their burden. Really, it brings tears to my eyes — NOT.
By the way, if you’re wondering why I included this story in this post, it’s because it’s kind of part of the package of stories I included at the top of this post, regarding the enormous stresses illegal immigration places on American society, and it can be analogized to the enormous stresses legal immigration places on the social welfare societies of Europe.