Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Since so many states (including Utah) are considering Arizona-style immigration laws, it might behoove us all to think about the actual statistics of illegal immigration.

Speaking of immigration (of a sort), I'm sure there are a few of you who read this blog who'd potentially be interested in (or know someone else who would be interested in) participating in the Women of Faith project. It's an opportunity to participate in a scholarly examination of the all too often overlooked, but still influential, women active in the early LDS church.


  1. Hm, I haven't got through the whole article yet, but will take time to do that later. I simply want to state that I'm a little concerned that some of the first numbers they're citing have absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigrants. They make the assumption that all illegal immigrants are Hispanic. Maybe this is the case in Utah, but I highly doubt it. And several of the studies they cite are just looking at Hispanics, not illegal immigrants. I wonder if their argument would have been strengthened or weakened if they had a study that actually looked at illegal immigrants?

    And, one more point bothering me, is it really just white people that have preconceptions about Hispanics or immigrants? I doubt that as well. But it tends to be a popular idea that the only people who can be racist are whites. I'm sure there are many legal (and possibly even some illegal?) immigrants and people of all races who hold the same preconceptions they are assigning solely to white people here.

    I'm hoping the rest of the article will be better than my first impression and more convincing. I'm all for fixing our immigration process and system and am not against immigration. I do think people should immigrate legally. Yes, our immigration rules might be broken at the moment, but I can't say that's an excuse to immigrate illegally. I can understand why you would, but it doesn't make it right. The best way for the U.S. to fix the problem, in my opinion, is to streamline the process and make it more accessible to people trying to improve the life of their family.

  2. I agree with you there--we do need to streamline the process and let in the numbers of people our economy needs to function.

    I think the point the article was really trying to make is that the numbers people throw around are typically poorly supported. As you said, their numbers look at Hispanics, not illegal immigrants, and (at least according to them) those are the best numbers out there. From the numbers they cite, most of the claims out there about illegal immigration can't be either supported or refuted simply because nobody's ever studied them. Since those are the most rigorous measurements available, we should be skeptical of the claims that illegal immigrants are responsible for x/y/or z terrible thing in this country. People are very willing, though, to cite these poorly-studied to downright made-up numbers because they suit their opinions, which is a terrible way to go about making decision. For instance, one of the claims made by supporters of the Arizona law is illegals commit more crime. Really, either the numbers aren't collected or don't bear that out--in places where statistics are collected illegals don't make up a disproportionate number of criminals.

    I don't think it's necessarily racism that people are feeling. People from south of the border are from a distinctly different culture and there are issues integrating our culture with theirs. Their values are sometimes different and that can be threatening. Immigrants through history have had a hard time integrating into their new societies, and part of their integration is adoption of parts of the immigrant culture by the majority culture. I can understand that's a concerning thing, though I wouldn't call it racism.

  3. Yeah, I knew as I was typing that racism wasn't quite the correct term, but couldn't think of what to call it. I think you've described it aptly though. I just find it a little odd that they only attribute such hesitation or concern over cultural blending to whites. It certainly comes from whites, but are white people really the only ones in the US feeling that way? The way they worded the sentiment in the article sounded off to me, and more than a little unfair to the white people.

    I definitely support the idea of making sure the numbers we're using are accurate and that we're not just grabbing them out of thin air. (I tend to ignore the people that throw those numbers around anyway.) I still haven't had a chance to finish the article; I'm interested to see where it goes.

  4. But what would be the fun if we had actual data guiding our decisions and our debates?

    I have met immigrants who take a far stronger stance on immigration than I do, or than many white people I know. They seem to have an, "I made it through the system, so should everyone else" kind of attitude.

  5. I am SO glad you posted about the Women in Faith project. So so so glad.

  6. I hope you find the time to contribute, or at least read it when it's done! You'd be a great contributor to the effort, I'm sure!