Letter: Trump's immigrant bashing: Ignorance or malice?
To the Editor:
Since at least 2015, Trump has been insulting and inciting hatred against immigrants, especially people of color. Among his many claims are that illegal immigration costs jobs, lowers wages, increases crime, undermines public safety, overburdens schools and hospitals, and depletes the social safety net. The statements are contradicted by the best research we have. For example, employment data suggest that the influx of immigrants increases hiring rather that erodes job growth. Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow from the Brookings Institute, studied the impact of immigrants on the wages of native born workers and found it to be low. She explained that many of the jobs occupied by undocumented workers are physically demanding jobs-- gutting fish, work on farm fields ---that Americans do not want. Trump's claim that immigrants commit serious crimes like homicides, rape and larceny at much higher rates also flies in the face of available evidence. Data from Texas, a politically conservative state that shares a long border with Mexico and has a large immigrant population, showed that immigrants committed those crimes at rates well below native born Americans. Arrest and conviction rates for Texas in 2015, the most recent year available, were 50% lower for illegal immigrants than native born Americans. Does Trump say these things out of ignorant but sincere belief, or simply to incite his base? The former would be a sad commentary on his intellectual fitness. The latter would mean he is a malicious liar willing to do anything to obtain votes.
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