Letter 13 To President Obama – Immigration Reform Now!

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President Obama on Telmundo on June 30, 2013.
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 1, 2013: Dear Mr. President,
They say 13 is a lucky number and I am now a believer! I never thought that at letter number 13, I like so many immigrants and rights advocates in this country, would be celebrating an immigration reform bill that could become law and impact the lives of so many who desperately need relief. Finally hope we can believe in!

But now the real battle begins – getting this measure past the Congress and on to your desk so it can become law. Particularly, if it is to become a reality by the first half of this year as you say, for so many millions of hard working immigrants who desperately need it.

But having been down this road before, too many times, I’m also only cautiously optimistic, especially since the right wingers have already begun ratcheting up their fear mongering, insisting that the 11 plus million people, who could benefit from this measure, will add a burden to the social welfare system.
Interesting isn’t it? Yet according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Commerce and the CATO Institute, more Whites in this country are on welfare than any immigrant group – Hispanic, Asians, Africans or West Indians. Almost 39 percent of Whites out of 4.3 million people in the United States are on welfare compared to 15.7 percent of Hispanics, 2.4 percent of Asians and 3.3 percent, other.

Aviva Chomsky, a professor at Salem State College, states that: “Early studies in California and in the Southwest and in the Southeast…have come to the same conclusions. Immigrants, legal and illegal, are more likely to pay taxes than they are to use public services.”

Further, according to the Immigration Policy Center, nearly half of all long time undocumented immigrants are home owners while another 50 plus percent aged 25-64 have at least a high school education or a college degree.

Many too are already paying taxes via tax ID numbers or as sole proprietors of businesses and their Social Security and Medicare contributions – about $11.2 billion – went into the Social Security Trust Fund in 2007 while $2.6 billion went into Medicare. This means they are helping to support older Americans as undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive these services.

Research reviewed by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office also indicates that between 50 percent and 75 percent of unauthorized immigrants pay federal, state, and local taxes.

Additionally, UCLA research indicates that nearly approximately 8 million US jobs are dependent upon economic activity produced by undocumented migrants within the U.S.

Mr. President, these are the facts you, Democrats and the gang of eight senators must speak about in this dialogue. It is not enough to tell sad stories of the undocumented and act like you are giving a hand out to these immigrants but you must sell the story in dollars and sense so that the right wing fear mongering machine does not drive a nail into the heart of this bill and send it down the path it has gone before under a Republican President.

Felicia Persaud

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.