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Immigrants aren’t a problem for Syracuse; they are part of the solution (Commentary)

Immigrants aren’t a problem for Syracuse; they are part of the solution (Commentary)

Michele Combs lives in LaFayette.

By Michelle Combs

Immigrants aren’t a problem for Syracuse; they are part of the solution (Commentary)

I read Paul Strail’s letter (“Syracuse is falling apart, and Mayor Walsh’s priority is refugees?”, Oct. 10, 2019) with great interest. Strail does a good job summarizing the many challenges facing cities like Syracuse. He then makes a connection between these problems and immigration. I would like to offer some additional food for thought on this.

 First, no evidence exists of a connection between immigrants and crime, or immigrants and poor school performance, or immigrants and homeless veterans, or immigrants and drug use, or immigrants and lower wages. According to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, immigrants (whether here legally or illegally) have a lower incarceration rate than native-born Americans, and their neighborhoods have lower crime rates. “Since 1911, large nationwide federal immigration commissions have asked whether immigrants are more crime-prone than native-born Americans and each one of them answered no” (“Illegal Immigrants and Crime – Assessing the Evidence,” Cato Institute, March 2019). Crime rates in sanctuary cities are the same as, or lower than, non-sanctuary cities (“Criminal Immigrants: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin,” Cato Institute, March 2017). In fact, studies have consistently shown that immigrants are a net gain for the economy – that is, they contribute more in taxes than they take out in public benefits. According to a 2017 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, children of immigrants contribute $1,700 per person per year to the U.S. economy, compared to $1,300 per year for native-born Americans. The Cato Institute also found no correlation between immigration and lower wages (“Does Immigration Reduce Wages?”, Cato Institute, March 2019).
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