Let Fairness, Not Questionable Data, Drive Debate
IN HIS June 16 op-ed “Why the Arizona immigration law makes sense here too,’’ Michael Stopa cites a Federation for American Immigration Reform study finding that illegal immigrants cost the state of Arizona $2.7 billion in 2009. However, a 2008 University of Arizona study estimated these costs to be about $1.4 billion, and noted, more importantly, that they were offset by revenue gains of about $2.4 billion, yielding a surplus of more than $900 million. These revenue gains from immigrants include economic consumption as well as taxes — yes, illegal immigrants pay taxes, both state and federal.
It is not surprising that the Federation for American Immigration Reform would arrive at its findings. It has been a strident anti-immigration voice for more than three decades, and has received funding from a pro-eugenics group, the Pioneer Fund.
I like to think that what makes sense in Massachusetts is considered debate on immigration that keeps in mind our traditions of fairness and democracy. What I hope to see in November is a rejection of the kind of “sense’’ based on the fear tactics and xenophobia of Stopa’s op-ed.