Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Of Immigrants, Entrepreneurs and the Road to Serfdom–Part VI

In the last installment I examined some of the recent trends and developments in the immigration debate. I shared a couple of stories that highlight the need for change, especially with regard to individuals critical to expanding our economic footprint here and around the world—entrepreneurs and the highly educated. These individuals create jobs and opportunities for all Americans. I, and others better qualified, have put forwarded a very persuasive and fact-based case for immigration reform but, any argument will engender opposing views. At that point, it is a question of which argument has the best supporting evidence … or least that is the way it should be.

Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

At first blush, the lofty handle for this organization may lead one to believe it is favorable to the reforms we’ve been putting forward here. This is could not possibly be further from the truth. This organization was founded by John Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist from Petoskey, Michigan. Born in Detroit and educated at Michigan State University, Tanton is an influential proponent of the anti-immigration movement in the United States and has been, since founding FAIR in 1979. He continues to serve on FAIR’s board. Ironically, there isn’t much that is fair about FAIR. He is reported to control four prominent groups dedicated to restricting immigration and is the founder or co-founder of many others. Here is a list of organizations Tanton either founded or co-founded:

  • Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)
  • NumbersUSA
  • Pro English
  • The Social Contract Press
  • U.S. Inc.

It is worth noting that the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies both FAIR and The Social Contract Press as hate groups.

Tanton, through U.S. Inc., a funding conduit, contributes funds to the following anti-immigration organizations:

  • American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF)
  • American Patrol/Voice of Citizens Together
  • California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR)
  • Californians for Population Stabilization
  • ProjectUSA

The first three organizations on the list above are also designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Lies have no place in an honest debate of immigration issues

Dan Stein, President of FAIR, responded to the debate question in the US News, Should Foreign STEM Graduates Get Green Cards? as follows: “Unfortunately, the proposal doesn’t address the need to scrap our current immigration system, which is designed to admit endless chains of relatives without regard to their skills, and replace it with a more skills-based model.”

This is at best a misrepresentation, if not an outright lie. If you read the text of H.R. 6429, The STEM Jobs Act of 2012, Section 3, titled “ELIMINATION OF DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT PROGRAM”, which would end the lottery-based system that admits immigrants to the United States without regard to the skills they possess.

In the same response Stein says, “Proponents of automatic green cards for STEM graduates often argue that there are not enough native-born Americans going into these fields. In reality, we have more than an adequate supply of home-grown STEM talent.”

Really? If that is a fact, why are the captains of Silicon Valley industries clamoring for passage of the bill? A joint report by the Information Technology Industry Council, the Partnership for a New American Economy, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports the following, “While the current national unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent, the unemployment rate for US citizens with PhDs in STEM is just 3.15 percent and 3.4 percent for those with master’s degrees in STEM. Given that the US government has defined “full-employment” to be 4 percent, this suggests a skills shortage of STEM professionals with advanced degrees.”

In what is tantamount to a complete reversal of Stein’s response to the debate question posed by US News, FAIR makes this statement in a press release to Reuter’s, “H.R. 6429 eliminates the ill-conceived and unnecessary Visa Lottery, but it replaces it with another immigration scheme that would undermine the very workers we consider to be vital to our nation’s economic future,” stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “The legislation fails to evaluate the impact that flooding the labor market with foreign STEM graduates would have on the ability of Americans to fill slots in educational programs or to find jobs after they have earned degrees.”

FAIR’s statement regarding the negative effect the STEM Jobs Act of 2012 would have on American students is patently false. The intent seems to be stirring up righteous indignation among the voting public and has nothing factual with regard to the true state of students interested in pursuing a career in the STEM fields.

The fact is, American students are not pursuing educational opportunities in STEM fields in numbers sufficient to meet the growing demand. According to this article in US News , almost 60% of those students that began high school with an interest in pursuing an education in a STEM field, change their minds by graduation.

I’ll have more to share with you about Fair, NumbersUSA and similar organizations in the next installment. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this thought:

My concern is not that the issue of immigration is being debated; rather my concern is that the extremists in the debate are not being honest with regard to the facts. The public and public policy makers cannot make honest appraisals in the absence of honest facts.



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