Mint.com, a popular personal finance blog, quickly saved face after one their bloggers posted an unreservedly biased, anti-immigrant analysis of the economic implications of immigration. The one-sided reporting and questionable data drew hasty scrutiny, leading the site to replace the post with an apology.
Of the post’s several disputed “facts,” here are a couple gems, noted by Megan McArdle of The Atlantic: Ross Crooks, the writer, cited data from the overtly racist VDare.com (a site named after Virginia Dare, the first Caucasian child born on American soil). 2) Without citation, Crooks claims that, “about 41% of all unemployment checks issued in the United States are to illegal aliens.” The law does not permit unauthorized immigrants to receive unemployment checks, making this allegation rather dubious. 3) Again without citation, the blog post alleges that illegal immigrants cost Arizona $2.7 billion a year, more than a quarter of its annual budget. With undocumented immigrants accounting for less than a tenth of Arizona’s population, such a claim doesn’t pass the smell test.
But aside from the fact that the blog post uses such suspicious statistics, it makes no mention of the economic contributions made by immigrants or immigration overall.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein succinctly explains why presenting only one side of the story is so unfair:
Illegal immigrants pay a variety of taxes, including payroll and sales taxes, but return to their home countries before they collect the benefits. They drive down wages for competing workers, which is a cost, but also drive down prices of the goods they produce, which is a benefit. They help some industries which would leave the country remain within American borders (as the line goes, California either imports people who pick strawberries or it imports strawberries). They purchase things. They’re disproportionately young (one way of lessening our entitlements crisis would be a massive increase in immigration). And of course, there are enormous economic benefits to the immigrants themselves, and to the countries that receive the money they send home.