Proving that they can turn any public policy issue into an opportunity to bash immigrants, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and their mass-deportation allies are now attacking the stimulus package on anti-immigrant grounds. The newest CIS report estimates that the recently-passed economic stimulus package will result in 300,000 construction jobs for undocumented immigrants. But this junk “research” would not get a passing grade in a high school social studies class. CIS takes inflated 2005 percentages related to the construction industry, combines them with inflated percentages regarding the 2007 construction industry, and concludes with an inflated outcome that has no credibility whatsoever. For a more complete takedown of CIS’s bogus claims, see this fact check from the Immigration Policy Center.
Unfortunately, CIS continues to be treated as an unbiased research institution by some media outlets and policymakers. It is not surprising that Fox News Channel can talk about nothing else. After all, in defiance of evidence from the past three election cycles, hard line conservatives still seem to believe blaming immigrants is a good political strategy. But a front page story on USA Today? Come on.
Let’s remind our friends and foes alike who we are dealing with here. CIS is an advocacy group with an unyielding, anti-immigrant agenda. This is but another example of the typical CIS recipe: conduct shoddy research about a current hot topic to support a pre-existing, anti-immigrant conclusion; peddle the findings through a network of allies to add a veneer of respectability; use said “findings” attempt to block real, common sense immigration reform. Mix and repeat. Let us not forget, just last year CIS produced a report blaming immigrants for global warming!
But there’s nothing funny about CIS and their agenda. As a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center documented, CIS is part of a single network of anti-immigrant organizations birthed by FAIR, which SPLC classifies as a hate group. As is their typical modus operandi, CIS works to ensure that its report findings receive cover from ideological allies. Witness the Heritage Foundation study that tries to substantiate the CIS estimate by using the same fuzzy math, and the way that CIS talking points are often echoed by groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform and their mass-deportation allies on Capitol Hill.
Here are some facts you will not be able to find in any CIS study: 1) recent polling demonstrates that the majority of Americans want Congress to solve the problem of illegal immigration with comprehensive reform that combines enforcement and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers; 2) legalizing current undocumented workers will generate as much as $66 billion in additional income and payroll taxes over ten years; implementing an enforcement-only bill that creates a national, mandatory, electronic employment-verification system would decrease federal revenues by $17.3 billion over ten years; 3) implementing a mass deportation policy would cost an estimated $206 billion over five years; and according to labor expert Cristina Jimenez, “only when undocumented immigrants have the ability to exercise complete workplace rights will they help exert upward pressure on wages and labor standards that will benefit other workers.”
“The American people want practical solutions to complex problems that will get this country back on its feet again, not divisive drivel from faux-research groups who exist to block such solutions,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “CIS is trying to stoke resentment against immigrants from every possible angle, yet they remain woefully unprepared to offer any practical solutions of their own. In fact, their goal is to expel millions of immigrants from the country and to nearly zero out legal immigration. The good news is this: the American people are tired of scare tactics and they want leaders to step up to the big challenges facing us today.”
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, will be available for interviews to discuss the latest CIS study and how it fits into a larger context. To schedule an interview, please contact Paco Fabián at 202-412-9969.
America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.