Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

On Immigration, Facts, and Chaos and Lawlessness

By Ludovico Feoli

In his 8/31/16 speech on immigration, Donald Trump suggested there is a direct, causal link between “illegal immigration” and violent crime, social security and Medicare abuse, unemployment and low wages, and outright “chaos and lawlessness”. As appealing as that might seem for those in need of a convenient scapegoat, the evidence is arrayed against it.

Start with Mr. Trump’s counterfactual: “Countless Americans who have died in recent years would be alive today if not for the open border policies of this administration.” His causal factor—the alleged open border policy—is problematic given the facts. The number of border agents has quintupled in the last eighteen years and, as a result, apprehensions at the border have plummeted to a mere fraction of what they were in 2000. Lower employment opportunities in a weaker U.S. economy have undoubtedly diminished the pull for migrants. But more stringent immigration enforcement has also been a factor. Deportations, the do-all and end-all of Mr. Trump’s proposal, are at an all-time high under President Obama, so much so that he is under fire from liberals for his deportation record.

The loss of lives to violent crime is a tragedy, and crimes are committed by individuals that are present in our communities. From the fact that some are immigrants we cannot infer that all immigrants are criminals. In fact, while it is notoriously difficult to obtain credible data, studies repeatedly show that immigrants have significantly lower crime rates than the native-born. Since immigrants who commit crimes are likely to be deported they have a greater incentive to be prudent: they have more to lose from breaking the law. Interestingly, second-generation migrants have crime rates that approximate those of the general population, which suggests that their criminal involvement rises with assimilation, an avowed goal of Mr. Trump’s policy.

People who emigrate tend to be motivated and ambitious, searching for better lives. Do they find them by reducing “jobs and wages for American workers”? The impact of low-skilled migration—legal or not—on wages is much more highly contested than Mr. Trump’s assertions would suggest. At the very least, no simple causal relation exists between immigration and wages. Much depends on whether migrants and local workers substitute or complement each other, the impact that new arrivals have on older migrants, and the context of the local economy. By most estimates the impact of migration on local wages is likely to be modest, with some studies even suggesting it might be positive.

Lost in Mr. Trump’s portrayal of immigrants is the fact that they are a boon to the receiving communities. A recent article in the Economist cites a study showing that a 2007 crackdown on illegal migrants in Arizona actually shrank its economy by 2%. Immigrants can, and in many cases do create jobs, help drive innovation, and make the locals more prosperous. They do not “draw much more out from the system than they will ever pay in”. “Illegal workers”, as Mr. Trump calls them, are generally ineligible for most federal public benefits programs, including the vilified Affordable Care Act. In point of fact, undocumented workers pay into the system by using false social security numbers, which means they will never collect the benefits—the opposite of what Mr. Trump asserts. Even lawful permanent residents must wait at least five years before they are eligible for benefits, and when they are eligible, studies show that they use benefits at lower rates and with a lower average value of benefits per recipient than the native-born.

Illegal migration is a symptom of a dysfunctional immigration regime which clearly requires comprehensive reform. But attributing our social and economic woes to it where the facts do not warrant it is disingenuous and, in the present context, demagogic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Ludovico Feoli

    Executive Director - Center for Inter-American Policy & Research

BLOG AUTHORS & RECENT POSTS

LATEST SITE UPDATES

NEWS

EVENTS

MEDIA

PEOPLE

All Events

Upcoming Events

28th Annual New Orleans Film Festival to Feature Latinx Programming

View Full Event Description

The 28th Annual New Orleans Film Festival will be held from October 11th to October 19th at participating theaters in the New Orleans area. Born in a city known for its eclectic and artistic vibrancy, the New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) has sought out bold and passionate storytellers since 1989. It is the longest-running festival of its kind in the state of Louisiana and one of the largest film festivals in the South. Now in its 28th year, the New Orleans Film Festival has grown into an internationally respected annual event that attracts 20-25k people, 400+ filmmakers, and 240 films.

This year’s film festival will feature a number of films relating to the Latin American community, either in subject matter and/or made by Latin American filmmakers. The Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute will be sponsoring several films, including Olancho and Cuban Short Stories.

A full list of film selections and synopses may be found here.

For more information on tickets, passes, and film packages, visit the NOFF website.

The Stone Center for Latin American Studies and Tulane University are sponsoring the following films:

Olancho
Manuel, a farmer from Olancho, Honduras, seeks fame by making music for the region’s drug cartels. When some of his song lyrics get him in trouble, he must make the most difficult decision of his life: continue the quest for fame, or flee. For information on times and locations, visit the Olancho event page.

Cuban Shorts: Cine Cubano
These Cuban short stories are a series of short films highlight cultural and social subject manner relating to the Cuban community. For more information on show times and locations, visit the event page.

Fighting Cuba’s Boxing Ban
A short documentary about female boxing in Cuba, where the Cuban government forbade women from competing in the 2016 summer olympics.

Manuel
A short documentary about an 87-year-old Cuban man who brews and sells potions said to be aphrodisiacs.

Parade
Jazz students from New Orleans travel to Cuba on a cultural exchange and collaborate on a parade, celebrating open borders.

Connection (Conectifai)
A portrait of a park in Havana where, thanks to public Wi-Fi, a new kind of meeting place has arisen.

Charlie
Four decades after hijacking a plane to Cuba to avoid charges of killing a state trooper, a former black power militant reflects on his past in a letter to his nine-year-old Cuban son.

Forever, Comandante (Hasta Siempre, Comandante)
Living in the shadow of the revolutionary generation’s unrelenting Cuban ideals, Ernesto, a 14-year-old barber, wants to get a tattoo despite his father’s adamant objection.

Prince of Smoke
Cuban tobacco farmer and artisanal cigar maker Hirochi Robaina follows in his legendary grandfather’s footsteps as he fights to preserve a 171-year-old family legacy.

Additional titles relating to the Latin American community include:

The Thunder Feast (Truenos de San Juan)
A documentary about the ancient festival of San Juanito in Guanajuato where homemade explosives are part of the revelry, but not everyone in the community is sure this tradition should continue.

Sambá
A documentary about Cisco, a Dominican-born man who returns to the Dominican Republic after doing time in a United State prison. Cisco soon finds that the only way he can make money is getting involved in loosely organized street fighting.

Days of Wholesome Joy
A Cuban narrative short about a woman taking care of her grandmother who has dementia.

Holy Hill
A narrative short story about a nun who works at a school for young boys in the Dominican Republic. Both she and the boys have parallel sexual awakenings.

Camp of the Innocents
A Louisiana-made short documentary about the U.S. interment of Latin American “enemy aliens” during World War II in New Orleans. The entire synopsis, as well as show times and location may be found here.

Dead Horses
A Catalan animated short film about a child fleeing his home during wartime.

Bells in the Mountains
A Spanish short documentary about a group of cows who migrate seasonally from the town of Ullé through the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees Mountains.

Elegy
A short narrative film about a girl who cannot process her complicated feelings about the death of her two classmates.

Cuban Shorts: Cine Cubano-New Orleans Film Festival

View Full Event Description

The Stone Center for Latin American Studies and Tulane University are sponsoring the following screenings for the New Orleans Film Festival, which will run from October 11th-19th. Screenings are held at various locations in New Orleans. The box office is located at the Ace Hotel (600 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130).

CUBAN SHORTS: CINE CUBANO

  • Saturday, October 14th 1:00PM | Member $10 General $13
  • Thursday, October 19th 11:30AM | Members $7 General $10

Tulane to host MET Curator Dr. Joanne Pillsbury for talk on Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas

View Full Event Description

Dr. Joanne Pillsbury, the Andrall E. Pearson Curator of the Art of the Ancient Americas at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will give a presentation titled From the Heart of the Andes: On Creating Golden Kingdoms, as part of the 2017 Wladis Seminar on Curatorial Careers at the Woldenberg Art Center, Tulane University. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Pillsbury will give a behind-the-scenes view of the exhibition Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas (Getty Research Institute and Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fall 2017-Spring 2018), and the international research project that inspired it. Drawing upon significant recent archaeological findings and new investigations into the roles of artists, their patrons, and their workshops, the lecture focuses on luxury arts in the lands between the two great imperial capitals of the ancient Americas: Cusco, the seat of the Inca state, and Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. It probes a fundamental question: How can we discern and interpret indigenous ideas of value?

Dr. Pillsbury is a specialist in the art and archaeology of the Precolumbian Americas. Pillsbury earned her PhD from Columbia University. She was previously associate director of the Getty Research Institute and director of Precolumbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks. She is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous publications, including the three-volume Guide to Documentary Sources for Andean Studies, 1530–1900 (2008), the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award recipient Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks (2012), and Past Presented: Archaeological Illustration and the Ancient Americas (2012), which was awarded the Association for Latin American Art Book Award.

The lecture is sponsored by the Newcomb Art Department, supported by a gift from Mark and Diane Wladis.

For more information contact Dr. Elizabeth Boone via email to eboone@tulane.edu.

For more information, view the official flyer here.

Tulane to host Dr. Andrew Paxman for a talk on William Jenkins and the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema

View Full Event Description

Join us at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies in welcoming historian and biographer Dr. Andrew Paxman, who will present his research and recent book in a talk titled William Jenkins: Profiteer of the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema on October 19th.

In his talk, Dr. Paxman will focus on the life and film industry activities of William Jenkins, an American from humble beginnings who became the richest man in Mexico. Using biographical information and excerpts from his recent book Jenkins of Mexico: How a Southern Farm Boy Became a Mexican Magnate, Dr. Paxman will highlight how the American entrepreneur built up the Mexican film industry.

Currently, Dr. Paxman is a research professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico, where he teaches history and journalism. Earlier in his career, Dr. Paxman was a journalist in Mexico and co-authored El Tigre: Emilio Azcárraga y su imperio Televisa (2000). He earned a Masters in Latin American Studies from University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in History from the University of Texas, Austin.

International Education Week: Hosted by Center for Global Education

View Full Event Description

Tulane University’s Center for Global Education will be hosting International Education Week on campus from October 16th to October 20th. International Education Week is celebrated nationwide each year, this year it is November 13 – 17, 2017. It is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education and is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

The CGE will be hosting a variety of events to celebrate IEW, including the Study Abroad Fair, an international guest speaker, international meals at Bruff Commons, and several talks and workshops surrounding Tulane’s contribution to an international student and scholar community.

For a full calendar of events for Tulane’s IEW, click here.

Cultural Kinship Conference: Presented by the LA Creole Research Association

View Full Event Description

The Louisiana Creole Research Association will host its’ 13th annual conference from October 20-22 in New ORLEANS, LA. The conference will explore the phenomenon of Creolization and identity that exists in both the Caribbean and in New Orleans and their common Creole culture. Learn how the influence of the St. Domingue immigrants in New Orleans bolstered that common Creole on the cusp of Americanization following the Louisiana Purchase. Registration for the conference is now open, using the following link.

2017 Conference Schedule

  • Friday, Oct. 20- Annual Members Meeting
    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    938 Lafayette St.
    6PM-9PM
  • Saturday, Oct. 21- Annual Conference
    Xavier University of Louisiana
    1 Drexel Dr., Administration Auditorium
    8AM-4:30PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 22- Laura Plantation Tour & Lunch
    2247 Highway 18, Vacherie 70090
    9AM-2:30PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 22- LAGNIAPPE!
    Xavier University of Louisiana
    2PM

For more details on the 2017 Schedule and Speakers, visit our post on Facebook! To register, become a member, or get extra information, click here.