Using ‘Weasel Words” to Depict the Supposed Benefits of Immigration

Lena Groeger, a journalist at ProPublica, provided an example of the use of ‘weasel words’ and biased analysis to convey the false impression that immigration is an economic boon (See e It demonstrates the need to use critical thinking to evaluate the claims of mass immigration proponents.

Example 1: In the article, an economist claims, “…with immigration, you can flip a switch and massively grow the size of the country.” Groeger notes, that claim is “…referring to overall GDP, not per-capita GDP, which the analysis does not address.” The point is that an overall increase in GDP as a result of increased immigration may result in a decrease in per-capita GDP, i.e. the average earner is worse off.

Example 2: Groeger cites a report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) that found “little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers.” Of course, “little evidence” means there is some evidence. And the effect on the employment level of native workers is not stated, but in context surely means negative effects. So the NAS was in effect dismissing negative effects on native workers.

Example 3: Groeger cites the claim of a labor economist that immigration “…boosts economic growth for years.” She notes that this assertion ignores the fiscal effect on governmental budgets at all levels down to the local school district budget. The lesson is that the advocates of mass immigration are often proponents rather than even-handed analysts. By contrast, FAIR’s estimates of the fiscal impact of illegal immigration include estimates of tax contributions of illegal aliens. (See

Example 4: Addressing the possibility of increased deportation of illegal aliens under the Trump administration, Groeger cites advocates of mass immigration alleging that “…removing so many people at once would have a significant economic effect.” Implicit is that this refers to a negative effect. But, this statement ignores the fact that no one is advocating an overnight mass deportation, and it ignores the potential fiscal benefits of meaningful immigration enforcement for governments and job benefits for unemployed and under-employed natives.

This latter discussion demonstrates that the author, despite some otherwise balanced analysis, falls into the trap of being enamored with the prospect of an economic panacea that supposedly could result from more than doubling today’s million-plus annual immigration.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    Immigration naturalization laws have helped immigrants become U.S. citizens by having a familial tie (spouse, parent, child, or sibling), educational or vocational visas and work visas. Those three different types of ways to become a naturalized citizen have helped many in becoming a part of this nation. What about those that don’t have familial ties, vocational/educational or work visas? There are millions here in the United States with the status of “illegal alien” that would gladly step out of the shadows to become naturalized in order to contribute to the United States but have no way of becoming a naturalized citizen.

  2. avatar

    From “China’s Intelligence Networks in United States Include 25,000 Spies”
    By Bill Gertz at The Washington Free Beacon

    –“Beijing’s spy networks in the United States include up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents who have stepped up offensive spying activities since 2012, according to a Chinese dissident with close ties to Beijing’s military and intelligence establishment.”

    –“Guo said that Chinese intelligence operations in the United States sharply increased after the 2012 Communist Party Congress that brought current leader Xi Jinping to power.

    “Before 2012, cumulatively China had around 10,000 to 20,000 agents working in the United States,” he said. “These agents had been sent to work in the United States over a 50 year period of time, and they were working in a defensive mode.”

    According to the businessman, defensive intelligence was mainly focused on learning about the United States. The operations then shifted in 2012 to “offensive” spying, he said.

    “By offensive [operations], I mean to be ready to destroy the U.S. in ways they can,” Guo said.

    China’s budget for intelligence gathering before 2012 was around $600 million annually.

    Around 2012, a decision was made by Chinese leaders to dispatch another 5,000 spies to the United States. “Some of them were sent as students, some as businessmen, and some as immigrants, but all together, 5,000,” Guo said.

    “In addition to that, they developed between 15,000 to 18,000 other spies, and these are not directly sent but these are developed within the United States.”

    The recruited agents are not limited to Asians and Chinese-Americans but include all ethnic groups, including Hispanics, Blacks, and Caucasians.

    “And now the budget is between $3 billion to $4 billion annually, and this is information up to one month ago,” he said.”

    –“”You don’t know which organizations in China are responsible for sending these spies, how they are managed, and to what purpose,” he said. “And the U.S. adopts a very legalistic perspective to look at the question of spying. Yet, for China their methods are not what the United States understands.”

    “These spies, when they come to the United States, they could sleep around, they could put poison in your glass of wine to kill you; completely unscrupulous,” he said.

    Chinese intelligence officers sent to the United States are controlled by the MSS by keeping all their family members and relatives hostage.

    China’s intelligence targets included several strategic areas of the United States.

    “The first is to obtain military weapons-related technology. This is priority No. 1,” Guo said.

    Second, Chinese intelligence is engaged in “buying” senior U.S. officials personally, and a third objective is buying family members of American political or business elites “with a view to getting intelligence and to make big business deals in China’s favor,” he said.

    A fourth priority is penetrating the American internet system and critical infrastructure by implanting malicious software.

    “And they have successfully penetrated all the major defense weapons suppliers of the U.S. government,” Guo said, adding that “the scale of their operations is mind boggling.””

    –“”It’s clear the situation is getting more and more dangerous now. The United States has the best weapons in its arsenal, such as laser weapons, etc. Yet, the Chinese spy system has penetrated into the bloodstream of American defense establishment with their viruses and everything else.”

    “The United States is bleeding and is unaware that sooner or later the United States will run out of blood,” Guo said.

    Also, the United States is overly reliant on technical spying while China has an asymmetrical advantage in using its tens of thousands of human spies.

    China also is working to subvert the United States by working together with rogue regimes, such as those in North Korea and Iran.

    “So in a fight between rogues and a gentleman, the rogues will always win,” he said, “because the gentlemen fight a civilized war. The rogues do not fight a civilized war.””

    • avatar

      As history has shown….the Chinese also contributed to the US American Dream….building the CA interstate,,,,,,etc …do you have something good in your life to show ?

      so does everybody….we also spy on everybody else….FOCUS on the subject..we also have our own that are bad…..

  3. avatar

    Then how do we explain the American Dream? How we got to the Moon,the creation of Apple the son of an immigrant, The first lady an immigrant, n Trump son if immigrants…..Groeger very closed minded if a scholar…….n ignored all the facts…