Get Your Falsehoods While They’re Hot

Recently, Steve Chapman, a member of the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board, made some outrageous statements about the United States’ illegal immigration problem. This is a continuation of efforts by the open-borders lobby to obfuscate the immigration debate with wonky math.

Mr. Chapman condescendingly states, “The president and his attorney general ignore the real dangers posed by most foreigners here illegally: They will fill jobs that Americans don’t want, learn English, pay taxes and stay out of trouble.”

First of all, there are no “jobs that Americans don’t want.” The industries that most legal and illegal aliens enter when they come into the United States, such as farming and construction, consist of more native-born citizens than immigrants. There is no industry that has more immigrants than native-born Americans, according to Pew.

Mr. Chapman followed that by saying illegal aliens “learn English.” While some illegal aliens may learn English, it tends to take them a long time, and it costs American taxpayers billions of dollars. According to a National Education Association report, it takes an average of five to seven years for an immigrant child to reach English proficiency, with up to half requiring six or more years.

As for taxes, many illegal aliens avoid them by working in the underground economy, and most consume services that cost significantly more than they pay in taxes. While illegal aliens do contribute about $19 billion in taxes every year, they and their dependents consume almost $135 billion each year. That means the cost of illegal immigration to American taxpayers is about $116 billion. Just stating that illegal aliens “pay taxes” only tells a small part of the story and paints a false picture that illegal aliens are a net contribution to the U.S. economy.

Mr. Chapman went on to mention that there are more illegal aliens in the country now than in 1990, and he then tried to correlate that to decreasing crime rates. He cited a Cato Institute study that claims illegal aliens commit crimes at a lower rate than American citizens. First of all, it should be noted that any crimes committed by illegal aliens should be considered preventable. From 2011 until 2018, 245,000 aliens were charged with crimes in Texas alone, and two-thirds of those aliens were in the country illegally. Those illegal aliens committed 600 murders and 38,000 drug crimes. Furthermore, the Cato study doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Data from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAPP) suggests that, at least in most states, illegal aliens are far more likely to be incarcerated in state prisons and local jails than lawfully present aliens.

The statements made by Mr. Chapman in his Chicago Tribune article were a mixture of falsehoods and stretched-truths. If Mr. Chapman and others are going to write about illegal immigration, they should at least make sure their facts are right.

About Author


Casey joined FAIR in 2018. He assists the research team with projects and writes for FAIR’S website. He previously spent a year working in journalism in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Journalism in 2017.


  1. avatar
    Rosanne Crooks on

    Arrest the Obama’s and the Clinton’s, John Brennan, James Vomey, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Robert MUELLER and ALL the rest of the deep state gang they ALL belong I jail

  2. avatar

    Liberals: Our education system produces students who rank far behind most developed nations. Answer: Our education systems in most major cities are in shambles under the expense of educating foreign students. who fail frequently to achieve even the most minimal standards. Liberals: That’s racist.

    Liberals: The difference between the top and lowest paid in the average company has greatly widened in the last thirty years. Answer: That same period saw massive immigration, which is universally supported by big business to lower wages. Liberals: That’s racist.

    Liberals: Our environment is under pressure from urban sprawl and dwindling water supplies. Answer: Immigration is fueling population growth that only makes those problems worse. Liberals: That’s racist.

    And on and on. One thing that few will acknowledge for the drop in crime rates since the 90s is the fact that three strikes laws in many states have put a lot of constant offenders, who commit a large percentage of crimes, behind bars for lengthy periods.

    Hillary wearing a Russian hat during a college commencement address. Is that the one she wore when she and Obama sold 20% of our uranium reserves to them?