Our VoiceImmigration

NumbersUSA tries, fails to use government report to make case against immigrants


Imagine2050 Staff • Apr 27, 2015

The Washington, D.C.-based NumbersUSA is once again attempting to scapegoat immigrants as a threat to low- and middle-income Americans. This time, they mischaracterized a nonpartisan government report and claimed that it faults immigration for a decrease in wages.

Is the anti-immigrant movement ready to have an ‘honest discussion’ about immigration and the economy?

On its website Friday, the anti-immigrant group boasted that information from Congressional Research Service (CRS) “links the increase in immigration in recent decades to the decline of the median income for the bottom 90% of income tax filers.” However, NumbersUSA conveniently disregards the CRS researcher’s claim that no such conclusion can be drawn:

It bears noting that a causal relationship between two variables – whereby change in one variable causes change in another variable in a systematic or consistent manner – cannot be determined through a simple graphic representation. Hence, CRS is unable to draw any conclusions or determine any relationship between two variables by virtue of those variables being presented together in a graph.

The story, as told by NumbersUSA, was picked up by numerous far-right media outlets including The Blaze, Breitbart News, and The Daily Caller. NumbersUSA published a summary of The Blaze‘s reporting.

The Blaze article refers to an April 22 CRS memo that was prepared by an immigration policy analyst at CRS for a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The name of the elected official or staffer seeking information on the immigrant population and median wages has been redacted in publicly released versions of the memo. It is worth noting that committee member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who also heads the subcommittee that deals with immigration, has often tried to make the case that immigration hurts American-born workers.

In their messaging, NumbersUSA and other organizations comprising the organized anti-immigrant movement have also frequently attempted to argue the same point. Sen. Sessions, whose disingenuous pro-worker rhetoric has been previously covered at Imagine 2050, again utilized these economic arguments bereft of any context in an April 9 op-ed published by The Washington Post that plainly calls for reducing legal immigration.

Alex Nowrasteh of the libertarian Cato Institute rebutted Sessions’ specious arguments one-by-one in an April 10 blog. After cogently presenting evidence to rebuke Sessions, Nowrasteh concluded that “[a]n honest discussion over immigration policy must also consider the universally acknowledged and known economic benefits of immigrants.”

When the organized anti-immigrant movement misrepresents the findings of a nonpartisan government body to ignore those universally acknowledged benefits, it only further evidences its true motivations as a bigoted movement determined to malign immigrants and immigration through any and all possible means.

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