The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006

First Use Good Statistics 

Anna Quindlen has a column in Newsweek where she's pushing the idea of allowing immigrants to be President of the United States. She pretty much lost me in the first paragraph when she states the following:

When the Center for Immigration Studies reported recently that 35 million American residents were foreign-born, the highest number in the nation's history, you could just imagine the reaction of the nativist types who wish all those people from elsewhere would just stay there.

So... 35 million residents are foreign-born... so we should allow one of them to be president eh? Come back and remake your statistics based argument when you feel comfortable quoting the number of naturalized citizens. Quoting residents includes illegal immigrants. In fact... quoting from their own website:

The immigrant population in the 2005 CPS includes between nine and 10 million illegal aliens and between one and two million persons on long‑term temporary visas, mainly students and guest workers.

So at least one third of the 35 million (because the numbers are generally thought to be underestimated) of "residents" are illegally here. And of the 23 million or so who are here legally, the numbers don't specify how many are naturalized citizens. Worse yet, half of all new arrivals since 2000 are illegal.

When it comes to talking about using these numbers as a reason to change who can be President, don't you think we should look at the right numbers? And more importantly... even if you think 20 odd million people is reason enough... isn't it interesting that the author of this column has decided to try to sneak this through. Nothing in the immigration debate bothers me more than people who treat illegal immigrants and legal ones exactly the same. It is an insult to legal immigrants everywhere.

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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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