Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fact-Checking Forwards

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I strongly dislike forwarded emails such as this, but sometimes they need to be debunked. This is an email that I was forwarded today coupled with my email in response...

Joe Legal vs. Jose Illegal

Here is an example of why hiring illegal aliens is not economically
productive for the State of California ...

You have 2 families..."Joe Legal" and "Jose Illegal". Both families have 2
parents, 2 children and live in California. "Joe Legal" works in
construction, has a Social Security Number, and makes $25.00 per hour with
payroll taxes deducted...."Jose Illegal" also works in construction, has
"NO" Social Security Number, and gets paid $15.00 cash "under the table".

Joe Legal...$25.00 per hour x 40 hours $1000.00 per week, $52,000 per

Now take 30% away for state federal tax, Joe Legal now has $31,231.00

Jose Illegal...$15.00 per hour x 40 hours $600.00 per week, $31,200.00 per
year. Jose Illegal pays no taxes... Jose Illegal now has $31,200.00

Joe Legal pays Medical and Dental Insurance with limited coverage $1000.00
per month, $12,000.00 per year. Joe Legal now has $19,231.00

Jose Illegal has full Medical and Dental coverage through the state and
local clinics at a cost of $0.00 per year. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.00

Joe Legal makes too much money is not eligible for Food Stamps or welfare.
Joe Legal pays for food $1,000.00 per month, $12,000.00 per year. Joe
Legal now has $7,231.00

Jose Illegal has no documented income and is eligible for Food Stamps and
Welfare. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.00.

Joe Legal pays rent of $1,000.00 per month. $12,000.00 per year. Joe Legal
is now in the hole minus (-) $4,769.00

Jose Illegal receives a $500 per month Federal rent subsidy. Jose Illegal
pays rent. $500.00 per month. $6,000.00 per year Jose Illegal still has

Joe Legal now works overtime on Saturdays or gets a part time job after

Jose Illegal has nights and weekends off to enjoy with his family.

Joe Legal's and Jose Illegal's children both attend the same school. Joe
Legal pays for his children's lunches while Jose Illegal's children get a 
government sponsored lunch. Jose Illegal's children have an after school 
ESL program. Joe Legal's children go home.

Joe Legal and Jose Illegal both enjoy the same Police and Fire Services,
but Joe paid for them and Jose did not pay.

Don't vote/support any politician that supports illegal aliens...Its PAST
time to take a stand for America and Americans!

My Response:

First off, this email is not directed at anyone that either ignored it or found it untruthful in the first place, but let's examine the facts:

This "story" has been around since January 2009, circulating within social media circles and emails, so it is nothing new.

Labor: It is unlawful to hire someone who is not authorized to work in the United States. If you think that someone getting paid "under the table"  is given fair treatment, standard work hours, and that high of a wage, you vastly misjudge the labor market and the companies that are knowingly hiring these workers illegally.  They choose to hire "Jose" over "Joe" because it costs them a lot less money and "Jose" has no ability to complain as he would then be found out and potentially deported.

Healthcare: People that are receiving "free" healthcare are hardly getting proper medical treatment. They don't get yearly check-ups and dentist visits, x-rays, elective procedures or most pills.  Rather, they go to the emergency room when they are seriously injured or ill.  Yes, this may seem "unfair" in financial terms, but if you think that with this "free" healthcare that they would be able to identify an illness such as cancer when the illness is new and still treatable, you are mistaken.

Food: Food stamp programs have strict eligibility guidelines which someone like Jose would not meet.  Even if he did meet the guidelines, the actual amount is so little per day, that to eat healthy or to sustain growing children would require someone like Jose to still spend a portion of his income on food for his family.  Here is more information on SNAP eligibility:

Housing: An undocumented person making this much money illegally would not be able to obtain housing voucher.  Here are the requirements for a Housing Voucher directly from the U.S. Dept of Housing & Urban Development: 

Obviously, immigrant families still need to pay for utilities, gas, etc. or choose to live without those services, but this was conveniently left out of Jose's costs in the email.

Anyone that gets pulled over is required to show their ID and insurance, both of which undocumented immigrants wouldn't be eligible to obtain at all under federal law.  If they are lucky enough to obtain a car with cash, getting pulled over could expose them and potentially get them deported. Most likely, they are paying for public transportation.

Being at "the head of the class" is a term that is no longer used, but let's assume the email is referring to class rankings.  They are based entirely on GPA and can't be changed based on immigration status or race.  Undocumented immigrant children often don't require for financial aid, but even if they did, they would be accepted to a university using the same standards that they use for everyone else.  Since the family would likely have difficulty even getting a bank account or obtain a loan, its likely they aren't able to pay tuition in cash and would not be able to pay any costs not covered by financial aid.

Finally, the term "illegal alien" is offensive; the acceptable term is "undocumented worker."  Calling someone an alien purposely dehumanizes them and makes people feel okay about treating them the way that this email does.  In addition, the word "illegal" means "not legal."  They are not "illegal" people any more than you would call someone that committed theft years ago would have to forever identify as "illegal."  They committed one illegal act, crossing the border.  Likewise, you can not blame children that cross the border with their parents.  They have no power to decide to stay behind, yet you still unfairly refer to them as "illegal."

Fact is, as U.S. citizens we have more rights and opportunities than undocumented immigrants.  If you don't think this is the case, try getting rid of your social security number and pretending to be undocumented.  You will not require for any of the programs already discussed, but you will also not be able to receive social security checks or medicare as a senior.

Please, check the facts before forwarding these types of emails without any sources. It is not to the benefit of anyone to receive an email like this full of false information and only perpetuates cultural stereotypes.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Angela Tombazzi

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