Immigration Myths Debunked


Immigration is a hotly debated subject with a slew of arguments but experts have debunked some of the myths surrounding it. On Thursday, President Barak Obama utilized the powers of his office to mold the immigration system of the nation. He explained that his administration would overhaul the immigration system and explained who it was projected to affect and not affect.

He addressed the nation from the East Room of the White House appealing to the nation’s compassion that deporting millions of illegal immigrants is not “who we are.” Obama quoted scripture stating that we could not oppress strangers seeing as how all Americans once were strangers. Shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and providing them with work visas brings the scope of presidential authority under further scrutiny.

This decision by Obama has raised a myriad of constitutional and legal questions. Republicans have accused him of imperial overreach. Democrats are worried over the future fallout from these actions.

On Thursday night, the White House released a 33 page memo from the Justice Department detailing the legalities of the executive order. Internal legal documents are rarely disclosed to the public. According to legal experts, Obama has “virtually unfettered prosecutorial discretion” as chief executive.

Obama’s approach has not been welcomed with open arms by the country. It has been a tough sell, especially now with the new Republican controlled Congress. Many arguments have been placed on the table but some experts do agree that some of the arguments are based on misinformation. Many myths that need to be debunked exist in regards to immigration and its effect on the economy.

immigrationMany claim, as migrant workers, illegals do not pay taxes. According to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) migrants have paid approximately $10.6 billion towards state and local taxes in 2010 alone. While actual contributions vary by state, it is estimated on average the immigrants pay roughly 6.4% of their income in state and local taxes. IRS figures indicated back in 2007 50-75% of about 11 million migrant workers filed and paid income taxes each year.

Claims are also made that undocumented immigrants do not pay into Social Security. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that immigrants who are not even eligible for benefits have paid a staggering $100 billion into the fund over the last decade. On average, they are paying $15 billion a year per Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the SSA. Social Security would have entered a constant shortfall of tax revenue to cover payouts without the contribution of millions of undocumented workers.

Another argument would be that illegals place a burden on the American system. That simply is not the case when they do not qualify for government assistance programs such as food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid among others. One of the prerequisites of such programs is proof of legal immigration status and per the 1996 welfare law; even legal immigrants do not qualify to receive benefits until they have lived in the US for five years.

One loophole however would be the children of illegal immigrants. Oftentimes referred to as “anchor babies”, the children do qualify for social benefits. They also qualify for schooling as well as emergency medical care.

A report of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 concluded that proper means towards legalization for immigrants would increase revenue by a whopping $48 billion. There would be a $23 billion increase in costs for the use of public services but still would produce $25 billion in surplus for government coffers debunking several myths on immigration as reported by the Congressional Budget Office.

By Stevenson Benoit

Photo by JvovesFlickr License
Victoria PickeringFlickr License

NY Times
NY Times
CNN Money


Jennifer Lawrence is Ready to Burn up the Box Office


Jennifer Lawrence is ready to burn up the box office this weekend with the debut of the next installment of the Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay Part1. Based upon the projections, the movie is expected to rake in anywhere between $130 and $150 million. That is well on track with the two previous installments, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, both opening at over $150 million each.

Considering the star power, the third installment stands to do even better with Jennifer Lawrence as the lead protagonist. Last year Lawrence was a big star. This year, Lawrence is one of the biggest most sought after stars and the public isn’t done with her yet. Lawrence is slated to play Mystique in the next X-Men installment. The trailers for Mockingjay have now included the line, “starring Jennifer Lawrence,” which wasn’t iterated in previous installments.

In 2013, Catching Fire became the highest grossing film in the United States. It was the first time in 40 years that a female protagonist graced the top of the annual box office charts. It would appear that the actress is someone to gush over as the “who’s who” in Hollywood are showering her with praise.

Co-star, Donald Sutherland, has made comparisons to Jesus Christ. Sutherland mentioned to E! Online that he realized that she was a child genius and that she was “the right person at the right time in the sense of Joan of Arc or Jesus Christ.” He goes on to compliment her ability as an actress to tell the truth out of the provided material and makes it immediately recognizable. She is “just a real girl,” according to Sutherland.

Her appeal is fueled by her nonchalant approach towards the press. Instead of playing the traditional poised and dignified role, she is more confident in self and out spoken. Her off the cuff remarks are sincere and speak to her character as a person. It should come as no surprise that the box office should get ready to burn with Mockingjay Part 1 starring Jennifer Lawrence.

MTV recently tried to get the skinny on Lawrence by interviewing her cast mates. Julianne Moore and others referred to her as being someone that was “down to earth,” “pure, honest, raw, amazingness,” and lauded her with other praises.

This week has been complete with everything JLaw. US Weekly did a write up on the actress’ short hair style stating that it was inspiration to young women worldwide. Lawrence debuted the asymmetrical hairdo via her Facebook page last year and according to US Weekly, ever since, the star has been giving quite the lesson on versatility.

In the midst of all the commotion, America’s new sweetheart has come out and said that she fears the paparazzi. According to Lawrence, she is more than just uncomfortable with paparazzi but actually fears them. As of late she has been suffering from mild anxiety because of recent interactions with aggressive paparazzi.

Other movies opening this weekend are in for a dogfight as Mockingjay Part 1 featuring Jennifer Lawrence gets ready to burn up the box office. The Hunger Games franchise has already established a core fan base and with America’s sweetheart at the helm, it will take more than explosions and fast cars to stop this phoenix.

By Stevenson Benoit

Photo by Marco MannaFlickr License

The Hollywood Reporter
Refinery 29
US Weekly
Master Herald


Police Arrest Protesters Ahead of Grand Jury Decision


Police officers in Ferguson have arrested several protesters overnight ahead of the grand jury decision to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Mike Brown. Protesters were attempting to block a street during a demonstration that drew dozens of people outside of the city police station in sub-freezing temperatures.

Demonstrators were met by officers in riot gear and were advised to disperse. A few demonstrators chanted, “Indict that cop.” The arrests were the first in roughly a week indicating the rise in racial tensions ahead of the trial ruling.

On Monday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the public response to the grand jury decision to charge Wilson with the August 9th killing of Michael Brown. He also activated the National Guard to provide back up to state and local law enforcement, a move some activists have criticized as being heavy-handed. Over the past week, several protests have been seen, all of which being peaceful.

The National Action Network, a group founded by Reverend Al Sharpton, longtime New York civil rights activist, said that demonstrations would occur regardless of the grand jury decision with protesters calling for federal charges against Wilson if local charges aren’t filed.

Activists around the country are planning to stage their own rallies at federal courthouses from New York to Los Angeles. The FBI has warned law enforcement agencies around the country that the decision will likely lead some extremist protesters to threaten and even attack police officers and federal agents.

Caught in the middle would be peaceful protesters and electrical facilities or water treatment plants could also become targets. Hacktivist group, Anonymous, has already launched a cyber-attack against the KKK for threatening to disturb the peace. Within hours of the FBI releasing their bulletin, police departments across the country were issuing internal bulletins urging officers to review procedures and protocols for responding to mass demonstrations and protesters ahead of the grand jury decision.

Immediately after Brown’s death on August 9th, protests began. People marched and chanted along West Florissant Avenue, not far from where the shooting took place. At times, the protests turned violent with stores being looted and according to local law enforcement demonstrators threw gasoline bombs and attempted to set fires.

Though the confrontations have quieted down, the demonstrations and rallies have continued nearly nightly. An estimated 50 organizations, including Montague Simmons’ Organization for Black Struggle, have joined forces in a “Don’t Shoot Coalition” aimed at preparing for the grand jury decision.

Negotiations are currently underway proposing a “rules of engagement” for when the grand jury decision comes down. Law enforcement has accepted some of the terms of the agreement while other terms have been rejected. Some of the proposed terms include tolerance for more minor law breaking such as thrown water bottles and requesting 48 hour notice for protesters prior to the grand jury decision coming in.

There are conflicting accounts as to what occurred when Wilson shot Brown. Some witness accounts state that Brown had his hands up in surrender like fashion, while other accounts describe a violent confrontation between the two.

“It must be changing how police and citizens relate to one another,” said Michael T. McPhearson, co chairman of the Don’t Shoot Coalition. “We’re calling for police accountability, police transparency, changing how police do their work. If there’s an indictment or if there’s not an indictment, we still have that work to do.”

Written by Stevenson Benoit