Fuzzy, Xenophobic Math: Mass Fiscal

FIGHT_BACK_(13).pngThe Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a group that allegedly focuses on "fiscal responsibility" that has had xenophobia at its core from the start, has been targeting legislative supporters of the Safe Communities Act with mailers fear-mongering about undocumented immigrants. On the mailers, they quote a statistic from the ironically named white supremacist group FAIR: "Illegal Immigration costs Massachusetts taxpayers $1.8 Billion Annually." 
As should come as no surprise, there are major problems with both the messenger and the message.
First, FAIR's ties to white supremacist ideologies are well-documented. They are not a research center by any definition, and their obvious bias makes any analysis of theirs suspect.
The credibility problem isn't just about who's saying it, though. The numbers are also pure nonsense.
The figure trumpeted by FAIR and Mass Fiscal is based on assumptions and very little empirical data. They don't consider any of the economic benefits from immigrants whether in or out of status, nor the tremendous cost of removal.
FAIR starts by inflating the number of undocumented immigrants by doing things like counting everyone in the US under TPS as undocumented (they are not). All together, this inflates the number by 1.5 million people as compared to the Pew Research Center.
Over half of the tax burden assigned to education and healthcare are expenses related to the children of undocumented immigrants, approximately three-quarters of whom are native-born citizens of the US (and therefore: not undocumented). (As anyone who was ever a parent---or a child--would know, all children are expensive).
FAIR doesn't count the children born to native-born Americans as a tax burden, because they grow up, join the workforce, and contribute to taxes, off-setting their expense. No such assumptions are made about the children of undocumented immigrants even though they are contributing members of society.
FAIR's assumptions lack a data-driven consistency, consistent only in manipulating the assumptions to result in inflated cost conclusions (which is exactly the kind of fakenewsery the right consistently claims of the left). For example: when assessing educational costs, FAIR assumes that ALL children in a family with an undocumented parent live in low-income homes and go to low-income schools, an assumption that on paper increases the alleged costs. And yet, elsewhere, FAIR uses high-income assumptions in other parts of the study: their analysis goes out of the way to minimize their contributions by undocumented members of our economy and maximize their cost. 
There is a wealth of empirical research, on the other hand, that comes to the complete opposite conclusion of groups like Mass Fiscal and FAIR: that immigrants (undocumented or otherwise) and safe community policies both have positive impacts on their communities.
The Mass Fiscal junk data is designed only to stir up nativist outrage and scare legislators. And Governor Baker and the State House would be wise to listen to facts and reason, not junk data assembled by hate groups with a white supremacist agenda.

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