Thursday, August 9, 2018

Immigration: There's Always More to The Story

By Robin Siskel August 9, 2018

The article, Homeland Security: More than 600,000 foreigners overstayed U.S. visas in 2017, contains some interesting and useful facts regarding illegal immigration.  Unfortunately, it also makes a ludicrous claim that the data supposedly shows that Trump's focus on the border wall is misplaced.  This couldn't be further from the truth. 

Visa overstays are a serious issue, unquestionably - but so is establishing far better border control. The article notes that some 600,000 people overstayed visas last year alone - then goes on to say that "only" 300,000 were apprehended at the southern border. Unfortunately, the author fails to include some very key facts.  For example, visa overstays only account for roughly 40% of the illegal aliens in this nation. 

They also fail to note that the most generous estimates are that less than 50% entering the country illegally by crossing the borders are ever caught, and some reputable estimates are far lower.  Add to this the fact that last year - the sole year they provide as an example - illegal border crossing arrests hit a 46-year low, and were down fully 25% from the prior year also. Not to mention those crossing the border illegally have a far easier time smuggling in drugs, weapons, and other illegal items. 

Finally, while strategically placed sections of wall and enhanced technological surveillance methods of border control can easily result in very large reductions in illegal border crossings, it's far more difficult to have a significant impact on the total number of visa overstays - unless we're willing to radically reduce the number of visas issued of course, but no one wants that.

At what point does cherry picking in articles like this become severe enough, misleading enough, to be called lying (or just make it a waste of time or worse to bother reading the article)? 
I'd say unfortunately we're long past that point with much of the mainstream media "news" and certainly with much of the editorial/opinion articles, especially in the "prestigious" outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. and even in the broadcast news of ABC, NBC, CBS, and so on. This is why claims of "fake news" resonates so very well with so many in the general public.  We're all sick to death of being misled and lied to by the ostensible purveyors of "factual news." 

This is why so many in the general public cheer when Trump proclaims "fake news" and "the press is the enemy of the people."  We desperately need mainstream media "news outlets" to return to far more reporting of actual pertinent and key facts, and far less political bias, agenda pushing, sensationalism, appeals to emotion, and telling the public what we're supposed to think. 

There has always been bias in the media, it's impossible to avoid some, as we are all human after all... but in recent years what used to be well known and taught as journalistic ethics - reporting 'who, what, where, when, why,' attempting to be as unbiased and fair as possible to all sides, and so on - has been totally thrown out the window. 
This is doing tremendous damage to our democracy as most people don't have the time or inclination to go digging through article after article trying to determine what is fact and what is bogus and what the real picture is on any given issue. As a result, a huge percentage of the population winds up being badly misinformed about all sorts of highly relevant issues, which of course affects how they vote and so on.

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