Examining an Anti-Immigrant Chain Letter

Thank you to Hector Tobar of the LA Times for debunking “Just One State”, an email forward bashing “illegals” that is making the rounds. The email lists 10 *shocking* facts about how “illegals” harm California. Hector does a little research and comments on the truthiness of each FACT.

1. “40% of all workers in L.A. County are working for cash and not paying taxes. . . . This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants working without a green card.”

The source of this information seems to be a 2005 study by the Economic Roundtable on the informal economy in Los Angeles County. Its findings were reported in The Times and other papers.

But the chain-mail’s author more than doubled the figures in that study, which estimated that 15% of the county workforce was outside the regulated economy in 2004. Illegal immigrants getting paid in cash, it said, probably made up about 9% of the workforce.

A later Economic Roundtable report, by the way, credited immigrants with keeping the local economy from shrinking in the 1990s.

Read the other 9 FACTS here to learn exactly how much you should fear the “Mexicans”.


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