David Pepin is a lifelong Rhode Islander who has served as a news and sports reporter and editor at the Warwick Beacon, Cranston Herald, The (Woonsocket) Call, Worcester Telegram & Gazette and, most recently, East Greenwich Pendulum. He is a graduate of Boston University and Bishop Hendricken High School, and lives in North Providence. He is also a former member of the Providence Newspaper Guild (Woonsocket and Worcester chapters), and an annual participant in the guild's Follies as a performer and writer.

6 responses to “No Red Carpet for Needy Families, Immigrants”

  1. RightToWork

    The statistics to which you point don’t prove what you assert they prove. It is entirely possible, based on those numbers, that the number of illegal immigrants (“undocumented workers” if you insist on being silly) in the state has grown while the number of legal residents has fallen or stagnated.

  2. Art Handy

    RTW, I have two points in response to your post, 1st regarding undocumented workers/families, there is only one reference to undocumented people in the whole article.  The title refers to needy families and immigrants. 2nd, regarding your premise that the stats “don’t prove what you assert they prove”, the key stats are a high unemployment rate and cost of housing, implied cuts to services (“time limits”, etc.) and that we are 47th in the nation for the increase in our immigrant population. Those seem to match well in my mind to the lack of red carpet in the title and the lack of a magnetic character from the first paragraph which is what I think you are targeting as well.

    More broadly, that drop in kids could throw a wrench in the attempts at fairness under the funding formula… That could cut into state funding to communities based on enrollment while the fixed costs of schools will remain the same. 

    1. RightToWork

      Art – The “meme” to which the author refers in his article (which a more fair-minded individual would simply call an “argument”) isn’t about “immigrants” or “families.” It is about illegal immigrants specifically. I have never once heard an RI talk show host or conservative blogger argue against legal immigration. In fact, because of this frequent mischaracterization of their position made by progressives, I’ve noticed that they are often very careful about making this distinction. The true issue is illegal immigration, and both you and the author know that quite well.

      Illegal immigrants aren’t considered in calculation of the unemployment rate. I don’t see why it would make a difference to them one way or the other, especially if they are just coming to the state to collect various forms of state assistance, utilize public education, and get free healthcare through hospitals.

  3. Art Handy

    So we are narrowing to only talk show cons, ok.  On that point I think there has been a clear anti immigrant as well as the more pronounced “anti illegal” tone with plenty of the discussion – people both callers and talkers have often, OFTEN spoken about immigrants, not “illegal immigrants” as taking jobs of Americans, should learn english, etc., etc.  This is the meme/argument I hear about.

    Unemployment rates are very relevant to everyone who wants to work above or under the table, when the rate is low, there is pressure to find people to do less pleasant jobs, take lower wages and give up on workplace protections.  When rates are higher, there are many more people looking and that reduces opportunities for under the table work, however you want to characterize those seeking/getting it and there is a generally accepted assumption that immigrants of all stripes won’t go there.

    Here is an article about it, best pull out quote that I saw in the short time I had to look:
    Vedder, Gallaway and Moore, a former Cato Institute economist, completed research on the 10 states with the highest and lowest concentration of immigrantsforthe period 1960 to 1990. They found, “In the 10 high-immigrant states, the median unemployment rate in the 1960–91 period was about 5.9 percent, compared with 6.6 percent in the 10 lowimmigrant states.” They also discovered that between 1980 and 1990, “The median proportion ofthe population that wasforeign-born was 1.56 percent in the highunemploymentstates, comparedwith 3.84 percent in the low-unemployment states. 

    1. RightToWork

      I haven’t heard any attacks on legal immigration. I’m sure there are some crazies out there railing against it, as with anythng, but that’s a far cry from hosts and callers “often” making those arguments, and they certainly aren’t mainstream. If it’s really as common as you claim, then you wouldn’t have any problem providing me with some examples, would you?

      Your arguments about unemployment could be true in some situations, but aren’t necessarily true. Unemployment can rise due to layoffs in some areas of the economy but not others, and there is research showing that people tend to stay on unemployment until the final two weeks in which their benefits run out. Because of the way it is measured, higher unemployment can also be caused by higher employment in under-the-table work, such as work performed by illegal immigrants, so the reverse of what you’re claiming could also be true.

  4. Art Handy

    Ok so I am going to have to send you a bill for all this research I am doing… First, I want to point out that we have begun to discuss two divergent points. I have been talking about anti immigrant speech and you have said both immigrants and immigration.

    Now then, back tot he post.
    I don’t make it a habit of recording talk radio so I had to go and Google some of the national stuff which is really bad stuff – often referring to immigrants in really racist terms again and again (sometimes referring to illegal immigrants but we are talking about people not practices in these references).  These are mainstream cons from most people’s perspective too.  If you want to interpret people that are on FoxNews and major syndicated radio as being the crazies, ok, but that does not leave you too many who are not in this camp.  Here are a few links:

    There were a bunch more but I got pretty tired of looking at them. 

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