The Salt Lake Tribune, “Utah’s independent news source since 1871,” recently ran a series of articles designed to put a positive spin on illegal immigration. Just several months before, the State’s other major daily, the Deseret News, had run a similar series of articles with the same goal of swinging public opinion in favor of individuals who are unlawfully in the United States.
Like the Deseret News, the Tribune and its reporters went to extraordinary lengths to downplay the negative impacts of illegal immigration and to show it in the most positive light possible. The Tribune actually embraced felony document fraud, felony Social Security fraud and felony identity theft because these crimes provide substantial benefits in terms of increased income and Social Security taxes.
Tribune Columnist Peg McEntee summed up the results of the series which was labeled “Yellow Journalism” by at least one poster on the Tribune’s comment board. According to McEntee’s summary:
• “in hard times, they [illegal aliens] do take jobs from uneducated legal residents and hurt their wages, but the impact is small.” (The impact may be small for the insulated Tribune staff but it is huge for the working-poor Americans whose jobs have been taken and who have had their wages driven down).
• McEntee downplayed the fact that illegal aliens benefit from social welfare programs by arguing that “….American citizens are just as entitled to such help, so nobody’s crowding them out.” (Thus, according to McEntee, illegal aliens are entitled to taxpayer funded, welfare benefits on an equal footing with American citizens.)
• According to McEntee, “Charity care such as Medicaid for emergency care and the Children’s Health Insurance Program…..do assist hundreds of thousands of Utah residents, and only about 10 percent of them are families with an undocumented immigrant. Again, no legal residents are shut out from these programs.” (Taxpayer funded Medicaid is not charity care and taxpayers spend in the range of $200 million each year for illegal alien Medicaid and CHIP [23,000 families, $3,516 CHIP and $9,524 Medicaid]. The one out of ten illegal alien families [23,853] that benefit from welfare [$392/month] and food stamps [$339/month] cost Utah taxpayers an additional $200 million each year.)
• As for crime, “studies have shown that undocumented immigrants don’t commit more crimes than people born in the United States — and that they may commit fewer.” (According to Actuary of the Social Security Administration, roughly 75 percent of illegal aliens have a fraudulently obtained Social Security number. This is a felony subject to up to 5 or 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Thus, 75 percent of illegal aliens are committing felonies. In addition, an analysis of Federal Trade Commission identity theft data reveals that identity theft and illegal immigration go hand-in-hand. No one asserts that 75 percent of American citizens are routinely committing felonies yet the Tribune still insists that illegal aliens are more law abiding than Americans.)
• “But in 2008, just 31 percent of Latin American immigrants sent money home in the average amount of $1,861.” (This means that illegal aliens in Utah transferred over $50 million from the state at the very time the nation’s financial system was melting down.)
• “…the Social Security Administration estimates that such [illegal alien] workers contribute billions of dollars to the system….” (Therefore, felony document/Social Security fraud and identity theft committed by illegal aliens in order to obtain Social Security numbers to get jobs and pay their taxes are acceptable because these felonies help shore up the Social Security fund. The American victims of illegal alien identity theft, including an estimated 50,000 Utah children theft are totally ignored by the Tribune in its efforts to whitewash illegal immigration.)
A Salt Lake Tribune editorial echoed McEntee’s conclusions: “Certainly, even the most pessimistic read of the data provides little reason for alarm….Even with phony IDs, workers have state and federal income taxes and Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes deducted from their wages.”