According to a report by the United States Census Bureau, North Dakota is 90.1 percent Caucasian. This fact is stunning enough just on its own, but also relevant to add that a mere 2.5 percent of this state is comprised of Latinos. In addition, only 0.1 percent of the population is Pacific Islanders, 1.5 percent is Black, 5.5 percent are American Indian and 1.1 percent is Asian.
It would be justifiable to rant about North Dakota as a rather culturally un-diversified state.
However, with these statistics being what they are, I believe it would be a more worthwhile cause to inform the 90.1 percent about some policies they may not believe to be necessarily relevant to their personal lives.
This misconception is, of course, untrue. As 90.1 percent of a population, whatever policies are put into place are mostly thrown into the hands of the whites alone here in North Dakota. Whether we like it or not, the whites are indeed the obvious majority population.
This actually makes just about everything relevant to them.
Take into consideration the current immigration reformation proposals. Here in North Dakota, the most commonly supported bill is entitled “Gang of Eight,” which in short aims for greater border security, systems of employment verification, streamlining legal immigration, increased job opportunities for immigrants and pathways to legalize the undocumented already residing here.
Unfortunately, there are many people living in this state who seem to be completely oblivious to the fact comprehensive immigration reform is in college vocabulary terms, “a thing.”
Before you make any protests at my overgeneralizations, I have talked to many of my peers in the hopes of sparking up an intellectual conversation about world issues. Upon approaching this topic, most of my feedback was met by stunned silence or disinterest.
I suppose I should make this a bit more specific by revealing what exactly comprehensive immigration reformation could do for the immigrant community and this country as a whole.
Let’s face it. Immigrant workers take jobs that many Americans just aren’t willing to take. Cleaning, agriculture, construction, fast food, you name it. However, these are the jobs this country runs on. Without these hard-working people, the United States economy would not be what it is today.
Upon reformation enforcement, immigration rates would rise. According to the Monthly Labor Review, a 1-percent rise in immigration leads to an increase of 0.6 to 0.9 percent in income per worker.
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy has also predicted, “Allowing undocumented immigrants to work in the United States legally would increase their state and local tax contributions by an estimated $2 billion a year.”
Not too shabby, huh? A rise in income and tax revenue just might do this country some good.
This is just a taste of what immigration reformation has to offer the United States, and in direct relation what it has to offer North Dakota.
Tax revenue and income relate in just about every way to the 90.1 percent, along with the Latinos, Blacks, Asians, American Indians and Pacific Islanders. Before you write off immigration reformation as something only immigrants should concern themselves with, think again.
I am not asking that you shove aside any personal beliefs or values. I simply ask that you enlighten yourselves to the complexity of these policies and make an effort to become more informed.
After all, if more of us are informed, more of us can spread this awareness. Comprehensive immigration reformation is a current issue that relates to every race, every color and every culture.
Make an effort to lift the veil.