Monday, April 10, 2006

Immigration in its Obviously Hilarious Context

Ah, immigration. As you cannot help but have heard, there's a battle going on in Congress over the status of illegal immigrants, with various potential outcomes including making illegal immigrants felons, setting some of them on the path to citizenshiip, or something in between. As you have probably also heard, there are perhaps 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, and for context I'll remind you that the US population is almost 300 million (check out the POPclock - it's so cool!). Thus, if my superior math skills do not deceive me, illegal immigrants make up 2500% of the US population. Wait, that's not right - it's 4%. Which is still a lot.

Just to add to the context (Holy moly! There's so much context I can barely stand it!), in 2003 the US jail and prison population topped 2 million for the first time. I'm not sure what it is now but I'm willing to bet it's not, say, 12 million, which, for those of you whose math isn't as good as mine, is 6 times as many people. So incarceration of our new felon population is going to be tricky. But quite a boon for the penal system.

And for one last bit of context, so, so much context, the Public Defender Service for DC has a list of felonies, and with the exception of the horrendous crime of failing to return a rental vehicle and maybe bigamy, most felonies are acts that result in significant loss of property or violence. Last time I checked, working shit jobs for practically no money and paying taxes doesn't really fall in that category.


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