The media desperately wants you and me to love Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that has allowed 800,000 people brought into this country illegally to stay.
Even the mere mention of DACA by its actual name is rare — instead, its recipients are “Dreamers!” If that isn’t some Ingsoc Newspeak, I don’t know what is.
Sadly, the debate continues to be vulgarized by the media. President Donald Trump didn’t repeal DACA because it was essentially legislation passed by presidential fiat, they say. He repealed it because he was a racist — and you’re a racist, too, if you don’t support the “Dreamers.”
You may not be surprised to know that The New York Times more or less follows this line. Take the paper’s Tokyo bureau chief, Motoko Rich. She decided to play around with DACA statistics in the most misleading way possible.
Rich sent out a tweet which linked to a Times story on how Korean-Americans feel regarding the recent overtures toward peace between America and North Korea as well as the Trump administration’s efforts to free three American detainees from North Korean custody.
Did she use the occasion to congratulate the Trump administration for managing to free three men trapped in Kim Jong Un’s nightmarish prison system? Of course not.
Instead, she used it to remind America that Koreans are covered under DACA, too:
“Surprising stat: Immigrants from South Korea make up fifth-largest share of DACA recipients in the U.S., and number of undocumented immigrants coming from the country has increased by more than 700 percent in the last 30 years,” Rich tweeted Thursday night.
Well, that is a pretty surprising stat. Until, of course, you take a closer look at the truth.
As it turns out, being fifth among DACA applicants means that South Koreans comprise 1 percent of the total. That means roughly 8,000 of them were covered under the program, although as many as 3 percent may have been eligible.
Between 1 and 3 percent isn’t all that surprising, and the fact that the number has gone up 700 percent also isn’t surprising when you consider just how few South Korean DACA applicants there are.
To put this in perspective, the most reliable numbers generally put the number of illegal immigrants in the United States somewhere between 11 and 12.5 million. South Korean DACA applicants comprise .0007 percent of this total. If you calculate the number that may have been eligible for DACA but didn’t apply for the program, that rises to .002 percent.
Yet, The New York Times’ article on South Koreans in Southern California (a totally unbiased region of the country, I’m sure you’ll agree) obscures this fact greatly.
“Roughly 20 percent of Korean immigrants are unauthorized,” the article by Jennifer Medina states. “Immigrants from South Korea make up the fifth-largest share of DACA recipients, and the number of undocumented immigrants coming from the country has increased by more than 700 percent in the last 30 years. Now many young Koreans are embracing roles as immigration activists.”
Author and journalist Mickey Kaus may have put it best:
DACA is a program that overwhelmingly favors children who were brought in when the bulk of illegal immigration came from Mexico as opposed to Central America or other places abroad. No other country even ranks in the double digits (second-place Honduras is at a measly 4 percent).
Considering other countries’ DACA totals are dwarfed by Mexico’s, the question becomes why this even got brought up in the first place. You don’t have to search too hard for an answer: Ms. Rich thinks there’s some element of hidebound bigotry and isolationism innate in those who don’t like DACA, and she wants to start a “discussion” about what she thinks the program really is.
DACA is a complicated program which was repealed because it was rammed through without negotiations or consultation with Congress. If we’re going to find a solution to this, it’s going to have to involve an honest discussion. Pretending that DACA’s repeal is about racism and obscuring the numbers regarding the program is profoundly dishonest.
Which means, in other words, that it’s just what we’ve come to expect from The New York Times.
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