Hill Connections (hillconnections.org) — Social Justice: Perspectives on Social Issues
Immigrants: Myths vs. Reality Shareholder Actions for
• “Immigrants Don’t Pay Taxes. All Reasonable Executive Pay
immigrants pay taxes, whether in- “CEOs make 179 times as much,
come, property, sales, or other. As
Institute for Peace and Justice graphic; used with permission..
on average, as rank and file work-
far as income tax payments go, im-
migrants pay between $90 and $140
ers, double 1994’s 90-to-1 ratio,
billion a year in federal, state, and lo- according to a recent study by the
cal taxes.... Congressional Research Service. If
• The U.S. Is the Primary Destination
you get irritated by news of lavish
for the World’s Refugees and Immi- CEO and top executive pay packag-
grants. Of the estimated 175 million es, you are not alone. A June 2007
Benedictines Going Green migrants in the world in 2002, the Bloomberg/L.A. Times poll found
“Last spring, Portsmouth Ab- U.S. accounted for less than 1 per- that 81 percent of Americans think
bey School in Rhode Island held a cent or about 1.4 million, both legal CEO pay is too high. And the per-
major conference on wind energy and illegal.... ception of inequity is only magni-
just one year after installing a sleek, • Most Immigrants Cross the U.S. Bor- fied when stock option windfalls
Danish-made, 164-foot, 660 kilo- der Illegally through Mexico. Around and big bonuses are driven by lay-
watt wind-powered generator on its 75 percent of all immigrants have offs and outsourcing.
entered the U.S. legally with visas;
property. The school, run by Bene- of those that are undocumented in CBIS and our Interfaith Center
dictine monks, collaborated with the U.S., two out of five have sim- on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
the Rhode Island Economic Devel- ply overstayed their original visas. colleagues advocate for more rea-
opment Corporation, which pro- Of those who enter the U.S. illegally,
sonable executive compensation
motes wind power throughout the only about 40 percent cross the bor-
der from Mexico.... through shareholder dialogues, me-
state as a non-fossil fuel source and
dia outreach, and by evaluating and
pitched in $450,000 for the proj- • There Are More Immigrants Com-
voting proxies at more than 1,000
ect. The turbine project exemplifies ing into the U.S. Now than a Century
Ago. Actually, the percentage of the domestic and international compa-
how church and state can cooperate
U.S. population that is foreign-born nies each year. We support execu-
for the common good.
now stands at less than 12 percent, tive compensation plans only under
The Benedictines have been ‘go- compared to 15 percent in the early the following circumstances:
ing green’ for a long time. In 1997 20th century....
• They spread benefits of corporate
the sisters at Sacred Heart Monas- • Immigrants Are Here to Take Advan- success widely throughout the com-
tery in Richardton, North Dakota, tage of the U.S. Welfare System. Most pany.
learned that their state has the great- immigrants today come to work and
• They reward excellence and align
est wind-energy potential of all the to be reunited with family members,
management and shareholder inter-
just as they did a hundred years ago....
contiguous states. The sisters, who ests.
operated a nursing home, a retire- • Immigrants Send their Money Out of
• Pay does not exceed what a fair-
the Country and Are a Drag on the
ment home and a llama farm on minded person would consider rea-
U.S. Economy. Most of the income
their 50 acres, paid high utility bills. earned by immigrants is spent on liv-
So they installed two small wind ing expenses in the U.S.... • Compensation committee members
turbines and realized immediate are independent directors.”
• Immigrants Depress Wages. Immi-
savings. Currently, the semi-clois- gration has widespread helpful ef- “SRI Issue Brief: Executive Pay,”
tered Benedictine Sisters of Perpet- fects on the economy and may cause
Principles, CBIS, Q3 2007.
ual Adoration of Clyde Monastery wages to rise, because immigrant
in rural Missouri are erecting a 289- labor does not substitute for native-
foot wind turbine on their property born labor, but complement it....”
to help an energy cooperative.” “Immigration 101 -- Myth vs Reality” compiled by
John Peck, WNPJ Network News, Wisconsin Network
“Eco-Benedictines,” Current Comment, for Peace and Justice, Sept/Oct, 2007.
America, Oct 1, 2007.
Corporate Soldiers Changing Face of Warfare Americans Part of Global Coalition for Good
“By waging a war with corporate soldiers, the United “Americans are ambassadors of goodwill, no longer
States is changing the face of warfare, Jeremy Scahill, content to let Washington alone define our nation’s links
[author of the New York Times bestseller, Blackwa- to the world. Dr. Tabin [an accomplished American
ter: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary ophthalmologist], and his colleagues honed their tech-
Army.] Alongside 170,000 active duty U.S. troops niques working in Himalayan communities in Nepal,
‘there are an incredible 180,000 private contractors on Tibet, Bhutan and other parts of the region. [Physicians
the U.S. government payroll. This is a staggering de- for Peace] defines its mission not only as offering medi-
velopment in the history of warfare in this country be- cal assistance but also as building peace through health.
cause now you don’t have a coalition of willing nations One of the world’s greatest, New York City Ballet’s
that are occupying Iraq. You have a coalition of billing former principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise, brings the
corporations. So the U.S. military is actually the junior U.S. to the world and the world to the U.S. by joining
partner in the so-called coalition that now occupies Iraq; kids in the joy of music and dance. Geekcorps is, well,
junior partner to a corporate army.’ just what it says. Its Internet-age volunteers bridge the
digital divide one network at a time in the villages of the
Not all contractors are armed, [according to Scahill].
Some are truck drivers and cooks, others do the laundry
for the U.S. military, but ‘tens of thousands of them are British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently said
armed mercenaries like those that work for Blackwater at the U.N. that ‘to address the worst of poverty, we ur-
U.S.A.’ While Blackwater touts itself as an ‘all-Amer- gently need to summon up the best efforts of human-
ican operation’ the company recruits foreign nationals. ity.’ He called for ‘the greatest coalition of conscience
‘We’re seeing a total blurring of the line between the in pursuit of the greatest of causes.’ Americans from all
corporate army and the nation state, and it really poses a parts of our society already have their shoulders to the
significant threat to global order,’ Scahill said.” great global effort to end extreme poverty, and multi-
“Corporate Soldiers Threaten Global Order, Author Says” tudes more are ready to join.”
by Patrick O’Neill, National Catholic Reporter, Oct 12, 2007.
“A Global Coalition of Good” by Jeffrey D. Sachs,
The Power of One, TIME Magazine, Sept 17, 2007.
Institute for Peace and Justice graphic; used with permission.