Maze: Daughter of Darkness Part Two by Katya Mills Book Review

Maze, available at Amazon, is Part 2 in The Daughter of Darkness book series by Katya Mills. Your need to read the first is mitigated by a number of factors, not least that we learn about the origins of two of the main characters in the series here.

There’s a conceit in superhero movies and comics related to how the hero is created by the villain, or perhaps by some huge adversity. In versions of these tales:
-Spiderman gets his powers from a genetically enhanced spider bred by a nefarious corporation run by the Green Goblin’s alter ego
-Tony Stark becomes Iron Man when he’s kidnapped by terrorists and compelled to build the very suit which helps destroy them
-and Batman’s origins stem from the death of his parents at the hands of the Joker.
Maze by Katya Mills is available at Amazon
Maze by Katya Mills

Katya Mill’s Maze features the origin stories for Kell and Maze, both of whom are main characters in Mills’ books about DeLux ("Of Light") creatures who live among us, masquerading as human. These beings feed off human fear. Like vampires, they can choose to simply take what they need, they can leave their victims fearless, or they can suckle on their human victims until they die.

Kell discovers her essence as DeLux through what she sees of her uncles; like a pack of dogs who are fully domesticated in the house, once they leave family life, they go hunting at night for their human prey. Kell flees her borderland Texas home in horror.

Maze – the heroine’s love interest – is somewhat more self-created, discovering his true nature in his pubescence, in a less affluent area of Los Angeles. But he too has been forced to flee an oppressive father, once his mother determines that he has inherited her recessive gifts.

There are touches of the epic in these events. They feature incidents that could fit into modern-day versions of the heroic flight of Aeneas, or Odysseus’ efforts to return to Ithaca. 

There’s a Tom Bombadil type choral character in Kell’s backstory, an old man with a clubfoot, who brings insight to her about her family. I’d like to see more of him.

Indeed, the writing is such well-crafted, literary stuff that if the novel has a failing, it’s that Mills seems to throw away some fine details in a single line. But when there’s so much going on, it’s irrelevant which aspects are focused on and which aren’t.

There are wonderful dynamics developed between the characters; the jealousy over who gives a massage, shared love of ice cream, and establishment of how characters dislike and distrust each other.
But this novel ends on a climactically powerful low note with a snake motif. There is friction in Ame’s tight little group, and - as villainy becomes apparent - Maze may be considered the Empire Strikes Back of the series so far.
You are likely to never read anything quite like this.
You can buy Maze at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Katya Mills is on Twitter. Much of her incandescent web presence is curated by this great scribe here and here.

Twitter, you heard wrong...

"We heard you like Twitter," insists Twitter for Business. Well NO!!! I don't like Twitter.

Here is a listicle of WHY I DON'T LIKE TWITTER:


Oh look! A bunch of tweets in which I am mentioned. They have been liked by the wonderful author Katya Mills aka Vitamin K @katya444ever.
Now, without the need to go back through my Twitter feed in a farken DeLorean, WHO TF TWEETED THEM ORIGINALLY, PLEASE? I MEAN, REALLY?

Somebody shouts at you on Twitter and half the time it's like "Who the hell said that?"

2. Searching for better SEARCH functionality! How about that, ehhh?
Let's say I want to do a search for the most excellent Dario Cannizzaro to see if he's performing his literary works anywhere nearby!

"Gimme a C please Carol!"
(I will put in a C - just coz I am a difficult beshterd and I have been mumbling the name Cannizzaro to myself in an Italian accent for the last ten seconds. "Can-itz-ar-roe, Can-itz-ar-roe!")

Sure enough, up pops Dario as my most popular search - even for the letter C! Wow! Impressive memory for the search engine! Let me just click on his name here...

- WHAT THE??? WTF just happened there?
I am clicking on a search for college dropouts all of the southern!
Those Twitter developers must be fitness-fad fanatics!
Coz they're a bunch of pilox!
You zumba bitch!

3. Call off the search
Oftentimes, if I may be so bold as to suggest it, Google finds people quicker than Twitter. Google the person and add twitter in the Google search bar in order to find their account. 
Because Twitter is unlikely to know who the heck you're talking about.

4. Its app was fricken disastrous.
I haven't touched the Twitter app for at least two years but I wouldn't download that thing again unless they paid me twenny dollah a week bare minimum. I don't know if it's any good these days, but my rationale is outlined here. (The main reason is that other apps/browsers do a better job on Twitter than Twitter does.)

5. It's 2017 yo.
Why are we character-limited in 2017 anyway? 
Platform popularity is due in part to server capacity, right? You don't want it too slow. It crawls along sometimes. It struggles to upload content. 
And Twitter downtime is a terrible thing but it happens too often. Like, what do they have exactly at the backend to NOT prevent outages?
Are they operating off a pair of laptops and a cat's brains?

So, these are the reasons. And then some.

Author interview: Claire Buss

Author of The Gaia Effect – available at AmazonClaire Buss presents a world where the characters are protected by the “radiation beyond the wall” – and have all of their needs serviced, including reproduction – by an entity called “Corporation”. But when friends around the couple at the story’s core start to fall pregnant naturally, questions are raised about what they are expected to believe.

It’s an intriguing title - The Gaia Effect? The Gaia principle goes that Earth is a naturally life-sustaining planet, that conditions always prevail to allow a return to a balanced ecosystem?

Yes that's right - the idea that eventually the planet will put itself back into balance. However in my book, the spirit of the Earth - Gaia - lends a hand.  The book is set 200 years in the future, 150 years after the devastating radiation attacks but I can't tell you any more!

Aww. AWWWW. ARRRRGHHHH!!! C’mohhhhhn!
Are you agented, Claire? Did you go the self-publishing route?
I don't have an agent although I did go through the whole query letters and submission hoops with The Gaia Effect last year.  I got a lot of positive no thank-yous so I left it alone for a while
then went back and had another editing pass.  I was fortunate in that the book was entered into a local competition and part of the prize was to have your book published with an Indie Publisher called New Generation.  I came second and so the competition organisers paid for the publishing.

Congrats on the contest. Wow! So you used a small indie house rather than wait around for the traditional publishers?
I felt that it was too good an opportunity to pass. None of the other finalists have had their book published yet. At least this way it's an indie author learning-curve for me and I can start building a back catalogue. It seems to me that agents like to see that you're semi-established already.
I will try the agent route again with my next novel - The Rose Thief.

What's The Rose Thief about?
The Rose Thief is a humorous fantasy novel. The Emperor, in his infinite wisdom, magically imbued his red rose with the power of love so when the Rose Thief stole it, he also stole love. It's up to Chief Thief Catcher Ned Spinks and his motley band of catchers to find out who the thief is and get the rose back before love dies forever.

Interesting stuff – sounds like the late great Sir Pratchett!
Yes, The Rose Thief is Pratchett-esque.  I have read almost everything he ever wrote and been a fan for nigh on twenty years.  I didn't set out to write a book in that genre, I just started writing and it has evolved from there.  I'm very happy about that. Perhaps you should sign up to my newsletter?? I'm giving away all my news here! 😀 This is my website - have a poke around.

I hate to break it to you but I am interviewing you for my blog! 😃 Would that be okay?
And is The Gaia Effect self-contained or is it a planned series, or is it just screaming out for a sequel, or what?
There is a sequel to The Gaia Effect but at the moment it lives in my head. 😃 The Gaia Effect is self-contained but there are questions and it could be sequeled and prequeled which is exciting.

Yes I see it on Amazon. Good work from the teaser! Great use of terminology. It's peppered with technology, but the story's central. What's funny is the "natural" childbirth is anything but in ways, right?
You found the first chapter then! Yeah I wanted to make the whole getting-a-baby scenario feel really really wrong in as many ways possible.

The Gaia Effect concept reminds me a bit of Wall-E, or The Island (with Ewan and Scarlett)? And do you consider it feasible in any sense, or is The Gaia Effect fantastical? Is it social critique, or laser beams and jetpacks? Hard or soft sci fi?
Not really WALL-E and sort of The Island but not clones.  It's definitely feasible and social critique - to be fair it's only sci fi because it's set 200 years in the future & has advanced technology. More a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel.

A streptococcal what? Stay back, everyone – Claire’s contagious!
And what about advertising and promotion? Is finding success difficult in the glutted market?
I have been building my social media platform and learning about all the different tools available out there. I'm still trying to sort out some traditional marketing and getting ready for a couple of events and all of this is squeezed in around my 'day-job'! It's interesting to call the market glutted, I'm not saying it isn't but I still think good stories stand out. More people are reading, especially ebooks and reading more books was one of the top new year resolutions for 2017.  It's hard work but it's good fun and it’s always great to chat to someone about the book. You are the first person to comment on the scientific theory behind the book title - kudos.

[PUTS ON SPECTACLES.] Jim Lovelock’s Gaia Theory is an interesting example when it comes to the problem of induction in the scientific method. We cannot always leap from the specific to the general – if we take a soil sample from a forest and it’s irradiated, we may assume that the soil will be similar a few feet from where we took this sample. So scientists frequently make assumptions in leaping from the specific to the general – and the same can be applied loosely with the Gaia theory.
Some calamity MIGHT wipe out most of the life on Planet Earth, and the Earth MIGHT restore itself to a balance in order for life to flourish again. But who’d be left to see it?
Are your characters those people?
The Gaia Hypothesis is such an interesting scientific concept. I have met Lynn Margulis and heard her talk on the topic, she worked with Lovelock on the hypothesis.  It is a rather hopeful concept during these days of severe global environmental change and I suppose the fact that I have a Bsc(Hons) Life Science degree might have influenced the use of some science in the book.  My characters are the remnants of the human race which has been sequestered in numbered cities throughout the world.  They don't have a mythology per se, all texts and information related to religion and deities are stored in Archive which is accessible to all inhabitants of City 42.

Some claim that world civilisations were quite advanced before the last Ice Age, and then we lost all our science and entered a Dark Age caused by a disaster such as massive tsunamis – which may well have been the cause of the floods, hence we have stories like Noah's Ark. Bearing this in mind, discuss flood myths in relation to your own book! Is there a similarity?
I hadn't heard that particular Noah's Ark theory but it certainly makes a lot of sense.  I have heard the idea that we fell backwards into a Dark Age. Weren't the Mayans highly advanced?  Their civilisation seemed to stop abruptly for no apparent reason.  Those myths are probably in Archive.

I notice Kira has brown eyes and Jed has gray eyes. You cite eye colour a little in the opening pages, and when it comes to selecting babies, you also use it alongside other traits like gender and personality. Is eye hue important? Plot-related? Something to do with genetics? Can we profile your characters based on their eye colour, and determine their behaviour? Or is it just description for the reader?
The use of eye colour is mostly description for the reader but also to highlight a couple of things – the fact that eye colour is a genetic marker for other health issues and that the eye colour of parents don't necessarily match the eye colour of the children assigned to them by Corporation.  This is because Corp try to maintain a certain level of genetic variety with eye, hair & skin colour regardless of parental match.

I like the punctuation of the storyline in The Gaia Effect with little ads and announcements about events – tell me about that.
A book trailer for The Gaia Effect:
The short announcements are called Sweeps.  Everyone has access to the News Sweeps and can sweep about anything and everything whenever they like.  It's very similar to Twitter except that absolutely everyone uses it and gets a daily digest depending on their own personal interests.  Corporation don't run the sweeps they just try to control them by flooding them with their own propaganda. 
Is there any religion in your novel? Is the Corporation a nanny-state entity, regarded as a deity? Orwell’s Big Brother with kid gloves, or even just Big Brother?

Corporation is in charge of everything, they picked up the pieces after the radiation wars and continued to build their power base.  They are such an integrated part of everyone's life - it's impossible to do anything without them involved in some way.  There are a few limiting factors however, the fact that Corporation don't run the sweeps and that a couple of entities like Force exist independently of Corporation and are not run by them.  But yes, Corporation does have a Big Brother sinister feel to it, I hope.

Claire Buss with the Mayor of Barking & Martina Cole who was the patron of the Pen to Print competition.

I see you’ve written a play too? If you have an idea, is there a point at which you think “This might be better as a play or movie script?” Do you always think in “novel-terms” first? In which other media/mediums do you write?
Playwriting is fairly new to me and I've adapted a short story into a play which worked well.  I think if you have a story to tell it can be used in different mediums easily.  Short stories are my nemesis and I'm hoping that the playwriting will help me get better at telling shorts. I certainly don't lack for ideas.

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by my favourite authors to read because of the whole “if they made it, maybe I can” aspect.  I am inspired by people who face adversity every day and still get up in the morning and do their best.  I am inspired by the friendly network of indie-authors out there and at the sheer vastness of books available to read.

Fave writers?
My favourite sci fi & fantasy writers off the top of my head are: Sir Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb, John Scalzi, Sara Douglas, Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony, Greg Bear, Pierce Brown, Brent Weeks, Becky Chambers, Joe Abercrombie, Justin Cronin, Jim Butcher, Jasper Fforde, Katherine Kerr, Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, Ben Aaronovitch, Robert Jordan, Iain M Banks, Orson Scott Card and probably fifty others that I can't think of right now!  I do read non sci fi and fantasy books as well, recent favourites have been I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and Big Brother by Lionel Shriver.
Claire Buss is on Twitter and Facebook. You can sign up for more news at her website.
The Gaia Effect is available from Amazon.


I'd rather not have to support people's freedoms to believe in fairytales myself. Although I envy the happy-clappy "God will find a solution, I place my trust in the Lord" demeanor of those who believe, a small part of me will always think "These people are morons." (I know not everyone of faith is a moron and it's a prejudice.) But just to address this notion that apparently ten brazilian Muslims are radicalised because they sympathise with Al-DAESH and Qu'ISIL and whoever else.

Let's say the one true and apostolic church is Catholicism, right?
You're compelled to believe this if you're a Catholic. But how many of these Catholics want YOU to join them in their Church, want YOUR church or beliefs destroyed, and their Church and beliefs accepted?

We meet more Catholics than Muslims, each and every day. You wouldn't even realise it. Right? (They all look the same.)
Are these Catholics even suggesting that you join the Church? Are they SLY about it? I know Muslims who believe in God but are secular. They still identify as adherents to Islam.

But they're not looking for a Caliphate any more than a strict Catholic wants to see one true church. And many Catholics DO want to see this church, if their religion is anything to go by. 

But what many secularists would regard as a social nightmare is an IDEAL situation in the Platonic sense.

To take both religions, abortion is wrong, but in an ideal world, where all people are heteronormative, and monogamous, and married, or single and celibate, and all men "supportive" of their wives and children, and all people are Christian (or Muslim), abortion is a sin and the pro-life stance is not as problematic. You're married, you're supported, and supporting each other, and you like everyone else is a good Christian/Muslim.
But that's really only if you're fucking PERFECT in the Christian or Muslim sense. Okay? It's not a perfect world.

Even most priests who preach this stuff are neither holy nor decent enough to back it up. Coz we all know the stories of the marvellous priests and nuns of endless patience in the Catholic orphanages and boarding schools of yesteryear. With their spanking paddles.
Can too many Muslims in one country turn the clock back through theologically-based politics? Taking (what many regard as

medieval and regressive) steps such as bans on divorce and/or abortion, and undermining free speech, and bringing back corporal punishment for blasphemy and stealing? Less than one percent of the population is Muslim in America, and 22 percent of the population is registered Catholic.

How many Catholics DON'T believe entirely in Church doctrine? How many use birth control or have been divorced? And the

Church is a religion with a central authority. Islam has no such authority.

Here's why I'd argue that Islam is not a problem: 
If you had 30 million Muslims in the US, it would not be a problem.

You can ask anyone if they sympathise with terrorists - as many Muslims claim to do (and that's just the ones who admit it - the "radicalised Islamoblammos", as I like to call them) - and the answer will be Yes.
Why? (There's a BIG why.)
Because just going back in the last 15 years:

Hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims (and non-Muslims) have been killed in their homelands by people doing things in our name, or 

-they have been placed in situations where they lack utilities like running water by people doing things in our name, 
-or they have intermittent or no electricity, 
-or their local hospitals have been bombed by the West, or allies of the West 
-or indeed their enemies, who blame the West 
-or they have been conscripted into local militias on pain of death because the West went in and pulled out (and it was no fun for anybody), 
-or they are denied drugs because of sanctions, because their leaders are lunatics whom the West were unable to remove,
-or the West have endorsed and armed these same lunatics,
-or a Christian in a Muslim country has to sneak out the back door of a bus on the way home because the bus has been stopped by a beardy militia, and a beardy weirdy has got on the bus coz he smells Christians, and he's got a rifle, looking to shoot men who have foreskins, going Fee Fi fo fum and everything,
-or they are forced to flee their homes and countries
-or their toddler children have drowned at sea...
These are all problems that have been CREATED by Western (and let's say Russian) interventions or non-interventions after messing it up 15 years ago.
By invasion and interference, for good or ill.

It has affected the lives of millions of people who wanted NOTHING to do with ANY of it.
To make myself clear:

If I was CHRISTIAN in the Middle East, I would RESENT the West for messing things up so bad because I have the bejeebers scared out of me because I am climbing out of the backdoor of a bus while people at the front of the bus are being shot, because I haven't made a Covenant with Abraham on my willy. I would RESENT THE PEOPLE WHO HAD CREATED this situation, a few years earlier. 
The gun-happy, missile-profligage morons who think they can save the planet. Because they have left me in fear of my life while lunatics make dick-checks. Also, I JUST LIKE PUTTING OUT THAT IMAGE!

If my grandmother dies in a hospital where there are no meds because of sanctions, or my brother is killed in a drone-strike because satellite intel mistook a wedding for a training camp, of course it will politicise me, like it or not. It will politicise me if it's a friend of a friend of a friend.

And it will politicise me for the rest of my life. 

There's still a very very strong chance it won't make me a terrorist, because I'm more like you than you realise, okay? - but it will make me feel pretty bad when you're banging on about how #IslamIsTheProblem. How about we're the problem?

And a week after the Red Wedding, when I'm standing in line for my water rations coz my tap water is brown, and a US Marine or a UN peacekeeper punches me in the arm with his rifle butt because I am straying out of the line, I might resent it all even more.

And if I HEAR about these things - whether I am in Jakarta or Dublin Ireland or Dublin Ohio, regardless of my creed, and I READ IN A MAINSTREAM WESTERN NEWSPAPER about how people in Baghdad are being pushed and herded around like cattle so that they have access to things that are generally-regarded as the basic human rights of EVERYONE, it will piss me off.
It pisses me off now.

My disgust won't lessen when a pouting lunatic with a piss-colored combover starts shouting ONCE AGAIN about Muslims being the problem.

So can I suggest it's NOTHING to do with Islam as a problem, or a religion of peace, or war, or jihad, or whatever else.

Because - as vile and disgusting and as horrifically wrong-headed as they are - *I* sympathise with these terrorists. Any argument that you can make against that, I'm actually very likely to agree with. 
"But they throw people off rooftops!" How do they have the freedom to do that? It's not through Islam - it's because the Russians or the US retreated from the region and it's because they're scumbags and lunatics. And if you think it IS THROUGH ISLAM, let's say it's through Islam or Christianity. Because the sin's the same. Let's say the KKK - to use the old analogy - are Christians. Aren't they? So it's an Abrahamic as much as an Islamic thing. 
Tanzania's Christian government has pulled Bush's Aids programs. The Muslim president (just before the current administration) didn't have an issue with it. One of the few good things Bush did - and he was good on development aid - is gone due to rampant Christian homophobia. Can we call it that? Or maybe "doctrine"?

"All religion is the problem." Yes it is.

"But they don't let their women drive in Saudi and they export a radical form of religion." Yes. It's disgusting. So farken what?

Indonesia's Muslim population swamps the 20 million in Saudi. They don't have quite the same issues.

The argument's been made that you wouldn't WANT to seek asylum in Aleppo or Mogadishu. But every country on Trump's ban is a country that has had bombs dropped on it by the West. Most of us wouldn't mind taking a vacation in that seven-star hotel in Dubai or going back-packing through Malaysia.

Not every Saudi is a submissive wife, nor every Arab man a pig. 
There are opponents of this bullshit in these countries. You've seen the footage of the women doing their stuntdriving on the highways. 
These are also adherents of Islam - and they're in the majority.

The Perduror by Richard Gibney

St Brigid's Day is the 1st February.
No better opportunity to mention how I looked into the lives of some of the saints contemporaneous with Brigid, to incorporate parts of their stories in my novel, The Perduror, which has just dropped on the Kindle format. Ahem.

Brigid nearly made it into the novel as a character. Alongside the present-day narrative, the novel features a number of ancestral tales, told by an old man named Jack, to his great-nephew, Blythe. Jack is trying to convince Blythe of the importance of the family traditions. Both the present-day story and the family history converge in a climactic end.

I did a reading late last year in a library about 20 miles from where I live, in front of a bunch of fellow writers in Dublin – and this haltingly delivered section of The Perduror was part of the reading. It’s only my second event like this and the writers there – the event is called the Merg Sessions, held at Tallaght Library in south Dublin – are always very welcoming and supportive. If you're in Dublin and you write or enjoy readings of this kind it's well worth a trip - check out Kenneth Nolan's writer Facebook page at the link above for details.

The scene is between my narrator/hero of the novel and Makita, a young French woman who has captured his heart.

The Merg Sessions is run by the terrific Irish writer Kenneth Nolan (also on Twitter), whose work - from what little I've read of it - contains an evocative and poetic awareness of Irish culture.

Below are a couple of Instagram pics. A cover of my novel with a backdrop of Christchurch Cathedral – the famous composer Handel debuted The Messiah there in the seventeenth century. Given that Dublin's the Irish capital but not quite a London or New York sized metropolis, we punch above our weight when it comes to international acts coming to play their gigs, and clearly (if Handel made his debut here) we've been doing that for centuries:

Here’s another cover with a wooden floor as the backdrop that’s sort of Masonic.
I took this in a lord's country house a few miles down the road from where I live that was built to look like a Roman temple of all things, a couple of centuries ago. The writer and poet Kevin Bateman was good enough to ask me along to that house. I hadn't even heard of it before.

This home was built by a guy (Charlemont) who went on a tour of Europe as a young man, and fell in love with Rome and Athens. There are guided tours of this place, and I only learned about it myself this year. It’s about halfway into the city from where I live. There’s lots of what Dan Brown calls “symbology” in this building and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that there were devil-worshipping orgies there or some other similar lunacy. As my novel's got dashes of conspiracy theories from the Middle Ages, and features some questionable history of the kind you might find in a Dan Brown thriller, I felt these images - although poorly taken on my own phone - were good in conveying the subject matter to the potential reader.

The Perduror is available from Amazon here.

The expense of Immigrants to the US taxpayer

“In one estimate, immigrants earn about $240 billion a year, pay about $90 billion a year in taxes, and use about $5 billion in public benefits.”
A 2010 report by the American Immigration Council

Legal and illegal, let’s say about 15% of the US population is foreign-born, and 26% of the US population is immigrant if you include the children (now US citizens) born to the immigrant population in America. That’s historically a very high number of people – in the 80s it was about half that, maybe even less. 
(Check these stats yourself.)

Immigrant households earn on average just over $30,000 as against natives’ $50,000+.
Immigrants have lower incomes than US citizens, but even the illegals pay more tax - when these taxes are paid.

They pay as much tax as a high-earning native, and they often derive no discernible benefit from the system into which their taxes are going. They’re not entitled to many benefits until after they are in the US five years, legally. The illegals won’t qualify for entitlements, even if they’re here for forty years.

Why do these immigrants earn less?

1 Education is said to be a factor here. Those who finish high school or have a degree earn more, broadly. Immigrant education standards tend to be lower. “They’re not sending their best.”
2 Hence, these immigrants do the crappy jobs!

Are the low-income, legitimate immigrants who have children here, and work visas, the problem?

What about the illegal ones who have been here for a long time, and also have families, live off their tips, and don’t pay taxes?
Are the ones who DO use welfare programs the problem? Or the
ones who CAN’T?

It might NOT be immigrant culture causing this benefits issue – it might simply be low-income households.

What IS a low income?
Low-income working families earn less than twice the federal poverty line. In 2011, the low-income threshold for a family of four with two children was $45,622.

What tends to characterize a low-income family?
Ethnicity. (One or both adults tend to be of an ethnic minority: Perhaps we can read “Mexican immigrant”.)
Again: Education.
Other factors.

You’ve heard the stories about full-time workers being paid so poorly that they have to use food-stamps?
The taxpayer is subsidising them to work in Walmart and McDonald’s, right?
The middle class jobs people had pre-Recession have been supplanted by lower paying jobs everywhere.

And – as already stated, the low-earning immigrants are often high-paying tax payers, alongside native (higher-earning) taxpayers.

Further, these immigrants are often paid a very basic wage, and many of them can gain absolutely nothing from these taxes, beyond the privilege of living and working in America. Because:

“They’re not sending their best,” as Trump has said.

Weren’t there Irish and Polish ghettoes in the 1800s? Trying to cook their potatoes and pickle their sausages on the roofs, without burning the tenements down?

Russian serfs arrived, Irish peasants, Romanian Ewoks, Greek Klingons, Italian stallions...

Aren’t there Chinatowns in many cities today? Little Italies?

And what of the immigrants mentioned above who don’t pay tax? Living off tips and what not? Rip-off merchants, right?
“They’re not sending their best.”
Trump probably knows first-hand that there are immigrant laborers, paid under-the-table on construction sites, in orange groves, and vineyards, and Vegas strip-clubs.
Let’s say he has an idea of the real figures.

Is all the immigrant money going back to their families in Nicaragua and Manila?

Even if there’s a staggering percentage of it going out of the country:
These illegals need to eat, they need somewhere to live (whether or not it's 15 of them are crammed into one room), and they still pay for products and services outside of the black economy.

No one can live entirely tax-free. Remember:

They CANNOT mooch off the government unless they’re perpetrating fraud BECAUSE THEY CAN’T GET BENEFITS any other way.

Generally, how many of them are risking their status further, through identity theft or whatever else? I can’t find statistics on this.

These people are sweating bullets on sixteen hour shifts in restaurant kitchens. I’d suggest many don’t have the time or energy to pull a fast one on the government for food stamps or any other kind of benefit.

And they are doing very difficult work that has to be undertaken, that otherwise will be more expensive to do – like it or not. They help to keep small businesses that are US-owned just above water. And these businesses – even if they’re cooking the books by not declaring some taxes – also pay other forms of tax.

Send these industrious people home, and the economy will lose out for the above reason alone.

Before more enlightened times, there were tenements and overcrowding, death traps, fires that ravaged whole cities, riots related to labor disputes, gang feuds and whatever else.

There are – actually – fewer such urban issues now, Shirley? Given the population explosion since those earlier times, per head-of-capita there are fewer places that are not integrating, fewer places that are unAmerican. I’m not suggesting there isn’t a big Uzbeki steampunk community somewhere.

But times are changing. People are less miserable than their great-grandparents were, and there were expectations that things would remain less miserable. That we’d improve ourselves. The rising tide. And the boats.

Many of the boats are not rising. It is not the fault of the immigrants.