Starting tomorrow, I will be posting on Latino/as in
I will be in court most of the afternoon trying to save a kid from needlessly going to prison. Wish me luck...
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-=[ Immigration Myths ]=-
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
-- John Adams (1735–1826)
“Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the
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Common misperceptions regarding immigration and its effects on American society often result in suspicion, discrimination, racism, and violence. Fear leads to hate. If you feared no one, you would hate no one. The only antidote is knowledge, the only sin, ignorance...
Immigrants don’t pay taxes
All immigrants pay taxes, whether income, property, sales, or other. As far as income tax payments go, sources vary in their accounts, but a range of studies find that immigrants pay between $90 and $140 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes. Even undocumented immigrants pay income taxes, as evidenced by the Social Security Administration’s “suspense file” (taxes that cannot be matched to workers’ names and social security numbers), which grew $20 billion between 1990 and 1998.
Immigrants come here to take welfare
Immigrants come to work and reunite with family members. Immigrant labor force participation is consistently higher than native-born, and immigrant workers make up a larger share of the
Sources: American Immigration Lawyers Association, Urban Institute
Immigrants send all their money back to their home countries
In addition to the consumer spending of immigrant households, immigrants and their businesses contribute $162 billion in tax revenue to
Sources: Cato Institute, Inter-American Development Bank
Immigrants take jobs and opportunity away from Americans
The largest wave of immigration to the
Source: Brookings Institution
Immigrants are a drain on the
During the 1990s, half of all new workers were foreign-born, filling gaps left by native-born workers in both the high- and low-skill ends of the spectrum. Immigrants fill jobs in key sectors, start their own businesses, and contribute to a thriving economy. The net benefit of immigration to the
Immigrants don’t want to learn English or become Americans
Within ten years of arrival, more than 75% of immigrants speak English well; moreover, demand for English classes at the adult level far exceeds supply. Greater than 33% of immigrants are naturalized citizens; given increased immigration in the 1990s, this figure will rise as more legal permanent residents become eligible for naturalization in the coming years. The number of immigrants naturalizing spiked sharply after two events: enactment of immigration and welfare reform laws in 1996, and the terrorist attacks in 2001.
Today’s immigrants are different than those of 100 years ago
The percentage of the
Most immigrants cross the border illegally
Around 75% have legal permanent (immigrant) visas; of the 25% that are undocumented, 40% overstayed temporary (nonimmigrant) visas.
Source: INS Statistical Yearbook
From 1986 to 1998, the Border Patrol’s budget increased six fold and the number of agents stationed on our southwest border doubled to 8,500. The Border Patrol also toughened its enforcement strategy, heavily fortifying typical urban entry points and pushing migrants into dangerous desert areas, in hopes of deterring crossings. Instead, the undocumented immigrant population doubled in that time frame, to 8 million -- despite the legalization of nearly 3 million immigrants after the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986. Insufficient legal avenues for immigrants to enter the
Source: Cato Institute
The war on terrorism can be won through immigration restrictions
No security expert since September 11, 2001 has said that restrictive immigration measures would have prevented the terrorist attacks -- instead, they key is good use of good intelligence. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were here on legal visas. Since 9/11, the myriad of measures targeting immigrants in the name of national security have netted no terrorism prosecutions. In fact, several of these measures could have the opposite effect and actually make us less safe, as targeted communities of immigrants are afraid to come forward with information.
Sources: Newspaper articles, various security experts, and think tanks
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The above was prepared by the National Immigration Forum, June 2003
For a more thorough contextual look click here
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