Myths & Facts in the Current Immigration Debate

Recently-announced immigration executive orders have ignited debates based as often on myths as facts from living rooms to boardrooms.  So check out these common answers to immigration questions compiled by Catholic Charities immigration experts and give the facts a fighting chance.

Myth: Many immigrants cross the border illegally and are overrunning the country.

Fact: 72% of the foreign born population is authorized immigrants, including naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents, and legal temporary residents. Net migration from Mexico was negative for 2009-2014, and the number of undocumented migrants in US peaked in 2007.

Myth: Immigrants take jobs and opportunity away from Americans.

Fact: Immigrants stimulate economic growth and there is no evidence that growth takes place at the expense of US workers. Over 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Congressional Budget Office analysis shows that offering a pathway to legalization for the undocumented would strengthen the economy by creating certainty, stability, and opportunity — not the opposite.

Myth: Immigrants bring crime to US communities.

Fact: Even though the past two decades have shown increases in immigrant populations, crime rates have dropped in the same period. Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born.

Myth: Immigrants don’t pay taxes.

Fact: Immigrants pay taxes, including income, property, sales or other. All undocumented immigrants pay sales taxes that stimulate our state and local budgets, and many pay federal taxes as well. However, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most public welfare benefits, so they contribute more to our public budgets than they receive, creating a positive net fiscal impact.

Myth: Deporting all undocumented immigrants will strengthen our economy.

Fact: Removing millions of long-term members of our communities from the United States would cost an estimated $600 billion and substantially harm our productivity, particularly in industries such as agriculture, construction and hospitality. It would also require the creation of a huge deportation force that would sow fear and guarantee an increase in racial profiling and incarceration of people of color.

Myth: We have no idea who is coming into our country as a refugee.

Fact: The screening done for our refugee resettlement program is extremely rigorous. On average, candidates wait nearly two years for approval of their applications to enter through our humanitarian programs.

More questions about immigration reform?

Article contributed by Catholic Charities.

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