10 Myths About Immigration
We are inundated on a daily basis by social media, television, talk shows, friends and family arguing about and debating immigration. We hear about caravans, walls, drugs, crime and obstructionism from both sides of the aisle. In a world of troll farmed fake news, inconsistent coverage by the mainstream media and the normalization of lies in public office how can we tell what is real and what is simply a perpetuated myth?
This article will defeat your daily dose of fake news by breaking down 10 common misconceptions and urban myths surrounding immigration.
10. Most Illegal Immigrants Come Across The Southern Border
We see it constantly in news articles, the cameras panning the tired and dusty crowds at border
checkpoints in Texas and Arizona with banner headlines about the flood of illegal immigration through our southern border. President Trump and his administration and allies have pushed a strong and consistent narrative of a crisis at our southern border. They speak of caravans of illegal immigrants flooding our nation with cheap labor that devalues wages and they speak of criminals who rape and murder their way through the US. In his recent oval office address, President Trump declared that “Every day Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.”
The reality of this situation is that in fiscal year 2017, 606,926 people, or 67% of all illegal aliens entered legally and overstayed their visa, more than twice the number of apprehensions for illegal entry at the southern border or who were suspected of entering at the southern border.
9. Illegal Immigration Across the Southern Border Is On The Rise
|President Trump spoke about the ‘growing crisis’ at the border
We have frequently been assured by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans that illegal immigration across our southern border is on a rise sufficient to be considered a national crisis. President Trump recently declared “…there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.” In reality, apprehensions at the southern border are at their lowest level in 20 years. In 2000, apprehensions peaked at nearly 1.6 million. In 2018, that number was less than a quarter of that. Apprehensions at the southern border have been declining steadily since the 1970’s.
8. Asylum Seekers Are Illegal Immigrants
It is commonly seen across social media and in certain media networks, an interchangeable use of the words illegal immigrant and asylum seeker. The narrative driven is that asylum seekers are illegal aliens. Federal law provides for asylum as a legal avenue of immigration, provided the applicant is within the United States. Most, if not all of those approaching the southern border in fact present themselves at authorized border checkpoints and request asylum.
7. Immigrants Just Come Here For Food Stamps and Housing
Perhaps one of the most common complaints among the electorate is the idea that immigrants only come to the United States to claim food stamps, public housing and state financial aid. In reality, legal immigrants are not permitted to claim any state or federal benefits, including food stamps, public aid or housing. The Trump administration recently expanded that policy to include any state or federally funded assistance program, including the Health Insurance Marketplace through which health insurance can be purchased under the Affordable Care Act. Illegal immigrants are also ineligible for these benefits as attempting to claim them requires a social security number, something no illegal immigrant has. According to a 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, illegal immigrants in fact pay in $11.74 billiona year in state and local taxes to support social safety systems that they themselves are ineligible to claim.
6. The Left Only Wants Illegals Here So They Can Vote Democrat
This particular myth has gained extra traction in the last two years as congressional Republicans push a narrative to discredit their colleagues across the aisle. President Trump frequently declared early in his term that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Multiple investigations and research studies have been conducted in the last 30 years and none has ever uncovered any evidence of widespread voter fraud in any national, state or local election. News 21, a national investigative reporting project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, found just 56 cases of noncitizens voting between 2000 and 2011.
5. Illegals Come Here And Have Babies To Get Citizenship
|Protests to end birthright citizenship
The idea of so-called ‘anchor babies’ has been pushed particularly hard in recent years. This idea suggests that illegal immigrants enter the country and have babies on US soil to gain citizenship for themselves. This is problematic for one very glaring reason. US law provides no grant of parental citizenship. In order to be granted citizenship, their citizen child must apply to sponsor a foreign relative. This can only be done by those over the age of 18. These ‘anchor babies’ therefore would need to hide with their parents for nearly 20 years before applying to sponsor a foreign relative, a route that is far from guaranteed to succeed.
4. Refugees Shouldn’t Be Here Because We Don’t Know If They’re Terrorists
The oft suggested idea that refugees are secretly islamist terrorists is not a recent one. The reality is that any refugee granted asylum in the United States undergoes a rigorous vetting process including multiple extensive background checks, frequent interviews and applications with multiple intelligence and law enforcement agencies before being presented to a judge for acceptance or rejection.
3. Immigrants Take American Jobs from Americans
Research by the American Immigration Council indicates that there is little connection between non-citizen employment and citizen unemployment rates. Better education and an aging population have reduced the number of applicants available to traditionally low paying industries. Unscrupulous employers often hire undocumented immigrants in order to exploit them for lower wages and offer no benefits. There are currently massive labor shortages across the construction, retail trade and agriculture industries, industries which were historically heavy with undocumented labor.
2. Immigrants Are Rapists, They’re Murderers, They’re Bad Hombres
Few people won’t recognize the oft satirized words of then Candidate Trump during the
announcement of his presidential bid in 2016 “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Dozens of studies have shown that some of the lowest crime rates in the US are in states with the highest immigration growth rate. US Chamber of Commerce figures show that between 1990 and 2010, despite immigration rates rocketing, violent crime rates fell 45% and property crime rates fell 42%. Every study undertaken concerning immigrant crime, including data from the Bureau of Prisons indicate that both documented and undocumented immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crime than native born citizens.
1. Immigrants Are Bringing Diseases
It has been suggested by alt right media groups and some prominent republicans that undocumented migrants are bringing diseases such as hepatitis, measles, HIV and tuberculosis. Even President Trump declared in a December bill signing ceremony “One of the problems that people don’t talk about, you have a tremendous medical problem coming into our country…”.Data from the World Health Organization shows that most countries in Latin America in fact have higher vaccination rates than the United States. Mexico, for example has a 99% vaccination rate for measles. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador each have a 93% vaccination rate. In comparison, the United States has only a 92% vaccination rate. Any legal immigrant entering the United States, including asylum seekers receive extensive physical and health screenings, as well as complete vaccination updates when necessary. Statistically, those undocumented migrants who do enter the country are more likely to be vaccinated than those native born.