Apr 30, 2008
Did You Know?
MYTH: America has "uncontrolled" and "unprecedented" immigration.
While the immigrant population is the highest it’s ever been in absolute numbers, it isn’t so when compared to the equally increasing total U.S. population. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the percentage of immigrants has fluctuated within 5-15% of the U.S. population. As of 2006, immigrants are 12% of the U.S. population. (U.S. Census Bureau, "Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-1990." February 1999, and Pew Hispanic Center, “A Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population at Mid-Decade.” October 2006)
MYTH: Today’s immigrants are different than those 100 years ago: they “refuse” to assimilate.
According to a recent United Way of Salt Lake survey, more than 80 percent of immigrants and refugees say they have formally tried to learn English. Many more say they’ve tried by speaking English to friends or by listening to English-language radio and television. (United Way of Salt Lake, June 2007)
Learning a second language can be difficult for any adult, but top barriers to English acquisition for immigrants (who often work 2 or 3 separate jobs) include lack of time, lack of child care, and difficultly of task. (United Way of Salt Lake, June 2007)
All social science data points to the fact that immigrants are assimilating as fast as previous generations of immigrants. While immigrant parents may struggle with learning a new language, 91% of second-generation Hispanics can speak English well, as can 97% of third-generation Hispanics. (Pew Hispanic Center, Nov 2007)
MYTH: Immigrants are violent criminals “overflowing” our prisons.
In 2000, 3 percent of the 45.2 million males age 18 to 39 in the United States were in federal or state prisons or local jails at the time of the census. The incarceration rate of native-born men in this age group was 5 times higher than the incarceration rate of foreign-born men. (Immigration Policy Center, Spring 2007)
Among the U.S.-born, 9.8 percent of all male high-school dropouts were in jail or prison in 2000. Only 1.3 percent of immigrant men who were high-school dropouts were incarcerated. (Immigration Policy Center, Spring 2007)
MYTH: Immigrants are a financial burden on taxpayers.
While the myth that undocumented immigrants are an economic drain is widespread, “Every empirical study of illegals’ economic impact demonstrates the opposite…; undocumenteds actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services.” (Peter L. Reich, “Public Benefits for Undocumented Aliens: State Law Into the Breach Once More,” 21 N.M. L. Rev. 219, 241–42. 1991)
Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most federally funded benefits including cash assistance, food stamps, and SSI. (Office of Human Services Policy, Department of Health and Human Services)
A study by economists Richard Vedder, Lowell Gallaway, and Stephen Moore found that states with relatively high immigration actually experience low unemployment. The economists believed that it is likely immigration opens up many job opportunities for natives. (Richard Vedder, Lowell Gallaway, and Stephen Moore, “Immigration and Unemployment: New Evidence,” Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, Arlington, VA. Mar. 1994.)
To learn more visit truthinimmigration.org