May 03, 2010
MYTH: Immigrants take jobs from American workers.
FACT: Although immigrants account for about 12% of the U.S. population, and despite the fact that immigrants and their children have accounted for 58% of the U.S. population since 1980, they currently constitute less than 15% of the workforce. That 15% tends to be concentrated in high-skilled and low-skilled occupations, which complements (NOT competes with) jobs held by native workers.
MYTH: Immigration is at an all-time high, and most new immigrants came illegally.
FACT: The historic high was recorded in 1890 (more than a century ago), when immigrants made up 14.8 of the population. Check out this nifty interactive map to see how immigrants settled throughout the United States over time.
MYTH: Today's immigrants are not integrating into American life like past waves did.
FACT: The integration of immigrants remains a hallmark of America's vitality as a society and a source of admiration abroad (that's right Europe, admiration). Case in point: today's immigrants consistently seek English instruction in such large numbers that adult-education programs cannot meet the demand, especially in California. Furthermore, I've abstained from writing this blog in any other language but English... for now...
MYTH: Cracking down on illegal border crossings will make us safer.
FACT: Protecting the nation's 7,500 miles of land borders and 12,380 miles of coastline and vast network of sea ports, international airports and various port of entry along the Canadian and Mexican border is no easy feat. Since 9/11, we have dramatically strengthened border security through the use of biometrics at ports of entry, intelligent gathering, integrated database and increased international cooperation.
However, seasoned enforcement officials argue that if we provided enough visas to meet the economy's demand for workers, border agents would be more available to focus on protecting the nation's borders from truly dangerous individuals and activities, such as DRUG-TRAFFICKING, SMUGGLING and CARTEL VIOLENCE.
MYTH: Immigration reform cannot happen in an election year.
FACT: You're right. It can happen ANY year! And the most significant immigration bills enacted in recent decades were passed in election years.
1) REFUGEE ACT OF 1980, which established our systems for humanitarian protection and refugee and asylum admissions.
2) REFORM AND CONTROL ACT OF 1986 made it illegal to hire unauthorized immigrants, and provided amnesty for 2.7 million illegal immigrants.
3) IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1990 increased the number of visas allotted to highly skilled workers.
4) ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION REFORM OF 1996 charged immigration agencies with implementing significant new law enforcement mandates.