8 Big Fat Myths About Immigration That Have Been Busted

8 Myths About Immigration
Although the US Chamber of Commerce has published numerous studies explaining the importance and benefits of immigration, a great deal of misinformation still exists in the American society. It is extremely essential that the public understands how beneficial immigrants are to the economy, and stops believing all the lies spread by anti-social elements.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
Melbourne Immigration Museum
Did You Know?
58% of the current illegal immigrant population is from Mexico.
Some Americans still believe that immigrants are a burden to the society, and add to the problems of the already-battered economy. Such complaints are often made by people who remain uneducated, and rely on tabloid reports that are often exaggerated. America has always been known as the land of opportunity, and most immigrants travel here because they have faith in this American ideal.

They are not here to start trouble; in fact, most of the immigrants who land in America are extremely hardworking and family-oriented. Yes, there are a few rotten apples, but just because of a few people, it would be unfair to blame the entire immigrant community.

This OpinionFront article lists out certain immigration myths and facts, and hopes by reading this information, most readers would change their negative attitude towards immigrants.
Myth : Illegal immigrants don't pay taxes.
Totally untrue. All immigrants pay taxes, and even illegal or undocumented immigrants have to pay sales tax, like every other legal citizen of this country. Those who live on rent also pay property taxes. Most immigrants don't possess legal papers, and hence submit counterfeit identity documents, through which the government directly deducts income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from their earnings.
Each year, undocumented immigrants contribute a large share to the Social Security system, and don't even benefit from it. Their earnings are withheld because the names and Social Security numbers do not match with the records of the Social Security Administration. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, in October 2009, these withheld earnings amounted to almost $836 billion.
Myth : Immigrants are overpopulating the country.
The US economy is facing its toughest challenge yet, with 77 million people (almost a quarter of the US population) reaching retirement age. This is going to put the economy in a difficult position, as Social Security and Medicare systems would have to support these 77 million, and it would be extremely difficult for Uncle Sam to run the country with a small number of taxpayers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that from 2008 to 2018, the population in the age bracket 55 and above is set to increase by nearly 21 million, bringing the total to 91.6 million. If more and more people retire, the labor-force growth will decline and eventually fall, if the inflow of immigrants is not consistent.
Myth : Immigrants don't want to learn English.
This is just a theory cooked up by natives decades ago. It wasn't true then, and it isn't true now. Within a decade of their arrival, almost 75% immigrants can converse fluently in English, and the number of students joining English learning classes has increased tremendously during the last four decades. It has been observed that the first generation of any immigrant community ensures that their US-born kids can speak and write in English fluently.
Most immigrants believe that their kids need to know English to succeed in the United States, and they also know that the future in America is uncertain if you aren't comfortable with English.
Myth : Immigrants are responsible for the rising unemployment.
Understand that unemployment is only caused by the capitalist system, and even the current financial meltdown happened because of the real estate fall, and reckless and immature Wall Street speculation. When a company cuts down its work force, both immigrants and citizens can be fired. There is no proof that shows a link between immigration and unemployment. On the contrary, it has been observed that immigrants often become entrepreneurs and create many jobs for the locals.
Myth : Immigrants are more likely to commit crime than natives.
Immigration cannot be associated with rising crime. Let's understand why. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, from 1990 to 2009, the country witnessed almost 38.5 million immigrants, in which the number of undocumented immigrants stood at 3.5 million. Now, that figure of 3.5 million has tripled over the years, and yet the crime rate has gone down by 41%. A report filed by the Conservative Majority Foundation shows that states with the highest immigration rates have the lowest crime rate.
Famed sociologist Rubén Rumbaut reports that incarceration rates among immigrants are the lowest. A study conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California yielded similar results, which prove that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes when compared to locals.
Myth : Immigrants come to America to enjoy welfare benefits.
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive any federal benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and food stamps. Even legal immigrants can't receive all these benefits, unless they stay for five years or longer in the US. These restrictions clearly prove that legal immigrants can't enjoy welfare benefits at least for five years. A number of case studies have proved that immigrants actually pay more taxes.
The state of Arizona reported that immigrants generate almost $2.4 billion in tax revenue every year, which in turn is considered pretty beneficial for the state, and its citizens on the whole.
Myth : Immigrants are no longer interested in assimilating into the American society.
Most immigrants living in the United States can't apply for a citizenship until they have been in the country for more than 5 years. They also have to regularly pay their taxes, pass background checks, have a decent knowledge about the country's history, and possess the ability to understand, read, and write English. In addition to all these formalities, they have to pay a naturalization fee of $680, which makes it harder for the low-income immigrants to become naturalized citizens of the country. Despite such long-term procedures, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Immigration Statistics reports that the number of legal immigrants becoming US citizens has risen substantially over the years
Myth : Instead of spending money in America, immigrants send all their money back home.
There is nothing wrong in sending money home. In fact, the money sent by immigrants to their family members allows the latter to stay home, and not be compelled to travel to America in search of opportunities. Immigrants do send remittances home, but they are also spending a substantial share of their earnings in the United States. In addition to paying all the federal and state taxes, immigrants spend money on various goods and services. A study of the US census, conducted by Harvard University, showed that more than 5.7 million homes belonged to the international community. The study also proved that immigrants who become naturalized US citizens invest more money than native Americans.
Looking at these facts, it is time that all foreign communities get the appreciation they deserve because they work as hard as any American to make this country a better place to live.