With so much information in today’s media about immigrants and immigration policy, it can be hard to keep track of what’s actually true. Many media outlets rush to report news as soon as it breaks, and that can lead to the perpetuation of existing harmful myths surrounding immigration. Instead, taking some time to learn the real facts behind United States immigration can help you process the overwhelming amount of news on immigration correctly and filter through the popular myths. Here are some of the most common myths surrounding immigration, and the actual facts behind them.
Myth: “Immigrants don’t pay taxes.”
In reality, all immigrants, regardless of legal status, pay taxes and contribute to the American economy. The Social Security Administration estimates that undocumented immigrants contribute about $12 billion each year to social security programs without ever seeing any benefits themselves, due to their undocumented status. Millions of immigrants regularly contribute via sales tax, property tax, and income tax, even if they are unable to receive benefits.
Myth: “Immigration is on the rise.”
Immigration is actually currently reducing, in terms of the overall immigrant population of the United States. Currently, immigrants make up approximately 13% of the total United States population. This has been steadily decreasing over the past few years, compared to the higher percentages of the earlier twentieth century. Yes, the number of immigrants itself is higher; however, sheer number is not an accurate reflection in this case, as it fails to account for overall U.S. population growth.
Myth: “Immigrants are taking jobs from American citizens.”
If anything, immigrants help to create jobs for American citizens. When immigrants come to the United States, they help contribute to the American economy by buying products and services from existing American companies, helping to increase demand. Additionally, immigrant investors and entrepreneurs start their own businesses in the United States, creating countless jobs in their new companies and enterprises.
With so much misinformation on immigrant populations in the media today, it is important to keep the often surprising facts in mind. Understanding the reality of immigration can keep you from falling for fake news or misinformation in your daily life.