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Immigrant Myths

STEP 3: READ, STUDY & ACT

Confused About Immigration Reform?

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT IMMIGRANTS

 

“The Church hears the suffering cry of all who are uprooted from their own land….of those without rights, without any security…and she supports them in their unhappiness.” Pope John Paul II, World Migration Day, 2000

 

“The U.S. bishops are united in the view that migration is beneficial to our nation …economically, socially and culturally.  The strength of our nation comes from its diversity and from the hard work …of immigrants.  It is our identity and our soul.”  Bishop Kevin Farrell, USCC Committee on Migration

 

Publish June 18TH

 

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE INVOLVED IN IMMIGRATION REFORM

There are several reasons why the Church is involved in the immigration debate.  The Old and New Testaments, as well as Catholic Social Teaching expressed in papal encyclicals, form the basis for the Church’s position.  In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus calls us to “welcome the stranger,” for “what you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me.” (Mt 25.)  The church is also involved because many Catholics are immigrants who need the support and assistance of the Church.  Finally, the U.S. bishops believe that, while the U.S. economy benefits from the labor provided by immigrants,  – both documented and undocumented – our current immigration laws need to be reformed  because they do not allow the immigrant workers we need to enter the country legally.  And the current laws contribute to the human suffering of these workers. The Church thus seeks to point out the moral consequences of a broken immigration system.

 

IMMIGRATION REFORM WOULD LEAD TO OPEN BORDERS

The Catholic Church supports immigration reform but not open borders.  Church teaching allows for the right of sovereign nations to control their borders.  Enforcement of our borders, however, should include the protection of the basic human rights and dignity of the migrant and not place lives at risk.  The U.S. Catholic bishops support comprehensive immigration reform that includes these border security provisions: 1) the development of a National Strategy on Border Security which would lead to information sharing among federal, state and local authorities; 2) an electronic employer verification system which would feature biometric (such as retina scan) visas for workers; 3) increased cooperation with sending countries to manage the flow of migrants, discourage unauthorized migration and identify potential terrorist threats; 4) funding for the US Department of Labor to conduct targeted audits of companies in any new temporary worker program.

 

 

 

IMMIGRATION REFORM WOULD GRANT AMNESTY TO LAWBREAKERS

The Catholic Church supports “earned legalization”  or “earned citizenship” for undocumented immigrants – not amnesty.  An amnesty is a giveaway or forgiving of a debt.  Earned legalization, as defined in the proposed immigration reforms, requires undocumented immigrants to “earn” permanent status by working over a six-year period before qualifying for Legally Protected Resident (i.e., legal) status.  It also requires the payment of a fine and English language capability.  Thus, illegal behavior is not rewarded with a “free pass.”

 

Sources: www.justiceforimmigrants.org (The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform);

US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Department of Migration and Refugee Services; Public Policy Education Network and Office of Immigrant Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre

 

Publish June 25th

 

IMMIGRANTS DON’T PAY TAXES

Immigrants pay taxes, in the form of income, property, sales, and taxes at the federal and state level.  As far as income tax payments go, sources vary in their accounts, but a range of studies find that immigrants pay between $90 and $140 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes.  Undocumented immigrants pay income taxes as well, as evidenced by the Social Security Administration’s “suspense file” (taxes that cannot be matched to workers’ names and social security numbers), which grew by $20 billion between 1990 and 1998.

 

IMMIGRANTS COME HERE TO TAKE WELFARE

Immigrants who enter the country legally are not permitted to receive welfare for five years; undocumented immigrants can never receive welfare. Immigrants generally come to work and reunite with family members.  Immigrant labor force participation is consistently higher than native born, and immigrant workers make up a larger share of the U.S. labor force (12.4%) than they do the U.S. population (11.5%).  Moreover, the ratio between immigrant use of public benefits and the amount of taxes they pay is consistently favorable to the U.S.  In one estimate, immigrants earn about $240 billion a year, pay about $90 billion a year in taxes, and use about $5 billion in public benefits.  In another cut of the data, immigrant tax payments total $20 to $30 billion more than the amount of government services they use.

 

 

IMMIGRANTS SEND ALL THEIR MONEY BACK TO THEIR HOME COUNTRIES

In addition to the consumer spending of immigrant households, immigrants and their businesses contribute $162 billion in tax revenue to U.S. federal, state, and local governments.  While it is true those immigrants remit billions of dollars a year to their home countries, this is one of the most targeted and effective forms of direct foreign investment.

 

 

 

Sources: www.justiceforimmigrants.org (The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform);

US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Department of Migration and Refugee Services; Public Policy Education Network and Office of Immigrant Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre

 

Publish July 2nd  

 

IMMIGRANTS TAKE JOBS AND OPPORTUNITY AWAY FROM AMERICANS

The largest wave of immigration to the U.S. since the early 1900s coincided with our lowest national unemployment rate and fastest economic growth.  Immigrant entrepreneurs create jobs for U.S. and foreign workers, and foreign-born students allow many U.S. graduate programs to keep their doors open.  While there has been no comprehensive study done of immigrant-owned businesses, we have countless examples: in Silicon Valley, companies begun by Chinese and Indian immigrants generated

more than $19.5 billion in sales and nearly 73,000 jobs in 2000.

 

 

IMMIGRANTS ARE A DRAIN ON THE U.S. ECONOMY

During the 1990s, half of all new workers were foreign-born, filling gaps left by native-born workers in both the high- and low-skill ends of the spectrum. Immigrants fill jobs in key sectors, start their own businesses, and contribute to a thriving economy. The net benefit of immigration to the U.S. is nearly $10 billion annually. As Former Federal reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan points out, 70% of immigrants arrive in prime working age.  That means we haven’t spent a penny on their education, yet they are transplanted into our workforce and will contribute $500 billion toward our social security system over the next 20 years.

 

 

IMMIGRANTS DON’T WANT TO LEARN ENGLISH OR BECOME AMERICANS

Within ten years of arrival, more than 75% of immigrants speak English well; moreover, demand for English classes at the adult level far exceeds supply.  Greater than 33% of immigrants are naturalized citizens; given increased immigration in the 1990s, this figure will rise as more Legal Permanent Residents become eligible for naturalization in the coming years. The number of immigrants naturalizing (becoming citizens) spiked sharply after two events: enactment of immigration and welfare reform laws in 1996, and the terrorist attacks in 2001.

 

Sources: www.justiceforimmigrants.org (The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform);

US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Department of Migration and Refugee Services; Public Policy Education Network and Office of Immigrant Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre

 

 

Publish July 9th

 

TODAY’S IMMIGRANTS ARE DIFFERENT THAN THOSE OF 100 YEARS AGO

The percentage of the U.S. population that is foreign-born now stands at 11.5%; in the early 20th century it was approximately 15%.  Similar to accusations about today’s immigrants, those of 100 years ago initially often settled in mono-ethnic neighborhoods, spoke their native languages, and built up newspapers and businesses that catered to their fellow émigrés.  They also experienced the same types of discrimination that today’s immigrants face, and integrated within American culture at a similar rate.  If we view history objectively, we remember that every new wave of immigrants has been met with suspicion and doubt and yet, ultimately, every past wave of immigrants has been vindicated and saluted.

 

 

MOST IMMIGRANTS TODAY, UNLIKE MY ANCESTORS, ENTER THE US ILLEGALLY

Around 75% of today’s immigrants have Legal Permanent Resident (immigrant) visas; of the 25% that are undocumented, 40% overstayed temporary (non-immigrant) visas. In addition, most immigrants 100 years ago entered the country legally because there were virtually no laws restricting immigration until the 1920s.  Chinese and Japanese immigrants were excluded prior to 1905; people with criminal records, communicable diseases, and other impediments to self sufficiency (such as mental illness or illiteracy) were legally barred by 1917.  Otherwise, the United States had virtually open borders until 1924.

 

 

Sources: www.justiceforimmigrants.org (The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform);

US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Department of Migration and Refugee Services; Public Policy Education Network and Office of Immigrant Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Rockville Centre

 
____YES I HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT IMMIGRANTS AS STATED ABOVE.
 
____ YES, I UNDERSTAND THAT US CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS AND CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE DIOCESE WANTS THESE FACTS MADE KNOWN TO THE CATHOLIC FAITHFUL.
 
____ YES I HAVE CALLED MY PASTOR AND RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THESE MYTHS AND FACTS BE PUT IN THE PARISH BULLETIN AS DIRECTED BY THE DIOCESE. I HAVE FOLLOWED UP ON THIS IN AT LEAST THREE APPROPRIATE AND RESPECTFUL WAYS (CALLING, DELIVERING COPIES, ADDRESSING CHURCH GROUPS ETC.)
 
___ YES  , I UNDERSTAND I MUST CONTINUE TO BRING THIS INFORMATION TO THE ATTENTION OF MY PARISH THROUGHOUT THE NEXT 3 MONTHS
 
 

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 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis

 

 

 
                                            ~Pope FRANCIS