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"They're Stealing All Our Jobs!" and Other Myths about Immigration
 

"They're Stealing All Our Jobs!" and Other Myths about Immigration

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Presentation on myths and facts about immigration for the Tulsa Hispanic Resource Association.

Presentation on myths and facts about immigration for the Tulsa Hispanic Resource Association.

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  • This is nothing new!Irish and Italian discriminationChinese Exclusion ActJapanese internment camps
  • 1860
  • The Irish as ‘unmixable’ in the American pot, 1889
  • An Irishman Looks at an Ape in a Cage, 1891
  • An Irishman Looks at an Ape in a Cage, 1891

"They're Stealing All Our Jobs!" and Other Myths about Immigration "They're Stealing All Our Jobs!" and Other Myths about Immigration Presentation Transcript

  • america’s anti-immigrant history
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • america’s anti-immigrant history
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • america’s anti-immigrant history
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • america’s anti-immigrant history
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • america’s anti-immigrant history
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • Why are they coming?
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • bracero ends
    In 1964, the Bracero Program, which allowed Mexican agricultural workers to work legally in the U.S. on a seasonal basis, came to an end.
    Less than a year after the termination of the Bracero Program, the Mexican Government launched the Border Industrialization Program (BIP) or the Maquiladora Program, to solve the problem of rising unemployment along the border.
    The maquiladoras became attractive to the U.S. firms due to availability of cheap labor, low labor protections, devaluations of peso and favorable changes in the U.S. customs laws.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • nafta
    1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
    The US-Mexican border opened to restriction-free flow of goods, capital and services — but not people.
    American agricultural subsidies create a massive surplus, which causing “dumping” of low-cost goods in Mexico, jeopardizing Mexican farms, farm workers’ self-reliance, and the country's food self-sufficiency.
    In 2000, U.S. government subsidies to the corn sector totaled $10.1 billion, a figure ten times greater than the total Mexican agricultural budget that year.
    NAFTA could cause “the destruction of the ejidos (peasant cooperative village holdings) by corporate interests, and threatens to completely reverse the gains made by rural peoples in the Mexican Revolution.” — Graham Purchase in Anarchism and Environmental Survival
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • “right to work” laws
    Passed in Oklahoma in 2001 to prevent unions
    Eliminating collective bargaining rights in Oklahoma depressed wages and limited workplace and labor protections.
    Environments without protections create a vacuum for low-wage, exploitable workers.
    Most undocumented immigrants hold low-wage jobs where they risk mistreatment by their employers.
    Lack of union protection exacerbates this mistreatment, leaving undocumented workers vulnerable to employer abuse.
    Unscrupulous employers use immigration status as leverage to deny guaranteed labor rights to undocumented workers.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • The basics: definitions
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • definitions
    Citizen
    U.S. born, born to U.S. parents, or naturalized legal permanent immigrants entitled to all rights, benefits and privileges under the law
    Key Distinguishing Factor: Cannot be deported and have right to vote
    Legal Permanent Residents (LPR), a.k.a Green Card holders
    Key Distinguishing Factor: Cannot vote, are subject to deportation for certain crimes, have permanent work authorization
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • definitions
    Non-immigrants, a.k.a Visa holders
    100+ visa categories, including tourist, student, and work visas
    Entitled to 14th Amendment and other constitutional protections, but subject to provisions of particular visa (may or may not include work authorization)
    Key Distinguishing Factor: Authorization to work and/or live in the US is temporary and can be revoked
    Undocumented immigrants
    Often referred to pejoratively as “illegals” 
    Do have rights, including 14th Amendment protection and right to primary education, emergency health care, and seeking redress in a court of law
    Other categories
    Includes asylees, temporary protected status, refugees, VAWA, and others.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • Myths and facts
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Undocumented immigrants do not want to be legal residents.
    Fact: Immigrants come to the U.S. for a variety of reasons — to reunite with family or to find better employment opportunities — and would prefer to do so through legal channels. However, the U.S. immigration system is extremely limited, and undocumented immigrants in the U.S. cannot simply apply for a visa and obtain legal status.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Undocumented immigrants are lazy.
    Fact: 96% of undocumented men living in the U.S. are employed.
    This exceeds the labor force participation rate of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens by 15%.
    Many work two or more jobs.
    It is clear that employment is a major driving force behind undocumented migration: many industries, such as restaurants, hotels, and agriculture, report that they rely on these hardworking migrants.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Undocumented immigrants take jobs from Americans.
    Facts:
    Immigrant labor is needed to fill jobs in the U.S. that an older, more educated American workforce is not willing to fill, especially at the low wages and poor working conditions many unscrupulous employers offer.
    Currently, there are approximately nine million undocumented workers in the U.S. filling important gaps in the labor market. There is substantial evidence that their presence in the labor force creates jobs and strengthens local economies.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Immigrant workers suppress the wages of American workers.
    Facts: The overwhelming majority of economists agree that immigrants increase the economic productivity and thus the wages of natives.
    Because immigrant workers generally “complement”—rather than substitute for—native workers in terms of their education and skills, immigration tends to increase the productivity, and therefore the wages, of natives.
    Roughly 90% of native-born workers experience wage gains from immigration, which total between $30 billion and $80 billion per year.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes.
    Facts: Undocumented immigrants pay taxes in a number of ways, including income, property, business and sales tax.
    The majority of undocumented immigrants pay income taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) or false Social Security numbers.
    All immigrants, regardless of status, will pay on average $80,000 per capita more in taxes than they use in government services over their lifetime.
    The Social Security system reaps the biggest windfall from taxes paid by immigrants; the Social Security Administration reports that it holds approximately $420 billion from the earnings of immigrants who are not in a position to claim benefits.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Undocumented immigrants drain the welfare system and cost the economy more than they contribute.
    Facts:
    Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for the vast majority of state and federal benefits and are only eligible for those that are considered important to public health and safety.
    In fact, many legal immigrants are also ineligible for most federal benefits. As a result, health care spending for immigrants is approximately half that of citizens.
    Studies often overstate the cost of immigration by measuring costs before adults reach working age. “Most immigrants tend to arrive at young working ages, which partly explains why the net fiscal impact of immigration is positive under most scenarios.” — Smith and Edmonston
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Legalization means amnesty and rewards illegal behavior.
    Fact: A pathway to lawful status benefits Americans.
    If undocumented immigrants were deported, the shockwaves would rattle the national economy.
    Nearly 1 in 20 people working in the US is an unauthorized migrant; about 7.2 million workers out of a labor force of 148 million, according to Pew. They pay taxes and buy goods and services.
    The DREAM Act fulfills an investment states have made in educating children of undocumented immigrants.
    Allowing immigrants to come out of the shadows will result in higher wages, safer communities, and a larger tax base for local, state and national economies.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Legalization allows illegal immigrants to cut in line of legal immigrants.
    Fact: If a line was available to immigrants and employers, they would use it.
    Myth: The United States cannot handle legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants.
    Fact: The United States economy cannot sustain itself without a continued increase in immigrant labor.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Chain migration results in an overflow of immigrants.
    Fact:
    The antiquated quota system, delays in processing, and unrealistic wait times result in an broken immigration system.
    Family reunification — which comprises the vast majority of the reasons immigrants come to the United States — is a cornerstone of American family values.
    Keeping families separated is inhumane and undermines immigrant integration.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes
    Fact:
    Immigrants have a much lower incarceration rate than U.S. natives or even previous waves of immigrants.
    The incarceration rate of native-born men 18–39 was actually five times higher than the rate for foreign-born men
    Foreign-born Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans—the three nationalities that make up the majority of the undocumented immigrant population—had the lowest incarceration rates of any Latin American
    The foreign-born incarceration rate was also two and a half times lower than for native non-Hispanic white men.
    While many of the recently arrived immigrants have similar characteristics with groups (low levels of education, lower wage levels, young, and male), they are much less likely to be arrested or convicted.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Illegal immigrants do not deserve due process or civil rights
    Fact:
    The 5th and 14th Amendment due process provision apply to all persons in the United States
    Denying due process and civil rights in the U.S. opens the door for other countries to deny due process and civil rights to U.S. citizens abroad
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Illegal immigrants don’t want to learn English or integrate into American culture
    Fact:
    Over 80% of immigrants and refugees have formally tried to learn English. Many more have tried by speaking English to friends or by listening to radio and television. — 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 2nd generation Hispanics can speak English well, as can 97% of 3rd generation Hispanics. — Pew Hispanic Center, Nov 2007
    By the 2nd generation, the majority of immigrants speak fluent English, and begin to lose fluency in their native languages.
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: Immigrants undermine our economy & depress wages
    Fact:
    Visa limits for both high-skilled and seasonal workers prevent U.S. businesses from hiring needed workers, and do nothing to protect the jobs or wages of native workers. Laborers’ rights are most effectively guaranteed by enforcing labor protections, not imposing arbitrary numerical caps.
    “We've been concerned for years about there not being enough workers entering construction and large numbers approaching retirement. We see immigration as an important part of the solution.” — Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America
    “Immigration is a net economic gain for America and its citizens and the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.” — Open letter from 500 economists, including 5 Nobel Laureates, June 2006
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • myths
    Myth: We need mass deportation and to seal our southern border before considering any legalization program
    Fact: Enforcement-only has and continues to fail
    Between 1986 and 2002 border enforcement agents tripled, hours patrolling the border grew eightfold, and Border Patrol’s budget grew tenfold. At the same time, undocumented immigration increased.
    Mass deportation would cost $206-230 billion over 5 years, which exceeds the entire budget of the Department of Homeland Security and is twice the annual cost of military operations in Afghanistan.
    Increased fences, enforcement, and sealing of the border has funneled immigrants away from metropolitan locations to rural areas, causing record deaths and disappearances.
    “Despite media alarms about terrorists concealed in the illegal traffic crossing the southern border, not a single subject [of 323 identified] entered from Mexico. However, 26 subjects resided in Canada. Only 6% entered their host country illegally.” — Nixon Center, 2006
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • Mainstream rhetoric
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • Questions?
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”
  • references
    “Debunking the Myths of Comprehensive Immigration Reform” slideshow by Luis Figueroa, Legislative Staff Attorney, MALDEF
    “Common Myths About Undocumented Immigrants” factsheet by National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
    “Ten Myths About Immigration” slideshow by Katherine Fennelly, Professor at University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
    “Five Facts About Undocumented Workers in the United States” factsheet by NCLR
    “Top 5 Immigration Myths of This Campaign Season: Ending the Immigration Spin - Just the Facts” factsheet by American Immigration Lawyers Association
    “Immigration: Myths and the Facts Behind the Fallacies” factsheet by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits Division
    Wikipedia (NAFTA, Maquadores, Bracero Program)
    “They’re stealing all our jobs!”