Labor Union Resolution
Statewide organizational sign-on letter
MYTHS AND FACTS
Immigrants and the Economy
MTYH: Immigrants have a negative impact on the U.S. economy
Fact: Both documented and undocumented immigrants have a positive impact on the American economy overall. According to the USA Today, immigrants have raised the total economic output of the country by $21.5 billion per year. Business Week has reported that undocumented immigrants are an important source of growth for banks, insurance companies, credit card providers, phone, internet, and cable providers.
MYTH: Sending undocumented workers back to their native countries would have no real negative economic effect
Fact: The impact would be enormous. Immigrant labor is essential to the economic success and growth of America. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, if all undocumented workers were deported tomorrow, key industries such as services (32% of workers are undocumented), construction (19%), production-installation repair (15%), sales (12%), and management, business, and professional (10%) would be negatively impacted.
MYTH: Immigrants send everything back to their native countries
Fact: Although immigrants do contribute a substantial quantity of remittances to their home countries each year, they also have tremendous buying-power here in the United States. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic buying power has increased substantially. It was $490 billion in 2000 and rose to $736 billion in 2005 and is expected to reach $1.09 trillion in 2010 (which would be 9.2% of all consumer spending in the United States).
Immigrants and Jobs
MYTH: Immigrants are taking low-wage jobs from American workers
Fact: Most recent immigrant workers are unskilled and hold jobs in key sectors such as agriculture and food processing that have a growing labor need. There is little evidence that immigrants have a negative impact on employment outcomes of native-born workers who have low levels of education. According to the ACLU, immigrants actually create new jobs by buying American goods and services, paying taxes, and increasing demand for retailers.
MYTH: Immigrants drive down wages for American workers
Fact: According to the New York Times, "There is scant evidence that illegal immigrants have caused any significant damage to the wages of American workers." The real indicator of wage disparity of American workers is education.
MYTH: Immigrants only perform low-skilled labor in the U.S.
Fact: 40% of America's PhD. scientists and engineers are foreign-born. According to studies performed by the Migration Policy Institute, 27% of computer-software engineers are immigrants, 20% of U.S. doctors, 40% of medical scientists, 20% of computer specialists, 25% of astronomers, physicists, chemical scientists, and material scientists, and 16% of biological scientists.
MYTH: Most undocumented workers are day laborers
Fact: According to figures compiled by UCLA, University of Illinois and the New School, less than 2 % of undocumented workers are day laborers.
MYTH: Undocumented immigrants work almost exclusively in low-wage jobs
Fact: According to the Pew Hispanic Center, undocumented workers make up less than 10% of the 43 million low-wage workers in the United States.
MYTH: Undocumented workers come here to get free government services
Fact: Most undocumented immigrants come here to work. According to the Urban Institute, their labor-force participation of 96% exceeds that of legal immigrants or native-born workers. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and other government services.
Immigrants, Taxes, and Services
MYTH: Undocumented immigrants don't pay taxes
Fact: According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, 75% of undocumented workers pay payroll taxes and overall, they contribute $7 billion in Social Security funds and 1.5 billion to Medicare that they will not be able to claim due to their status.
MYTH: Immigrants get free health care and are causing costs to increase dramatically
Fact: According to the American Journal of Public Health, 30% of all immigrants to do not use any healthcare, most immigrants have health insurance, and the health care expenditures of the children of immigrants were 74% lower than those of U.S.-born children .
MYTH: Undocumented immigrants exacerbate the budget deficit by using services they never pay for.
Fact: Undocumented workers actually save the country money by going to work immediately. Instead of draining social services such as education, healthcare, and unemployment compensation, workers have an immediate financial impact.
MYTH: Undocumented workers take money out of social security without paying into it
Fact: Undocumented workers contribute approximately $519 billion in earnings to the Social Security system and will not be able to collect any of it. According to the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois Chicago undocumented workers generate between $6 billion and $7 billion annually in S.S. tax revenues. These workers are helping to finance a system that is straining under the weight of an ever-growing population of retiring Baby Boomers.
Immigrants and Families
MYTH: Most undocumented immigrants stream across the border from Mexico
Fact: Undocumented immigrants actually come from all over the world. Although more than half come from Mexico, the rest come from Central America, Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe, and South America. Many of the undocumented population actually entered the United States legally and then overstayed their visas or somehow violated the terms of their admission.
MYTH: Everyone in an undocumented family is illegal.
Fact: 80% of the children of immigrants were born in the United States and are thus American citizens. According to the Urban Institute, 61% of the children of immigrants live in families where one or more children are citizens but one or both parents are non-citizens. In families where parents are undocumented, two-thirds of children are U.S. citizens.
MYTH: Immigrants aren't as family-focused as native-born Americans
Fact: Family structure is very strong among immigrants. According to the Urban Institute, 80% of the children of immigrants live in households with two parents compared to 70% of non-immigrants. In many Hispanic families, the wife stays home in order to take care of the children while the husband works.
MYTH: The children of undocumented immigrants abuse their right to public services.
Fact: Children born in the United States are citizens and are entitled to public assistance, but many undocumented parents fear deportation and do not seek services for their children.
MYTH: Undocumented immigrants cannot afford to buy houses.
Fact: According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals more than 150,000 of undocumented immigrants who rent can afford a $98,000 home.
Immigrants and Wisconsin
MYTH: Immigrants in Wisconsin only occupy low-skilled jobs.
Fact: According to the Migration Policy Institute, the top three occupations for foreign-born workers in Wisconsin are management (30.4%), transportation (27.4%), and service occupations (19.2%).
MYTH: Immigrants in Wisconsin do not want to learn English or to assimilate to American culture.
Fact: According to the Migration Policy Institute, 41.4% of Wisconsin's foreign born population were citizens in 2005. Just 1.5% of Wisconsin households were not proficient in English on 2005 data, a third of the national figure (for the U.S. as a whole the rate is 4.8% of households).
Myths & Facts
Myth: All undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. by crossing the border illegally
Fact: 40% of undocumented workers came to the U.S. on temporary visas, but then found they could not extend them.
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