Contrasting fears from facts about immigrants and immigration

The Tampa Bay Times has a very interesting opinion piece by H. Roy Kaplan who is Executive Director of the National Conference of Christians and Jews for Tampa Bay. In his op-ed, Kaplan contrasts misperceptions with facts related to immigration. For example, the Republican outcry related to President Obama’s deferred action on immigrants including the alleged strain to US social services allegedly resulting from a large influx of Latino immigrants is largely unfounded.

There are about 11 million illegal immigrants in this country. Thirty percent of the 40 million current immigrants in the United States are from Mexico. The Hispanic population in this country increased by 15.2 million (43 percent), between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census. Many non-Hispanics believe that a majority of Latinos are undocumented, but the Pew Hispanic Center reports that only 18 percent are.

Also, there actual population of Mexican immigrants has decreased due to either increased border enforcement or due to the downturn in the US economy. It may actually be a matter of both factors. The article also points out that the number of immigrants in the US is lower than it has been than other times in our history. In 1910 the US immigrant population was around 15 percent, whereas as of 2010 it was recorded as approximately 13 percent. Kaplan states that immigrants also less likely to commit crimes since doing so would attract attention to them and increase the likelihood of deportation.

Then there is the Center for Immigration Studies. Like I have done in the past, Kaplan found some holes in their claims about immigrants when it comes to their collecting welfare benefits. He states:

The Center for Immigration Studies reported 23 percent of immigrants and their children were living in poverty in 2011, compared to 13.5 percent of native workers and their families. In 2010 they found that 36 percent of these immigrants used at least one major welfare program (usually food assistance and Medicaid), compared to 23 percent of people already here. Yet, 68 percent of new immigrants hold jobs, the same proportion as the indigenous population, and there is little evidence that immigrants are taking jobs away from native workers and depressing wages except at the lowest levels of employment.

Despite the fact that immigrants can’t receive federal welfare benefits, Mr. Kaplan cites a figure by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy that in 2010 illegal immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes. From 1998 to 2022, immigrants as a whole, he states, will pay $90 billion into the Social Security Tax Fund while one economist states 7.5 billion illegal immigrants paid $7 billion into Social Security.

When it comes to assimilation, Roy Kaplan covers that as well citing Pew Research Center and other sources state that second-generation residents not only learn English but don’t learn their parents’ native language.

The economic benefits of immigration are indisputable. But the fact that Mr. Kaplan’s essay clearly indicates that they pay more in taxes than they get in public services should be reason enough to refute groups like the Center for Immigration Studies. Unfortunately, the truth has a harder time catching up with lies. Since the environmentalist foundations of groups like CIS, NumbersUSA and FAIR are well established but not well known, it should be of no surprise that anti-immigrant groups like them mis-state facts in order to fit their anti-human narrative.