Donald Trump has opened the floodgates to lies about immigration. Here are the myths, and the facts.
MYTH: Immigrants take away American jobs.
Wrong. Immigrants add to economic demand, and thereby push firms to create more jobs.
MYTH: We don’t need any more immigrants.
Baloney. The U.S. population is aging. Twenty-five years ago, each retiree in America was matched by 5 workers. Now for each retiree there are only 3 workers. Without more immigration, in 15 years the ratio will fall to 2 workers for every retiree, not nearly enough to sustain our retiree population.
MYTH: Immigrants are a drain on public budgets.
Bull. Immigrants pay taxes! The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released a report this year showing undocumented immigrants paid $11.8 billion in state and local taxes in 2012 and their combined nationwide state and local tax contributions would increase by $2.2 billion under comprehensive immigration reform.
MYTH: Legal and illegal immigration is increasing.
Wrong again. The net rate of illegal immigration into the U.S. is less than zero. The number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. has declined from 12.2 million in 2007 to 11.3 million now, according to Pew Research Center.
Don’t listen to the demagogues who want to blame the economic problems of the middle class and poor on new immigrants, whether here legally or illegally. The real problem is the economic game is rigged in favor of a handful at the top, who are doing the rigging.
We need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, giving those who are undocumented a path to citizenship.
Scapegoating them and other immigrants is shameful.
And it’s just plain wrong.
This post first appeared at robertreich.org.