7 Myths That Make the Immigration Debate a Sticky Mess

Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.
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A child at a pro-immigration rally protests the deportation of his father. (Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The Brookings Institute think tank has pinpointed seven immigration myths they believe cloud the immigration debate.

Drumroll please....

7 Immigration Myths:

1. Illegal immigrants don't pay taxes. Guess what, yep they do. About $162 billion annually according to one study.

2. The U.S. rarely deports illegal immigrants. False, 350,000 are deported annually.


3. Economics and business drive U.S. immigration policy. Not exactly. About 1 million official visas are awarded yearly, two-thirds are for family unification. Just 15 percent are given for employment purposes.


4. The U.S. tries to attract scientists, engineers and technology experts. Not so much; 65,000 visas out of 1 million are allocated for high-skill workers.


5. Immigrants are treated fairly by the courts. When it comes to deportation, immigrants with a lawyer win their cases close to half the time. Without a lawyer, only 16 percent of them win.

6. Americans oppose allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. and become citizens. Pew Research Center says 63 percent of Americans are in favor of a path to citizenship [pdf].
 

7. News stories about immigration are balanced. Studies show news outlets are twice [pdf] as likely to focus on the cost versus the benefit of immigration.


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