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Myths & Facts About the Costs of Immigration in the USA Prepared for Welcoming the Sojourner: Finding the Churchs Voice on Immigration by The Rev. Dr. Mark R. Sills FaithAction International House A Center for Cross-Cultural Learning and Service 705 North Greene Street Greensboro, North Carolina 27401 www.faihouse.org 2008, FaithAction International House Greensboro, NC 27401. Use by permission only. Slide 2 Ever since Adam and Eve became the first refugees, our ancestors have been moving from one place to another in search of a better life either by choice, forced by circumstances, or through enslavement. Slide 3 Most migration is caused by economic factors. Capital moves easily across borders. Labor also crosses borders, for the same reasons, but with much more difficulty. Slide 4 Three Factors Tend to Push Migration People are pushed out of their homes by povertyPeople are pushed out of their homes by poverty People are pushed out of their homes by violencePeople are pushed out of their homes by violence People are pushed out of their homes by natural disasterPeople are pushed out of their homes by natural disaster Slide 5 Four Factors Tend to Pull Migration A shrinking labor pool unfilled jobs draw workers into a countryA shrinking labor pool unfilled jobs draw workers into a country International competitive pressure on wages forces employers to seek workers willing to work for a lower wageInternational competitive pressure on wages forces employers to seek workers willing to work for a lower wage Natural disasters (such as Katrina and Ike) demand far more workers than the country can provide internallyNatural disasters (such as Katrina and Ike) demand far more workers than the country can provide internally Family reunification is the largest source of legal immigrationFamily reunification is the largest source of legal immigration Slide 6 Migration in 2008 Because our pull factors are so strong, people from all parts of the world are moving into the United States in large numbersBecause our pull factors are so strong, people from all parts of the world are moving into the United States in large numbers Similar large population movements across borders are taking place inSimilar large population movements across borders are taking place in Western Europe, Central America, Africa, and Asia Slide 7 Myth #1: The USA is Being Overwhelmed by Immigrants Slide 8 Where Do the Migrants Go? 33% of all immigrants move to Western Europe33% of all immigrants move to Western Europe 20% move to the USA20% move to the USA 7% move to Russia7% move to Russia 4% move to India4% move to India 3% move to Canada3% move to Canada Source: State of the World Population 2006 United Nations Population Fund Slide 9 Foreign Born as a Percentage of the Total Population Russia 8.5%Russia 8.5% Canada 18.8%Canada 18.8% Australia 19.9%Australia 19.9% Switzerland 22.9%Switzerland 22.9% Saudi Arabia 25.3%Saudi Arabia 25.3% Kuwait 44.1%Kuwait 44.1% USA 12.8% Where Does the USA Fit in this List? Source: United Nations World Population Report 2006 and the United States Bureau of the Census Slide 10 Impact of NAFTA on the Mexican Farmer Crushed by NAFTA, Mexican farmers head north By Jack Kurtz/The Arizona Republic Jun. 18, 2003 10 years of NAFTA Destroying Mexican Farmers By Robert Taylor - World Press Review Jan, 2003 After a decade of NAFTA, Mexican corn farmers face ruin Canadian Broadcasting Center Dec 10, 2005 Nafta's Failures Fuel Mexican Illegal Immigration New America Media, News Analysis, Louis Nevaer, Sep 15, 2006 Mexican Farmers See Death Sentence in NAFTA by Pav Jordan, Reuters, December 28, 2002 Slide 11 Impacts of NAFTA in Mexico Some 2 million Mexicans have been forced out of agriculture. These people are from areas with no other job options. They can starve or they can migrate.Some 2 million Mexicans have been forced out of agriculture. These people are from areas with no other job options. They can starve or they can migrate. NAFTA's service-sector rules allowed big firms like Wal- Mart to enter the Mexican market thus far putting out of business more than 28,000 locally-based small manufacturing firms.NAFTA's service-sector rules allowed big firms like Wal- Mart to enter the Mexican market thus far putting out of business more than 28,000 locally-based small manufacturing firms. Wages along the Mexican border have actually been driven down by about 25% since NAFTA. Border wages typically run 60 cents to $1 an hour.Wages along the Mexican border have actually been driven down by about 25% since NAFTA. Border wages typically run 60 cents to $1 an hour. Source: The Carnegie Endowment 2006 Slide 12 Myth #2: Immigrants Come to the USA to Use Welfare Slide 13 Immigrants, legal or not, are not eligible for most welfare benefits.Immigrants, legal or not, are not eligible for most welfare benefits. Anti-immigrant organizations consistently understate the taxes paid by immigrants and dramatically over-estimate the cost to the public.Anti-immigrant organizations consistently understate the taxes paid by immigrants and dramatically over-estimate the cost to the public. A study done in 1991 by the US Government Accounting Office found that all immigrants together in 1990 earned $240B, paid taxes of $90B, and utilized about $5B in public services.A study done in 1991 by the US Government Accounting Office found that all immigrants together in 1990 earned $240B, paid taxes of $90B, and utilized about $5B in public services. Facts: Source: Farrell, Christopher, and Michael J. Mandel. The Immigrants: How Theyre Helping to Revitalize the U.S. Economy. Business Week 13 July 1992: 114-122. The Social Security Administration in a 2008 report indicated that un-documented workers have added 8 years of viability to the Social Security System by paying taxes for which they will never receive benefits. Slide 14 Myth #3: Immigrant criminals are filling up our prisons and costing tax payers billions Slide 15 Lou Dobbs recently stated on CNN that immigrant criminals make up more than 33% of all prisoners in the US! Slide 16 Facts Immigrants make up just 4.6% of those incarcerated in state and local jails and prisons.Immigrants make up just 4.6% of those incarcerated in state and local jails and prisons. When combined with federal prisons, immigrants make up about 7.3% of the total incarcerated population in the USA on any given day.When combined with federal prisons, immigrants make up about 7.3% of the total incarcerated population in the USA on any given day. Of the 2.2 million individuals currently incarcerated in the USA, 160,500 are foreign born.Of the 2.2 million individuals currently incarcerated in the USA, 160,500 are foreign born. Source: United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2007 Slide 17 More Facts Immigrants are much more likely than citizens to be in the labor forceImmigrants are much more likely than citizens to be in the labor force Immigrants are half as likely as citizens to be charged with a crimeImmigrants are half as likely as citizens to be charged with a crime Source: Urban Institute, American Immigration Lawyers Association Neighborhoods with a high percentage of immigrant residents are much less likely to have high crime rates. Source: American Journal of Public Health Slide 18 The criminalization of undocumented workers presents a cornucopia of opportunities for private industry: VF Corp. making uniforms for the thousands of border guards Contractors working on the wall Food vendors selling meals to detention centers housing 10s of thousands of detainees Lobbyists being paid millions to convince lawmakers to stay tough on immigration reform Slide 19 Detention is a Business! Sunday, May 18, 2008 Immigration agency plans new family detention centers The federal government is accepting bids for up to three new family detention centers that would house as many as 600 men, women and children fighting deportation cases. October 5, 2008 Farmville, VA detention center to become largest immigration detention facility in the mid-Atlantic region. The $21 million project, led by a group of Richmond investors, is being described as what could be the mid-Atlantic hub for ICE operations. Slide 20 KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary recently reprimanded for gross overcharging in its military contracts in Iraq, won a $385 million contract to build the centers. According to the Halliburton website -- www.Halliburton.com -- "the contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs." www.Halliburton.com Halliburton's Immigrant Detention Centers by Ruth Conniff Very big business. The math is simple. More demand for immigrant detention beds, plus more government funding, equals more business for Corrections Corporation of America. Every year since 2003, the company has made record profits. Slide 21 Although the U.S. prison population 1.5 million inmates remains the most voluminous on Planet Earth, incarceration rates are slowing to a little over 1% a year increase while the detention side is running 21% annual growth. "What's great is that this industry promises steadily growing profits," offered an upbeat Anton High of Jefferies & Company brokers in a recent New York Times article encouraging investors to buy in. Slide 22 Myth #4: Most Immigrants are Illegal Slide 23 There are approximately 34.5 million foreign born people in the USA. 10.3 million already have gone on to become naturalized US citizens with all the rights and responsibilities of any citizen! 2.7 million of these are refugees admitted to the USA by the US State Department. 1.6 million are legal temporary residents, usually sch