Christian Science Monitor Counters Immigration Myths

A post on the Christian Science Monitor WebSite put us in mind of a popular bumper sticker that admonishes: “Don’t believe everything you think.” This advice is especially relevant in the context of immigration, because the conventional wisdom so often proves to be wrong – just how wrong is the theme of the Monitor piece entitled “Immigration Myths Debunked,” which includes a series of charts and graphs that refute many popular misconceptions about immigration. [See Immigration Myths Debunked, by Allison Terry and Jake Turcotte, Christian Science Monitor, 04.Nov.2013.] Among the myths they take on:

  • MYTH: Most immigrants come from Latin America. Actually, Asian immigrants, especially from China and India, have eclipsed LatinAmericans, and now represent the largest percentage of immigrants who entered the U.S. in 2010 or later.
  • MYTH: Illegal immigration is at an all-time high. Citing statistics from the Pew Research Center and International Migration Review, the Christian Science Monitor chart shows that, in reality, illegal immigration topped out in 2007-08, and has been declining ever since.
  • MYTH: Immigrants work primarily at low-skilled jobs. Quite to the contrary: using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the CSM chart shows that “most immigrants who entered the U.S. in 2010 or later held jobs in management, business, science, and arts occupations.”
  • MYTH: Immigrants are less educated than native-born citizens. Wrong again: U.S. Census data indicate that “immigrants are more likely than native-born citizens to have graduate or professional degrees.” Furthermore, recent immigrants are more educated than before.
  • MYTH: Immigrants are more likely to commit crimes. Not even a close call: Justice Department and U.S. Census data show that native-born Americans are imprisoned at a much higher rate than immigrants.

Facts matter, so the Christian Science Monitor piece provides a valuable counterpoint to all the urban legends that have grown up around U.S. immigration. It’s thought-provoking research, and worth reading in its entirety. It may prompt some readers to wonder: wouldn’t we resolve the immigration reform debate a lot sooner if people just knew the truth?

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