imm myths PP October


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Immigration Myths and Realities : 

Immigration Myths and Realities Mary C. Turck Resource Center of the Americas 3019 Minnehaha, Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-276-0788 ext. 15 (rev. October 2006)

Immigration Realities: 

Immigration Realities Who are the immigrants? Reasons for immigration Getting in legally Undocumented immigrants Fixing a broken system

Myth vs. Fact : 

Myth vs. Fact Fact: Over the past decade, the yearly average was 800,000 documented and 500,000 undocumented immigrants. Myth: Most are undocumented.

Who are the immigrants?: 

Legal permanent residents, green cards Naturalized citizens Refugee arrivals Temporary residents with documents Undocumented immigrants (either overstays or entering without documents) Immigrant: someone who was born in another country but is now living in the United States. Who are the immigrants?

In the United States: 

34.5 million people 12 percent of U.S. population In the United States

In Minnesota : 

About 6% of Minnesota residents are immigrants In Minnesota

Of 34.5 million immigrants:: 

30% (10.3 million) are citizens 30% (10.5 million) are legal permanent resident 8% (2.7 million) are refugee arrivals 5% (1.5 million) are legal temporary residents 26% (9.3 million) are undocumented immigrants Of 34.5 million immigrants:

From 1990-2000: : 

57 percent increase in foreign born population nationally 130 percent increase in Minnesota WHY? From 1990-2000:

Immigration: Your Stories : 

Immigration: Your Stories What countries did your ancestors come from? When did they arrive in the United States? Where did they first settle? Why did they leave these countries? When did your family come to Minnesota?

Immigrants come for: : 

Immigrants come for: Family Food -- jobs Freedom

Migrant or Immigrant?: 

Migrant or Immigrant? Migrants plan to return home Immigrants plan to stay. Migrants and immigrants: Learn English Work

Economic Refugees: 

Economic Refugees Economic refugees created by “free trade” agreements and economic restructuring (privatization, cutting social services, deregulation). NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) in 1994 CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) in 2005.


Agriculture NAFTA greatly increased imports of U.S. corn. Mexican farmers cannot compete with U.S. agri-business size and subsidies Tortilla prices increased, as subsidies disappeared

Small Business: 

Small Business “We had a business in Veracruz, selling shoes, mostly children’s shoes and sandals. Then, after the bombing of the Twin Towers (9/11), business collapsed. Tourism fell off. The whole economy of the country fell down. Factories in Veracruz closed. That affected businesses like ours.”


Manufacturing Maquila factories produce for export After NAFTA, U.S. companies can move freely across border, own land outright, export freely to U.S. Unions are repressed by government and companies

Comparing Wages : 

Comparing Wages United States (Minnesota) Minimum wage = $6.15 per hour or $49.20 per day Mexico (Nogales) Minimum wage = 48 pesos per day or 6 pesos per hour ($4.50 per day) Average wage closer to $6 per day

Comparing Costs: 

Mexico Minneapolis Tortillas (500 grams) $0.50 $0.89 Milk (per gallon) $3.30 $1.99 Rice (per kg) $0.59 $1.30 Beans (2 kg) $1.72 $2.97 Chicken (1 kg) $2.08 $3.29 Comparing Costs

Myth vs. Fact : 

Myth vs. Fact Myth: Undocumented immigrants pay no taxes. Fact: Undocumented immigrants pay taxes, including Social Security taxes, but do not receive Social Security benefits.

Getting in Legally — Yesterday : 

Before 1875: no restrictions, no papers, no waiting in line 1875-1920: Exclusion of “undesirables” — most often based on race 1891: Office of Immigration created 1920s: Quota system restricts numbers of immigrants and further restricts by nation of origin. With changes, the quota system continues today. Getting in Legally — Yesterday

Getting in Legally — Today: 

Refugee or asylum Family preference Employment Lottery Getting in Legally — Today

Family Preference: Immediate Relatives: 

Immediate relatives are spouses & minor children of U.S. citizens, and parents of adult U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives are not subject to quota restrictions. Family Preference: Immediate Relatives

Family Preference: 

Family Preference 1 - unmarried adult children of a U.S. citizen 2A - spouse or minor children of a legal permanent resident 2B - unmarried adult children of a legal permanent resident 3 - married adult children of a U.S. citizen 4 - brothers and sisters of a U.S. citizen. Quota numbers are assigned based on family preference and country of origin.

Waiting for a Visa: 

Waiting for a Visa The wait for a family preference visa ranges from six to twenty-three years, depending on preference category and country of origin.

Refugee or Asylum: 

Race Religion Membership in a social group Political opinion National origin Refugee or Asylum

Refugee Numbers : 

In 2005, U.S. allowed a maximum of 50,000. Africa—20,000 Europe and Central Asia—9,500 East Asia—13,000 Near East/South Asia—2,500 Latin America and the Caribbean—5,000 Unallocated —20,000 Refugee Numbers

Myth vs. Fact : 

Myth vs. Fact Myth: Immigrants come for welfare benefits. Fact: Immigrants have a higher rate of employment than citizens.

Employment Visas Temporary: 

Employment Visas Temporary At least 20 types – H,E, TN, L, O, P, Q, R Each type has its own rules Most are initiated by and tied to the employer.

Employment Visas Permanent: 

Employment Visas Permanent 140,000 per year Five types – EB 1-5 DOL certification Also employer-initiated

The Lottery: 

The Lottery Facts about the lottery: Only 50,000 visas per year Only certain countries allowed to apply Only electronic applications accepted

Getting in Legally — Today: 

Refugee or asylum Family preference Employment Lottery Getting in Legally — Today

Myth vs. Fact: 

Myth vs. Fact Myth: Immigrants who enter without documents are “jumping the line.” Fact: For most would-be immigrants, there is no line to stand in.

Undocumented Immigrants: Getting In: 

Undocumented Immigrants: Getting In Through Mexico from Central and South America Overstays Coyotes and other smugglers Death on the border -- 460 in 2005

Myth vs. Fact : 

Myth vs. Fact Myth: More enforcement will keep out undocumented immigrants. Reality: Desperate people risk everything to come to the United States.

On the Border: 

Since 1980s, government has continued to increase enforcement along border. Immigration flows to more remote regions. Tripling of death rate at the border Increase in vigilante groups Undocumented immigrants staying longer in U.S. On the Border

Where We Are Today: 

Where We Are Today No legal way in for most immigrants 11-13 million undocumented immigrants already here No control of borders

Changing Immigration Law : 

Changing Immigration Law Path to Legalization Family Reunification Worker Rights Education for All Civil Liberties

Path to Legalization: 

Path to Legalization For 11 million undocumented immigrants Yes to earned legalization No to “report to deport” Change law so that there is a “line” to stand in -- a way to get in line to immigrate for needed workers and their families

Family Reunification: 

Family Reunification Eliminate backlogs Increase quotas Speed up processing

Worker Rights: 

Worker Rights Protection of law for all workers No new bracero/guest worker laws

Education for All: 

Education for All DREAM Act -- federal Minnesota Dream Act Elementary education already guaranteed

Civil Liberties: 

Civil Liberties Preserve rights to appeal, right to counsel NO to driver license status checks NO to criminalization for immigrants NO to criminalization for friends and family and social service providers

Beyond Immigration: 

Beyond Immigration Jobs on both sides of border Labor rights on both sides of border Workers rights = human rights

Build Bridges, Not Walls: 

Build Bridges, Not Walls NO to the border wall NO to deaths on the border YES to jobs on both sides of the border YES to life with dignity in every country


Resources Minnesota Advocate for Human Rights National Immigration Law Center National Immigration Forum National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights Bureau of Immigration and Citizenship Enforcement Resource Center of the Americas American Immigration Lawyers Association


Credits and acknowledgements Dr. Katherine Fennelly, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota Susan Schreiber, Immigration Attorney, CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, INC) Anne Attea, Director for Hispanic Ministry, Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights

Who are Latinos?: 

“Hispanic surname” Identification by choice Immigrants, residents (documented and undocumented), citizens, first to twenty-first generation Who are Latinos?

Latino Population : 

U.S. -- 13 percent or 39 million. Minnesota -- 3 percent, at least 175,000 1990 - 54,000 2000 - 143,000 2004 - 175,000 2025 - 296,000 projected MOST LATINOS ARE NOT IMMIGRANTS. MOST ARE U.S. CITIZENS BY BIRTH. Latino Population

Latino Population : 

U.S. -- 13 percent or 39 million Minnesota -- 3 percent, at least 175,000 1990 - 54,000 2000 - 143,000 2004 - 175,000 2025 - 296,000 projected Latino Population

Who are Minnesota’s Latinos?: 

Who are Minnesota’s Latinos?

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