THE BLOG
08/15/2013 03:56 pm ET

10 Immigration Reform Myths

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Lost in the current immigration reform debate are facts often glossed over or lost in the current heated political environment.

Myth #1: The immigration bill passed by the Senate requires at least some enforcement of current immigration law prior to legalizing the residency of undocumented immigrants.

Facts: The Senate bill automatically legalizes the residency of undocumented immigrants mere six months after passage. While the bill does enact some requirements prior to the granting of actual citizenship and green cards, it fails to recognize that the salient issue is the right to live and work in the U.S. ahead of millions of others outside the U.S. patiently seeking legal entry.

Myth #2: The Senate bill is not "amnesty" since it requires undocumented immigrants to pay a significant fine.

Facts: The "fine" is less than $7 a month, and can be waived. This contrasts with the thousands of dollars that legal applicants pay for such things as extensive background checks, health examinations, and travel to embassies for extensive interviews.

Myth #3: The Senate bill is not "Amnesty" because it requires undocumented immigrants to pay back taxes before being granted citizenship.

Facts: Payment of back taxes is only required if a tax lien has already been filed, which is very rarely the case for undocumented workers who have worked off the books, forged social security cards, failed to pay taxes, or committed identity theft.

Myth #4: The Senate bill is not amnesty because a criminal background check will be required before the granting of citizenship.

Facts: Undocumented immigrants can pass the "background check" even if they have two misdemeanors, and even if those misdemeanors are plea-bargained down from serious felonies by overwhelmed district attorneys. Convictions for domestic violence, drunk driving, or forgery of fewer than four passports are not a bar to amnesty. (Forgery of "only" three passports is ok under the Senate bill). Nor is it a bar to amnesty if the undocumented workers has clearly committed felonies not formally charged, such as non-payment of taxes, identify theft, and forgery of such government documents as social security cards.

Myth #5: Border fences "don't work", so none should be built.

Facts: When a fence was built in the San Diego sector in 2006, crossings in that sector dropped by 95 percent (from 100,000 to 5,000).

Myth #6: The bill will stop illegal immigration by requiring the implementation of e-verify for all employers.

Facts: Under the bill, E-verify will not be implemented for five years after amnesty, and the bill does not require any standards for effectiveness or accuracy, or even any requirement that the executive branch enforce it.

Myth #7: Hispanics and other legal immigrants living in the U.S. consider amnesty a higher priority than enforcement.

Facts: According to the most recent 2013 poll by McLaughlin and Associates, 60 percent of Hispanics support "Enforcement First" before any amnesty.

Myth #8: The promise of future immigration law enforcement in the Senate Bill will stop future undocumented immigration.

Facts: The only precedent for evaluating such an assertion is the 1986 Reagan/Bush amnesty bill, which, on the premise of "we need to do something about the undocumented workers already in the country to they can come in out of the shadows", promised future border security and enforcement in return for immediate amnesty. The result of this bill was lax enforcement and the luring of millions more undocumented immigrants into the desert, risking their lives in the hope of future amnesties.

Myth # 9: The influx of millions of undocumented workers in order to provide cheap labor will not exert any downward pressure on wages of the poor and unskilled in the U.S.

Facts: The standard economics text used in American universities (Samuelson, 19th Ed., p. 253) states categorically: "The overall effect of illegal immigration has been an increase in the supply of low-skilled workers in the U.S. relative to high skilled workers. Studies have estimated that this change in supply has contributed to the decline of wages of less educated groups..."

Myth #10: Amnesty opponents oppose even legal immigration

Facts: Many of not most amnesty opponents support legal immigration and expedited processing of legal immigration petitions. They also believe that it is fundamentally immoral and unfair to legal petitioners to give residency preference to those who have violated such fundamental U.S. laws as illegal entry, forgery of government documents such as social security cards, tax evasion, and identity theft.

While legislators were urged to pass the 3000-page Obamacare bill so that "voters could see what's in it," care should be taken to examine what is actually in the Senate immigration bill before simply again rubber-stamping a bill in the name of "immigration reform."

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