By Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Director

On January 9th our Provincial Fr. Joseph Nassal and the Leadership Team published a letter expressing their concern about President Donald Trump’s address from the Oval Office stoking fear concerning immigrants entering our country from our southern border in order to get support for building the wall. These men, women and children are coming not to threaten our safety or way of life, but rather, to escape “violence, poverty, and abuses of their human rights.”  As a people who hear the Cry of the Blood, let us continue to inform ourselves about the real issues of immigration.  I have attached some immigration policy websites and a list of myths and facts on immigration so that we can continue to study and learn about this issue.

Immigration Myths and Facts 

Myth #1:  Our country is being overrun by undocumented immigrants.
Fact: The number of undocumented immigrants in our country peaked in 2007 and has been decreasing steadily since then.

Myth #2:  Creating a pathway to citizenship will take jobs from US citizens.
Fact: Increasing rights and protections for our most vulnerable workers will help lift standards and wages for our entire workforce.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that comprehensive immigration reform would substantially strengthen our economy, increase employment levels and result in a raise for all working people in our country.

Myth 3:  Undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes and they drain our social services.
Fact: All undocumented immigrants pay sales taxes that stimulate our state and local budgets, and many pay federal taxes as well.  However, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most public welfare benefits, so they contribute more to our public budgets than they receive, creating a positive net fiscal impact.

Myth 4:  Deporting all 11 or 12 million undocumented immigrants will strengthen our economy.
Fact: Removing millions of long-term members of our communities from the United States would cost an estimated $600 billion and would substantially harm our productivity, particularly in industries such as agriculture, construction, and hospitality.

Myth 5:  We have no idea who is coming into our country as a refuge.
Fact: The screening done for our refugee resettlement is extremely rigorous.  On average, candidates wait for nearly two-years for approval of their applications to enter through our humanitarian programs.  It would be a clear violation of US and International law to deny people safe harbor based on the religion they practice or their country of origin.

Myth 6:  Immigrants make our communities less safe.
Fact: Studies consistently show that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than our general population.  Attempts to label entire groups of immigrants as “criminals” or “terrorists” are patently false and run counter to our core values as a nation.

Myth 7:  Mexico will pay for the wall on our southern border.
Fact: The Mexican government has made it clear that they will never fund the wall.  The project would cost our taxpayers an estimated $25 billion that could otherwise be used to fund schools, roads, bridges and other projects critical to creating good jobs and moving our country forward.

Immigration Policy Websites

The U.S. policies on immigration are fast changing and it is difficult to provide an up-to-date overview ion the latest policies.  Here are some websites that are helpful to do so:

Center for American Progress (you can sign up for updates):

Pew Research Center offers a visual report on the history of U.S. policies:

USCIS has a history of and document of the U.S. laws you can download:

The U.S.Department of State maintains a page on U.S. Visas with the latest information regarding regulations and policies to enter the U.S. territory:

Wikipedia has an article on President Trump’s immigration policy: