Over the past few years, immigration has been a hot topic in the United States. Of course, the more a subject is in the news the more misinformation about the topic circulates. Immigration has certainly been given this treatment. These misconceptions can be very harmful to immigrants, putting their safety and welfare at risk. Discover the truths to these misconceptions and you can help dispell the harmful myths in your community.
Myth 1: Most immigrants are here illegally
Despite the rhetoric that the majority of immigrants sneak into the U.S. illegally, most people looking to come to this country work with immigration lawyers and other officials to reside here lawfully. About three-fourths of the foreign-born population in the United States are lawful immigrants.
In 2016, about 44.7% of the immigrants in the United States were even naturalized citizens. The rest of that percentage was made up of lawful permanent residents (green card holders), people on temporary visas, refugees and asylum-seekers, and undocumented immigrants.
Myth 2: All undocumented immigrants sneak in over the Mexican border
When the general population imagines immigrants coming into the United States illegally, they picture them sneaking in across the border between Mexico and the United States. This common misconception is a large reason why many support building a wall along this international divider.
However, crossing that border is not how the small number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. enter the country. Estimates suggest that between one-third and one-half of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have reached that status by overstaying their student, work, or visitor visas. In short, they entered the country with legal documentation and only later became undocumented.
Myth 3: Immigrants come to take advantage of birthright citizenship
Commonly known as birthright citizenship, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that any individual born in the United States is a U.S. citizen. While this law allows many children to become citizens when they otherwise wouldn’t, it is not why immigrants are coming to the U.S.
Research consistently shows that both lawful and undocumented immigrants come for the economic opportunity the U.S. provides or to flee violence and poverty in their birth countries. Statistics also show that more immigrant men come to the U.S. than immigrant women, debunking the idea that immigrants come with the express purpose of having children here. Even when immigrants have a baby in the U.S., citizens cannot petition for a green card for a foreign parent until they turn 21, with or without the help of an immigration lawyer. This would leave undocumented parents living in difficult conditions for decades before becoming legal residents through their children.
There are many complicated facets of immigration in the United States, but these myths are not among them. If you are one of the millions working hard to obtain the correct documentation for residence in the United States, speak with the best immigration lawyers at Reeves Immigration Law Group today.