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U.S. Immigration Myths and Facts

August 08, 2019
Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan

Immigration Myth #1

Undocumented immigrants never pay taxes.

The truth is that all immigrants—whether documented or undocumented, permanent residents or temporary workers—pay many forms of taxes, such as sales taxes, which are paid when purchasing clothing, groceries, and gasoline, and property taxes, which are paid either directly by undocumented homeowners or indirectly through their landlord. Additionally, even if an individual is working under a false identity, it is very likely that his or her employer withholds taxes from that individual’s paycheck each pay period. Lastly, the IRS provides individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number with an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). This ITIN allows many undocumented immigrants to pay income taxes.

Immigration Myth #2

Immigration hurts U.S. workers and the economy.

There is substantial evidence suggesting that skilled foreign workers bring expertise and innovation that helps grow our economy by expanding industry, which increases employment. Instead of hurting U.S. workers and decreasing wages, studies have shown that increased legal immigration actually increases GDP and personal income of U.S. workers, which translates into increased consumer spending to support additional U.S. jobs.

Additionally, there are currently shortages of U.S. workers with degrees in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). To fill these shortages, many large companies have urged Congress to allow them to hire more foreign employees with desired technology skills to come work in the U.S. This influx of skills is likely to expand our economy so that we are able to compete technologically on a global scale.

Immigration Myth #3

Green Card recipients will end up on welfare.

To obtain a green card based on a familial relationship, an individual generally must have a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident sponsor. This sponsor must show that he or she has the financial ability to support the Green Card applicant via a Form I-864 affidavit of support. Typically, the sponsor will have to include his or her most recent tax returns and, if necessary, additional financial documentation to show that the applying immigrant will not become a public burden. Alternatively, the Green Card applicant must demonstrate that he or she has the capacity to support himself or herself after he or she obtains a green card.

Immigration Myth #4

Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. can wait in line for a green card with all the other immigrants.

Due to the ways that our immigration laws are written, most undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have no way to obtain legal status. This is because an individual must often demonstrate that he or she entered the U.S. with inspection or maintained legal status in the U.S. Therefore, if an individual entered the U.S. without going through a proper border entry or did not maintain a legal status in the U.S., he or she may be ineligible for any type of legal status. Those individuals, therefore, cannot get into a “line” for a green card or for any other type of legal status.

Our knowledgeable team of immigration lawyers in Chicago can help you dispel further myths that may be hindering your application for a Green Card.

At Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C., we have been helping individuals with their immigration needs for over 35 years. Contact Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We are Chicago attorneys who specialize in U.S. immigration law.

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