Frequently Ignored Facts about Immigration

2 11 2007

A recent Drum Major Institute report on immigration entitled “Principles for an Immigration Policy to Strengthen and Expand the American Middle Class: 2007 Edition,” contains a number of frequently unreported and unappreciated facts mainstream media regularly neglects to mention in their stories.

Here is DMI on the inadequacy of the the border enforcement only approach.

Enforcement at the borders does not address the fact that 45 percent of all undocumented immigrants currently here entered legally, through our ports of entry, and then subsequently overstayed their visas.

On contributions to American economic growth

In addition to their role as consumers, immigrants stimulate the economy by starting small businesses and by attracting investment capital from their countries of origin. Immigrants make up just over one in ten self-employed businesspeople in the United States, and some immigrant groups are significantly more likely to start small businesses than are U.S. natives. While aggregate data on the investment capital marshaled by immigrants is difficult to come by, individual examples abound. Asian immigrants in Silicon Valley leveraged millions of dollars in high technology capital from Taiwan and Japan in the late 1990s. Latin American immigrants in South Florida have helped to make the area a leader in attracting foreign direct investment, particularly international banking.

Immigrant contributions to social security.

Nationally, the Social Security Administration estimates that about three-quarters of undocumented immigrants are paying payroll taxes. Meanwhile, the I.R.S. estimates that individuals who are not eligible for Social Security numbers paid nearly $50 billion in federal taxes between 1996 and 2003.

Immigrant taxes support the schools and public universities that educate middle-class children, the unemployment benefits that help struggling American workers to get back on their feet and the Medicaid payments that help the poor stay healthy as they strive to work their way into the middle class. But nowhere is the tax contribution of immigrants more striking than in terms of Social Security. The U.S. Social Security Administration estimates that undocumented immigrants contribute $6-7 billion in Social Security funds each year that most will never claim.




One response

5 11 2007

Thanks for writing about the report! I’m glad you thought it was helpful 🙂

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