Lawyers__Association_Exposes_Immigration_Myths

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					Lawyers' Association Exposes Immigration Myths

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355

Summary:
America is a country of immigrants; yet today, the subject of immigration
is quite controversial. The issue divides communities and politicians
alike due to the many misconceptions that abound surrounding this matter.


Keywords:
Lawyers' Association Exposes Immigration Myths


Article Body:
America is a country of immigrants; yet today, the subject of immigration
is quite controversial. The issue divides communities and politicians
alike due to the many misconceptions that abound surrounding this matter.

The United States currently houses a larger population of undocumented
migrants than at any point in its history. In the 1990s, more than 9
million legal immigrants were admitted to the U.S. In 2005, 11 million
foreign-born individuals were living in the country in an undocumented
status.

According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, these migrants
are typically alienated from the rest of American society, economically
vulnerable, and fearful of contact with social institutions that provide
health care and education.

"America's immigration system is broken and needs to be reformed so that
immigration is legal, safe, orderly and reflective of the needs of
American families, businesses and national security," said Deborah
Notkin, president of AILA.

While the large numbers of immigrants have led some to conclude that the
country has lost control of its borders, officials at AILA say that the
true causes and dynamics of immigration cannot be so easily
compartmentalized.

Developing effective immigration policies requires overcoming the
prevalent myths about immigration, she said.

One misperception, Notkin said, is that migration occurs because there is
a lack of economic development in migrants' home countries. In actuality,
international migrants do not originate in the world's poorest nations,
but in those that are developing and growing dynamically. Mexico, for
example, the largest single source of U.S. immigrants, is not a poor
nation by global standards. It has an industrialized, $1 trillion economy
and a per capita income of almost $9,000.
Another myth is that migrants are attracted to the United States by
generous public benefits. In reality, immigrants are less likely than
natives to use public services, and 5 percent or less report using food
stamps or welfare.

There also is the misunderstanding that most immigrants intend to settle
permanently in the United States, Notkin said.

Mexico-U.S migration has been historically circular, with 80 percent of
Mexican immigrants reporting that they made no more than three trips to
the United States and three-quarters staying less than two years.

				
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