Lies vs. Facts:
Pushing Back on Expected False Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric in Forthcoming Senate Debate on Budget Resolution
Washington, D.C. — Immigration reform that will provide pathways to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers, and essential workers has its best chance ever to become law as part of upcoming budget legislation. There is broad, bipartisan support among voters and business leaders for reform. Our economy has 3.1 million unfilled jobs. 72% of American voters support immigration solutions. Not solving this is economically harmful, politically foolish, and morally wrong. Our preference is bipartisan legislation. But in spite of positive conversations with 41 Republican senators, and 47 bipartisan town halls with Republican and Democrat Senators, not a single Republican was willing to co-sponsor incremental, stand-alone dreamer, farmworker or essential worker bills. If reconciliation is moving forward, we support including legalization, because reconciliation is the best and most immediate vehicle for immigration solutions to address critical labor shortage, grow the GDP, and raise the wage floor for American workers.
In that context, anti-immigrant senators are expected to take to the floor with poison pill amendments and false rhetoric as consideration of the budget resolution unfolds in the coming days. From cries of “amnesty” to creating a “rush to the border,” to baseless claims about cost and arguments that immigration measures do not qualify for reconciliation, opposing senators will be peddling misinformation meant to inflame passions, and derail reform. Business, civic, faith, and education leaders in support of legalizing immigrants who make vital contributions to our communities and economy will be armed with the truth and the facts. With that in mind, below is ABIC’s handy guide for what falsehoods we expect to hear and the facts to refute them.
First, ICYMI from ABIC: NC BUSINESS AND FAITH LEADERS TO SEN. TILLIS (R – NC): WHEN WILL YOU START STANDING UP FOR THE NC ECONOMY AND STOP ATTACKING IMMIGRANTS? Instead of working on popular common sense solutions to fix the immigration system and grow the economy, Tillis embarks on destructive path for upcoming budget debate with 163 harmful immigration amendments (and counting) https://abic.us/nc-business-and-faith-leaders-to-sen-tillis-r-nc-when-will-you-start-standing-up-for-the-nc-economy-and-stop-attacking-immigrants/
Lies vs. Facts:
Lie #1: Immigration does not qualify for inclusion in the budget reconciliation bill.
FACT: The rules state reconciliation can be used for measures that impact
First, if paths to legalization and citizenship for Dreamers, farmworkers, TPS permit holders, and essential workers were created, federal, state, and local tax revenues would increase by $31 billion each year as part of an overall U.S. economic growth of $121 billion per year. (Numerous economic studies have echoed the findings here and here.)
Second, immigration has previously been included in reconciliation.
Lie #2: It is amnesty.
FACT: The proposal is for earned legalization and citizenship for specific populations who meet tough requirements based on employment, education, or military service backgrounds. For example:
- Dreamers who arrive in the U.S. before they turn 18 years of age and who have had “continuous presence” in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021 would be eligible under this proposal and be required to maintain a good scholastic record, pass rigorous background checks and biometrics, attend college for 2 years or serve in the military.
- Farmworkers: To qualify for permanent status, must have worked 180 days or more in agriculture over the last two years. The farmworkers would become eligible for green cards and eventually, citizenship, if they stay in agriculture for a minimum of 16 total years, and pass rigorous background checks and biometrics. Proposed legislation would also enact mandatory e-verify for the agricultural industry.
- Like Dreamers, TPS permit holders only become eligible for the proposed legalization and citizenship programs based on their dates of arrival in the U.S. and rigorous background checks. Additional information on the eligibility requirements for the different classifications of immigrants is available here and here.
Lie #3: It will create a rush to the border.
FACT: Again, immigrants covered under this bill, including Dreamers, TPS recipients and farmworkers are already HERE, making critical contributions to our economy and communities. Immigrants paid $458.7 billion in state, local, and federal taxes in 2018.
Lie #4: This is a partisan power grab.
FACT: Immigration reform has strong bipartisan support across the country. An NPR/IPSOS poll in May showed two-thirds of those surveyed supporting a path to citizenship for Dreamers; about 70% in favor of creating the same access to TPS permit holders; and 71% backing the plan for farmworkers and other essential workers. This is why 40 Republican House members voted for legalizing Dreamers, TPS holders, and farmworkers.
Lie #5: Immigrants are taking American jobs.
FACT: Immigrants create jobs and strengthen the economy (as noted above in response to Lie #3.) A November 2020 Forbes headline was straightforward: “Immigrants Create More Jobs Than They Take.”
Lie #6: COVID-19 cases are rising because of immigrants.
FACT: First, immigrants have provided critical services as first responders and essential workers throughout the pandemic. Second, Public health experts told CDC: “Imposing restrictions on migrants based on immigration status is discriminatory and has no scientific basis as a public health measure.” No evidence exists that immigrants are responsible for the rise in COVID-19 cases. Of the 10 counties that are currently experiencing the highest rates of new infections relative to population, eight are more densely White than the United States as a whole and nine are less densely Hispanic.
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The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.