WHAT IS YOUR Immigration I.Q.?
How much do you know about immigration?
The debate is rife with fiction and fact. Here are five statements about immigration. Can you tell fact from fiction?
1. Migrants come to America because of the lack of economic development in their home countries.
2. Migrants come to America because of rapidly growing populations back home.
3. Migrants move because wages are much better in the U.S. than in their home countries.
4. Migrants come to the U.S. to take advantage of generous public benefits.
5. Most immigrants plan to settle in the U.S.
Mexico is the largest source of immigration to the U.S., so we’ll base our answers on that:
1. Most immigrants do not come from the poorest nations. Mexico is not a poor nation. It has a large and industrialized economy. Per capita income in Mexico was $10,395 in 2008. Life expectancy for Mexicans born now is 76.2 years; for Americans, 78.2
2. Mexico does not have a rapidly growing population. In 2008, the fertility rate in Mexico was 2.37 children per woman. In the U.S., the rate is 2.10 children per woman.
3. Immigrants come to America due to the lack or failure of markets back home—credit, insurance, and so forth. For example, Mexico lacks a mortgage banking industry, so many Mexican immigrants send money back home to build or buy homes.
4. Mexican Immigrants don’t use public services very much, compared with the American population. For example, only 10% send their children to public schools in the U.S. Only 5% get food stamps or welfare.
5. Most Mexican immigrants do not settle permanently in the U.S. For example, 75% stay less than two years.
In short, each of the five statements is fiction.
How did you score? Did the facts surprise you?
Note: These five statements and their answers are based on an article by Douglas S. Massey, a demographer and sociologist of immigration. “Five Myths about Immigration: Common Misconceptions Underlying US Border-Enforcement Policy” (2005). I updated statistics when possible.
Today’s Photo shows an immigrants’ rights rally on May Day a year ago.
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