LatinaLista — As the presidential debate deepens, or gets more desperate, it won’t be surprising to hear more and more candidates who are scared of the immigration issue spouting off just plain WRONG information.
What’s sad is that they and their staff are relying on sources whose only intent is not to present the facts but drive public opinion against any facet of humanely resolving the plight of undocumented immigrants.
Whenever studies are released actually supporting the true facts, these same sources are quick to pounce on it and tear it apart like African lions devouring a kill. They accuse the study’s authors of being biased or twisting the statistics in their favor.
So, it’s more than gratifying when two different entities on two different coasts of the nation, independently release studies that say the same thing: “Undocumented immigrants are not a burden on society.”
This week in California, the University of California’s School of Public Health released a report that found undocumented Latino immigrants do not cause a drag on the U.S. healthcare system as they are always being accused.
In fact, the vast majority of undocumented immigrants don’t even have a regular doctor or healthcare provider and only visit the ER as a last resort.
“Low rates of use of health-care services by Mexican immigrants and similar trends among other Latinos do not support public concern about immigrants’ overuse of the health care system,” the researchers wrote.
“Undocumented individuals demonstrate less use of health care than U.S.-born citizens and have more negative experiences with the health care that they have received,” they said.
per capita health care expenditures were 55 percent lower for immigrants than for natives in 1998. On average, immigrants received about $1,139 in health care, compared with $2,546 for native-born residents. Although all immigrants are eligible for emergency medical services, they had lower expenditures for emergency room visits, doctor’s office visits, outpatient hospital visits, inpatient hospital visits, and prescription drugs.
But the IPC study doesn’t stop there.
It also addresses the accusations by defamation critics who say undocumented immigrants overuse government services, increase the poverty rate and don’t pay taxes. The IPC authors are puzzled at where the defamation critics are getting their “supposed” information.
Immigration increases the U.S. Gross Domestic Product by approximately $37 billion each year. And national and state studies find that immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in government services. As for undocumented immigrants, it is a myth that they do not pay taxes. Up to 75% of them pay federal and state income and payroll taxes and all immigrants (legal and undocumented) pay sales taxes and property taxes.
while the poverty rate for U.S.-born citizens increased slightly, it fell slightly for immigrants. And, as immigrants integrate into U.S. society, they work their way out of poverty. For example, the children and grandchildren of Hispanic immigrants have made great strides in closing the economic gap with native-born whites by getting an education, getting better jobs, and earning higher incomes than their parents and grandparents. As a case study, homeownership reflects the economic advancement of the immigrant population, and, in California, the homeownership rates for Latino immigrants rose from 16.4 percent among those who arrived in the U.S. in the last 10 years to 64.6 percent among those who have lived here for 30 years or more.
Some immigration critics exaggerate immigrants’ welfare use by measuring the welfare costs of “immigrant households.” These studies include welfare benefits paid to U.S.-citizen children as “immigrant welfare costs” if any member of the child’s household is an immigrant. But, in fact, most legal immigrants are not eligible for publicly financed benefits and undocumented immigrants are not eligible for any public benefits. In addition, the participation rates of non-citizens in some federal benefits programs have been declining.
Putting this study out there is like dangling fresh meat in front of those same hungry lions who can’t digest what the truth is.
Luckily, there’s a whole herd ready to deliver the same message until either the lions give up or wake up — their choice.