Since childhood, every American has heard time and again that we are a nation of immigrants, but hard economic times tend to inflame nativist sentiment. Citizens are quite simply looking for someone to blame. Many of us believe that immigrants are the culprits and that they are swamping our population and ruining our economy by stealing jobs and unfairly drawing welfare benefits. These Americans think immigrants, particularly undocumented ones, are prone to criminal behavior, refuse to assimilate and mostly come to the U.S. to commit crime and collect welfare. But the facts tell a different story. For example, undocumented immigrants are only 3% of the population but they are 5% of the workforce and many pay into our Social Security and Medicare systems from which they will never draw benefits.
At Civics Nation, we believe that our nation’s strength comes from our diversity. Immigrants have historically faced hardships as strangers in a strange land, but they come because they believe they can contribute if only we give them that chance.