{6:54 minutes to read} In the current political environment, candidates, the media, and the pundits have thrown around a lot of myths regarding immigration and the negative impact the influx of foreign nationals may have on the U.S.  Here are 5 of the principle myths and the facts that disprove them.

Myth 1: The deportation of all undocumented immigrants is a viable solution to our immigration problem. There are a number of reasons why this statement is a myth:

A. Economically speaking, the deportation of up to 15 million people would cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars.

— Cost estimates are up to a quarter of a trillion dollars and it could take 5 years or more to actually enact and carry out the deportation of all undocumented immigrants.

— There is no viable plan in place to stop the flow of additional undocumented foreign nationals coming into the U.S. while these deportations are being processed, so the problem is not solved.

— There is no mechanism for assuring that the people who are deported won’t re-enter again without inspection.

B. There is no mechanism to absorb or counteract the impact to the economy.

There are a lot of industries that depend on this invisible class of undocumented workers to supply intensive labor and to help them generate revenue:

— Agricultural industry;

—  Hospitality industry (restaurants, hotels);

— Domestic work;

— Construction; and

— Food service.

C. Without undocumented workers, companies would have to outsource those jobs, pay higher salaries, and the unemployment rate would go up, probably leading to a rise in inflation.  

Before people are deported on a wide scale, there would have to be an economic plan, to prevent the economy from being negatively impacted by this vast loss of workers and to recoup the $250 bilion in costs generated by putting all these people through the deportation process.

Myth 2: Immigrant-owned businesses take market share from American-owned businesses.

While many people believe this myth, the truth is that in terms of percentage of businesses versus the population, there is a higher percentage of immigrant entrepreneurs launching start-up businesses than those set up by American citizens. Those businesses are actually creating more work opportunities and employing American citizens by introducing:

— New products;

— Different kinds of services;

— Improved services; and in some cases,

— Lower cost services.

Overall, American owned businesses are not being negatively impacted because of immigrant-owned businesses. Instead, they are being bolstered by them, as those businesses drive competition and drive down prices to consumers, while simultaneously creating millions of jobs.

Myth 3: Illegal aliens take jobs from American citizens.

Most undocumented foreigners occupy jobs that are not even on the grid. They comprise the bulk of an invisible labor class which is prevalent in many industries, working at jobs that are not registered or jobs that most people won’t take. These workers are either getting underpaid or paid at minimum wage, and often times off the books, for employers who do not want to pay taxes.

Illegal aliens are taking some of the most difficult jobs like harvesting fruits and other agricultural products, or working in the back of restaurants and hotels. Most Americans will not take these jobs because they cannot stay above the poverty line working in these positions, and do not want to work off the books with no insurance or basic protections.

Myth 4: Foreign companies which launch subsidiaries in the U.S. only benefit the foreign entities.

A lot of foreign companies launch subsidiaries in the U.S. and sometimes transfer personnel to oversee the growth of these entities. For the most part, however, the visas that are given to those individuals are based on projected revenue generation and job creation in the U.S. The U.S. government determines whether to issue visas based on how many U.S. jobs will be created, so the benefit is really more on the U.S. side. Usually these positions are managerial and executive, while the rest of the work teams created are comprised of U.S. citizens.

Not only do we benefit from the job created by these companies, but there is also an economic boost because generation of revenue leads to payment of more U.S. taxes.

Myth 5: Foreign university graduates take jobs from Americans because they can be paid less.

Any foreign graduate, especially under the H-1B program, that is hired by a U.S. company is required to be paid what’s called the prevailing wage. The employer must make an attestation to the Department of Labor that they will pay x amount, calculated using the minimum wage for that job position and the experience level of the applicant.  Therefore, by law, companies are not allowed to pay foreign individuals less than they are paying American individuals for the same positions. As a merit-based system, foreign university graduates are earning those positions and are not being selected over Americans because they can be paid less.

Secondly, the annual H-1B cap is so low that the few university graduates who are able to get that visa, are occupying positions that can’t be filled by American university graduates because there are not enough American graduates with the educational requirements to work in high demand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) positions. Therefore, this myth is just that, a myth.