Who exactly is an immigrant?
An immigrant is a foreign-born person who has been allowed to live permanently in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), according to the United States law. An undocumented immigrant is an individual who illegally resides in the United States without the permission of the American government.
How does an Immigrant obtain permission to reside in the United States?
Normally, there are three ways an immigrant can become a LPR. First, an American citizen can sponsor their foreign-born family member through family-sponsored immigration. Secondly, in the course of employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor a person for a particular job, only when there is a lack of availability of American workers. Lastly, an immigrant can win a visa in the yearly diversity visa lottery.
Myths about Immigrants that lead to Injustice
Currently, there are many myths circulating around the United States about the negative affect immigration can have on our country. For example, a popular myth among American citizens is that immigrants do not want to learn English. Even thought the first generation of immigrants may have a hard time learning a new, complex language, the second and third generations of immigrants can speak English fluently. Also, many Americans allege that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, do not pay taxes. This statement is in fact false because immigrants, including undocumented ones, pay both state and federal taxes. In addition, immigrants contribute to Medicare and provide about seven billion dollars a year to the Social Security Fund, which benefits Americans. Lastly, Americans believe that immigrants have increased the crime rate of the United States. However, recent research has shown that immigrant communities have committed fewer crimes than American citizens. Actually, violent crime decreased by 34% even though the number of undocumented immigrants has doubled.
The Catholic Church’s View on Immigration
The Church is obligated to raise her voice on behalf of the immigrants who have been marginalized, whose God-given human rights are not respected, and whose dignity is not fully able to function as a human being. Also, the Church believes that today’s immigration policies not only demoralize the immigrants’ human dignity, but have separated many families. The Church strives to create an immigration system that serves for the common good, for both the immigrants and the United States.
"Facts and Figures." Justice for Immigrants. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 22 Aug. 2005. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. Print.