Date Posted April 16, 2020

Debunking Common U.S. Immigration Myths

The Wilson Immigration Department

Few topics are as unfailingly controversial and wrought with misinformation as immigration, so it’s worth taking a look at a few common myths in order to gain a better understanding of something that will be so vital to our nation’s future.


Myth 1: “Immigrants don’t pay taxes and are burdens on the economy.”

Fact 1: Immigrants and children of immigrants founded nearly half of US Fortune 500 companies – creating over $6 trillion in annual revenue in 2018. Despite contributing over $10 billion into Social Security and Medicare every year, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for either program; they’re also not eligible for other federal benefits like SNAP (food stamps), federally funded Medicaid, Section 8 housing, and others. Undocumented immigrants often pay state and federal income taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) issued by the IRS, and every person who shops at a store, regardless of their immigration status, pays the exact same sales tax as everyone else.


Myth 2: “Once someone gets a green card or becomes a US citizen, they can bring over their whole family.”

Fact 2: The concept of “chain migration” is not even close to reality – no one is allowed sponsor their aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces, and nephews for green cards. Congress limits the number of family-based green cards that can be issued annually by what country the new person is from and how closely they are related to the person petitioning. A U.S. citizen may only petition for close family members: spouse, child, parent, and sibling – that’s it. Additionally, no country can receive more than 7% of the green cards issued in a given year, so once that country’s 7% have been issued, everyone else from that country has to wait until at least the next year before they can get theirs. This is what has created “backlogs” that force hundreds of thousands of people to wait months, years, and sometimes decades before they’re allowed to make the US their home. (Specific example for April 2020: if you are the married son and daughter of a US citizen and you are from Mexico, you may go ahead and apply for your green card if your parent submitted the petition for you before May of 1996. If the petition was submitted any time after that, you have to keep waiting.)


Myth 3: “Immigration is easy if you file the right form and follow the law.”

Fact 3: Even trying to enter the United States for a short vacation can be complicated depending upon where you’re from, what you’ve done, and what you’re coming here to do. If you are here with the wrong type of visa, or you stay a bit past when you were supposed to, or you don’t update your address with authorities in time, you could be setting yourself up for being prohibited from re-entering the U.S. for years (if not permanently). The paths to visas that allow people to work here temporarily and to green cards that allow people to be here indefinitely, can be incredibly complex, subject to officer discretion, and different from one day to the next due to policy changes. Even something as simple as leaving a field on a form blank instead of entering “N/A” can cause an entire application package to be rejected. There’s a reason people hire licensed electricians to replace circuit breaker boxes and surgeons to remove brain tumors instead of doing the job themselves; the same applies to immigration visas.


Contact us to learn more. 

For more facts and information about U.S. immigration and how our services can help businesses, individuals, and families, contact the Immigration Department of the Wilson Law Group at 501-424-6644 (501-42-IMMIG) or email

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