Voters Are Concerned About Immigration: A Look At Myths And Realities

Aiexpress – When Iowa voters were asked to identify the main issue that influenced their decision as they left the polls, a significant majority of Trump supporters, 64% to be precise, cited immigration as the key factor driving their vote.

According to a Gallop poll, there has been a notable rise in Americans expressing dissatisfaction with the immigration status quo, with 58% of respondents expressing dissatisfaction. Similarly, a Ispos poll found that nearly 50% of respondents agreed that there is an invasion at the border. These findings reflect a trend in American politics towards increased concern about immigration.

The findings of the Gallop poll reveal that a significant portion of the electorate, spanning across party lines, holds concerns regarding immigration policies and their implications. Notably, among Republicans, the level of dissatisfaction has reached a new high, with 69% of them favoring a decrease in immigration levels.

Trump Using Fear to Motivate his Base

The rising numbers of immigrants have fueled fears, and Trump has been capitalizing on these fears to garner support for his 2024 campaign. He frequently invokes the fear of immigrants to rally his base, often making claims such as:

“They’re destroying the blood of our country. That’s what they’re doing. They’re destroying our country,” “They let — I think the real number is 15-16 million people into our country.

Study Shows Voters Afraid of Immigration

According to a study conducted in 2018, it was found that 41.7% of the U.S. population expressed fear towards immigration. The study provided valuable insights into this sentiment.

    • Immigrants and Crime: 45% of extremely conservative and 40.4% of conservative respondents believe immigrants are more likely to commit crime than U.S. citizens.
    • Economic Impact: A high percentage, 80.3% of extremely conservative and 63.8% of conservative respondents, view immigrants as a drain on the economy.
    • Health Concerns: 65% of extremely conservative and 48.3% of conservative respondents believe immigrants bring diseases into the U.S.

In a 2018 article, the concerns surrounding immigration were examined, with local and national perspectives being highlighted. Various voices contributed to the immigration debate, shedding light on the underlying issues.

Immigration strikes at the very heart of a central metathesiophobia, or fear of change.

“It is time to admit an uncomfortable truth. Economic concerns do not drive fear of immigration. The changing face of America’s demographics drive that fear.” Ana Rodriguez
Director of the SMU Cox Latino Leadership Initiative

Moving Past the Fear

Looking beyond the rhetoric and delving into the facts surrounding illegal immigration and its impact on our country is crucial. By countering myths with concrete evidence, we not only correct false narratives but also alleviate the fears stemming from these misconceptions.

A recent study looked at three immigration myths and the validity of each:

Myth #1: Undocumented Immigrants Skew Election Results

The myth that undocumented immigrants have a significant impact on U.S. election outcomes, often through illegal voting, has been debunked by extensive research and data.

    • Legal Restrictions: Under U.S. federal law, specifically the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, noncitizens are prohibited from voting in federal elections. This includes undocumented immigrants, temporary visa holders, and green card holders.
    • Impact on Election Results: Claims that non-citizen voting has swayed election results lack credible evidence. Investigations into voter fraud, such as those following the 2020 U.S. presidential election, have not found substantial proof to support these allegations.

There is little evidence to support the claim of non-citizen voting in U.S. elections. Various studies have consistently shown that such incidents are extremely rare. In fact, a report by the Brennan Center for Justice revealed that non-citizens voting accounted for only a small fraction of the total votes cast.

    • Brennan Center for Justice (2017 Study): Examined 42 jurisdictions in the 2016 election. Out of 23.5 million votes, only around 30 cases of potential noncitizen voting were identified for further investigation or prosecution.
    • Georgia Voter Roll Audit: Recent audit found fewer than 2,000 attempts by noncitizens to register to vote over the past 25 years, with no successful registrations. This is in contrast to the millions of new voters registered in Georgia during the same period.

Myth #2: Immigrants Rely on American Taxes for Welfare

Contrary to popular belief, there is a myth that suggests immigrants are an overwhelming burden on the U.S. welfare system, heavily relying on public assistance provided by American taxpayers. However, research has shown a different perspective on this matter.

    1. Welfare Usage: According to a study by the Cato Institute, immigrants use less welfare compared to native-born Americans. This is partly because many welfare programs have eligibility criteria that exclude undocumented immigrants and even lawful immigrants during their initial years in the U.S.
    2. Economic Contribution: Immigrants, including undocumented ones, contribute to the U.S. economy through taxes. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reported that undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes annually. These contributions include sales, property, and income taxes.
    3. Demographic Factors: Immigrants are generally younger and healthier, which means they are less likely to need welfare support designed primarily for the elderly or those with significant health issues.

Myth #3: Immigrants are a Major Source of Crime in America

The myth that immigrants, particularly those without documentation, contribute significantly to crime rates in the U.S. has been thoroughly debunked by numerous studies.

    1. Crime Rates Among Immigrants: Research indicates that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens. A study focusing on Texas, conducted by the Cato Institute, found that the criminal conviction and arrest rates for immigrants were well below those of native-born Americans.
    2. Impact on Community Safety: Contrary to the belief that immigrants bring crime, some research suggests that increased immigration can correlate with lower crime rates. Neighborhoods with large immigrant populations often exhibit lower crime rates compared to others.
    3. Nature of Crimes: The types of crimes associated with immigrants are often less severe than those typically committed by native-born citizens. The narrative of immigrants as predominantly involved in violent or drug-related crimes is not supported by empirical data.

To effectively address and debunk misconceptions, it is crucial to delve into the underlying causes of fear and prejudice that give rise to such beliefs. By countering these misconceptions with calm and factual information, we can gradually diminish their influence. Moving forward, it is imperative to engage in informed debates based on accurate and reliable facts.

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