Quiz on Immigration
Write “True” or “False” on the line next to each statement below:
1)______There are over 30 million immigrants in the United States, the highest number in its history.
2)______One in five children in the U.S. is the native-or foreign-born child of an immigrant.
3)______Educators and other school personnel do not have to report undocumented students and their families.
4)______ Immigrants from the following 10 countries constitute 50% of documented people coming to the U.S.: Mexico, India, Philippines, China, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Colombia, Guatemala, and Russia.
5)______Six states (New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, and Texas) have been the major destinations for immigrants.
6)______Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Nevada, and Mississippi are among several other states that are seeing growth in the immigrant population.
7)______The United States takes in only 1% of the world’s immigrants.
8)______ Immigrants are three times as likely as U.S.-born residents to start small businesses and small businesses account for up to 80% of new jobs in the U.S.
9)______Immigrants contribute more than $400 billion to the U.S. economy every year.
10)______Undocumented immigrants pay more than $300 million in federal taxes.
11)______Documented and undocumented immigrants are entitled to constitutional rights under the law.
12)______Immigrant families use benefits at lower rates than citizen families.
13)______Immigrants fill labor shortages in essential segments of the society.
14)______The proportion of immigrants with bachelor’s or postgraduate degrees is higher than the proportion of the native labor force.
True/False Quiz on Immigration: Answers and References
Note: All statements are True.
1) There are over 30 million immigrants in the United States, the highest number in its history. Immigrant numbers are at a peak, yet immigrants as a percentage of the U.S. population are not. The number of immigrants is larger than ever before in U.S. history — and the whole population is also much bigger than it used to be. The percentage of immigrants was highest around the turn of the 20th century. During the peak immigration period from 1870 to 1920, nearly 15% of the U.S. population was foreign-born; today that figure is around 12% (Immigration Policy Institute, 2004; Simon, 1995).
2) One in five children in the U.S. is the native- or foreign-born child of an immigrant. One in five children enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) has at least one parent born outside the United States. The “children of immigrants” population (the second-generation) has increased rapidly, tripling from 6% in 1970 to 19% in 2000. By the year 2010, children of immigrants will represent 25% of the K-12 student population. Between 1970 and 2000, the number of children in K-12 who speak Spanish at home doubled from 3.5 to 7 million, while the number of children speaking the numerous Asian languages tripled from 0.5 to 1.5 million (Capps & Passell, 2004).
3) Educators and school-personnel do not have to report undocumented students and their families. School officials have no duty to report people even if they know they are undocumented. It is the job of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office to investigate and find immigrants who are here illegally. Schools cannot report children unless they are required to by subpoena or have parental permission (Plyler v. Doe , 457 U.S. 202 .
4) Immigrants from the following 10 countries constitute 50% of documented people coming to the United States: Mexico, India, Philippines, China, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Colombia, Guatemala, and Russia. Over half of all new legal immigrants arrived from just 10 countries. The 10 countries of origin were Mexico (116,000), India (50,000), the Philippines (45,000), China (41,000), El Salvador (28,000), the Dominican Republic (26,000), Vietnam (22,000), Colombia (15,000), Guatemala (14,000), and Russia (14,000). The last three countries were newcomers to the top 10 list in 2003, while Cuba, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Ukraine fell out of the top 10 (Immigration Policy Institute, 2004).
5) Six states (New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, and Texas) have been the major destinations for immigrants. Six states remain key destinations for many new legal immigrants. Sixty three percent of immigrants live in six states — California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois. There was a slight decline in the percentage of immigrants heading to California, Texas, and Florida, with increases for other states (Capps & Passell, 2004).
6) Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Nevada and Mississippi are seeing growth in the immigrant population in their state. Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Nevada and Mississippi are among the several other states that are seeing growth in the immigrant population. New growth states are defined as those where the immigrant population grew faster than in Texas during the 1990s (At 91 percent, Texas was the fastest growing of the six major destination states). Despite rapid growth, many of these states still have relatively small, total immigrant populations. Unlike the major destination states, the immigrant population in the new growth states is disproportionately made up of recent arrivals—almost 60 percent arrived in the 1990s, most since 1995 (Capps & Passell, 2004).
7) The United States takes in only 1% of the world’s immigrants. While the United States numerically has the largest immigrant population of any country in the world, it is not even among the top 10 countries when immigrant population is counted as a percentage of total population. The U.S. takes in fewer than 1% of the world’s immigrants each year. North America and Western Europe combined take in 55% of the world’s immigrants and fewer than one third of the world’s refugees. In 2000, the United States had an immigrant population of about 35 million, or about 12% of the country’s total population. The top 10 countries range from 25% to 74% composed of immigrants (Capps & Passell, 2004).
8) Immigrants are three times as likely as U.S.-born residents to start small businesses, and small businesses account for up to 80% of new jobs in the U.S. Immigrants have to prove they can provide for themselves before entering the country, and statistics show they are more likely than U.S.-born citizens to be employed, to save, and to start businesses. Immigrants do not cause native unemployment, even among low-paid or minority groups. Many studies, using different methodologies show there is no empirical data to support the idea that immigrants are taking jobs from native-born Americans (Hate-free Zone).
9) Immigrants contribute more than $400 billion to the U.S. economy every year.
See answer for 10.
10) Undocumented migrants contribute significantly to the U.S. economy. While undocumented immigrants pay more than $300 million in federal taxes, they rarely receive refunds because many are afraid to file. Documented immigrants account for nearly 15% of the total civilian work force. Additionally, the total net benefit to the Social Security system, if immigration levels remain the same, will be nearly $500 billion for the 1998–2022 period. Most studies have shown that immigrants pay at least $28 million more in taxes than they receive in services. Over their lifetimes, an average immigrant and his or her children are estimated to pay about $80,000 more in taxes than they receive in services (Hate-free Zone; Justice for Immigrants websites – see below).
11) Documented and undocumented immigrants are entitled to constitutional rights under the law. The Supreme Court has ruled that everyone in the United States regardless of immigration status—is entitled to the fundamental constitutional rights. However, these principles are not always upheld by the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. For example, if an undocumented immigrant is facing deportation, he/she is entitled to constitutional rights such as a hearing before a judge with federal review, representation by a lawyer (although the government
may not pay for one), the opportunity to examine the evidence against them and language interpretation, among other things (Simon, 1995.)
12) Immigrant families use benefits at lower rates than citizen families. Since the 1970s when immigration was finally opened up to all parts of the world with the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, immigrants have contributed more to the public coffers in taxes than they have withdrawn in welfare services. Low-income immigrant families with children have lower use rates for Temporary Assistance as compared to low income citizen families with children (8.7% versus 11.6% ). It is a myth that most want to come to the U.S. because of our public assistance. In reality, welfare does not drive migration patterns. Between 1995 and 2000, the number of immigrant families with children grew four times faster in states with the least generous “safety nets” for immigrants (such as Arkansas and Texas) than it did in states with more generous safety nets (such as California and Massachusetts). The most recent available data (for 1995) show that each year, an average immigrant family put about $2,500 (1995 dollars) into the pockets of natives from this excess of taxes over public costs (Simon, 1995).
13) Immigrants fill labor shortages in essential segments of the economy, rather than taking jobs away from Americans. Foreign-born workers tend to complement the needs of the native-born workforce, filling niches at both the high and low ends of the labor market. At the high end, certain industries recruit foreign workers who have qualifications that are in low supply in the American economy, such as highly developed skills and training in the technology field. At the low end of the spectrum, immigrants do essential work in jobs that are undesirable to the native-born for reasons of low wages and demanding working conditions. Immigrant workers are especially highly represented
in the fields of private household services and farming, forestry, and fishing. Workers in these two occupational groups are the least well paid of all major groups tracked in the U.S. census, and since 1994, the native-born population attracted to such low-skill jobs has declined from 9 million to 7.6 million.
14) The proportion of immigrants with bachelor’s or postgraduate degrees is higher than the proportion of the native labor force. Immigrants also have increased rapidly as a proportion of the pool of U.S. scientists and engineers. Scientific professionals are especially valuable for promoting the increased productivity and growth of the economy (PBS, (n.d.) Simon, 1995).
Capps, R., & Passell, J. (2004). Describing immigrant communities. Foundation
of Child Development and Urban Institute: Washington DC: Foundation of Child Development and Urban Institute.
Simon, J. (1995). Immigration: The demographic and economic facts. http://www.cato.
Immigration Policy Institute. (2004). Immigration facts. October 2004, no.9 www.
PBS. (n.d.). The City - La Ciudad, myths and realities http://www.pbs.org/itvs/thecity/
Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
Hate-free Zone. (n.d.) http://www.hatefreezone.org/index.asp?name=immigrationmyths
Justice for Immigrants. (2005). http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/myths.html
© Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2007