Did you ever find yourself staring at a group of people standing on a street corner? They may get into a van or a pick-up truck, or they stand there and wait. You might know that they are there waiting for work, or you might wonder why they are there at all? Either way, you get annoyed, you guess that they are undocumented, and you think, “Why don’t they just go home!”

A survey released earlier this year found that Americans over-estimate the immigrant population and this mistake leads to biased opinions. When informed with accurate figures, some people relax their frustration. Although there has been a tremendous increase in immigration numbers, less than 1/3 of them are here illegally. The mistake people make is assuming that what they see overrides the true numbers.

Many Americans believe that undocumented immigrants don’t pay social security or taxes and get state or federal benefits unavailable to many Americans. State and federal benefits use income guidelines more than other facts, so considering the low income of certain and undocumented laborers, it stands to reason that they would get benefits based on their low income, documented or not.

On the other side of this coin there are facts that show the benefit of legal status onour economy. Studies have been released proving that jobs have NOT been taken away from U.S. born workers. Undocumented immigrants haven’t contributed to unemployment figures. In fact, one survey showed that some counties with the lowest unemployment rates accounted for a higher number of immigrants – large number of immigrants and low unemployment – go figure.

So where are the benefits? Imagine a documented immigrant with a wife and 3 children. One child is college age and the younger ones attend middle and high school. The opportunity to attend college, graduate from a 4-year school, and get a job that pays much more than what a laborer earns will add to the economic growth of the family, the state, and our country. A documented resident can borrow money from a bank to send his child to college. He can also borrow money for a bank to mortgage a house. In this economy of foreclosure and short sales, that will be an added bonus in both real estate and banking. These documented individuals will get credit card offers, use the credit cards, and increase the cycle of money – college, house, cars, vacations – expenses incurred in the U.S. with U.S dollars, paying taxes and interest on loans.

Isn’t that the American way?

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