Immigrants are a drain on the American economy, they say. We seek America for benefits. We are takers and give nothing back. That is what the anti-immigrants say. That is what the anti-immigrants want you to believe. Never mind that immigrants have made America great for generations. Immigrants have have proven this repeatedly, but today with the rhetoric coming from the top down, anti-immigrants refuse to believe so. But the facts remain although the same discourse is often repeated.

The Washington Times ran a very telling article on May 17.

As it turns out the The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is desperate for money. They are so desperate that they are seeking $1.2 billion from Congress to make their payroll. Why would the INS need a bailout?

Two factors have the INS against the wall, one is the pandemic and the other reason is that due to Trump administration’s war on immigrants it has resulted in less immigrants coming to America. USCIS needs immigrants to make payroll. Why? Because immigrants pay fees to immigrate to America. Yes, even the asylum seekers. These fees pay Americans working at USCIS.

According to the newspaper article, the agency needs the $1.2 billion from Congress or it will be forced to layoff its workforce of federal employees in a few months. As if the unemployment rate nearing 20% is not bad enough, adding another 18,866 federal workers to the unemployment lines will just make things worse.

Some anti-immigrant readers are likely thinking, good, we do not need more immigrants so we don’t need our tax dollars paying for an agency welcoming them into America.

The problem with that idea is that the immigration agency budget is funded by the immigrants themselves. According to the Washington Times, 97% of the agency’s budget derives by the fees paid by the immigrants.

In other words, the nearly 19,000 federal workers are now facing layoffs unless Congress allocates tax dollars to keep them on the job. It did not have to be this way because it was actually the immigrants that were paying them to work. Now, the tax dollars that anti-immigrants wrongly thought were being wasted on immigrants themselves are not there and Americans must also bail the USCIS now, funny right. We must help support the agency that is no longer supporting itself.

So, tell me again how immigrants, like me and many others, a drain on the American system?

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...