Opening shot

Separating fact from fiction in the immigration debate

The immigration debate is riven by strong emotion and partisan ideology that can obscure the relevant facts. Do undocumented immigrants take jobs from US citizens, or do they mostly take positions Americans don’t want? Is there actually a deficit of so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) workers in the US, or do companies just prefer immigrant workers because they can pay them less? Would a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US really encourage more illegal immigration? There have been record numbers of border-patrol officers and deportations in recent years. Has the aggressive, enforcement-based approach to US immigration policy damaged trust in the immigrant community, making comprehensive reform less likely? As the issues unfold in the coming months, both sides will make various claims about these and other important questions in an effort to influence policy. Let’s all try to tease apart fact from fiction, rational argument from self-serving cant, in the hopes of liberty and justice for all.

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.