C.I.A. Confidential

Immigration Misinformation

The debate over immigration policy has been marked by inaccurate reporting in an astonishing number of instances. Errors and material omissions by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the Census Bureau, and the Department of Education are only the beginning of misinformation about immigration. News releases and publications by experts, including some associated with the federal government, add to the confusion about the population explosion most Americans observe in their communities.

The mistakes are systematic. All direct the reader (listener, viewer) to believe that the U.S. population is not growing unusually fast compared to that of other industrialized countries, that immigration is a negligible source of this growth, and that immigration is not contributing to many of the nation's social problems.

For example, the H1-B and refugee debates are being revisited. As of March 2000, congressional subcommittees on immigration had voted out proposals ranging from an additional 45,000 H1-B visas this year to as many as 195,000 additional visas over the next three years.

In 1998, months of congressional debate over increasing the number of H1-B visas to allow additional skilled immigrants to enter the United States culminated in raising the number of visas from 65,000 to 115,000 for two years and then 107,500 in the third year. Additional provisions of the so-called American Competitiveness...

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