The myth that immigrants are leeching off the nation's welfare system stems in part from focus on undocumented — and by extension, uneducated — immigrants. But a recent report from the Pew Research Center shows that recent foreign-born arrivals to the U.S. are much more different than those before them.
According to the Pew study, it's likelier that these recent immigrants are college educated — more than those born in the U.S (41 percent to 30 percent, respectively). But while more of them graduate college, it's also likelier that less of them graduate from high school — only 77 percent of immigrants finished high school, compared to 90 percent of U.S.-born citizens.
The center used census data for immigrants over 25 years of age who have arrived during the past half-decade, and does not distinguish between documented and undocumented immigrants.
Part of this change is the origin of recent immigrants and the overall rise in education level of those who move. "Immigrants to the U.S. in recent years are better educated than earlier immigrants," the report read, "both because of overall changes in region of origin and the fact that immigrants from every major region are better educated than their counterparts were in 1970."
As anti-immigration rhetoric grows — particularly in the upcoming presidential election, where immigration is a huge topic — it's critical to understand that immigrants in the U.S. are a multifaceted group, one that much of this society's foundation was built upon.
Cover image via iStock/rrodrickbeiler