Introduction 9 and freedom. More recently, between September 11, 2001 and 2013, a total of 285 immigrants died defending our nation’s interests. It is clear that immi- grants protect American lives with their own. More than 30,000 noncitizens serve in the U.S. military today, with about 8,000 enlistments each year. In return for their service, the United States places green-card holders and undocumented immigrants on the fast track to U.S. citizenship. Immigrant service members range from high-ranking generals and Medal of Honor win- ners to soldiers in overseas combat. In certain geographical areas, immigrants also protect our communities. A 2007 report indicated that immigrants made up one-third of the New York State Police detective force. In general, however, immigrants play a much smaller role in local policing as a result of the limitations that arcane and complicated local and state regulations place on immigrant recruitment. Contributing to America in Extraordinary Ways Highly skilled immigrants who contribute to the creative and artistic force of our nation occupy a special place in our economy and society. These immigrants are the famous sports figures, actors, singers, dancers, comedi- ans, authors, artists, and architects who make our lives richer and more enjoyable. This category also includes award-winning journalists, leaders in foreign policy, naturalists and conservationists, and world-renowned chefs. Our visa system has established a special category for such gifted persons. Americans benefit greatly from the contributions of these extraordinary immigrants because they elevate our entertainment, political, and intellec- tual lives to new heights. Why Such Concern over Immigrants and Immigration? Why then, when immigrants contribute to such an extent to our economy, is there such anxiety about the immigrant? Why, as recently as 2019, did 23 percent of the people in the United States consider immigration the most important problem, and why do negative and false myths about immigrants persist? Myth 1: Immigrants are a drain on the U.S. economy. Possibly the most persistent and unfounded immigration myth is that immigrants are a drain on the U.S. economy. Yet, immigrants generate reve- nue through their spending power as well as by paying taxes and creating new jobs. Immigrants earned $1.3 trillion in 2014, or 14 percent of total national earnings. In California, the largest state economy, immigrants accounted for 29 percent of spending. The taxes collected from immigrants, documented and undocumented, accounted for $123.7 billion in contribu- tions to the Social Security Trust in 2014. Similarly, between 1996 and 2011,
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