Message Matters

Immigrants: Makers, Not Takers

SUMMARY: Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee began marking up the immigration reform bill with amendments as opponents continue to push a discredited Heritage Foundation report -- which has even been slammed by conservatives for assuming that immigrants on the road to citizenship will always be poor and dependent on government benefits while ignoring their contributions to economic growth. A co-author of the report is also taking heat for his past comments that Hispanic immigrants may never "reach IQ parity with whites." Here's how to bolster the economic-based pushback with values-based language.

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Saying that immigrants can only be dependent takers is an insult to the American Dream.

Connect: We need leaders fighting to make the American Dream possible for more Americans, not undermining it.

Define: Saying that immigrants can only be dependent freeloaders who will always take more than they contribute is insulting the American Dream.

Discredit: The Heritage Foundation report on immigrants assumes that aspiring citizens who start in poverty will always end in poverty and have children who stay in poverty -- no matter the opportunities to work hard and get ahead in America.

Debunk: Even conservative leaders agree that giving immigrants a real chance at earned citizenship is a net boost to our economy as they move into jobs paid on the books, start their own businesses, and pay taxes -- boosting American workers' incomes along the way.

Reaffirm: Creating a real road to citizenship instead of creating a second class of people does more than just reflect our values as Americans. It will pay off for the rest of us and the economy.


For more Attacks & Responses, click here.

ATTACK: "Citizenship for undocumented immigrants will be a net burden on Social Security."

ATTACK: "Loading up immigration reform with LGBT issues will derail it."


 We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.

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