Today the Immigration Policy Center brought together key economic experts to dispel the most stubborn myths surrounding immigrants and the economy. Immigration Impact’s Andrea Nill explains why real immigration reform would benefit all Americans: “Moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform will ensure that all workers are here legally, will punish unscrupulous employers who undercut their honest competitors, and will restore integrity to the labor market. It will lift wages for workers, ensure all workers are paying taxes, and restore fairness to our immigration system.” Sound to good to be true?

“Since the election, we have been stating our belief that President Obama would keep his campaign promise to tackle immigration reform during his first year. But critics and skeptics have argued that addressing immigration reform later this year would be impossible because of the down economy. Again, this conventional wisdom misses the mark. The public voted for change. Two-thirds of voters approve of the aggressive approach being taken by the Obama White House to the myriad of reform challenges facing the country. They want their elected leaders to step up and do their jobs.

The report, The Obama Opportunity on Immigration Enforcement, finds that “the Bush Administration’s priorities for immigration enforcement led to missed opportunities to strengthen immigration enforcement, crackdown on unscrupulous employers, and secure the border. The Administration was distracted by a focus on garden variety immigration law violators rather than unscrupulous employers and dangerous criminals.” On a press call this morning, Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director of America’s Voice, said that the report contained “evidence that the previous Administration got immigration enforcement exactly backwards.

The report concludes that “Labor has left thousands of actual victims of wage theft who sought federal government assistance with nowhere to turn. Unfortunately, far too often the result is unscrupulous employers’ taking advantage of our country’s low-wage workers.” “Under the previous Administration, unscrupulous employers were given a long leash to break laws and undermine workers through lax enforcement,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “The Obama Administration and Congress are taking steps to undo the wrongs of the previous Administration, and place the Department of Labor’s priorities on protecting all workers.