Immigration Myths and Facts

MYTH: Immigrants—particularly Latino immigrants—don’t want to learn English. 
FACT: Immigrants, including Latino immigrants, believe they need to learn English in order to 
succeed in the United States, and the majority uses at least some English at work. 

MYTH: Immigrants don’t want to become citizens. 
FACT: Many immigrants to the United States seek citizenship, even in the face of difficult 
requirements and huge backlogs that can delay the process for years. 

MYTH: Immigrants don’t pay taxes. 
FACT: Almost all immigrants pay income taxes even though they can’t benefit from most federal 
and state local assistance programs and all immigrants pay sales and property taxes. 

MYTH: Immigrants send all their money back to their home countries instead of spending money     
FACT: Immigrants do send money to family members, making it possible for more people to stay 
in their home countries rather than migrating to the United States. Importantly, sending 
remittances home does not keep immigrants from spending money in the United States.

MYTH: Immigrants bring crime to our cities and towns. 
FACT: Immigrants are actually far less likely to commit crimes than their native-born 
counterparts. Even as the undocumented population has increased in the United States, crime 
rates have decreased significantly. 

MYTH: Most immigrants are undocumented and have crossed the border illegally. 
FACT: Two thirds of immigrants are here lawfully—either as naturalized citizens or in some other 
lawful status. Moreover, almost half of all undocumented immigrants entered the United States 

MYTH: Weak border enforcement has led to high rates of undocumented immigration. We 
should increase enforcement and build a wall around our border. 
FACT: Increased border security and the construction of border fences have done little to curb 
the flow of immigrants across the United States border. Instead, these policies have only 
succeeded in pushing border crossers into dangerous and less-patrolled regions, and increased 
the undocumented population by creating an incentive for immigrants not to leave.