21 Untruths About Immigrants in America

Immigration is a complex and often misunderstood topic. What are the common misconceptions that need debunking?

1. Immigrants Don’t Pay Taxes

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Do you believe immigrants don’t contribute financially? In reality, both documented and undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes annually, contributing significantly to state and local revenues.

2. Immigrants Take Jobs From Americans

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Think immigrants are stealing jobs? Many immigrants fill roles that are hard to staff, complementing rather than competing with the native workforce, especially in sectors like agriculture and technology.

3. Immigrants Increase Crime Rates

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Are you worried immigrants are more likely to commit crimes? Studies consistently show that immigrants, regardless of legal status, are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

4. Immigrants Drain Public Benefits

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Concerned that immigrants are draining public benefits? Most immigrants are ineligible for welfare, and they often contribute more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

5. Immigrants Don’t Want to Assimilate

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Think immigrants don’t want to assimilate? Many immigrants are eager to learn English and integrate into American culture, with second-generation immigrants often being bilingual and fully assimilated.

6. Immigrants Are a Burden on Healthcare

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Worried immigrants are overburdening healthcare systems? Immigrants, on average, use fewer healthcare services and have lower healthcare costs than native-born citizens.

7. Illegal Immigrants Can Easily Gain Legal Status

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Believe it’s easy for illegal immigrants to become legal? The process for gaining legal status is complex, lengthy, and often unattainable for many undocumented individuals.

8. Immigrants Only Come for Welfare

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Think immigrants come solely for welfare? Many immigrants come seeking better economic opportunities, education, and safety, contributing to the economy through hard work and innovation.

9. Immigrants Hurt the Economy

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Worried immigrants are hurting the economy? Immigrants are essential to economic growth, starting businesses, filling crucial job gaps, and driving innovation.

10. Most Immigrants Are Illegal

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Think most immigrants are here illegally? The majority of immigrants in the U.S. are here legally, through work visas, family sponsorships, or as refugees.

11. Immigrants Don’t Serve in the Military

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Believe immigrants don’t serve our country? Many immigrants serve in the U.S. military, often with the promise of gaining citizenship through their service.

12. Immigrants Are Uneducated

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Think immigrants are uneducated? Immigrants come from diverse educational backgrounds, with many holding advanced degrees and contributing to fields like technology, medicine, and academia.

13. Immigrants Are All Poor

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Assume immigrants are all poor? Immigrants come from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, with many achieving significant financial success and contributing to the economy.

14. Immigrants Don’t Speak English

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Think immigrants don’t speak English? Many immigrants are multilingual, with a strong emphasis on learning English to better integrate into American society.

15. Immigrants Increase Population Growth Uncontrollably

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Worried about population growth due to immigrants? While immigration contributes to population growth, it also helps counterbalance the aging native population and declining birth rates.

16. Immigrants Don’t Pay Social Security

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Believe immigrants don’t pay into Social Security? Many undocumented immigrants pay into Social Security using ITINs but are ineligible to receive benefits, effectively subsidizing the system.

17. Immigrants Bring Diseases

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Concerned immigrants bring diseases? Immigrants are often required to undergo health screenings before entering the U.S., reducing the risk of spreading infectious diseases.

18. Immigrants Don’t Contribute to Innovation

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Think immigrants don’t contribute to innovation? Immigrants have founded or co-founded many major tech companies, including Google, Tesla, and eBay, driving technological advancements and job creation.

19. Immigrants Only Come From Latin America

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Assume all immigrants come from Latin America? Immigrants come from all over the world, with significant numbers from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, enriching American diversity.

20. Immigrants Are a Recent Phenomenon

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Think immigration is a recent trend? The U.S. has a long history of immigration, with waves of immigrants shaping the nation’s development and culture over centuries.

21. Immigration Is Out of Control

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Believe immigration is out of control? Immigration levels are subject to rigorous controls and quotas, with annual limits and extensive vetting processes in place.

Breaking the Myths

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These misconceptions shape opinions and policies. By addressing them, we can foster a more informed and compassionate approach to immigration in America.

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