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, according to the American Immigration Council, Immigration Policy Center.
Myth: Today’s Immigrants refuse to learn English. Fact: Many immigrants believe they need to learn English in order to succeed in the United States. While today’s immigrants may speak their first language at home, two-thirds of those older than 5 speak English “well” or “very well” according to research by the independent, nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute. And the demand for adult ESL instruction in the United States far outstrips available classes, according to the American Immigration Council, Immigration Policy Center.
Undocumented immigrants from El Salvador sit handcuffed after being detained by the U.S. Border Patrol near the U.S.-Mexico border on April 11, 2013 near Mission, Texas. Myth: Anyone who enters the country illegally is a criminal. Fact: According to federal immigration law, unlawful presence in the country is a civil offense and therefore not a crime, according to a fact sheet assembled by Catholic Charities.
Undocumented Mexican immigrant Jeanette Vizguerra walks with her children after grocery shopping. Vizguerra owns a janitorial service and says she has always paid state and federal taxes on her income. Myth: Immigrants send all of their money back to their home countries. Fact: In addition to the consumer spending of immigrant households, immigrants and their businesses contribute $162 billion in tax revenue to the U.S. federal, state and local governments, according to the Immigration Policy Center.
Myth: Undocumented immigrants bring crime to communities. Fact: Foreign born people are incarcerated at a much lower rate than native-born Americans, according to a fact sheet assembled by Catholic Charities.
Myth: Immigrants don't want to become Americanized or U.S. citizens. Fact: The typical pattern of assimilation in the U.S. has remained steady. Immigration historian David Reimers says, “The first generation struggled with English and didn’t learn it. The second was bilingual. And the third can’t talk to their grandparents.” If anything, the speed of assimilation is faster today than at any time in our past, mainly because of public education and mass media.
Items left behind by undocumented immigrants lie on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande River July 24, 2014 near Mission, Texas. Myth: Immigrants migrate because they are very poor. Fact: The poorest people typically migrate internally, not into the United States, according to a fact sheet assembled by Catholic Charities.
Central American immigrants await transportation to a U.S. Border Patrol processing center. Myth: Immigrant bring disease Fact: According to UNICEF, Guatemalan kids are more likely than Texans to be immunized for most infectious diseases, 93 percent of kids in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles. That’s better than American kids at 92 percent. More than 90 percent of Central Americans are vaccinated against TB, according to the WHO. Some diseases do flourish because of unsanitary conditions in the immigrant detention centers.
The Esperanza Center works to provide immigrants with healthcare, social services, language classes among other things. Myth: Immigrants take good jobs from Americans. Fact: Low-skilled workers fulfill a need by taking jobs others do not want, letting natives move up the scale. Without them employers would need to pay higher salaries, making those products and services more expensive. They have a tiny negative effect on wages at the lowest end that is offset by a rise in the wages of those who move up. The net effect is a 1.8% rise, according to a fact sheet assembled by Catholic Charities.
Salvadorian immigrant Stefany Marjorie, 8, holds her doll as a U.S. Border Patrol agent confiscates medication from her mother after the family crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into the U.S. Myth: Violence is not the primary cause of the surge of thousands of unaccompanied minors into the U.S. Fact: The Dept of Homeland Security reports the surge in minor refugees is due to widespread violence.UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports that 50% of minors it interviewed "reported experiencing violence or having received threats from gangs, drug cartels, or state actors, such as the police."