Immigration Fact Check: Myths vs. Reality


1. “Illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates; thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country.”

2. “Each week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone – 90 percent of which floods across from our Southern Border and is produced by Mexico. The southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs – including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl — and a border wall will fix this.”

3. “Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration. Immigration strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.”

4. “There is a security crisis at the southern border; thousands of illegal immigrants try to enter our country every day.”

5. “It’s illegal to migrate to the United States.”


1. Research shows that immigrants commit crimes less frequently than American-born citizens, and illegal immigration does not lead to more violent crime. Researchers even found that states with higher shares of undocumented immigrants generally had lower crime rates than those with smaller shares of immigrants.

2. While 90 percent of the heroin sold in the United States comes from Mexico, virtually all of it comes through legal points of entry and wouldn’t be stopped by a border wall. The Drug Enforcement Administration says “only a small percentage” of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry. The same is true of drugs generally.

3. While the data is complex, the consensus among economic research studies is that the impact of immigration is primarily a net positive for the U.S. economy and to workers overall, especially over the long term. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found the job impacts of immigration, when measured over at least 10 years, are very small. It found immigration — legal and illegal — is an overall benefit to long-term economic growth.

4. The number of people crossing the border illegally is actually declining. Border crossings have been falling for years. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported just over 300,000 apprehensions for illegal border crossings in 2017, the lowest in more than 45 years and down from more than 1.6 million in 2000. While more people were caught at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018 than in 2017, these numbers are still far lower than they were in the mid-2000s. The number of people caught trying to cross illegally is near 20-year lows.

5. It’s perfectly legal to try to migrate to the U.S. through legal points of entry. Seeking asylum is also permitted, and law demands that immigrants have access to due process and safe and sanitary conditions. While the numbers of migrants crossing illegally are down, since 2014 more families from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have begun to seek asylum in the U.S. in search of safer conditions or economic opportunities, thus creating a humanitariancrisis, not a security crisis. The biggest security crisis related to immigration in the United States today is the inhumane and unlawful treatment of migrant families, including unsafe and unsanitary conditions that deny immigrants of their dignity and basic human rights.