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Immigration Myths and Facts

Immigration has become a major issue in the U.S. that has, unfortunately, fueled politically charged media reports and public debates full of inaccuracies and irrationality.

This page compiles references – studies, statistics, films and other resources – to dispel common myths and stereotypes about the U.S. Latino population, and too, to assist in the preparation of trainings and other initiatives to help employees, church members, the media, and others to become more culturally sensitive and informed about their Latino clients and neighbors.

To contribute to this page, email



CJ Video Library



Latino Demographics

Latinos In Iraq

Latinos In The Work Force

Latinos, Social Security And Taxes

Latinos & Education

Latinos & English

Latinos & Health

Latinos & Crime

Latinos & Religion

Latinos & Social Services

Studies On Latinos Living In The U.S.


There are many government sources, as well as non-government ones, that provide data to debunk myths about immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and Latinos/Hispanics. Again, the National Resources section of the CJ webpage provides links to some of them.

Among the most popular myths are:

MYTH: Immigrants don’t pay taxes.
FACT: In 2010, 47% of Americans paid no federal income taxes at all for 2009 because either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. Not included in this statistic are many U.S. born who don’t pay payroll taxes because they are paid under the table. On the other hand, almost all immigrants pay income taxes, sales and property taxes. Even, according to Social Security, ¾ of undocumented workers pay payroll takes. All immigrants pay property and sales taxes.

MYTH: Immigrants are a drain on our social services.
FACT: By paying taxes, including Social Security, immigrants contribute far more to government coffers than they use in social services, especially undocumented immigrants who don’t qualify for most federal and state local assistance programs.

MYTH: Immigrants have a negative impact on the economy and the wages of citizens and take jobs away from citizens.
FACT: Immigration has a positive effect on the American economy as a whole and on the income of native-born workers.

MYTH: Immigrants send all their money back to their home countries instead of spending money here.
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. At the same time, Latinos spending and purchasing power - $1trillion - is growing faster than the purchasing power of any other group.

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.

These and other myths are explored in references provided on this webpage. Myths are often compiled in fact sheets; some of the most recent are:

Mythbusting (2009 – 2010)
American Immigration Lawyers Association

Immigration Myths & Facts (October 2010)
Lutheran Refugee and Immigration Service

7 Myths that Cloud Immigration Debate (September 2010)
Brookings Institute

Fact Sheet: Immigration and the Economy (2010)
Catholic Justice for Immigrants


Creciendo Juntos is developing a library of DVDs for area service providers, churches, academics, businesses, and others interested in issues relating to the Latino population. Below is a list of titles we now have. Those interested in borrowing a DVD or contributing one should contact CJ’s Program Coordinator at

I'm American! They're Not!
There are more than three million American-born kids of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The kids are Americans citizens, but their parents are not. The Emmy award-winning series Nick News with Linda Ellerbee delves into the lives of children from two Mexican-American kids trapped in a political situation they didn't cause and can't fix. Learn how a child feels when s/he is abruptly transported from a life in the US to living in a third world country or forced to live in the US without parents when they are deported.

The Invisible Chapel
For over twenty years a migrant chapel remained invisible to the wealthy residents of a San Diego, CA neighborhood. Every Sunday parish volunteers provided humanitarian assistance and held a church service for over one hundred impoverished agricultural, construction and service industry workers from Mexico. Local neighbors, along with the San Diego Minutemen and a Talk-Radio host clashed with the mostly undocumented immigrant congregation. The ensuing conflict forced the migrants and volunteers out of their sacred space and ultimately caused the demolition of their place of worship.

Dying to Live
A profound look at the human face of the immigrant. It explores who these people are, why they leave their homes and what they face in their journey. Drawing on the insights of Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, theologians, Church and congressional leaders, activists, musicians and the immigrants themselves, this film exposes the places of conflict, pain and hope along the US-Mexico border. It is a reflection on the human struggle for a more dignified life and the search to find God in the midst of that struggle.

The Latino Underground
Many elected officials in Virginia are headed toward a showdown with the federal government over the issue of illegal immigration, while citizens and immigrants are caught in the middle.

The shocking hate-based attempted murders of two Mexican day laborers catapult a small Long Island town into national headlines, unmasking a new front line in the border wars: suburbia. For nearly a year, Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini lived and worked in Farmingville, New York, so they could capture first-hand the stories of residents, day laborers and activists on all sides of the debate.

Letters from the Other Side
Video letters carried across the U.S./Mexico border interweave the lives of several women to tell the stories of those left behind in post-NAFTA Mexico.


Children in No Man's Land
This 2009 documentary uncovers the current plight of the 100,000 unaccompanied minors entering the United States every year. Through the retelling of these young people's experiences one sees the environment and circumstances that motivates these youngsters' desperate decisions. Regardless of where one stands on the immigration debate, this documentary works as a good starting point to open up the discussion on immigration issues and policy in the United States." To view a tráiler or for more info, visit or email The DVD is available to community / grassroots organizations for $85 plus $10 shipping and handling. Running time: 40 minutes in color with English and Spanish subtitles.

Latinos in America
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, hosted this two part documentary in October 2009; videos, transcripts and other related information can be found at:

Now a feature-length documentary, 9500Liberty (2008-9)began as an "Interactive Documentary" on YouTube about the politicization of the immigration issue in Prince William County, Virginia. It you there as the County becomes ground zero in America's explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have "probable cause" to suspect is an undocumented immigrant. A must-see for anyone interested in local politics, immigration policy, or the combustible mix of the two. To learn about where the movie is being shown, visit

Video: Codewords of Hate
In this 2008 video produced by the National Council of La Raza, ADL’s Stacy Burdett discusses the how some media commentators, pundits and others have fueled the scapegoating and demonizing of immigrants, and particularly Hispanics, as part of the national debate over immigration reform. The video can be viewed at

Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey
The 30 minute film released in 2005 explores immigration by turning to those most deeply and directly affected by immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border: the immigrants themselves. Alongside prominent theologians, congressional leaders and activists, the film features Mexican immigrants sharing their own stories and their reasons for migrating. The film can be ordered at Clips of the film can also be viewed.

Senora de la Cruz
This 16 minute DVD (or VHS) movie is an important tool for educating the Latino population about their right to an interpreter and for underscoring the importance of interpreters to service providers. The movie is produced by Baltimore HealthCare Access and can be ordered by contacting Tracy Kodeck at (410) 649-0510. Click here for a Baltimore Sun article about the movie.

G.I. Jesus
This 2006 film, shown at the Virginia Film Festival in October, “targets the exploitation of immigrant soldiers and the psychological costs of the Iraq war, among other social issues. Jesus is a Mexican citizen who joins the Military to become a legal citizen of the United States.” He felt becoming an American would better himself and his family. This was his chance. The U.S. military told him this was the right thing, so he went and he fought. “After returning from a tour of combat in Iraq, he watches his American dream turn into a nightmare as he struggles to hold his family together in a country obsessed with materialism and conspicuous consumption. Provocative, intelligent, and funny, G.I. Jesus makes a strong case for crossing the border in the opposite direction.” For data on Latino soldiers in Iraq, see . For a movie review, visit:

La Ciudad
This is a 1999 narrative snapshot of a side of New York that is rarely seen: the city of illegal immigrants, the homeless, seasonal workers, sweatshops, and laborers from Manhattan's Latin American neighborhoods. An intensive collaboration with the immigrant community over a five-year period has resulted in a complex four-part narrative in which the subjects of the film are its principal actors. Set in the present day, the film follows four separate stories of immigrant life. A young laborer, scavenging for bricks, is killed when a wall collapses; two teenagers from the same village fall in love, then lose each other in a housing project; a homeless father tries to enroll his daughter in school; a young garment worker seeks justice in the sweatshops.

El Norte (The North)

This film tells the story of two Guatemalan siblings fleeing their homeland for the safety and promise of the United States, after their father is murdered and their mother vanishes, both at the hands of the ruling military regime. The 1983 film is still timely because it addresses the suffering of being Latino in the U.S. Available at: Hollywood Video

A Day Without a Mexican
The 2004 comedy by Sergio Arau, son of Like Water for Chocolate director Alfonso Arau, ponders the potentially catastrophic results that would occur if California-based Mexicans, who make up over a third of the state's population, were to suddenly disappear. It shows how the lack of Latino gardeners, nannies, cooks, policeman, maids, teachers, farm workers, construction crews, entertainers, athletes, and the world's largest growing consumer market would create a social, political, and economic disaster, leaving the concept of the "California Dream" in shambles. Available at: Hollywood Video

The City (La Ciudad)
The 2004 PBS documentary by David Riker tells stories of loss, love, frustration, and hope as four people recently arrived in a large city struggle to build their lives, their communities and their dreams. Available at: Hollywood Video



Changing Faiths: Latinos And The Transformation Of American Religion (2007)
The Pew study, called "Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion," was based on more than 4,600 bilingual phone interviews and has a margin of error of 2.5 points. It found 68 percent of Hispanics describe themselves as Roman Catholic, while 15 percent are evangelical or born-again Protestants. Eight percent do not identify with a religion. One of the most stunning findings to researchers was the extent of Pentecostal practices in the Catholic church. Among Latino Catholics, 62 percent say the Masses they attend at least occasionally include displays of excitement and enthusiasm such as the raising of hands, clapping, shouting or jumping. The study also found that 51 percent of Latino Catholics attended Mass that at least occasionally included people speaking or praising in tongues, prophesying, receiving a word of knowledge, or praying for divine healing. Fourteen percent experienced or witnessed an exorcism, compared with 6 percent of non-Latino Catholics. "This is the Catholic response to Pentecostalism," said Timothy Matovina, theology professor at the University of Notre Dame. "It's very expressive and often talks about the power of God in daily life: how can God help me pay the rent or help my kids in school. In these services, people feel a more direct connection to God." The study also found that for Latinos, religion and politics are intertwined. Some 66 percent of Latinos said religion influences their political thinking and 45 percent said political leaders do not express their faith often enough. Latino Catholics were found to favor Democrats over Republicans, 55 percent to 18 percent. But evangelicals who are registered voters split with 36 percent for each party. View the report at:


Unauthorized Immigration Flows Are Down Sharply Since Mid-Decade (September 2010)
The Pew Hispanic Center reports that the number of immigrants entering the United States illegally fell by nearly two-thirds between 2005 to 2009. In the first part of the past decade, the number of undocumented people coming into the country was about 850,000 a year. With recession and harsh laws targeting immigrants, it fell to 300,000 a year between 2007 and 2009. The number of undocumented immigrants estimated to be in the country fell by 1 million to about 11 million. Among states, the biggest declines were in Virginia, Florida and Nevada. In Virginia, the number fell by 60,000 from 2008 to 2009, to an estimated 240,000. The report is at:

Salvadoran Immigrants in the United States (January 2010)  
The 1.1 million Salvadoran immigrants residing in the United States in 2008 accounted for 2.9% of all US immigrants, making them the second-largest immigrant group from Latin America. A Migrant Policy Institute report examines their socioeconomic characteristics, where they live, and the size of the Salvadoran-born unauthorized population at:

Ties to Parents' Homeland hold Strong. (December 2009) Hispanic young people born in the United States retain a strong identification with their immigrant parents' homelands but also remain optimistic about their future in this country despite lower- than-average levels of education and income, according to one of the most wide-ranging studies of young Latinos to date. The report includes detailed analysis of government data on Hispanics ages 16 to 25 -- a generation often referred to as "millennials" -- as well as a survey of more than 2,000 respondents. "If you want to understand what America will be like in the 21st century, you need to have an understanding of how today's young Latinos, most of whom are not immigrants, are growing up," said Paul Taylor, executive director of the Pew Hispanic Center. Hispanics already make up one out of five school-age children and one out of four newborns in the nation, Taylor said. Their presence is even more pronounced in states such as New Mexico, California and Texas, where they account for 40 percent or more of millennials. (In Maryland, Virginia and the District they represent between 7 and 8 percent.) "Never before in this nation's history has a minority ethnic group made up such a large share of the youngest Americans," Taylor said. "Their importance derives from their sheer numbers." View the Pew Hispanic Study at:

The State Of Latino Children and Youth in the US. (October 2009) Since 1990, the number of Latino children under age 18 living in the United States has doubled, making them one of the fastest-growing segments of the national population. A National Council of La Raza fact sheet provides a wealth of information on this critical population, from general demographic data on Latino children and youth and their families to relevant statistics in the areas of poverty and income, education, health, and juvenile justice. The document highlights particular areas of concern that must be addressed by U.S. policies and programs in order to ensure the future well-being of this population and the country. Access the fact sheet at

Fact Sheet: Salvadoran Americans (September 2009)
The Pew Hispanic Center released this fact sheet on Salvadoran Americans that can be accessed at:

Fact Sheet: Mexican Americans (September 2009)
The Pew Hispanic Center released this fact sheet on Mexican Americans that can be accessed at:

A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States (April 2009). School and other data is available in this new PEW Report that found “Unauthorized immigrants living in the United States are more geographically dispersed than in the past and are more likely than either U.S. born residents or legal immigrants to live in a household with a spouse and children. In addition, a growing share of the children of unauthorized immigrant parents--73%--were born in this country and are U.S. citizens. Based on March 2008 data collected by the Census Bureau, the Center estimates that unauthorized immigrants are 4% of the nation's population and account for 5.4% of its workforce. Their children, both those who are unauthorized immigrants themselves and those who are U.S. citizens, make up 6.8% of the students enrolled in the nation's elementary and secondary schools. As of 2008, Virginia is estimated to have the tenth largest unauthorized immigrant population in the United States, with an estimated 300,000 individuals. in Virginia, which ranks 10th in number of illegal immigrants, the unauthorized population quintupled since 1990 to 300,000 and accounts for 4 percent of residents and 5.1 percent of workers. In 2007, the poverty rate for such children was almost twice as high as for those born to either legal immigrants or U.S.-born parents. Similarly, U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants were about twice as likely not to have health insurance in 2008 as those born to legal immigrants and three times as likely as those born to U.S.-born parents. About three-quarters (76%) of the nation's unauthorized immigrants are Hispanic. The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) are from Mexico. Significant regional sources of unauthorized immigrants include Asia (11%), Central America (11%), South America (7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (less than 2%).” Read the Pew Hispanic Center report at:

New Data on Hispanic and Foreign-Born Populations in the U.S. (March 2009). The Pew Hispanic Center released updated statistical profiles of the Latino and foreign-born populations in the U.S. Derived from the 2007 American Community Survey, these profiles feature downloadable data on detailed characteristics of the Latino and foreign-born populations at the national level. The Center is simultaneously releasing demographic profiles of the Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations at the state level for 2007. For the Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, visit For the Statistical Portrait of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States, visit For the State and County Databases,

Hispanics one-fifth of K-12 students (March 2009). Roughly one-fourth of the nation's kindergartners are Hispanic and Hispanics make up about one-fifth of all K-12 students, evidence of an accelerating trend that now will see minority children become the majority by 2023. The census data also shows that c olleges are still enrolling the lowest proportion of Hispanic students of all the grade levels -- 12 percent -- although that figure grew from 10 percent in 2006. Read the Census report at: Release/www/releases/archives/education/013391.html

DHS Office of Immigration Statistics releases new data on the undocumented population (March 2009). The latest estimate is 11.6 million, slightly down from the last estimate of 11.8 million. About 7 million (61%) are Mexican and at least another 1.3 million are from Central America. The total Hispanic population is at least 8.4 million (over 72%). The total legal resident population is estimated at 19.7 million. In one major subset of this population—legal permanent residents, refugees and aslyees who entered between 1980 and 2007—there has been an estimated decrease of about 4.6 million (from 22.4 million to 17.8 million) “due to mortality and emigration.” There has been a sharp increase in unauthorized immigration from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as from the Philippines and Brazil. Read more at:,0304-estimates.pdf

Hispanics account for more than half of US population growth (October 2008) Even though Hispanics are listed as only 15.1 percent of the population in the United States, a Pew Hispanic Center study released on October 24, 2008 shows that between 2000 and 2007, Hispanics accounted for just over 50 percent of the total growth in U.S. population. Statistics in the analysis, "Latino Settlement in the New Century," are presented both as total numbers and as percentages. It contains a series of Web-based interactive maps that illustrate the size and spread of Hispanic population growth since 1980, including easy access to detailed state and county-level data. It also displays a list of the counties with the largest Hispanic populations, as well as a directory of those counties with the fastest-growing Hispanic populations. Since 2000, Virginia and Georgia also contain eight of the 10 counties with the highest percentage growth in the Hispanic population. To read the entire report, visit

Trends in Unauthorized Immigration: Undocumented Inflow Now Trails Legal Inflow. (October 2008) There were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in March 2008, according to new Pew Hispanic Center estimates. The size of the unauthorized population appears to have declined since 2007, but this finding is inconclusive because of the margin of error in these estimates. However, it is clear from the estimates that the unauthorized immigrant population grew more slowly in the period from 2005 to 2008 than it did earlier in the decade.It also is clear that from 2005 to 2008, the inflow of immigrants who are undocumented fell below that of immigrants who are legal permanent residents. That reverses a trend that began a decade ago. The turnaround appears to have occurred in 2007. Read the Pew Hispanic Center report at

Immigrants Of A Feather Don't Necessarily Flock Together (December 2006). The traditional idea that immigrants cluster together in neighborhoods with their countrymen after coming to the United States and move away after achieving economic success is far from universal. New research indicates that who immigrants marry or partner with has a strong influence on where they live. An examination of the five counties that make up the Los Angeles metropolitan area shows that if immigrants partner outside their native group they are less likely to live near their countrymen. The study focused on the eight largest immigrant groups in the Los Angeles area - Mexicans, Chinese, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Koreans, Vietnamese, Filipinos and Iranians. While this study focused on Southern California, the authors are confident the results can be generalized to the rest of the United States. The report is online at: . Click here for other information about the study.

Nation’s Population One-Third Minority
Data based on estimates of U.S. population for July 1, 2005 indicate that Hispanics accounted for 49 percent of the country's growth from 2004 to 2005, driving 70 percent of the growth in children younger than 5. Forty-five percent of U.S. children in that age range are minorities. The Census report stated that Hispanics accounted for almost half (1.3 million, or 49 percent) of the national population growth of 2.8 million between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005. Of the increase of 1.3 million, 800,000 was because of natural increase (births minus deaths) and 500,000 was because of immigration. The Hispanic population in 2005 was much younger with a median age of27.2 years compared to the population as a whole at 36.2 years. About a third of the Hispanic population was under 18, compared with one-fourth of the total population. A press release and the full report can be obtained online. May 10, 2006

Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the U.S.: Estimates Based on the March 2005 Current Population Survey
The Center has developed an estimate of 11.5 to 12 million for the unauthorized population as of March 2006. It estimates that two-thirds (66%) of the unauthorized population has been in the country for ten years or less, and the largest share, 40% of the total or 4.4 million people have been in the country five years or less. There were 5.4 million adult males in the unauthorized population in 2005, accounting for 49% of the total. There were 3.9 million adult females accounting for 35% of the population. There were 1.8 million children who were unauthorized, 16% of the total. In addition, there were 3.1 million children who are U.S. citizens by birth living in families in which the head of the family or a spouse was unauthorized. About 7.2 million unauthorized migrants were employed in March 2005, accounting for about 4.9% of the civilian labor force. They made up a large share of all workers in a few more detailed occupational categories, including 24% of all workers employed in farming occupations, 17% in cleaning, 14% in construction and 12% in food preparation. Source: Pew Hispanic Center. March 7, 2006

Legal Status: At least 39% of the overall U.S. Latino population are adults who are registered to vote and thus have citizenship, 27% are adult non-citizens (many of these are legal residents or have work permits), and 34% are under age 18. Source: Suro, Roberto, Richard Fry and Jeffrey Passel. “Hispanics and the 2004 Election: Population, Electorate and Voters.” Pew Hispanic Center. June 27, 2005. Page 4.

Unauthorized Migrants: Numbers And Characteristics
Pew Hispanic Center. March 2006
Pew Hispanic Center. June 2005

Population: “Tripling of Hispanic, Asian Populations Projected.” The nation’s Hispanic and Asian populations would triple over the next half century and non-Hispanic whites would represent about one-half of the total population by 2050, according to interim population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 67 million people of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) would be added to the nation’s population between 2000 and 2050. Their numbers are projected to grow from 35.6 million to 102.6 million, an increase of 188 percent. Their share of the nation’s population would nearly double, from 12.6 percent to 24.4 percent. Source: Census Bureau: March 2004.


Hispanic Military Service (October 2010)
Article mentions enlistment data.

Hispanics in the U.S. Military: In the service of their country, 2001 through 2009 (May 2009) This overview provides statistics on numbers of Hispanic recruits and casualties.

Immigrants in the US Armed Forces (May 2008). According to data from the Department of Defense, more than 65,000 immigrants (non-US citizens and naturalized citizens) were serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces as of February 2008. Since September 2001, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has naturalized more than 37,250 foreign-born members of the US Armed Forces and granted posthumous citizenship to 111 service members.

Latinos become focus for US Army Recruitment. (October 9, 2007)
“The US military says it has met its recruitment goals for 2007. However, signing new soldiers is getting more difficult, with an unpopular war in Iraq and open-ended commitments both there and in Afghanistan. New figures reveal there has been a 40 per cent drop in African-Americans signing up for the army. The Pentagon wants to expand the size of the army to 547,000 soldiers by the year 2010, and are counting on Hispanics to fill the gap. To do so, recruiters are turning to incentives to bolster their numbers. Mike Kirsch explores the sometimes questionable tactics being used to entice Latino recruits into the US army.” This video, less than 4 minutes long, can be found at:

Yo Soy el Army: If you´re an immigrant, at least Uncle Sam wants you. (September 19, 2007)
“An executive order signed by President Bush on July 3, 2002, provided for the expedited naturalization for aliens and noncitizen nationals serving in an active-duty status in the Armed Forces of the United States during the period of the war against terrorists of global reach. Under this order, any noncitizen in the military can apply for expedited citizenship on his first day of active duty. Not only is this order still in effect, but it has been codified in the National Defense Authorization Act 2006. With the law so clear on this issue, the treatment of illegal immigrants in the military, both by the Pentagon and by ICE, is difficult to understand.” Read this Metroactive (Silicon Valley, California) article at:

Latinos know up close the cost of Iraq war (January 19, 2007)
Hispanic enlistments have risen steadily. Hispanics made up 8.9% of the active Army in 2001 but 10.5% in 2005. Like other Americans, Latinos enlist for educational opportunities, adventure and love for country. About 7% of the active fighting force are citizens with green cards, the Christian Science Monitor has reported. Yet Hispanic recruits face sobering statistics. Latinos are 9.4% of the armed forces, but 17.7% of combat troops and 11% of military deaths in Iraq.

Latinos and the War in Iraq (January 4, 2007)
A new Pew Hispanic Center study found that two-thirds of Latinos want U.S. troops home as soon as possible, while just 25% believe the United States made the right decision in invading Iraq.

A Military Path to Citizenship. September 2006.
More than 25,000 immigrants have become citizens and another 40,000 have become eligible for citizenship through the military since President Bush signed an executive order in July 2002 speeding the process. The 40,000 immigrants in the U.S. military can become citizens after only a year of active duty. The previous requirement was three years. Only legal residents — or immigrants who entered the country illegally and then applied for residency — can enter the armed forces.

Service in Iraq: Just How Risky? August 26, 2006
Identifying racial and ethnic differences in mortality is not straightforward because the Defense Department uses a different classification system for deaths than for deployments. Nevertheless, all attempts we have made to reconcile the two systems reach the same conclusion: Hispanics have a death risk about 20 percent higher than non-Hispanics, and blacks have a death risk about 30 to 40 percent lower than that of non-blacks.

In Iraq, fewer killed, more are wounded. August 29, 2006.
Hispanics have a slightly higher "death risk" than non-Hispanics. The Marine Corps, for example, contains a disproportionately higher number of Hispanics than other military branches and also carries a higher casualty rate.

Life lottery: US military targets poor Hispanics for frontline service in Iraq. May 2005.
They have been variously described as 'working class mercenaries', 'green card troops', 'non-citizen' armies, or desperate recruits of the US Government's 'poverty draft'. They are the huge contingent of Hispanic personnel who--for personal and economic reasons--have been recruited into the ranks of the US military. According to US journalist Jim Ross, by February 2005 there were 110,000 of them. The biggest single contingent of such troops is made up of Mexicans and Mexican descendants. Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Central Americans and Ecuadorians are also well represented. Since the start of the war about a third of the US forces stationed in Iraq--between 31,000 and 37,000 troops out of a total of about 130,000--were non-US citizens serving in the navy, Marine Corps, army and air force.

Texas Hispanic soldiers dying at higher rate: Iraq toll falls unevenly on Latinos, rural whites. February 27, 2005
Hispanic Texans are dying in Iraq at a rate more than 60 percent higher than the rate for the nation's military-age population as a whole, according to an Austin American-Statesman review of war fatalities. In a separate study, a University of California professor has found that during the first six weeks of the war, 16.5 percent of troops killed were Latinos, although Latinos made up only 11.2 percent of the combat troops.

Researchers Finding Surprises In Figures On Deaths In Iraq. September 28, 2004
“Hispanic deaths were way over-represented in the opening war phase in Iraq, comprising about 16 percent of all deaths,” Gifford said. “But they represent just 11 percent of Army and Marine combat personnel and less than 9 percent of all active-duty personnel.” Other studies show that in some Marine units involved in the heaviest fighting before the occupation, Hispanic casualties were as high as 19 percent of all deaths.

Hispanic Soldiers Die in Greater Numbers in Iraq. September 22, 2003
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, while Latinos make up 9.5 percent of the actively enlisted forces, they are over-represented in the categories that get the most dangerous assignments -- infantry, gun crews and seamanship -- and make up over 17.5 percent of the front lines. DOD numbers reveal 35,000 non-citizens currently in the active Armed Forces, 15,000 of whom became eligible for expedited naturalization under the executive order.

Latinos & the Vietnam War (November 2000)
“ Latinos answered the call to combat in Vietnam in unprecedented numbers and paid a heavy price: One in two Latinos who went to Vietnam served in a combat unit, 1 in 3 were wounded in action, 1 in 5 we killed in action.” Read more at


Why Americans Think (Wrongly) That Illegal Immigrants Hurt the Economy (May 2010). The Newsweek report concludes “the consensus among most economists is that immigration, both legal and illegal, provides a small net boost to the economy. Immigrants provide cheap labor, lower the prices of everything from produce to new homes, and leave consumers with a little more money in their pockets. They also replenish—and help fund benefits for—an aging American labor force that will retire in huge numbers over the next few decades. Also, an increase in the number of American workers is needed to prevent the U.S. from having too few working-age adults to pay for retiree benefits in a few decades, as many European nations currently do.

Does Immigration Cost Jobs? (May 2010) According to Fact “Study after study has shown that immigrants grow the economy, expanding demand for goods and services that the foreign-born workers and their families consume, and thereby creating jobs. There is even broad agreement among economists that while immigrants may push down wages for some, the overall effect is to increase average wages for American-born workers.

Share of Wallet: Hispanics (February 2010). A Mintel International Group study found that “Hispanic purchasing power is as diverse as the consumers it represents. It is $1 trillion strong and is growing faster than the purchasing power of any other group.” Read more at:
Related Fact Sheet (October 2010):

Immigrants and the Economy: Contribution of Immigrant Workers to the Country's 25 Largest Metropolitan Areas (December 2009). This report from the Fiscal Policy Institute concludes that immigration to the United States is “broad and diverse, bringing clear overall benefits to the economy.” Read it at or a press release at watch or read a media report from NY1 (in Spanish) on this study (January 22, 2010) visit:

Immigrants do not take jobs away from African Americans (July 2009). Anti-immigrant groups have repeatedly tried to drive a wedge between African Americans and immigrants by capitalizing on the myth that immigrants take American jobs-particularly jobs that would otherwise go to African Americans. That myth, as anti-immigrant groups present it, is simply not true, says Gerald Jaynes, a professor of Economics and African American Studies at Yale University. In a new Perspectives piece for the Immigration Policy Center, A Conversation about the Economic Effects of Immigration on African Americans, Jaynes dispels the myth that immigrants take "black jobs" and instead suggests we find solutions on how to lift up all low-wage American workers. Read more at:

Dollars without Sense: Underestimating the Value of Less-Educated Workers (May 2007) A new policy paper from the Immigration Policy Center debunks myths about the costs and contributions of immigrant working at less-skilled jobs. Read the report at:

The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration (4/2007). In a new study done for the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations.Gordon H. Hanson, a professor of economics and director of the Center on Pacific Economies at the University of California at San Diego, found that from a purely economic view - the benefits and costs of illegal immigration come close to canceling out one another. But without the highly flexible, low-skilled, cheap labor supply that illegal immigration provides, the U.S. economy would be slowed. No other labor pool - native or legal immigrant - offers what the pure economics of supply and demand dictate. Hanson's study looked at labor supply and demand, wages, immigrant contributions and costs as percentages of Gross Domestic Product and border enforcement costs as a percentage of GDP. He analyzed the issue strictly on the basis of economics, pointing out that the illegal immigration debate includes issues he did not address - national security, civil rights and politics. "This analysis concludes that there is little evidence that legal immigration is economically preferable to illegal immigration," Hanson wrote. At the same time, "There are many reasons to be concerned about rising levels of illegal immigration," he said in the study. "Yet … it is critical not to lose sight of the fact that illegal immigration has a clear economic logic: It provides U.S. businesses with the types of workers they want, when they want them, and where they want them." Legal immigration does not meet those labor needs as readily, Hanson said, because it is subject to politics, timing and other considerations. If immigration reform now being debated in Congress makes illegal immigration more like legal immigration - by imposing noneconomic considerations - "it is likely to lower rather than raise national welfare," Hanson said. Mostly involved are low-skilled workers - in construction, restaurants, janitorial and agriculture - Hanson wrote. Illegal immigration is the main supplier of such labor, because the low-skilled, native-born U.S. labor pool has shrunk.

Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States (3/2007) Guestworkers who come to the United States are routinely cheated out of wages; forced to mortgage their futures to obtain low-wage, temporary jobs; held virtually captive by employers who seize their documents; forced to live in squalid conditions; and denied medical benefits for injuries, according to a new report released by the Center today. Employers in 2005 "imported" more than 121,000 temporary H-2 guestworkers — 32,000 H-2A workers for agricultural work and 89,000 H-2B workers for jobs in forestry, seafood processing, landscaping, construction and other non-agricultural industries. "The mistreatment of temporary foreign workers in America today is one of the major civil rights issues of our time," said SPLC President Richard Cohen. "For too long, we've reaped the economic benefits of their labor but have ignored the incredible degree of abuse and exploitation they endure. The 48 page Southern Poverty Law Center report is available at:

Study Finds Immigrants Don't Hurt U.S. Jobs
Rapid increases in the foreign-born population at the state level are not associated with negative effects on the employment of native-born workers. An analysis of the relationship between growth in the foreign-born population and the employment outcomes of native-born workers revealed wide variations but no consistent pattern across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The size of the foreign-born workforce, its relative youth and low education level are also unrelated to the employment prospects for native workers. These findings emerge from the analysis of Census Bureau data for the boom years of the 1990s and the subsequent recession and slowdown. Pew Hispanic Center. August 10, 2006

The Labor Force Status of Short-Term Unauthorized Workers
This fact sheet examines the labor force status of unauthorized workers who have been in the country for five years or less, providing estimates of the number of short-term unauthorized workers by industry and occupation as well as their weekly earnings and unemployment rate. Pew Hispanic Center. April 13, 2006


How Illegal Immigrants are Helping Social Security (September 2010)
Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants. Read more at

How Immigrants Saved Social Security (April 2008). This New York Times editorial, commenting on the 2008 annual report on Social Security, points out how “illegal immigration … is even better than legal immigration” because … “many undocumented workers pay takes during their work lives but don’t collect benefits later.” Click here to read the article.

Undocumented Immigrants at Taxpayers. (November 2007) This Immigration Policy Center fact sheet shows that undocumented men have work force participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents. Similarly, another report by IPC, The Economic Impact of Immigration, finds that immigrants use relatively few federal or state public-benefit programs and are a net fiscal benefit to the U.S. economy. and

Undocumented Immigrants in Texas:
A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy
(December 2006)
This is the first time any state has done a comprehensive financial analysis of the impact of undocumented immigrants on a state's budget and economy, looking at gross state product, revenues generated, taxes paid and the cost of state services. The absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received. However, local governments bore the burden of $1.44 billion in uncompensated health care costs and local law enforcement costs not paid for by the state. Click here for the report and a business journal article on the report.

Civic Contributions: Taxes Paid by Immigrants in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area (May 2006) by Randy Capps, Everett Henderson of the Urban Institute, Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center, and Michael Fix of the Migration Policy Institute. The Washington, DC, metropolitan area is home to over 1 million immigrants, who composed one-fifth of the area’s total population in 2004. The metropolitan area is relatively affluent and boasts a strong economy that attracts large numbers of immigrants for jobs at both the high- and low-skilled ends of the labor market. Immigrants in the Washington area come from more diverse countries of origin than is the case nationally, and a relatively high share come from origins with above average incomes. Whether higher or lower skilled, immigrants contribute strongly to the region’s economy, purchasing power, and tax base. Immigrant households in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area had a total income of $29.5 billion in 1999–2000, and they paid $9.8 billion in taxes. This represents 19 percent of the region’s total household income and 18 percent of all taxes paid. Our estimate of the amount of taxes paid by immigrants is an underestimate, because it is based on 1999–2000 data, and the number of immigrants in the region has grown from 850,000 to at least 1.2 million since that time. Although immigrant households on average have lower incomes than native-born Washington, D.C., area households, they pay nearly the same share of their incomes in taxes. Some groups of immigrants—the most educated and highest earners—actually pay more in taxes than natives, on average. On the other hand, less-educated immigrants and those without permanent legal status have considerably lower incomes and pay a lower share of their incomes in taxes than natives. This report estimates the taxes paid by immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area in 1999–2000 and documents their demographics, household composition, income, and dispersal across jurisdictions in the region. The findings in this report are based mostly on analysis of 2000 U.S. Census data, because the census provides the most recent comprehensive data that allow disaggregation by country of origin groups and by many of the region’s local jurisdictions. The demographic data in the report are updated through 2004 using the U.S. Current Population Survey. We calculate taxes at both the individual level (e.g., income and payroll taxes) and the household level (e.g., property taxes), but aggregate them up to the household level. Throughout the report we refer to households headed by immigrants (whether citizens, legal immigrants, or unauthorized migrants) as “immigrant households” and compare their incomes and tax payments to households headed by native-born U.S. citizens. Read the Washington Report article on the report or read the report at:

Amount of Unclaimed Taxes paid by Immigrant Workers. Each year, the Social Security Administration receives millions of employer-submitted earnings reports that it is unable to place in an individual Social Security record. If the Social Security number and name on a W-2 do not match SSA’s records, the W-2 is retained in the Earnings Suspense File (ESF). The ESF is over $462.8 billion. (March 2005) (August 2004)

Study Confirms Contribution Of Legal Immigration To The Social Security System. A February 2005 study entitled “The Contribution of Legal Immigration to the Social Security System” found that, over the next 75 years, new legal immigrants entering the U.S. will provide a net benefit of $611 billion in present value to America’s Social Security system, according to official Social Security Administration data. American Immigration Lawyers Association. Doc. No. 05021862.

Study: Immigrants Pay Tax Share: No Gap With U.S.-Born Residents Seen in Area, but Those Here Illegally Account for Less. (June 2006) Reliable numbers are hard to find, but researchers generally agree that 50 to 60 percent of illegal immigrants nationwide work for employers who withhold income taxes and Social Security and Medicare payments from their paychecks. The authors of the Urban Institute study assumed 55 percent do. To get jobs, many of those immigrants use false Social Security numbers. That means they pay into the Social Security system for benefits they will never receive and pay income taxes without ever filing a return to determine whether they have overpaid. Read study at:


Despite Academic Performance, Latinos Value Higher Education (July 2010). While more than half of Hispanics are drop outs, a poll finds that they (87%)value higher education more than do Americans as a whole (78%). 13% of Hispanics have a college degree compared with 30% of Americans overall. 54% state that their parents either don't expect them to go to college or don't care.

One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students (August 2008) The number of Hispanic students in the nation’s public schools nearly doubled from 1990 to 2006, accounting for 60% of the total growth in public school enrollments over that period. Strong growth in Hispanic enrollment is expected to continue for decades, according to a recently released U.S. Census Bureau population projection. In 2050, there will be more school-age Hispanic children than school-age non-Hispanic white children. This report presents demographic, language, and family background characteristics of the nation’s 10 million Hispanic public school students. Read the Pew Hispanic Center report at

Research Digest: Young Latino Infants and Families: Parental Involvement Implications From a Recent National Study (June 2007). Harvard Family Research Project’s Michael López and his colleagues use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort to show that family engagement matters for all young children regardless of social, cultural, or ethnic group. The researchers find that there are no differences in cognitive and motor competencies between Latino children and their White peers at 9 months of age. Although few differences in parenting behaviors exist across ethnic groups, the researchers observe that Latino families are less likely to read books and share stories with their children than parents from other ethnic backgrounds and suggest ways to support Latino children's literacy development during the early childhood years.

Buenos Principios: Latino Children in the Earliest Years of Life (4/30/07). This report by the National Council of La Raza concludes that investing in high-quality, comprehensive early childhood education programs could help narrow the growing school readiness gap between Latino and other children. The report also makes a series of recommendations for policy-makers to improve the quality of life and school readiness for Latino children in the U.S. Access the report at:

Hispanic Education in the United States By Adriana D. Kohler and Melissa Lazarin, National Council of La Raza (January 2007). Latinos are a significant and growing proportion of the United States student population. This statistical brief provides a summary of the key data concerning Latinos in the educational pipeline.
Pew Center Reports and Fact Sheets on Latinos and Education

The Changing Landscape of American Public Education (10/2006) This report from the Pew Hispanic Center examines the intersection of two trends that have transformed the landscape of American public education in recent years: a rapid increase in enrollment and a surge in the opening of new schools. The report describes the racial and ethnic components of enrollment growth at various levels of the K-12 system. It also examines the composition of enrollment in newly opened schools and older schools still in operation as well as the impact of rapid growth in Hispanic enrollment.


English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States. (November 2007) This Pew Hispanic Center recently released the study that discovered that while Latino adult immigrants consider insufficient English an obstacle to their acceptance in the United States, their children are unlikely to have the same problem. Among Hispanics in the United States, fewer than one-in-four (23%) Latino immigrants reports being able to speak English very well. However, fully 88% of their U.S.-born adult children report that they speak English very well. Reading ability in English shows a similar trend.


CDC Report: Latinos living longer than blacks, whites (November 2010). “Latinos in the United States live on average 80.6 years, compared with 78.1 years for non-Hispanic whites and 72.9 for non-Hispanic blacks. Latinos are on average poorer, less educated and less likely to visit doctors than most Americans -- yet they still enjoy longer lives.” View and article and access links to the report at

Despite health risks, U.S. Hispanics outlive rest of population (October 2010)
Hispanic people in the United States live nearly three years longer than the population overall, says the first government study to confirm extended life expectancy in the nation's largest minority group.

Black and Hispanic Infants Much More Likely to Have HIV (February 2010). Rates of HIV infection in infants are significantly higher among blacks and Hispanics than whites, and preventive measures are needed to reduce the disparity. Although the number of HIV-infected infants has declined overall, among black babies, the rate of perinatal HIV infection -- meaning transmission at the time of birth -- is 23 times higher than for whites, and among Hispanics, the rate is four times higher, according to findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, while black and Hispanic children under age 1 account for only 37 percent of the population, they represent 85 percent of all perinatal HIV diagnoses.

Latino Child Health Fact Sheet (October 2009)

Hispanic women at higher risk for heart disease, study says (3/2/07). Hispanic women's heart disease risk is comparable to the risk level of Caucasian women who are about a decade older. This contradicts a long-held belief that Hispanic women have less heart disease than Caucasian women, researchers reported at the AHA's 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. Read more at:

One in 5 Hispanics Regularly Goes Hungry, Study Says. “Sin Provecho: Latinos and Food Insecurity.” (December 2006) Nearly one in five Hispanics lacks sufficient access to nutritious food and one in 20 regularly goes hungry, according to a new study by the National Council of La Raza. Poverty is the main factor that contributes to the problem. About 22 percent of Latinos are poor, compared to 25 percent of non-Hispanic blacks and 8 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Many Latinos, 40 percent of whom are foreign-born, face linguistic, cultural and legal barriers to enrolling in food assistance programs. Slightly more than half of eligible Latinos participate in the Food Stamp Program. The program’s complex requirements and paperwork are daunting to many immigrant Latinos. In comparison, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children has a simpler enrollment process and a high rate of Latino participation. Study co-author Jennifer Ng’andu said government food programs need to undertake an aggressive outreach in the Latino community and train their staff to better understand the eligibility rules affecting immigrants. The report assesses the root causes of food insecurity among Latinos, including economic and geographic barriers and legal immigrant restrictions, which prevent access to affordable, nutritious foods and assistance. Read the report at:

Study Finds Uninsured, Immigrants Don't Overburden ERs (July 2006). Contrary to popularly held ideas, a new survey of 60 communities shows that the uninsured, Hispanics and immigrants in general do not overburden hospital emergency rooms. Noncitizens had 17 fewer visits per 100 than citizens. Blacks were more likely than Hispanics to use ERs, perhaps because they are more likely to have some form of insurance, either private or public. One reason for lower ER usage by immigrants could be that those without documentation might be afraid to go to a hospital, Cunningham said. Another possible reason for varying ER rates could be that in some places, patients have a hard time getting an appointment with a doctor or a clinic and find it easier to walk into an ER, even though treatment there can be much more expensive. Read the report - What Accounts For Differences In The Use Of Hospital Emergency Departments Across U.S. Communities? – published by the journal Health Affairs, at:

Redefining HIV/AIDS for Latinos: A Promising New Paradigm for Addressing HIV/AIDS in the Hispanic Community (October 19, 2006). The National Council of La Raza-California State University, Long Beach Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training (NCLR-CSULB Center for Latino Health) released this report which discusses the growing HIV/AIDS crisis in the Latino community and outlines a new paradigm for addressing HIV/AIDS. Hispanics make up 14% of the U.S. population but account for one of every five people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the country, including a disproportionate number of women and youth. While much has been done to make this chronic disease more manageable for other communities, Hispanics – in particular Latinas in monogamous relationships – are more likely to die from the disease and less likely to receive quality medical care. The report combines the Center's own extensive research and a review of the existing academic literature on the issue.

Study Finds Uninsured, Immigrants Don't Overburden ERs (July 18, 2006). Contrary to popularly held ideas, a new survey of 60 communities shows that the uninsured, Hispanics and immigrants in general do not overburden hospital emergency rooms. Noncitizens had 17 fewer visits per 100 than citizens. Blacks were more likely than Hispanics to use ERs, perhaps because they are more likely to have some form of insurance, either private or public. One reason for lower ER usage by immigrants could be that those without documentation might be afraid to go to a hospital, Cunningham said. Another possible reason for varying ER rates could be that in some places, patients have a hard time getting an appointment with a doctor or a clinic and find it easier to walk into an ER, even though treatment there can be much more expensive. Read the report - What Accounts For Differences In The Use Of Hospital Emergency Departments Across U.S. Communities? – published by the journal Health Affairs, at:

Immigrants’ Health Care Costs are Low: Use Half as Much Care as Non-Immigrant Americans. (July 2005) Immigrants in the U.S. receive surprisingly little health care - 55% less than native-born Americans -according to a Harvard/Columbia University study that appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Immigrant children received particularly low levels of care, 74% less overall than other children.


Debunking Fears: Latino Growth Does Not Boost Crime (December 2009). Rural industries, such as meat-packing and textile manufacturing, create job opportunities that have brought significant numbers of Latino workers and their families to small- and medium-sized towns. This influx of Latino migrants is often met with resistance from other residents, who fear increases in crime and poverty rates. But a study from North Carolina State University, “Social Disorganization in New Latino Destinations?", published in the December issue of the journal Rural Sociology, debunks those fears, showing that the introduction of Latinos contributes to positive changes, not negative ones. Learn more at:

Hispanics and the Criminal Justice System: Low Confidence, High Exposure (April 2009). Latinos' confidence in the U.S. criminal justice system is closer to the relatively low levels expressed by blacks than to the higher levels expressed by whites, according to a pair of nationwide surveys by the Pew Research Center. Six-in-ten (61%) Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that the police in their communities will do a good job enforcing the law, compared with 78% of whites and 55% of blacks. Fewer than half of Latinos say they are confident that Hispanics will be treated fairly by the courts (49%) and police officers (45%). To read the report, visit

Setting the Record Straight on Immigrants and Crime (September 2008) Anti-immigrant activists and politicians are fond of relying upon anecdotes to support their oft-repeated claim that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, are dangerous criminals. While these kinds of arguments are emotionally powerful, they are intellectually dishonest. Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years have consistently found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the native-born. Read the Immigration Policy Center fact sheet at:

Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies. (July 2007) Statistics show that youth crime in the United States is at its lowest levels in 30 years and that gangs are responsible for a relatively small share of crime. In addition, according to a national Justice Department survey of police departments, gang membership declined from 850,000 in 1996 to 760,000 in 2004. “Gang Wars”, a 100 page report released by the Justice Policy Institute, dispels many myths about gangs and the most effective responses to them. For example, the report shows that unlike the media portrayals, whites make up a large invisible proportion -- about 40 percent --of gang members throughout the country but rarely get any media attention. The report traced gang membership and found most gang youth quit before reaching adulthood. It also says that overwhelming evidence shows that cities such as New York and suburbs and rural areas that use extensive social resources -- job training, mentoring, after-school activities, recreational programs -- make significant dents in gang violence. Areas that rely heavily on police enforcement, such as Los Angeles, have far less impact. The report is located at:

The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation: Incarceration Rates among Native and Foreign-Born Men (Spring 2007) by Ruben G. Rumbaut, Ph.D. and Walter A. Ewing, Ph.D., published by the Immigration Policy Center, a branch of the American Immigration Law Foundation. The report reviewed 2000 U.S. Census Bureau data for incarcerated men ages 18 to 39 and other sources that showed that for every ethnic group without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants, even those who are the least educated. Hispanic men born in the United States were found to be nearly seven times more likely to be in prison than foreign-born Hispanics of the same ages. Foreign-born Mexicans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans - who make up the majority of illegal immigrants in the country and tend to be the least educated - all had lower incarceration rates than any other Latin American immigrant group. It also found that criminal behavior increases in succeeding generations of immigrant descendants. It found that the incarceration rate of native-born men was five times higher than the rate of foreign-born men in the same age group. The foreign-born include naturalized U.S. citizens, legal residents and illegal immigrants. Among Asians, foreign-born Chinese or Taiwanese men had incarceration rates nearly four times lower than their counterparts born in the United States. The rate was eight times lower for Laotian and Cambodian men. The study's authors conjectured that the children and grandchildren of many immigrants - as well as immigrants who have lived in the United States for a long time - are subject to "economic and social forces" that increase their chances of being involved in crime. Ewing was one of the authors. The problem of crime in the United States is not “caused” or even aggravated by immigrants, regardless of their legal status. But the misperception that the opposite is true persists among policymakers, the media, and the general public, thereby undermining the development of reasoned public responses to both crime and immigration.

Less crime in immigrant neighborhoods: “Law enforcement officials, politicians and social scientists have put forward many explanations for the astonishing drop in crime rates in America over the last decade or so, and yet we remain mystified. Studies have shown that while each of the usual suspects — a decline in crack use, aggressive policing, increased prison populations, a relatively strong economy, increased availability of abortion — has probably played some role, none has proved to be as dominant a factor as initially suggested. Perhaps we have been overlooking something obvious — something that our implicit biases caused us not to notice. My unusual suspect is foreigners: evidence points to increased immigration as a major factor associated with the lower crime rate of the 1990's (and its recent leveling off).” Click here to read the article and another published in 2006 by the Boston Globe. Both are about a recent study by the Harvard Sociologist Robert Sampson.


Separating Facts from Fiction: Refugees, Immigrants and Public Assistance
(September 2008)
Fact sheet published by the Immigration Policy Center.


Pew Hispanic Center: This research center conducts surveys on demography, economics, education, identity, immigration, labor, politics, and remittances as they relate to the Latino community.

Urban Institute. For more than 20 years, the Urban Institute has studied U.S. immigrants—their impacts, settlement patterns, incorporation into the labor market, and the integration of immigrant families and children. This page provides finding summaries and links to the reports they are based upon.