Cobos Law Firm Blog

Thursday, January 21, 2016

5 Myths about Immigrants

Immigrants don't want to become citizens.

The number of eligible immigrants submitting citizenship applications continues to increase. Due to huge backlogs in the system, the majority of applicants must wait years to hear a decision. Several factors determine an immigrant's eligibility, and meeting all of the requirements is not easy. In order to apply for naturalization, immigrants must pass background checks, verify they have paid their taxes, take a U.S. history and civics test, and prove they have resided in the United States (with lawful permanent resident status) for five years, among other regulations. In fact, only 7 percent of Hispanic immigrants surveyed as part of a Pew Hispanic Center study said they didn't want to become citizens.

Immigrants Won't Learn English.

Immigrants to the U.S. may not speak fluent English right away, but polls show that after 15 years, 75 percent of first generation immigrants speak English proficiently. The ability to speak the language increases significantly with succeeding generations: 91 percent and 97 percent of second and third generation immigrant families, respectively, speak English.

Immigrants don't pay taxes.

Despite the fact that most immigrants are unable to benefit from federal and federal-state assistance programs, the majority pay income tax or have taxes withheld from their paychecks; all immigrants pay sales and property taxes. Both legal and undocumented immigrants can't claim social security benefits, a tax refund or other welfare benefits.

Immigrants bring crime to the areas in which they settle.

Reliable statistics on the activities of undocumented immigrants are hard to find, but a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that newly arrived immigrants are particularly unlikely to be involved in crime. This may stem from an immigrant's drive to find (and keep) work and avoid being deported, as well as their desire to become a naturalized citizen.

Most Immigrants are undocumented and have crossed the border illegally.

Those who believe the aforementioned myth may be surprised to learn that two-thirds of immigrants are either naturalized citizens or have obtained some kind of lawful status, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Nearly half of all undocumented immigrants entered the U.S. on temporary visas as students, tourists or workers, and are considered undocumented only because their visas expired and they didn't leave the country. Pew Hispanic Center statistics state that one third of all immigrants are undocumented, one third have some form of legal status and one third are naturalized citizens. This applies to immigrants from Latin America as well as those from other parts of the world.  If you need legal assistance, call us now for your complimentary initial in-office consultation, Franz Cobos, Esq.

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