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Key Facts

Crime and Welfare: Two Myths of Immigration
Common Objections to Immigration
Two of the most common objections to immigration in the United States are that more immigrants lead to more crime and more people on welfare, but a closer look reveals that these objections are misguided.
Native-born Americans
On crime, native-born Americans are far more likely to commit crimes than either legal or illegal immigrants. For every hundred thousand native-born Americans, fifteen hundred are incarcerated for breaking the law.
Government Assistance
People claim that illegal immigrants use government assistance at higher rates than native-born Americans. But our social safety net is targeted mostly at the elderlynand immigrants are relatively young people who’ve come to work. Additionally, illegal immigrants have been banned from receiving welfare benefits since 1996, while legal immigrants typically have to wait five years before they begin to qualify for federally-funded benefits.
Exaggerated Concerns
While there are undoubtedly many issues to consider in the debate on immigration, concerns about increased crime and abuse of the social safety net have been exaggerated.