Find answers to common myths about immigration and Frequently Asked Questions about Border Angels.



The development of English proficiency among non-English speaking immigrants today mirrors that of Nineteenth and early Twentieth century immigration, when masses of Italian, German, and Eastern European immigrants came to America. While first generation, non-English speaking immigrants predictably have lower rates of English proficiency than native speakers, 91% of second generation immigrants are fluent or near fluent English speakers. By the third generation, 97% speak English fluently or near fluently.
(Source: Shirin Hakimzadeh and D’Vera Cohn, “English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States,” Pew Hispanic Forum, Dec. 6, 2007.; Janet Murguia and Cecilia Muñoz, “From Immigrant to Citizen,” The American Prospect(Oct. 23, 2005))


Undocumented immigrants pay taxes.  Between one half and three quarters of undocumented immigrants pay state and federal taxes.  They also contribute to Medicare and provide as much as 7 billion dollars a year to the Social Security Fund.  Further still, undocumented workers pay sales taxes where applicable and property taxes—directly if they own and indirectly if they rent.

(Source: Immigration Policy Center, “Undocumented Immigrants as Taxpayers,” (November 2007),; Eduardo Porter “ Illegal Immigrants are Bolstering Social Security with Billions,” New York Times, (April 5, 2005))


Recent research has shown that immigrant communities do not increase the crime rate and that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native born Americans.  While the undocumented immigrant population doubled from 1994 to 2005, violent crime dropped by 34% and property crimes decreased by 32%.  Furthermore, Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson has found that first generation immigrants are 45% less likely to commit violent crimes than Americanized, third generation immigrants.

(Source: Immigration Policy Center, “Ímmigrants and Crime: Are They Connected,” December, 2007, Robert Sampson, “Open Doors Don’t Invite Criminals,” The New York Times, March 11, 2006, A15; Executive Office of the President: Council of Economic Advisors, “Immigration’s Economic Impact,” June 20, 2007)


A recent study produced by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that “Rapid increases in the foreign-born population at the state level are not associated with negative effects on the employment of native-born workers.” In fact, given that the number of native born low wage earners is falling nationally, immigrants are playing an important role in offsetting that decline.  The Urban Institute reports that between 2000 and 2005 the total number of low wage workers declined by approximately 1.8 million while the number of unskilled immigrant workers increased by 620,000, thus offsetting the total decline by about a third.

(Source: The Urban Institute, “Trends in the Low-Wage Immigrant Labor Force, 2000-2005,” March, 2007, Rakesh Kochhar, “Growth in the Foreign Born Workforce and Employment of the Native Born,” Pew Hispanic Center, August 10, 2006,)


The immigrant community is not a drain on the U.S. economy but, in fact, proves to be a net benefit.  Research reported by both the CATO Institute and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors reveals that the average immigrant pays a net 80,000 dollars more in taxes than they collect in government services. For immigrants with college degrees the net fiscal return is $198,000.  Furthermore, The American Farm Bureau asserts that without guest workers the U.S. economy would lose as much as $9 billion a year in agricultural production and 20 percent of current production would go overseas.

(Source: CATO Institute, CATO Handbook for Congress: Policy Recommendations for the 108th Congress,; Executive Office of the President: Council of Economic Advisors, “Immigration’s Economic Impact,” June 20, 2007, ; Derrick Z. Jackson, “Undocumented Workers Contribute PlentyThe Boston Globe, April 12, 2006,)


Federal, state and local governments spend approximately 1.1 billion dollars annually on healthcare costs for undocumented immigrants, aged 18-64, or approximately $11 in taxes for each U.S. household.  This compares to 88 billion dollars spent on all health care for non-elderly adults in the U.S. in 2000.  Foreign born individuals tend to use fewer health care services because they are relatively healthier than their native born counterparts.  For example, in Los Angeles County, “total medical spending on undocumented immigrants was $887 million in 2000 – 6 percent of total costs, although undocumented immigrants comprise 12 percent of the region’s residents.”

(Source: The Rand Corporation, “RAND Study Shows Relatively Little Public Money Spent Providing Healthcare to Undocumented Immigrants,” November 14, 2006, ; Dana P. Goldman, James P. Smith and Neeraj Sood, “Immigrants and the Cost of Medical Care,” Health Affairs 25, no. 6 (2006): 1700-1711)



  • What does Border Angels do?
    • Border Angels is an all volunteer, non-profit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform, and social justice with a special focus on issues related to issues related to the US-Mexican border. Border Angels engages in community education and awareness programs that include guided trips to the desert to place water along migrant crossing routes as well as to the border to learn about the history of US-Mexico border policy and experience the border fence firsthand.
      Border Angels also works to serve San Diego County’s immigrant population through various migrant outreach programs such as Day Laborer outreach and our free legal assistance program held in our office every Tuesday. Border Angels works to dispel the various myths surrounding immigration in the United States and to bring back truth and justice.
    • Border Angels’ mission is to reduce the number of fatalities occurring along the Californian border through the placement of life saving water stations in the desert. Since the start of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, there has been a steady increase in the militarization of the United States/Mexico border, primarily due to the implementation of Operation Gatekeeper.
      Many years of devastating economic and immigration policies have created a situation where thousands of people from Mexico and Latin America risk their lives each year crossing into the United States in the hope of finding a better life.
      In the years since the inception of Operation Gatekeeper, an estimated 10,000 people have lost their lives during the journey due to extreme weather, lack of food and water, and the overall perilous nature of the trip.
    • For all of our events, check our calendar!
  • What is a non-profit organization?
    • A non-profit organization is an organization that pursues a goal other than making money. These organizations pursue a goal without the intention of distributing surplus revenues to its members. In economic terms, this all means that a non-profit organization such as Border Angels uses its excess revenue to help further achieve its mission. A non-profit organization is often dedicated to a social cause, as is Border Angels.
  • Where is Border Angels located?
    • Main office: 2258 Island Ave, San Diego CA 92102
    • Inside the Sherman Heights Community Center, on the left side from the entry.
    • Tijuana office: Paseo Costero 605