This Thursday evening is the first debate for the 2024 presidential election. Do you know people in your family, friend groups, community, or network who will likely take the anti-immigrant statements mentioned during the debate at face value?

Get ahead of the ruckus

Take five minutes to empower yourself with the preemptive fact-checking and information below so you can help to educate your family and friends. 

Push back against dehumanizing language

Politicians often use fearmongering tactics to push their immigration priorities forward, wielding erroneous phrases like “criminal” and “illegal” when speaking about immigrants—making it easier to vilify each other and harder to defend one another. As you listen to the debates on Thursday night, keep a critical ear for dehumanizing language and be a voice to help others imagine what it might look like if we all lived safely and humanely together. 

Join the Fight

During and after the debate, share posts that counter hateful narratives and spark hopeful conversations about what is possible. Follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and X to be the first to know about action alerts, volunteer opportunities, legal updates, and more. 


MYTH: Immigrants increase crime. 

During the debate, there will undoubtedly be references to the criminality of immigrants. The idea that immigrants are more prone to commit crimes is as false as it is overused. Study after study has shown that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated, immigrants commit crimes at rates less than people born in the U.S., and immigrant communities have lower crime rates. 

MYTH: Immigrants have no rights.

When discussing immigration, especially in the context of how to treat individual immigrants apprehended by the government, politicians often speak about them as if they have no rights. This false narrative underpins the inhumane and unjust proposals on how immigrants should be treated. In reality, however, immigrants (with and without legal status) are afforded due process protections, including protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. They also have the right to counsel in criminal cases and the right to a K-12 education. 

MYTH: Biden’s recent executive order banning asylum will “address our broken immigration system.”

Calling the immigration system “broken” implies that it once was unbroken. This executive order is the most extreme example of the Biden Administration’s continued efforts to eviscerate our asylum system and the rights of those fleeing dangerous situations—it does not fix this “broken” system. We need our leaders to prioritize building a humane and just immigration system that affords everyone robust due process and legal representation, protects people seeking safety, and keeps communities together. 

MYTH: Immigrants bring fentanyl to the U.S. when they cross the Southern border.

Immigrants arriving at the Southern border are fleeing persecution and political instability. So, it makes little sense for them to sneak fentanyl into the country, which could prevent them from being granted asylum or any other immigration relief. A recent report on fentanyl trafficking offenses shows that U.S. citizens actually traffic most illicit fentanyl that enters the county. 

MYTH: Immigrants drain the economy.

Politicians use this fallacy to pit groups of people facing barriers in our country against one another. When they say that immigrants drain our country’s resources, they are implying that only people who contribute to the economy deserve support, shelter, and safety. All people are an essential part of our communities, and while not a prerequisite for living here, immigrants in the U.S. make extensive contributions—including those to the economy—that benefit all. For example, in 2022, immigrants in the U.S. had a spending power of $1.6 trillion and paid $579 billion in taxes.  

MYTH: All undocumented people could be deported quickly.

Any politician promising to deport all undocumented people living in the U.S. is promoting a cruel fantasy borne of xenophobia and fearmongering. There is no legal avenue to deport all immigrants quickly. Due process rights apply in the context of deportation, and immigration courts continue to experience a historic backlog. Beyond the legal issues, there are simply not enough resources to accomplish such a task, and doing so would destroy families and devastate the economy. It would also endanger national security if resources from first responders and the military were diverted to support this effort, as proposed.  

MYTH: Immigrants must be detained to ensure compliance with immigration laws and help increase public safety.

“Catch and release” is not an immigration policy of any particular administration. Long ago, Congress passed laws giving immigration officials the authority to parole (temporarily allow entry of) certain categories of immigrants into the country while they waited for their immigration hearings and processes. 

Our laws permit people to participate in civil immigration processes. There is no need for ICE to treat immigrants like criminals: immigration detention should not exist. Access to counsel, not punishment, has the most significant effect on increasing participation in immigration hearings. Numerous studies establish that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than U.S. citizens. Detaining immigrants does not make us safer but actually comes at a huge cost to taxpayers and takes away resources that could benefit communities. 

Myth: Asylum can be banned.

In recent months and years, both major political parties have taken steps to shut down asylum at the Southern Border. Their facile attempts to win political points have endangered people’s lives. Asylum is a human right, codified into our laws and international treaties. Attempts to ban asylum will always be met with litigation and fierce fighting to ensure the rights of asylum seekers. People fleeing torture and persecution and seeking safety in the U.S. should never be turned away at our border. 

Myth: Any President can fix the system.

Our country’s immigration system is outdated, unjust, and racist. There has not been a major overhaul of the immigration system in over three decades, and recent attempts to do so have failed and mostly harmed immigrants. Creating a humane and modern immigration system would take an act of Congress. No President has the legal authority to tear down and rebuild immigration laws.  

Myth: People should just wait in Mexico until it is their turn.

The government has tried, under both political parties, to force asylum seekers to either stay in Mexico until they are allowed to cross the border at a designated point or to only enter a designated point after first jumping through legal and technological hoops. But this has been a disaster. The areas where people wait have created a humanitarian crisis, and the government has admitted it does not have the resources to process all people at designated entries. Seeking asylum is not illegal—despite how much the government tries to tamp it down.