Illegal immigration to the United States

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Illegal immigration to the United States
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{{pp-protected|small=yes}}{{Short description|Immigration to the U.S.A. in violation of American law}}{{Use American English|date=July 2015}}{{Use mdy dates|date=April 2017}}Illegal immigration to the United States is the process of migrating into the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. This can include foreign nationals who have entered the United States illegally, as well as those who entered legally but remained after the expiration of their entry visa or parole documents.{{uscsub|8|1101|a|13|A}} ("The terms 'admission' and 'admitted' mean, with respect to an alien, the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.") (emphasis added). Illegal immigration has been a matter of strong debate in the United States since the 1980s, and has been a major focus of President Donald Trump, as illustrated by his campaign to build a wall along the Mexico border.Research shows that illegal immigrants increase the size of the U.S. economy/contribute to economic growth, enhance the welfare of natives, contribute more in tax revenue than they collect, reduce American firms' incentives to offshore jobs and import foreign-produced goods, and benefit consumers by reducing the prices of goods and services. Economists estimate that legalization of the illegal immigrant population would increase the immigrants' earnings and consumption considerably, and increase U.S. gross domestic product. There is scholarly consensus that illegal immigrants commit less crime than natives. Sanctuary cities—which adopt policies designed to avoid prosecuting people solely for being in the country illegally—have no statistically meaningful impact on crime, and may reduce the crime rate.WEB,weblink Sanctuary cities do not experience an increase in crime, Collingwood, Loren, Gonzalez-O'Brien, Benjamin, El-Khatib, Stephen, October 3, 2016, Washington Post, October 3, 2016, Research suggests that immigration enforcement has no impact on crime rates.The illegal immigrant population of the United States peaked by 2007, when it was at 12.2 million and 4% of the total U.S. population.WEB,weblink 5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S., November 28, 2018, Pew Research Center, January 11, 2019, en-US, BOOK, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, 9. State and Local Effects of Immigration, Blau, Francine D., Mackie, Christopher, Panel on the Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2016-09-21, 9780309444453, en, 10.17226/23550, 10919/83151,weblink Estimates in 2016 put the number of unauthorized immigrants at 10.7 million, representing 3.3% of the total U.S. population. Since the Great Recession, more illegal immigrants have left the United States than entered it, and illegal border crossings are at the lowest in decades.NEWS,weblink How Much Credit Can President Trump Take for the Secure Border?, 2017-08-08, Cato Institute, 2017-08-23, en, NEWS,weblink Barack Obama, in Austin, says illegal immigration at 40-year low, @politifact, 2017-08-23, en, NEWS,weblink Trump says illegal immigration lowest in 17 years, @politifact, 2017-08-23, en, NEWS,weblink Are more undocumented immigrants leaving than coming?, @politifact, 2018-01-31, en, Since 2007, visa overstays have accounted for a larger share of the growth in the illegal immigrant population than illegal border crossings,NEWS,weblink AP FACT CHECK: Visa overstays outpace border crossings, Seitz, Amanda, Weissert, Will, 2019-01-04, AP NEWS, 2019-01-11, Weissert, Will, which have declined considerably from 2000 to 2018.NEWS,weblink Border Crossings Have Been Declining for Years, Despite Claims of a 'Crisis of Illegal Immigration', Qiu, Linda, June 20, 2018, The New York Times, January 11, 2019, en-US, 0362-4331, In 2012, 52% of unauthorized immigrants were from Mexico, 15% from Central America, 12% from Asia, 6% from South America, 5% from the Caribbean, and another 5% from Europe and Canada. As of 2016, approximately two-thirds of unauthorized adult immigrants had lived in the U.S. for at least a decade.{{TOC limit|limit=3}}


The categories of foreign-born people in the United States are:
  • US citizens born as citizens outside the United States
  • US citizens born outside the United States (naturalized and citizens by adoption)WEB,weblink Citizenship Through Naturalization, US Citizenship and Immigration Services: Department of Homeland Security, April 17, 2019,
  • Foreign-born non-citizens with current status to reside and/or work in the US (documented)WEB,weblink Visas, US Department of State, dead,weblink" title="">weblink January 8, 2014, mdy-all,
  • Foreign-born non-citizens without current status to reside and/or work in the US
  • Foreign-born non-citizens who are prohibited from entry (illegal and also inadmissible)WEB,weblink Title 8 § 1182 – Inadmissible aliens, Cornell University Law School,
The latter two constitute illegal or undocumented immigrants.Non-citizen residence can be or become illegal in one of four ways: by unauthorized entry, by failure of the employer to pay worker documentation fees, by staying beyond the expiration date of a visa or other authorization, or by violating the terms of legal entry.WEB,weblink Inspections Report, Inspections Division, Office of the Inspector General, Department of Justice, {{failed verification|date=April 2013}}{{failed verification|date=April 2013}}


{{further|History of immigration to the United States}}{{See also|List of United States immigration laws}}Fewer than seven years after ex-slaves had been granted citizenship in the Fourteenth Amendment, immigration controls were enacted with the Page Act of 1875, banning Chinese women, and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, expanded to all Chinese immigrants.BOOK,weblink Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-century Origins of American Immigration Policy, Hirota, Hidetaka, 2017, Oxford University Press, 9780190619213, en, Various Supreme Court rulings have been made regarding the Constitutional rights of illegal immigrants over the years. In Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886), the court ruled that under the Fourteenth Amendment, all people, regardless of "race, of color, or of nationality" or "aliens...alleged to be here illegally" have the right to due process and equal protection under the law.WEB,weblink FindLaw's United States Supreme Court case and opinions, A similar ruling of Wong Wing v. US (1896) stated that all persons within the territory of the United States are afforded equal protections under the Fifth Amendment and Sixth Amendment.WEB,weblink FindLaw's United States Supreme Court case and opinions, A 1904 court decision defined any alien as lacking Constitutional rights when not within the United States.{{efn|"... if an alien is not permitted to enter this country, or, having entered contrary to law, is expelled, he is in fact cut off from worshipping or speaking or publishing or petitioning in the country; but that is merely because of his exclusion therefrom. He does not become one of the people to whom these things are secured by our Constitution by an attempt to enter, forbidden by law. To appeal to the Constitution is to concede that this is a land governed by that supreme law, and as under it the power to exclude has been determined to exist, those who are excluded cannot assert the rights in general obtaining in a land to which they do not belong as citizens or otherwise." United States ex. rel. Turner v. Williams.}} Theodore Roosevelt signed the Naturalization Act of 1906, requiring immigrants to learn English in order to become citizens. In the third year of World War I, the Immigration Act of 1917 defined aliens with a long list of undesirables, including most Asians.WEB, Bromberg, Howard, Immigration Act of 1917,weblink Immigration to the United States, 16 August 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2015, dead, The U.S. had otherwise nearly open borders until the early 20th century,NEWS,weblink European immigrants to America in early 20th century assimilated successfully, Stanford economist says, Stanford University, 2017-09-02, en, JOURNAL, Abramitzky, Ran, Boustan, Leah Platt, 2017, Immigration in American Economic History, Journal of Economic Literature, 55, 4, 1311–1345, 10.1257/jel.20151189, 29398723, 5794227, BOOK,weblink Immigrants and the American City, Muller, Thomas, 1993, New York University Press, 9780814763278, en, with only 1% rejected from 1890 to 1924, usually because they failed the mental or health exam.NEWS,weblink Your immigrant ancestors came here legally? Are you sure?, The Philadelphia Inquirer,, June 25, 2017, Alan M. Kraut, "Plagues and Prejudice: Nativism's Construction of Disease in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century New York City," in David Rosner, ed., Hives of Sickness: Public Health and Epidemics in New York City (New Brunswick, 1995), p. 70: "The number of immigrants returned to their ports of origin never excessed 3 percent of the new arrivals in any given year [during the 1890–1924 period of peak immigration], and the average for the entire period was well below 1 percent."The Immigration Act of 1924, signed just a week before Native Americans were granted citizenship, established visa requirements and enacted quotas for immigrants from specific countries, especially targeting Southern and Eastern Europeans, particularly Italians and Jews,NEWS, Fisher, Marc, Open doors, slamming gates: The tumultuous politics of U.S. immigration policy,weblink January 28, 2017, The Washington Post, December 30, 2018, BOOK, Murrin, John M., Hämäläinen, Pekka, Johnson, Paul E., Brunsman, Denver, McPherson, James M., Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume 2: Since 1863, 2015, Cengage Learning,weblink 9781305686342, and effectively prohibited virtually all Asians from immigrating to America.WEB,weblink U.S Department of State Office of the Historian, The Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act), December 30, 2018, The quotas were eased in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, and a year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on national origin, an immigration and nationality act abolished the quota system while establishing other limits. A 1990 act increased the annual immigrant limit to 675,000 per year.File:Border Patrol Historical Archival Footage Reel 1.webm|thumb|Video of illegal immigrants crossing interstate 5 on July 19, 1991, immigrants congregate on north side of the Tijuana River levy, immigrants cross Tijuana River with plastic bags over legs, July 20, 1991 - Video by Carmen Castro U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionU.S. Customs and Border ProtectionThe debate over illegal immigration has continued amongst the fear of potential terrorist attacks in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001 and the lack of an effective Mexico–United States barrier. President Donald Trump enacted a travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries which had been identified by Obama as countries of concern, which was struck down as unconstitutional and replaced by a "watered down, politically correct version".NEWS,weblink Trump says he's calling it a 'travel ban', Scott, Eugene, De Vogue, Ariane, June 5, 2017, CNN, January 5, 2019, During his successful election campaign, Trump promised to make Mexico pay for a new border wall. The federal government entered a partial shutdown from December 22, 2018 to January 25, 2019 in a standoff over Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in funding for the wall.

Profile and demographics

{{Update|section|date=August 2017}}In 2012, an estimated 14 million people live in families in which the head of household or the spouse is in the United States without authorization. Illegal immigrants arriving recently before 2012 tend to be better educated than those who have been in the country a decade or more. A quarter of all immigrants who have arrived in recently before 2012 have at least some college education. Nonetheless, illegal immigrants as a group tend to be less educated than other sections of the U.S. population: 49 percent haven't completed high school, compared with 9 percent of native-born Americans and 25 percent of legal immigrants.Illegal immigrants work in many sectors of the U.S. economy. Illegal immigrants have lower incomes than both legal immigrants and native-born Americans, but earnings do increase somewhat the longer an individual is in the country.

Breakdown by state

{{as of|2014}}, the following data table shows a spread of distribution of locations where illegal immigrants reside by state.{|class="wikitable"|+State of residence: January 2014!State of residence!Estimated population in January!Percent of total!All states|12,120,000|100
!New York|640,000|5
!New Jersey|480,000|4
!North Carolina|400,000|3
!Other states|3,370,000|28


From 2005 to 2009, the number of people entering the U.S. illegally declined by nearly 67%, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, from 850,000 yearly average in the early 2000s to 300,000. The most recent estimates put the number of unauthorized immigrants at 11 million in 2015, representing 3.4% of the total U.S. population. The population of unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007, when it was at 12.2 million and 4% of the total U.S. population. As of 2014, unauthorized immigrant adults had lived in the U.S. for a median of 13.6 years, with approximately two-thirds having lived in the U.S. for at least a decade.(File:Apprehensions.png|thumb|US illegal immigrant apprehensions from US Border Patrol as of 2017.)Narrowing the discussion to only Mexican nationals, a 2015 study performed by demographers of the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of New Hampshire found that immigration from Mexico; both legal and illegal, peaked in 2003 and that from the period between 2003 and 2007 to the period of 2008 to 2012, immigration from Mexico decreased 57%. The dean of the College of Public Policy of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Rogelio Saenz, states that lower birth rates and the growing economy in Mexico slowed emigration, creating more jobs for Mexicans. Saenz also states that Mexican immigrants are no longer coming to find jobs but to flee from violence, noting that the majority of those escaping crime "are far more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens".NEWS, Forsyth, Jim, Study: Immigration from Mexico to the US has dropped 57 percent since the mid-2000s,weblink July 23, 2015, Business Insider, July 22, 2015, According to a 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research paper, "The number of undocumented immigrants has declined in absolute terms, while the overall population of low-skilled, foreign-born workers has remained stable. ... because major source countries for U.S. immigration are now seeing and will continue to see weak growth of the labor supply relative to the United States, future immigration rates of young, low-skilled workers appear unlikely to rebound, whether or not U.S. immigration policies tighten further."JOURNAL, Hanson, Gordon, Liu, Chen, McIntosh, Craig, August 2017, The Rise and Fall of U.S. Low-Skilled Immigration, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2017, 1, 83–168, 90013169, 10.1353/eca.2017.0001,weblink


{{see also|DREAM Act}}The Pew Hispanic Center determined that according to an analysis of Census Bureau data about 8 percent of children born in the United States in 2008—about 340,000—were offspring of illegal immigrants. (The report classifies a child as offspring of illegal immigrants if either parent is unauthorized.) In total, 4 million U.S.-born children of illegal immigrant parents resided in this country in 2009 (alongside 1.1 million foreign-born children of illegal immigrant parents).WEB,weblink Pew Hispanic Center, Unauthorized Immigrants and Their U.S.-Born Children, August 11, 2010, These infants are, according to the longstanding administrative interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, American citizens from birth. Congress has never legislated, nor the Supreme Court specifically ruled on whether babies born to visiting foreign nationals are eligible for automatic US Citizenship. These children are sometimes referred to as anchor babies because of the belief that the mother gave birth in the United States as a way to anchor their family in the US.WEB, Semotiuk, Andy, Immigration: The Myth Of The 'Anchor Baby',weblink Forbes, August 13, 2015,

2011–2016 surge in unaccompanied minors from Central America

Over the period 2011-2016, U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 178,825 unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.WEB,weblink How Central American Youth Test Outdated U.S. Immigration Laws,, 2017-09-13, The provisions of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which specifies safe repatriation of unaccompanied children (other than those trafficked for sex or forced labor) from countries which do not have a common border with the United States, such as the nations of Central America other than Mexico, made expeditious deportation of the large number of children from Central America who came to the United States in 2014 difficult and expensive, prompting a call by President Barack Obama for an emergency appropriation of $4 billionNEWS, Michael D. Shear, Jeremy W. Peters, Obama Asks for $3.7 Billion to Aid Border,weblink July 9, 2014, The New York Times, July 8, 2014, an urgent humanitarian situation., and resulting in discussions by the Department of Justice and Congress of how to interpret or revise the law in order to expedite handling large numbers of children under the act.NEWS, Carl Hulse, Immigrant Surge Rooted in Law to Curb Child Trafficking,weblink July 9, 2014, The New York Times, July 9, 2014, A 2016 study found that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows unauthorized immigrants who migrated to the United States before their 16th birthday and prior to June 2007 to temporarily stay, did not significantly impact the number of apprehensions of unaccompanied minors from Central America.JOURNAL, Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina, Puttitanun, Thitima, 2016-08-01, DACA and the Surge in Unaccompanied Minors at the US-Mexico Border, International Migration, en, 54, 4, 102–117, 10.1111/imig.12250, 1468-2435, Rather, "the 2008 Williams Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, along with violence in the originating countries and economic conditions in both the countries of origin and the United States, emerge as some of the key determinants of the recent surge in unaccompanied minors apprehended along the southwest US-Mexico border." According to a 2015 report by the Government Accountability Office, the primary drivers of the surge "were crime and lack of economic opportunity at home. Other reasons included education concerns, desire to rejoin family and aggressive recruiting by smugglers."NEWS,weblink AP FACT CHECK: What the Trump administration said about DACA, PBS NewsHour, 2017-09-06, en-US, A 2017 Center for Global Development study stated that violence was the primary driver behind the surge in unaccompanied Central American minors to the United States: an additional 10 homicides in Central America made 6 unaccompanied children flee to the US.REPORT,weblink Violence, Development, and Migration Waves: Evidence from Central American Child Migrant Apprehensions – Working Paper 459, Clemens, Michael A., Center For Global Development, July 27, 2017, 2017-09-02, en,

2018 zero tolerance policy

In April 2018 the then-attorney general of the Trump administration, Jeff Sessions, announced a zero tolerance policy regarding asylum seekers crossing the US southern border without a visa. Asylum seekers and their families who turned themselves in to Border Control agents were charged with criminal entry. If the asylum seekers had children, the children were removed from their parent's custody and placed in detention centers.Katy Vine, “What's Really Happening When Asylum-Seeking Families Are Separated?” Texas Monthly, 15 June, 2018. {{as of|2018|June}}, "thousands of children [have been] detained in makeshift shelters."Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear, “How Trump Came to Enforce a Practice of Separating Migrant Families”, New York Times, June 16, 2018 There was widespread condemnation of this policy including that of notable evangelical Christian leaders such as Franklin Graham.Samuel Smith, “Franklin Graham Blames Politicians of the Past for Trump Policy Separating Families at Border”, The Christian Post, 14 June 2018

Countries of origin

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the countries of origin for the largest numbers of illegal immigrants are as follows (latest of 2017):{|class="wikitable"!Country of origin!Raw number!Percent of total
|El Salvador|700,000|6
|Dominican Republic|180,000|1
According to the Migration Policy Institute, Mexicans represented 53% of the illegal population.WEB,weblink Profile of the Unauthorized Population - US,, en, 2019-01-09, The Urban Institute also estimates "between 65,000 and 75,000 Canadians currently live illegally in the United States."


(File:Selected Unauthorized Immigration Statistics.png|thumb|right|400px|Both the population of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. and southwestern border apprehensions have declined significantly over the past decade.Department of Homeland Security-Border Security Metrics Report-May 2018Pew Research Center-U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade-November 2018)In 2017, illegal border crossing arrests hit a 46-year low, and were down 25% from the previous year.NEWS, Burnett, John, Arrests For Illegal Border Crossings Hit 46-Year Low, 2017-12-05, 2019-02-16, NPR, Arrests of people trying to cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico plunged to the lowest level since 1971,weblink NPR stated that immigrants may be less likely to attempt to enter the U.S. illegally because of President Trump's stance on illegal immigration.WEB,weblink Trump says illegal immigration lowest in 17 years, WEB,weblink Illegal Border Crossings Are Down, and So is Business for Smugglers, The majority of illegal immigrants come from Mexico. Studies have shown that 40 million foreign born residents live in the US. 11.7 million of that population is illegal.BOOK, American History, Race and the Struggle for Equality, Kawashima, Masaki, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 978-981-10-1976-0, Singapore, 10.1007/978-981-10-1977-7, During the 1950s, there were 45,000 documented immigrants from Central America. In the 1960s, this number more than doubled to 100,000. In the decade after, it increased to 134,000.BOOK, Seeking Community in a Global City: Guatemalans and Salvadorans in Los Angeles, Hamilton, Nora, Chinchilla, Norma, Temple University Press, 2001, Philadelphia, In September 2019, Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard stated that immigration to the U.S. through Mexico has decreased significantly, and that this trend is "irreversible. ... It is something that we think will be permanent.”NEWS,weblink Mexican foreign minister cites sharp decrease in immigration to U.S., 2019-09-10, Reuters, 2019-09-11, en,

Illegal entry

The Pew Hispanic Center estimated that 6–7 million immigrants came to the United States via illegal entry (the rest entering via legal visas allowing a limited stay, but then not leaving when their visa period ended). There are an estimated half million illegal entries into the United States each year. Illegal border crossings have declined considerably from 2000, when 71,000–220,000 migrants were apprehended each month, to 2018 when 20,000–40,000 migrants were apprehended.A common means of border crossing is to hire people smugglers to help them across the border. Those operating on the U.S.-Mexico border are known informally as coyotajes (coyotes). Criminal gangs smuggling illegal immigrants from China are known as snakeheads, and charge as much as US$70,000 per person, which immigrants often promise to pay with money they hope to earn in the United States."Sharp rise in Chinese arrests at U.S. border". Los Angeles Times. October 5, 2009.JOURNAL, Keefe, Patrick Radden, Snakeheads and Smuggling: The Dynamics of Illegal Chinese Immigration, World Policy Journal, 2009, 26, 1, 33–44, 40210104, 0740-2775, 10.1162/wopj.2009.26.1.33,

Visa overstay

According to Pew, between 4 and 5.5 million foreigners entered the United States with a legal visa, accounting for between 33–50% of the total population. A tourist or traveler is considered a "visa overstay" once he or she remains in the United States after the time of admission has expired. The time of admission varies greatly from traveler to traveler depending on the visa class into which they were admitted. Visa overstays tend to be somewhat more educated and better off financially than those who entered the country illegally. In most instances, overstaying a visa is a civil "wrong", not necessarily a Crime|crime]weblink help track visa overstayers the US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) program collects and retains biographic, travel, and biometric information, such as photographs and fingerprints, of foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States. It also requires electronic readable passports containing this information.Visa overstayers mostly enter with tourist or business visas. In 1994, more than half of illegal immigrants were Visa overstayers whereas in 2006, about 45% of illegal immigrants were Visa overstayers.Those who leave the United States after overstaying their visa for more than 180 days but less than one year, leave and then attempt to apply for readmission will face a three-year ban which will not allow them to re-enter the U.S. for that period. Those who leave the United States after overstaying their visa for a period of one year or longer, leave and then attempt to apply for readmission will face a ten-year ban.WEB,weblink Immigration | Visa Overstay and Illegal Presence in the US | ISSS | Temple University, January 16, 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink October 21, 2016, mdy,

Border Crossing Card violation

A smaller number of illegal immigrants entered the United States legally using the Border Crossing Card, a card that authorizes border crossings into the U.S. for a set amount of time. Border Crossing Card entry accounts for the vast majority of all registered non-immigrant entry into the United States—148 million out of 179 million total—but there is little hard data as to how much of the illegal immigrant population entered in this way. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the number at around 250,000–500,000.

In the workforce

Illegal immigrants within the workforce are extremely vulnerable due to their status. Being illegal makes these individuals susceptible to exploitation by employers as they are more willing to work through bad conditions and low income jobs — consequently making themselves vulnerable to abuse.WEB,weblink ProQuest Ebook Central,, en, 2018-03-07, Most illegal migrants end up being hired by U.S. employers who exploit the low-wage market produced through immigration. Typical jobs include: janitorial services, clothing production, and household work.Many illegal Latin American immigrants are inclined to the labor market because of the constraints they have with their job opportunities. This consequently forms an informal sector within the labor market. As a result, this attachment formulates an ethnic identity for this sector.Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996. This prevented federal, state, and local public benefits from flowing to illegal immigrants. It also required federal and state agencies to disclose if someone was illegal. Additionally, PRWORA prohibited states from giving professional licenses to those illegal.BOOK,weblink A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform: Perspectives from a Former US Attorney General, Gonzales, A.R., Strange, D.N., Bakken, G.M., Texas Tech University Press, 2014, 9780896728974, Though PRWORA prevents public benefits from flowing to illegal immigrants, there are exceptions. Illegal immigrants are still entitled to medical assistance, immunizations, disaster relief, and k-12 education. Despite this, federal law still requires local and state governments to deny benefits to those illegal. The implementation of PRWORA demonstrated the shift towards personal responsibility over "public dependency."BOOK,weblink The Undocumented Everyday: Migrant Lives and the Politics of Visibility, Schreiber, Rebecca, University of Minnesota Press, 2018, 9781452956398, Minneapolis, There were about eight million undocumented workers in the United States in 2010. These workers were 5% of America's workforce.

Organized migrant caravans

For several years, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which means "People Without Borders" has organized an annual part-protest, part-mass migration march, from Honduras, through Mexico, to the United States border, where asylum in the United States is requested.WEB,weblink Why Trump's military response to a "migrant caravan" is so scary, newstatesman, 5 April 2018, 17 October 2018, In April 2018, the annual "Stations of the Cross Caravan" saw 1,000 Central Americans trying to reach the United States, prompting President Trump to deem it a threat to national security and announce plans to send the national guard to protect the US border.WEB,weblink 'If our countries were safe, we wouldn't leave': the harsh reality of Mexico's migrant caravan, The Guardian, 6 April 2018, 17 October 2018, In October 2018, a second caravan of the year left the city of San Pedro Sula the day after US vice-president, Mike Pence, urged the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to persuade their citizens to stay home.WEB,weblink 'Yes, we can': caravan of 1,600 Honduran migrants crosses Guatemala border, The Guardian, 6 April 2018, 17 October 2018,


There are however numerous incentives which draw foreigners to the US. Most illegal immigrants who come to America come for better opportunities for employment, a greater degree of freedom, avoidance of political oppression, freedom from violence, famine, and family reunification.BOOK, Anderson, Oliver C., Illegal Immigration: Causes, Methods, and Effects, 2010, Nova Science Publishers, New York, 978-1-61668-033-6, JOURNAL, Orrenius, Pia, 2014-06-01, Enforcement and illegal migration,weblink IZA World of Labor, en-US, 10.15185/izawol.81, JOURNAL, Hanson, Gordon H, Spilimbergo, Antonio, December 1999, Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border, American Economic Review, en, 89, 5, 1337–1357, 10.1257/aer.89.5.1337, 0002-8282,, NEWS,weblink No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes, 2016-08-24, American Immigration Council, 2017-09-05, International polls by the Gallup organization from 2013 to 2016 in 156 foreign countries found that about 147 million adults would, if they could, move to the US, making it the most-desired destination country for potential migrants worldwide, followed by Germany and Canada.Neli Esipova, Julie Ray, and Anita Pugliese, Number of potential migrants worldwide tops 700 million Gallup, 8 June 2017.

Causes by region

In general, illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America come for economic reasons, but also sometimes due to political oppression.{{Better source|date=September 2017}} From Asia, they come for economic reasons but some come involuntarily as indentured servants or sex slaves.{{Better source|date=September 2017}} From Sub-Saharan Africa, they come for economic activities and there is some chance of slave trade.{{Better source|date=September 2017}} From Eastern Europe, they come for economic activities and to rejoin family already in the United States. However, there are also some who come involuntarily who work in the sex industry.{{Better source|date=September 2017}}

Economic incentives

Economic reasons are one motivation for people to illegally immigrate to the United States. United States employers hire illegal immigrants at wages substantially higher than they could earn in their native countries.Judith Gans. "Illegal Immigration to the United States: Causes and Policy Solutions {{webarchive |url= |date=March 5, 2016 }}". 3. Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, Feb. 2007. Web. October 25, 2012. A study of illegal immigrants from Mexico in the 1978 harvest season in Oregon showed that they earned six times what they could have earned in Mexico, and even after deducting the costs of the seasonal migration and the additional expense of living in the United States, their net U.S. earnings were three times their Mexican alternative.JOURNAL, Chiswick, Barry R., Illegal Immigration and Immigration Control (Summer, 1988), 1988, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2, 3, 101–115, PDF, 10.1257/jep.2.3.101, In the 1960s and early 70s, Mexico's high fertility rate caused a large increase in population. While Mexican population growth has slowed, the large numbers of people born in the 1960s and 70s are now of working age looking for jobs.According to Judith Gans of the University of Arizona, United States employers are pushed to hire illegal immigrants for three main reasons:
  1. Global economic change. Global economic change is one cause for illegal immigration because information and transportation technologies now foster internationalized production, distribution and consumption, and labor. This has encouraged many countries to open their economies to outside investment, then increasing the number of low-skilled workers participating in global labor markets and making low-skilled labor markets all more competitive. This and the fact that developed countries have shifted from manufacturing to knowledge-based economies, have realigned economic activity around the world. Labor has become more international as individuals immigrate seeking work, despite governmental attempts to control this migration. Because the United States education system creates relatively few people who either lack a high school diploma or who hold PhDs, there is a shortage of workers needed to fulfill seasonal low-skilled jobs as well as certain high-skilled jobs. To fill these gaps, the United States immigration system attempts to compensate for these shortages by providing for temporary immigration by farm workers and seasonal low-skilled workers, and for permanent immigration by high-skilled workers.
  2. A lack of legal immigration channels.
  3. The ineffectiveness of current employer sanctions for illegal hiring. This allows immigrants who are in the country illegally to easily find jobs. There are three reasons for this ineffectiveness—the absence of reliable mechanisms for verifying employment eligibility, inadequate funding of interior immigration enforcement, and the absence of political will due to labor needs to the United States economy. For example, it is unlawful to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant, but according to Judith Gans, there are no reliable mechanisms in place for employers to verify that the immigrants' papers are authentic.
Another reason for the large numbers of illegal immigrants present in the United States is the termination of the bracero program. This bi-national program between the U.S. and Mexico existed from 1942 to 1964 to supply qualified Mexican laborers as guest workers to harvest fruits and vegetables in the United States. During World War II, the program benefited the U.S. war effort by replacing citizens' labor in agriculture to serve as soldiers overseas. The program was designed to provide legal flows of qualified laborers to the U.S. Many Mexicans deemed unqualified for the program nonetheless immigrated illegally to the United States to work. In doing that they broke both U.S. and Mexican law.Kelly Lytle Hernández, "The Crimes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration: A Cross-Border Examination of Operation Wetback, 1943–1954." The Western Historical Quarterly vol. 37, no. 4, (Winter 2006), p. 423 Many legal temporary workers became illegal when they chose to continue working in the U.S. after this program ended. The change in law was not accompanied by a change in economic incentives for Mexican workers and the American growers.

Channels for legal immigration

The United States immigration system provides channels for legal, permanent economic immigration, especially for high-skilled workers. For low-skilled workers, temporary or seasonal legal immigration is easier to acquire. The United States immigration system rests on three pillars: family reunification, provision of scarce labor (as in agricultural and specific high-skilled worker sectors), and protecting American workers from competition with foreign workers. The current system sets an overall limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants each year; this limit does not apply to spouses, unmarried minor children or parents of U.S. citizens.Jost, Kenneth. "Immigration Conflict: Should States Crack down on Unlawful Aliens? {{webarchive |url= |date=March 10, 2016 }}" The CQ Researcher Online 22.10 (1923): n.p. CQ Researcher by CQ Press. March 9, 2012. Web. October 25, 2012. Outside of this number for permanent immigrants, 480,000 visas are allotted for those under the family-preference rules and 140,000 are allocated for employment-related preferences. The current system and low number of visas available make it difficult for low-skilled workers to legally and permanently enter the country to work, so illegal entry becomes the way immigrants respond to the lure of jobs with higher wages than what they would be able to find in their current country.

Family reunification

{{see also|Family reunification|History of laws concerning immigration and naturalization in the United States}}According to demographer Jeffery Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center, the flow of Mexicans to the U.S. has produced a "network effect"—furthering immigration as Mexicans moved to join relatives already in the U.S.

Further incentives

Lower costs of transportation, communication and information has facilitated illegal immigration. Mexican nationals, in particular, have a very low financial cost of immigration and can easily cross the border. Even if it requires more than one attempt, they have a very low probability of being detected and then deported once they have entered the country.

International controversies

Mexican federal and state government assistance

The US Department of Homeland Security and some advocacy groups have criticized a program of the government of the state of Yucatán and that of a federal Mexican agency directed to Mexicans migrating to and residing in the United States. They state that the assistance includes advice on how to get across the U.S. border illegally, where to find healthcare, enroll their children in public schools, and send money to Mexico. The Mexican federal government also issues identity cards to Mexicans living outside of Mexico.
  • In 2005, the government of Yucatán produced a handbook and DVD about the risks and implications of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The guide told immigrants where to find health care, how to get their kids into U.S. schools, and how to send money home. Officials in Yucatán said the guide is a necessity to save lives but some American groups accused the government of encouraging illegal immigration.
  • In 2005, the Mexican government was criticized for distributing a comic book which offers tips to illegal emigrants to the United States. That comic book recommends to illegal immigrants, once they have safely crossed the border, "Don't call attention to yourself. ... Avoid loud parties. ... Don't become involved in fights." The Mexican government defends the guide as an attempt to save lives. "It's kind of like illegal immigration for dummies," said the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, Mark Krikorian. "Promoting safe illegal immigration is not the same as arguing against it". The comic book does state on its last page that the Mexican Government does not promote illegal crossing at all and only encourages visits to the US with all required documentation.

Legal issues

(File:20190114 Illegal immigration - removals and returns.png|thumb|right| Department of Homeland Security's report of number of illegal immigrants removed or returned, numbers through 2016.WEB, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Table 39. Aliens Removed Or Returned: Fiscal Years 1892 To 2016,weblink,weblink January 12, 2019, 2018, live, DHS explanation: "Removals are the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States based on an order of removal. An alien who is removed has administrative or criminal consequences placed on subsequent reentry owing to the fact of the removal. Returns are the confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States not based on an order of removal."){{See also|Operation Streamline#Criminal prosecution of illegal entry and re-entry|label 1=Criminal prosecution of illegal entry and re-entry under the Operation Streamline}}Aliens can be classified as unlawfully present for one of three reasons: entering without authorization or inspection, staying beyond the authorized period after legal entry, or violating the terms of legal entry.

Improper entry

Section 1325 in Title 8 of the United States Code, "Improper entry of alien", provides for a fine, imprisonment, or both for any non-citizen who:The maximum prison term is 6 months for the first offense with a misdemeanor and 2 years for any subsequent offense with a felony. In addition to the above criminal fines and penalties, civil fines may also be imposed.

Visa overstay

Aliens entering the country legally and overstaying their visas for less than 180 days are (beyond deportation) subject only to the civil penalty of being restricted as to where they can apply for another US visa.Temple University, Visa overstay and illegal presence in the US, accessed 23 June 2018. Since 2007, visa overstays have accounted for a larger share of the growth in the illegal immigrant population than illegal border crossings.

Unlawful residence

Those "unlawfully present" in the US for more than 180 consecutive days but less than a year, because of visa overstay or any other reason, are subject to the civil penalty of being barred from readmission to the US for three years; those overstaying for more than a year are barred from readmission to the US for ten years.Arizona passed immigration enforcement law Arizona SB 1070 in April 2010, which was at the time the "toughest bill on illegal immigration" in the United States, and was challenged by the Department of Justice as encroaching on powers reserved by the United States Constitution to the Federal Government. On July 28, 2010, United States District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction affecting the most controversial parts of the law, including the section that required police officers to check a person's immigration status after a person had been involved in another act or situation which resulted in police activity. In 2016, Arizona reached a settlement with a number of immigrants rights organizations, including the National Immigration Law Center, overturning this aspect of the bill. The practice had led to racial profiling of Latinos and other minorities.WEB, Duara, Nigel, Arizona's Once-Feared Immigration Law, SB 1070, Loses Most of Its Power in Settlement,weblink Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2017,


Illegal immigrants are generally not allowed to receive state or local public benefits, which includes professional licenses.{{USC|8|1621}} However, in 2013 the California State Legislature passed laws allowing illegal immigrants to obtain professional licenses. On February 1, 2014. Sergio C. Garcia became the first illegal immigrant to be admitted to the State Bar of California since 2008, when applicants were first required to list citizenship status on bar applications.NEWS, Medina, Jennifer, Allowed to Join the Bar, but Not to Take a Job,weblink June 1, 2014, The New York Times, January 2, 2014,


(File:2019 US Mexico Border Crossing apprehension (48036606282).jpg|thumb|US Border Patrol agents review documents of individuals suspected of attempted illegal entry in 2019)Federal law enforcement agencies, specifically U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Border Patrol (USBP), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA), and to some extent, the United States Armed Forces, state and local law enforcement agencies, and civilians and civilian groups guard the border.

At workplace

Before 2007, immigration authorities alerted employers of mismatches between reported employees' Social Security cards and the actual names of the card holders. In September 2007, a federal judge halted this practice of alerting employers of card mismatches.At times illegal hiring has not been prosecuted aggressively: between 1999 and 2003, according to The Washington Post, "work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Major employers of illegal immigrants have included:
  • Wal-Mart: In 2005, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $11 million to settle a federal investigation that found hundreds of illegal immigrants were hired by Wal-Mart's cleaning contractors.
  • Swift & Co.: In December 2006, in the largest such crackdown in American history, U.S. federal immigration authorities raided Swift & Co. meat-processing plants in six U.S. states, arresting about 1,300 illegal immigrant employees.
  • Tyson Foods: This company was accused of actively importing illegal labor for its chicken packing plants; at trial, however, the jury acquitted the company after evidence was presented that Tyson went beyond mandated government requirements in demanding documentation for its employees.
  • Gebbers Farms: In December 2009, U.S. immigration authorities forced this Brewster, Washington, farm known for its fruit orchards to fire more than 500 illegal workers, mostly immigrants from Mexico. Some were working with false social security cards and other false identification.
File:ElPaso-Juarez-EO.jpg|thumb|left|upright=0.9|El PasoEl Paso


About 31,000 people who are not American citizens are held in immigration detention on any given day, including children, in over 200 detention centers, jails, and prisons nationwide.{{Citation|title=Rethinking Immigration Detention|ssrn=1556867|year=2010|author=Anil Kalhan|journal=Columbia Law Review Sidebar|volume=110|pages=42–58|accessdate=}} The United States government held more than 300,000 people in immigration detention in 2007 while deciding whether to deport them.


Deportations of immigrants, which are also referred to as removals, may be issued when immigrants are found to be in violation of US immigration laws. Deportations may be imposed on a person who is neither native-born nor a naturalized citizen of the United States.WEB,weblink deportation (law) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia,, November 5, 2012, Deportation proceedings are also referred to as removal proceedings and are typically initiated by the Department of Homeland Security. The United States issues deportations for various reasons which include security, protection of resources, and protection of jobs.Deportations from the United States increased by more than 60 percent from 2003 to 2008, with Mexicans accounting for nearly two-thirds of those deported. Under the Obama administration, deportations have increased to record levels beyond the level reached by the George W. Bush administration with a projected 400,000 deportations in 2010, 10 percent above the deportation rate of 2008 and 25 percent above 2007. Fiscal year 2011 saw 396,906 deportations, the largest number in the history of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; of those, about 55% had been convicted of crimes or misdemeanors, including: 44,653 convicted of drug-related crimes, 35,927 convicted of driving under the influence, 5,848 convicted of sexual offenses, and 1,119 convicted of homicide.NEWS,weblink U.S. deportations reach historic levels, Jim Barnett, October 18, 2011, October 18, 2011, CNN, By the end of 2012, as many people had been deported during the first four years of the Obama presidency as were deported during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush;The New York Times: "Seeing Citizenship Path Near, Activists Push Obama to Slow Deportations" by Michael D. Schear {{webarchive |url= |date=May 18, 2013 }} February 22, 2013 the number of deportations under Obama totalled 2.5 million by the end of 2015.WEB,weblink Obama Has Deported More People Than Any Other President, A. B. C., News, October 19, 2016,

The AEDPA and IIRIRA Acts of 1996

Two major pieces of legislation passed in 1996 had a significant effect on illegal immigration and deportations in the United States; the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). These were introduced following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, both of which were terrorist attacks that claimed American lives. These two acts changed the way criminal cases of lawful permanent residents were handled, resulting in increased deportations from the United States.JOURNAL, 2000, Understanding the Impact of the 1996 Deportation Laws and the Limited Scope of Proposed Reforms, Harvard Law Review, 113, 8, 1936–62, 10.2307/1342314, 1342314, Morawetz, N., Before the 1996 deportation laws, there were two steps that lawful permanent noncitizen residents who were convicted of crimes went through. The first step determined whether or not the person was deportable. The second step determined if that person should or shouldn't be deported. Before the 1996 deportation laws, the second step prevented many permanent residents from being deported by allowing for their cases to be reviewed in full before issuing deportations. External factors were taken into consideration such as the effect deportation would have on a person's family members and a person's connections with their country of origin. Under this system permanent residents were able to be relieved of deportation if their situation deemed it unnecessary. The 1996 laws however issued many deportations under the first step, without going through the second step, resulting in a great increase in deportations.{{Citation needed|date=September 2017}}One significant change that resulted from the new laws was the definition of the term aggravated felony. Being convicted of a crime that is categorized as an aggravated felony results in mandatory detention and deportation. The new definition of aggravated felony includes crimes such as shoplifting, which would be a misdemeanor in many states. The new laws have categorized a much wider range of crimes as aggravated felonies. The effect of this has been a large increase in permanent residents facing mandatory deportation from the United States without the opportunity to plea for relief. The 1996 deportation laws have received a lot of criticism for their curtailing of residents' rights.

The USA Patriot Act

The USA Patriot Act was passed seven weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The purpose of the act was to give the government more power to act upon suspicion of terrorist activity. The new governmental powers granted by this act included a significant expansion of the conditions in which illegal immigrants could be deported based on suspicion of terrorist activity. The act gave the government the power to deport individuals based not only on plots or acts of terrorism, but on affiliations with certain organizations. The Secretary of State designated specific organizations foreign terrorist organizations before the USA Patriot Act was implemented. Organizations on this list were deemed dangerous because they were actively involved in terrorist activity. The Patriot Act created a type of organization called designated organizations. The Secretary of State and Attorney General were given the power to designate any organization that supported terrorist activity on any level. The act also allows for deportation based on involvement in undesignated organizations that were deemed suspicious.JOURNAL, 2003, Patriotic or Unconstitutional? The Mandatory Detention of Aliens under the USA Patriot Act, Stanford Law Review, 55, 4, 1419–56, 1229608, Sinnar, S., Under the USA Patriot Act the Attorney General was granted the power to "certify" illegal immigrants that pose a threat to national security. Once an illegal immigrant is certified they must be taken into custody and face mandatory detention which will result in a criminal charge or release. The Patriot Act has been criticized for violating the Fifth Amendment right to due process. Under the Patriot Act, an illegal immigrant is not granted the opportunity for a hearing before given certification.WEB,weblink 39 Harvard Journal on Legislation 2002 "USA Patriot Act Recent Developments",, November 5, 2012,

Complications of birthright citizen children and illegal immigrant parents

Complications in deportation efforts ensue when parents are illegal immigrants but their children are birthright citizens. Federal appellate courts have upheld the refusal by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to stay the deportation of illegal immigrants merely on the grounds that they have U.S.-citizen, minor children. As of 2005, there were some 3.1 million United States citizen children living in families in which the head of the family or a spouse was unauthorized; at least 13,000 children had one or both parents deported in the years 2005–2007.{{Failed verification|date=June 2018}}


The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) was an American legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for illegal immigrants in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency. The bill was first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001 and has since been reintroduced several times but did not pass. It was intended to stop the deportation of people who had arrived as children and had grown up in the U.S. The Act would give lawful permanent residency under certain conditions which include: good moral character, enrollment in a secondary or post-secondary education program, and having lived in the United States at least 5 years. Those in opposition of the DREAM Act believe that it encourages illegal immigration.JOURNAL,weblink 55 Stanford Law Review 2002–2003 Patriotic or Unconstitutional – The Mandatory Detention of Aliens under the USA Patriot Act Note, Stanford Law Review, 55, 1419, November 5, 2012, 2002-2003, Sinnar, Shirin, Although the DREAM Act has not been enacted by federal legislation, a number of its provisions were implemented by a memorandum issued by Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration. To be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), one must show that they were under 31 years of age {{as of|2012|June|15|lc=y|df=US}}; that they came to the United States before their 16th birthday; that they have continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, until the present; that they were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time they applied for DACA; that they were not authorized to be in the United States on June 15, 2012; that they are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and that they have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.For more information please visit WEB,weblink Archived copy, October 4, 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 20, 2015, mdy,

Deportation trends

(File:Immigration Enforcement 1995-2015.png|thumb|United States immigration enforcement actions, 1995–2015{{clarify|date=September 2018}})There have been two major periods of mass deportations in U.S. history. In the Mexican Repatriation of the 1930s, through mass deportations and forced migration, an estimated 500,000 Mexicans and Mexican Americans were deported or coerced into emigrating, in what Mae Ngai, an immigration historian at the University of Chicago, has described as "a racial removal program". The majority of those removed were U.S. citizens. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., cosponsor of a U.S. House Bill that calls for a commission to study the "deportation and coerced emigration" of U.S. citizens and legal residents, has expressed concerns that history could repeat itself, and that should illegal immigration be made into a felony, this could prompt a "massive deportation of U.S. citizens".In Operation Wetback in 1954, the United States and the Mexican governments cooperated to deport illegal immigrant Mexicans in the U.S. to Mexico. This cooperation was part of more harmonious Mexico-United States relations starting in World War II. Joint border policing operations were established in the 1940s when the Bracero Program (1942–1964) brought qualified Mexicans to the U.S. as guest workers. Many Mexicans who did not qualify for the program migrated illegally. According to Mexican law, Mexican workers needed authorization to accept employment in the U.S. As Mexico industrialized post-World War II in what was called the Mexican Miracle, Mexico wanted to preserve "one of its greatest natural resources, a cheap and flexible labor supply."Kelly Lytle Hernádez, "The Crimes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration: A Cross-Border Examination of Operation Wetback, 1943–1954," The Western Historical Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 4, (Winter 2006), p. 425. In some cases along with their U.S. born children (who are citizens according to U.S. law), some illegal immigrants, fearful of potential violence as police swarmed through Mexican American barrios throughout the southeastern states, stopping "Mexican-looking" citizens on the street and asking for identification, fled to Mexico.In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act that gave amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants in the country."A Reagan Legacy: Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants". NPR: National Public Radio. July 4, 2010WEB
, Archived copy
, November 6, 2010
, dead
,weblink" title="">weblink
, November 23, 2016
, mdy
, A direct effect of the deportation laws of 1996 and the Patriot Act has been a dramatic increase in deportations. Prior to these acts deportations had remained at about an average of 20,000 per year. Between 1990 and 1995 deportations had increased to about an average of 40,000 a year. From 1996 to 2005 the yearly average had increased to over 180,000. In the year 2005 the number of deportations reached 208,521 with less than half being deported under criminal grounds.JOURNAL, Hagan, J., Eschbach, K., Rodriguez, N., U.S. Deportation Policy, Family Separation, and Circular Migration, 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2007.00114.x, International Migration Review, 42, 64, 2008, According to a June 2013 report published by the Washington Office on Latin America, dangerous deportation practices are on the rise and pose a serious threat to the safety of the migrants being deported. These practices include repatriating migrants to border cities with high levels of drug-related violence and criminal activity, night deportations (approximately 1 in 5 migrants reports being deported between the hours of 10{{nbsp}}pm and 5{{nbsp}}am), and "lateral repatriations", or the practice of moving migrants from the region where they were detained to areas hundreds of miles away.Isacson, Adam and Maureen Meyer. "Dangerous Deportation Practices that put Migrants at Risk. {{webarchive |url= |date=February 27, 2014 }}" Washington Office on Latin America, June 4, 2013. Retrieved July 31, 2013. These practices increase the risk of gangs and organized criminal groups preying upon the newly arrived migrants.In 2013, deportation prioritization guidance used by Immigration and Customs enforcement, was extended to Customs and Border Protection, under the Obama Administration's prosecutorial discretion plan.NEWS, Schlanger, Margo, November 25, 2014, A Civil Rights Lawyer Explains Why Obama's Immigration Order Is an Even Bigger Deal Than It Seems,weblink New Republic, January 30, 2015, This has led to a reduction of the number of deportations of those who are in "non-priority" categories.WEB,weblink ICE Enforcement Collapses Further in 2014, Jessica Vaughn, October 2014, Backgrounds and Reports, Center for Immigration Studies, January 30, 2015, According to survey by the Associated Press conducted in August 2014, The Homeland Security Department was on pace to remove the fewest immigrants since 2007. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency responsible for deportations, sent home 258,608 immigrants between the start of the budget year—October 1, 2013. and July 28, 2014—a decrease of nearly 20 percent from the same period in 2013, when 320,167 people were removed. Obama announced earlier in 2014 plans to slow down deportations; recently these were put on hold until the November 2014 election.WEB, Caldwell, Alicia, Deportations down 20 percent, fewest since 2007,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, September 13, 2014, AP, September 13, 2014, A study by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, estimated that the cost of forcibly removing most of the nation's estimated 10 million illegal immigrants is $41 billion a year.

Military involvement

In 1995, the United States Congress considered an exemption from the Posse Comitatus Act, which generally prohibits direct participation of U.S. soldiers and airmen (and sailors and Marines by policy of the Department of the Navy) in domestic law enforcement activities, such as search, seizure, and arrests.In 1997, Marines shot and killed 18-year-old U.S. citizen Esequiel Hernández Jr while on a mission to interdict smuggling and illegal immigration near the border community of Redford, Texas. The Marines observed the high school student from concealment while he was tending his family's goats in the vicinity of their ranch. At one point, Hernandez raised his .22-caliber rifle and fired shots in the direction of the concealed soldiers. He was subsequently tracked for 20 minutes then shot and killed. In reference to the incident, military lawyer Craig T. Trebilcock argues, "the fact that armed military troops were placed in a position with the mere possibility that they would have to use force to subdue civilian criminal activity reflects a significant policy shift by the executive branch away from the posse comitatus doctrine." The killing of Hernandez led to a congressional review and an end to a nine-year-old policy of the military aiding the Border Patrol.After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the United States again considered placing soldiers along the U.S.–Mexico border as a security measure. In May 2006, President George W. Bush announced plans to use the National Guard to strengthen enforcement of the US-Mexico Border from illegal immigrants, emphasizing that Guard units "will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities". Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said in an interview with a Mexico City radio station, "If we see the National Guard starting to directly participate in detaining people ... we would immediately start filing lawsuits through our consulates."The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called on the President not to deploy troops to deter illegal immigrants, and stated that a "deployment of National Guard troops violates the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act". According to the State of the Union address in January 2007, more than 6,000 National Guard members have been sent to the border to supplement the Border Patrol, costing in excess of $750 million.

Sanctuary cities

File:Map of Sanctuary Cities and Counties in the United States.svg|thumb|right|upright=1.6|{{center|Sanctuary Cities in the United States*}}{{legend|#A6CEE3|State has legislation in place that establishes a statewide sanctuary for illegal immigrants}}{{legend|#33A02C|County or county equivalent either contains a municipality that is a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, or is one itself}}{{legend|#FB9A99|All county jails in the state do not honor ICE detainers}}{{legend|#B2DF8A|Alongside statewide legislation or policies establishing sanctuary for illegal immigrants, county contains a municipality that has policy or has taken action to further provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants}}
  • Map is based on data published by (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement|ICE]] in a February 2017 report outlining jurisdictions that have declined ICE detainers.)
Several U.S. cities have instructed their own law enforcement personnel and civilian employees not to notify the federal government when they become aware of illegal immigrants living within their jurisdiction.There is no official definition of "sanctuary city".NEWS,weblink What Are Sanctuary Cities?, The New York Times, 2016-09-03, Lee, Jasmine C., Omri, Rudy, Preston, Julia, Cities which have been referred to as "sanctuary cities" by various politicians include Washington, D.C.; New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; San Diego; Austin; Salt Lake City; Dallas; Detroit; Honolulu; Houston; Jersey City; Minneapolis; Miami; Denver; Aurora, Colorado; Baltimore; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Portland, Maine; and Senath, Missouri, have become "sanctuary cities", having adopted ordinances refraining from stopping or questioning individuals for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status.Senate Dems block bill to punish 'sanctuary cities'{{clarify|date=August 2017}} Most of these ordinances are in place at the state and county, not city, level. These policies do not prevent the local authorities from investigating crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

Attacks on immigrants

According to a 2006 report by the Anti-Defamation League, white supremacists and other extremists were engaging in a growing number of assaults against legal and illegal immigrants and those perceived to be immigrants.{{outdated-inline|date=May 2017}} including assault on migrants from Latin America.

Community-based involvement

The No More Deaths organization offers food, water, and medical aid to migrants crossing the desert regions of the American Southwest in an effort to reduce the increasing number of deaths along the border.In 2014, 'Dreamer Moms' began protesting, hoping that President Obama will grant them legal status. On November 12, 2014, there was a hunger strike near the White House undertaken by the group Dreamer Moms. On November 21, 2014, Obama provided 5 million illegal immigrants legal status because he said that mass deportation "would be both impossible and contrary to our character." However, this decision was challenged in court during the Trump administration and then overturned.NEWS,weblink 'Dreamer Moms' fast near White House, hoping Obama will grant them legal status, November 12, 2014, The Washington Post, Other organizations and initiatives offer support to populations of illegal immigrants within the United States, such as Kichwa Hatari, a radio station in New York City that translates information from Spanish into the Kichwa language for broadcast to Ecuadorian illegal immigrants.WEB,weblink Meet the Young Ecuadorians Behind the First Kichwa-Language Radio Show in the US, 2016-12-23, Remezcla, en-US, 2019-10-06,

Economic impact

Illegal immigrants increase the size of the U.S. economy and contribute to economic growth. Illegal immigrants contribute to lower prices of US-produced goods and services, which benefits consumers.Economists estimate that legalization of the current unauthorized immigrant population would increase the immigrants' earningsJOURNAL, Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L., 1999, Undocumented Workers in the Labor Market: An Analysis of the Earnings of Legal and Illegal Mexican Immigrants in the United States, 20007616, Journal of Population Economics, 12, 1, 91–116, 12295042, 10.1007/s001480050092, JOURNAL, Hall, M., Greenman, E., Farkas, G., 2010-12-01, Legal Status and Wage Disparities for Mexican Immigrants, Social Forces, en, 89, 2, 491–513, 10.1353/sof.2010.0082, 25414526, 0037-7732, 4235135, JOURNAL, Bratsberg, Bernt, Ragan, Jr., James F., Nasir, Zafar M., 2002-07-01, The Effect of Naturalization on Wage Growth: A Panel Study of Young Male Immigrants, Journal of Labor Economics, 20, 3, 568–597, 10.1086/339616, 0734-306X,, JOURNAL, Kossoudji, Sherrie A., Cobb‐Clark, Deborah A., 2002-07-01, Coming out of the Shadows: Learning about Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population, Journal of Labor Economics, 20, 3, 598–628, 10.1086/339611, 0734-306X, and consumption considerably.JOURNAL, Dustmann, Christian, Fasani, Francesco, Speciale, Biagio, 2017-07-01, Illegal Migration and Consumption Behavior of Immigrant Households, Journal of the European Economic Association, en, 15, 3, 654–691, 10.1093/jeea/jvw017, 1542-4766, 10419/130459,weblink A 2016 National Bureau of Economic Research paper found that "legalization would increase the economic contribution of the unauthorized population by about 20%, to 3.6% of private-sector GDP."JOURNAL, Edwards, Ryan, Ortega, Francesc, 2017, The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis, Regional Science and Urban Economics, 67, 119–134, 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2017.09.004, 10419/149225, Legalization is also likely to reduce untaxed labor in the informal economy. A 2016 study found that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows unauthorized immigrants who migrated to the United States as minors to temporarily stay, increases labor force participation, decreases the unemployment rate and increases the income for DACA-eligible immigrants.JOURNAL, Pope, Nolan G., 2016-11-01, The Effects of DACAmentation: The Impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Unauthorized Immigrants, Journal of Public Economics, 143, 98–114, 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.08.014, The study estimated that DACA moved 50,000 to 75,000 unauthorized immigrants into employment. Another 2016 study found that DACA-eligible households were 38% less likely than non-eligible unauthorized immigrant households to live in poverty.JOURNAL, Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina, Antman, Francisca, Can authorization reduce poverty among undocumented immigrants? Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Economics Letters, 147, 1–4, 10.1016/j.econlet.2016.08.001, 2016, 10419/145279, A 2017 study in the Journal of Public Economics found that more intense immigration enforcement increased the likelihood that US-born children with illegal immigrant parents would live in poverty.JOURNAL, Immigration enforcement and economic resources of children with likely unauthorized parents, 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2017.12.004, 158, 2018, Journal of Public Economics, 63–78, Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina, Arenas-Arroyo, Esther, Sevilla, Almudena,

Native welfare

A number of studies have shown that illegal immigration increases the welfare of natives.JOURNAL, Palivos, Theodore, 2009-01-01, Welfare effects of illegal immigration, Journal of Population Economics, en, 22, 1, 131–144, 10.1007/s00148-007-0182-3, 0933-1433,weblink JOURNAL, Liu, Xiangbo, 2010-12-01, On the macroeconomic and welfare effects of illegal immigration, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 34, 12, 2547–2567, 10.1016/j.jedc.2010.06.030,weblink JOURNAL, Palivos, Theodore, Yip, Chong K., 2010-09-01, Illegal immigration in a heterogeneous labor market, Journal of Economics, en, 101, 1, 21–47, 10.1007/s00712-010-0139-y, 0931-8658, A 2015 study found that " increasing deportation rates and tightening border control weakens low-skilled labor markets, increasing unemployment of native low-skilled workers. Legalization, instead, decreases the unemployment rate of low-skilled natives and increases income per native."JOURNAL, Chassamboulli, Andri, Peri, Giovanni, 2015-10-01, The labor market effects of reducing the number of illegal immigrants, Review of Economic Dynamics, 18, 4, 792–821, 10.1016/,weblink A study by economist Giovanni Peri concluded that between 1990 and 2004, immigrant workers raised the wages of native born workers in general by 4%, while more recent immigrants suppressed wages of previous immigrants.WEB,weblink How Immigrants Affect California Employment and Wages (PPIC Publication),, February 7, 2013, In a 2017 literature review by the National Academy of Sciences, they explain the positive impact of illegal immigrants on natives in the following way:The entry of new workers through migration increases the likelihood of filling a vacant position quickly and thus reduces the net cost of posting new offers. The fact that immigrants in each skill category earn less than natives reinforces this effect. Though immigrants compete with natives for these additional jobs, the overall number of new positions employers choose to create is larger than the number of additional entrants to the labor market. The effect is to lower the unemployment rate and to strengthen the bargaining position of workers.According to Georgetown University economist Anna Maria Mayda and University of California, Davis economist Giovanni Peri, "deportation of undocumented immigrants not only threatens the day-to-day life of several million people, it also undermines the economic viability of entire sectors of the US economy." Research shows that illegal immigrants complement and extend middle- and high-skilled American workers, making it possible for those sectors to employ more Americans. Without access to illegal immigrants, U.S. firms would be incentivized to offshore jobs and import foreign-produced goods. Several highly competitive sectors that depend disproportionately on illegal immigrant labor, such as agriculture, would dramatically shrink and sectors, such as hospitality and food services, would see higher prices for consumers. Regions and cities that have large illegal populations are also likely to see harms to the local economy were the illegal immigrant population removed. While Mayda and Peri note that some low-skilled American workers would see marginal gains, it is likely that the effects on net job creation and wages would be negative for the U.S. as a whole.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Mayda, Anna Maria, Peri, Giovanni, The economic impact of US immigration policies in the Age of Trump, Economics and Policy in the Age of Trump, Bown, Chad P.,, 69–77, June 2017, A 2002 study of the effects of illegal immigration and border enforcement on wages in border communities from 1990 to 1997 found little impact of border enforcement on wages in U.S. border cities, and concluded that their findings were consistent with two hypotheses, "border enforcement has a minimal impact on illegal immigration, and illegal immigration from Mexico has a minimal impact on wages in U.S. border cities".JOURNAL, Robertson, Raymond, Spilimbergo, Antonio, 2002, Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers from Illegal Immigration?, Review of Economics and Statistics, 84, 1, 73–92, 10.1162/003465302317331937, 0034-6535, Hanson, Gordon H.,weblink According to University of California, San Diego economist Gordon H. Hanson, "there is little evidence that legal immigration is economically preferable to illegal immigration. In fact, illegal immigration responds to market forces in ways that legal immigration does not. Illegal migrants tend to arrive in larger numbers when the U.S. economy is booming (relative to Mexico and the Central American countries that are the source of most illegal immigration to the United States) and move to regions where job growth is strong. Legal immigration, in contrast, is subject to arbitrary selection criteria and bureaucratic delays, which tend to disassociate legal inflows from U.S. labor-market conditions. Over the last half-century, there appears to be little or no response of legal immigration to the U.S. unemployment rate."WEB,weblink The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration, Council on Foreign Relations, en, 2017-08-22,

Fiscal effects

Illegal immigrants are not eligible for most federally-funded safety net programs.NEWS, Watson, Tara,weblink Do Undocumented Immigrants Overuse Government Benefits?, March 28, 2018, Econofact, Illegal immigrants are barred from receiving benefits from Medicare, non-emergency Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Medicare program; they also cannot participate in health insurance marketplaces and are not eligible to receive insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Illegal immigrants contribute up to $12 billion annually to the Social Security Trust Fund, but are not eligible to receive any Social Security benefits. Unless the illegal immigrants transition to legal status, they will not collect these benefits. According to a 2007 literature review by the Congressional Budget Office, "Over the past two decades, most efforts to estimate the fiscal impact of immigration in the United States have concluded that, in aggregate and over the long term, tax revenues of all types generated by immigrants—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the cost of the services they use."WEB,weblink The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments, December 2007, Congressional Budget Office, While the aggregate fiscal effects are beneficial to the United States, unauthorized immigration has small but net negative fiscal effects on state and local governments. According to the 2017 National Academy of Science report on immigration, one reason for the adverse fiscal impact on state and local governments is that "the federal government reimburses state and local entities a fraction of costs to incarcerate criminal aliens, the remaining costs are borne by local governments."A paper in the peer-reviewed journal Tax Lawyer from the American Bar Association concluded that illegal immigrants contribute more in taxes than they cost in social services.A 2016 study found that, over the period 2000–2011, illegal immigrants contributed $2.2 to $3.8 billion more to the Medicare Trust Fund "than they withdrew annually (a total surplus of $35.1 billion). Had unauthorized immigrants neither contributed to nor withdrawn from the Trust Fund during those 11 years, it would become insolvent in 2029—1 year earlier than currently predicted."JOURNAL, Zallman, Leah, Wilson, Fernando A., Stimpson, James P., Bearse, Adriana, Arsenault, Lisa, Dube, Blessing, Himmelstein, David, Woolhandler, Steffie, January 2016, Unauthorized Immigrants Prolong the Life of Medicare's Trust Fund, Journal of General Internal Medicine, 31, 1, 122–127, 10.1007/s11606-015-3418-z, 1525-1497, 4699990, 26084972,


Around 2005, an increasing number of banks saw illegal immigrants as an untapped resource for growing their own revenue stream and contended that providing illegal immigrants with mortgages would help revitalize local communities, with many community banks providing home loans for illegal immigrants. At the time, critics complained that this practice would reward and encourage illegal immigration, as well as contribute to an increase in predatory lending practices. One banking consultant said that banks which were planning to offer mortgages to illegal immigrants were counting on the fact that immigration enforcement was very lax, with deportation unlikely for anyone who had not committed a crime.

Crime and law enforcement

{{see also|Immigration to the United States#Crime}}

Relationship between illegal immigration and crime

Illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens in the United States.NEWS,weblink Deportations Reduce Crime? That’s Not What the Evidence Shows, Flagg, Anna, 2019-09-23, The New York Times, 2019-09-23, en-US, 0362-4331, NEWS,weblink Are immigrants more likely to commit crimes?, 2017-02-14, Doleac, Jennifer, Econofact, 2017-02-15, en-US, NEWS,weblink Trump calls for creation of office to support victims of crimes by illegal immigrants, Nakamura, David, February 28, 2017, Washington Post, 2017-05-04, WEB,weblink Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It? (PPIC Publication),, 2016-06-23, JOURNAL, Gonzalez, Benjamin, Collingwood, Loren, El-Khatib, Stephen Omar, 2017-05-07, The Politics of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime, and Undocumented Immigration, Urban Affairs Review, 55, en, 10.1177/1078087417704974, 107808741770497, Quote: "most studies have shown that illegal immigrants tend to commit less crime than the native born"NEWS,weblink Trump immigration claim has no data to back it up, Carroll, Lauren, July 6, 2015, PolitiFact, ... every expert we polled said there is a consensus among scholars that undocumented immigrants are not more likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens., 2017-08-22, en, For immigration to the United States in general, research has found lower crime rates among immigrants than among non-immigrants, and that higher concentrations of immigrants are associated with lower crime rates.JOURNAL, Klein, Brent R., Allison, Kayla, Harris, Casey T., 2017-03-10, Immigration and Violence in Rural versus Urban Counties, 1990–2010, The Sociological Quarterly, 0, 2, 229–253, 10.1080/00380253.2017.1296339, 0038-0253, JOURNAL, Graif, Corina, Sampson, Robert J., 2009-07-15, Spatial Heterogeneity in the Effects of Immigration and Diversity on Neighborhood Homicide Rates, Homicide Studies, 13, 3, 242–260, 10.1177/1088767909336728, 1088-7679, 2911240, 20671811, JOURNAL, Lee, Matthew T., Martinez, Ramiro, Rosenfeld, Richard, 2001-09-01, Does Immigration Increase Homicide?, Sociological Quarterly, en, 42, 4, 559–580, 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2001.tb01780.x, 1533-8525, JOURNAL, Ousey, Graham C., Kubrin, Charis E., 15 October 2013, Immigration and the Changing Nature of Homicide in US Cities, 1980–2010, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 30, 3, 453–483, 10.1007/s10940-013-9210-5, JOURNAL, Martinez, Ramiro, Lee, Matthew T., Nielsen, Amie L., 2004-03-01, Segmented Assimilation, Local Context and Determinants of Drug Violence in Miami and San Diego: Does Ethnicity and Immigration Matter?, International Migration Review, en, 38, 1, 131–157, 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2004.tb00191.x, 1747-7379, JOURNAL, Butcher, Kristin F., Piehl, Anne Morrison, July 2007, Why are Immigrants' Incarceration Rates so Low? Evidence on Selective Immigration, Deterrence, and Deportation, 10.3386/w13229, NBER Working Paper No. 13229, 10419/31301,weblink JOURNAL, Wolff, Kevin T., Baglivio, Michael T., Intravia, Jonathan, Piquero, Alex R., 2015-11-01, The protective impact of immigrant concentration on juvenile recidivism: A statewide analysis of youth offenders, Journal of Criminal Justice, 43, 6, 522–531, 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2015.05.004, Some research even suggests that increases in immigration may partially explain the reduction in the U.S. crime rate.JOURNAL, Wadsworth, Tim, 2010-06-01, Is Immigration Responsible for the Crime Drop? An Assessment of the Influence of Immigration on Changes in Violent Crime Between 1990 and 2000, Social Science Quarterly, 91, 2, 531–553, 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2010.00706.x, 1540-6237, JOURNAL, Stowell, Jacob I., Messner, Steven F., Mcgeever, Kelly F., Raffalovich, Lawrence E., 2009-08-01, Immigration and the Recent Violent Crime Drop in the United States: A Pooled, Cross-Sectional Time-Series Analysis of Metropolitan Areas, Criminology, en, 47, 3, 889–928, 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2009.00162.x, 1745-9125, JOURNAL, Rethinking Crime and Immigration, Robert J., Sampson, Contexts, 7, 1, 28–33, 2008, 10.1525/ctx.2008.7.1.28, JOURNAL, Ferraro, Vincent, 2015-02-14, Immigration and Crime in the New Destinations, 2000–2007: A Test of the Disorganizing Effect of Migration, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, en, 32, 1, 23–45, 10.1007/s10940-015-9252-y, 0748-4518, JOURNAL, STANSFIELD, RICHARD, Safer Cities: A Macro-Level Analysis of Recent Immigration, Hispanic-Owned Businesses, and Crime Rates in the United States, August 2014, Journal of Urban Affairs, 36, 3, 503–518, 10.1111/juaf.12051, JOURNAL, Klein, Brent R., Allison, Kayla, Harris, Casey T., 2017-03-10, Immigration and Violence in Rural versus Urban Counties, 1990–2010, The Sociological Quarterly, 0, 2, 229–253, 10.1080/00380253.2017.1296339, 0038-0253, A 2013 study found that children of immigrants were more likely to commit crimes than their parents.WEB,weblink Crime rises among second-generation immigrants as they assimilate, Morin, Rich, October 15, 2013, Pew Research Center, December 28, 2018, Multiple studies have found that undocumented immigration to the United States did not increase violent crime.WEB,weblink Does Immigration Increase Crime?, Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2016-06-23, JOURNAL, Light, Michael T., Miller, TY, Does Undocumented Immigration Increase Violent Crime?, Criminology, en, 56, 2, 370–401, 10.1111/1745-9125.12175, 30464356, 6241529, 1745-9125, 2018, JOURNAL, Gunadi, Christian, On the association between undocumented immigration and crime in the United States,weblink Oxford Economic Papers, en, 10.1093/oep/gpz057, A 2016 study found no link between illegal immigrant populations and violent crime, although there is a small but significant association between illegal immigrants and drug-related crime.JOURNAL, Green, David, 2016-05-01, The Trump Hypothesis: Testing Immigrant Populations as a Determinant of Violent and Drug-Related Crime in the United States, Social Science Quarterly, 97, 3, en, 506–524, 10.1111/ssqu.12300, 1540-6237, A 2017 study found that "Increased undocumented immigration was significantly associated with reductions in drug arrests, drug overdose deaths, and DUI arrests, net of other factors."JOURNAL, Light, Michael T., Miller, Ty, Kelly, Brian C., 2017-07-20, Undocumented Immigration, Drug Problems, and Driving Under the Influence in the United States, 1990–2014, American Journal of Public Health, e1–e7, 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303884, 28727520, 0090-0036, 107, 9, 5551598, A 2017 study found that California's extension of driving licenses to unauthorized immigrants "did not increase the total number of accidents or the occurrence of fatal accidents, but it did reduce the likelihood of hit and run accidents, thereby improving traffic safety and reducing costs for California drivers ... providing unauthorized immigrants with access to driver's licenses can create positive externalities for the communities in which they live."JOURNAL, Lueders, Hans, Hainmueller, Jens, Lawrence, Duncan, 2017-04-18, Providing driver's licenses to unauthorized immigrants in California improves traffic safety, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, en, 114, 16, 4111–4116, 10.1073/pnas.1618991114, 0027-8424, 28373538, 5402447, A 2018 study in the (American Economic Journal|American Economic Journal: Economic Policy) found that by restricting the employment opportunities for unauthorized immigrants, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) likely caused an increase in crime.JOURNAL, Matthew, Freedman, Emily, Owens, Sarah, Bohn, Immigration, Employment Opportunities, and Criminal Behavior, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, en, 10.1257/pol.20150165, 1945-7731, WEB,weblink Immigration, Employment Opportunities, and Criminal Behavior, A 2018 PLOS One study estimated that the undocumented immigrant population in the United States was 22 million (approximately twice as large as the estimate derived from U.S. Census Bureau figures); an author of the study notes that this has implications for the relationship between undocumented immigration and crime suggesting the correlation is lower than previously estimated: "You have the same number of crimes but now spread over twice as many people as was believed before, which right away means that the crime rate among undocumented immigrants is essentially half whatever was previously believed."WEB,weblink Yale, MIT study: 22 million, not 11 million, undocumented immigrants in US, Garcia, Eric, 2018-09-21, TheHill, en, 2018-12-28, A 2019 analysis found no evidence that illegal immigration increased crime.WEB,weblink Is There a Connection Between Undocumented Immigrants and Crime?, 2019-05-13, The Marshall Project, 2019-05-13,

Impact of immigration enforcement

Research suggests immigration enforcement deters unauthorized immigration but has no impact on crime rates.JOURNAL, Ciancio, Alberto, 2017-01-01, The Impact Of Immigration Policies On Local Enforcement, Crime And Policing Efficiency,weblink Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations, Immigration enforcement is costly and may divert resources from other forms of law enforcement. Tougher immigration enforcement has been associated with greater migrant deaths, as migrants take riskier routes and use the services of smugglers.JOURNAL, Gathmann, Christina, 2008-10-01, Effects of enforcement on illegal markets: Evidence from migrant smuggling along the southwestern border, Journal of Public Economics, 92, 10, 1926–1941, 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2008.04.006, 10419/20239, Tough border enforcement may also encourage unauthorized immigrants to settle in the United States, rather than regularly travel across the border where they may be captured.JOURNAL, Massey, Douglas S., Durand, Jorge, Pren, Karen A., 2016-03-01, Why Border Enforcement Backfired, American Journal of Sociology, 121, 5, 1557–1600, 10.1086/684200, 27721512, 0002-9602, 5049707, Immigration enforcement programs have been shown to lower employment and wages among unauthorized immigrants, while increasing their participation in the informal economy.Research finds that Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program which led to a quarter of a million of detentions, had no observable impact on the crime rate.JOURNAL, Miles, Thomas J., Cox, Adam B., 2015-10-21, Does Immigration Enforcement Reduce Crime? Evidence from Secure Communities, The Journal of Law and Economics, 57, 4, 937–973, 10.1086/680935, WEB,weblink Immigrants' Deportations, Local Crime and Police Effectiveness,, en, 2019-06-30, A 2015 study found that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which legalized almost 3 million immigrants, led to "decreases in crime of 3-5 percent, primarily due to decline in property crimes, equivalent to 120,000-180,000 fewer violent and property crimes committed each year due to legalization".JOURNAL, Baker, Scott R., Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime, American Economic Review, 105, 5, 210–213, 10.1257/aer.p20151041, 2015,weblink A 2017 review study of the existing literature noted that the existing studies had found that sanctuary cities â€” which adopt policies designed to avoid prosecuting people solely for being an illegal immigrant â€” either have no impact on crime or that they lower the crime rate.JOURNAL, Martínez, Daniel E., Martínez-Schuldt, Ricardo D., Cantor, Guillermo, 2017, Providing Sanctuary or Fostering Crime? A Review of the Research on "Sanctuary Cities" and Crime, Sociology Compass, en, 12, e12547, 10.1111/soc4.12547, 1751-9020, A second 2017 study in the journal Urban Affairs Review found that sanctuary policy itself has no statistically meaningful effect on crime.JOURNAL, Gonzalez, Benjamin, Collingwood, Loren, El-Khatib, Stephen Omar, 2017-05-07, The Politics of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime, and Undocumented Immigration, Urban Affairs Review, 55, en, 3–40, 10.1177/1078087417704974, 1078-0874, WEB,weblink Sanctuary cities do not experience an increase in crime, Loren Collingwood, Benjamin Gonzalez-O'Brien & Stephen El-Khatib Oct, October 3, 2016, Washington Post, NEWS,weblink Is Philly's sanctuary city status putting residents in danger?, @politifact, 2017-04-23, en, NEWS,weblink No Evidence Sanctuary Cities 'Breed Crime' -, 2017-02-10,, 2017-04-23, en-US, WEB,weblink Trump's claim that sanctuary cities 'breed crime', Washington Post, 2017-04-23, The findings of the study were misinterpreted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a July 2017 speech when he claimed that the study showed that sanctuary cities were more prone to crime than cities without sanctuary policies.WEB,weblink Analysis {{!, Jeff Sessions used our research to claim that sanctuary cities have more crime. He's wrong.|website=Washington Post|access-date=2017-07-14}}NEWS,weblink Academics push back against attorney general's misrepresentation of their study, 2017-07-17, A third study in the journal Justice Quarterly found evidence that the adoption of sanctuary policies reduced the robbery rate but had no impact on the homicide rate except in cities with larger Mexican undocumented immigrant populations which had lower rates of homicide.JOURNAL, Martínez-Schuldt, Ricardo D., Martínez, Daniel E., 2017-12-18, Sanctuary Policies and City-Level Incidents of Violence, 1990 to 2010, Justice Quarterly, 0, 4, 567–593, 10.1080/07418825.2017.1400577, 0741-8825, According to a study by Tom K. Wong, associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, published by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank: "Crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties. Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary counties – from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment."WEB,weblink The Effects of Sanctuary Policies on Crime and the Economy, January 26, 2017, Center for American Progress, en-US, The study also concluded that sanctuary cities build trust between local law enforcement and the community, which enhances public safety overall.NEWS,weblink Crime and Poverty Are Lower in Sanctuary Cities, CityLab, 2017-02-06, en-US, The study evaluated sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities while controlling for differences in population, the foreign-born percentage of the population, and the percentage of the population that is Latino."A 2018 study found no evidence that apprehensions of undocumented immigrants in districts in the United States reduced crime rates.JOURNAL, 2018, Do Apprehensions of Undocumented Immigrants Reduce Crime and Create Jobs? Evidence from U.S. Districts, 2000-2015,weblink UC Davis Law Review, After the Obama administration reduced federal immigration enforcement, Democratic counties reduced their immigration enforcement more than Republican counties; a paper by a University of Pennsylvania PhD candidate found "that Democratic counties with higher non-citizen population shares saw greater increases in clearance rates, a measure of policing efficiency, with no increase in crime rates. The results indicate that reducing immigration enforcement did not increase crime and rather led to an increase in policing efficiency, either because it allowed police to focus efforts on solving more serious crimes or because it elicited greater cooperation of non-citizens with police." A 2003 paper by two Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas economists found "that while the volume of illegal immigration is not related to changes in property-related crime, there is a significant positive correlation with the incidence of violent crime. This is most likely due to extensive smuggling activity along the border. Border enforcement meanwhile is significantly negatively related to crime rates. The bad news is that the deterrent effect of the border patrol diminishes over this time period, and the net impact of more enforcement on border crime since the late 1990s is zero."JOURNAL, Coronado, Roberto, Orrenius, Pia M., 2003, The impact of illegal immigration and enforcement on border crime rates,weblink According to Cornell University economist Francine Blau and University of California at Berkeley economist Gretchen Donehower, the existing "evidence does not suggest that ... stepping up enforcement of existing immigration laws would generate savings to existing taxpayers."NEWS,weblink Do Immigrants Cost Native-Born Taxpayers Money? {{!, Econofact|date=2017-07-26|work=Econofact|access-date=2017-09-05|language=en-US}} By complicating circular migration and temporary work by migrants, and by incentivizing migrants to settle permanently in the US, the 2017 National Academy of Sciences report on immigration notes that "it is certainly possible that additional costs have been created to the economy by the increased border enforcement, beyond the narrow costs of the programs themselves in the federal budget."

Gang activity

{{see also|Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act}}A US Justice Department report from 2009 indicated that one of the largest transnational criminal organizations in the United States, Los Angeles-based 18th Street gang, has a membership of some 30,000 to 50,000 with 80% of them being illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Active in 44 cities in 20 states, its main source of income is street-level distribution of cocaine and marijuana and, to a lesser extent, heroin and methamphetamine. Gang members also commit assault, auto theft, carjacking, drive-by shootings, extortion, homicide, identification fraud, and robbery."National Gang Threat Assessment 2009" {{webarchive|url=|date=March 5, 2016}} National Gang Intelligence Center FBI retrieved June 19, 2012

Identity theft

Identity theft is sometimes committed by illegal immigrants who use Social Security numbers belonging to others in order to obtain fake work documentation.NEWS,weblink Kansas case puts face on growing problem of 'total identity theft' by illegal immigrants, October 23, 2012, Associated Press, NEWS,weblink Illegal immigrants turn to identity theft, Hegeman, Roxana, January 8, 2008, Associated Press, In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Flores-Figueroa v. United States that illegal immigrants cannot be prosecuted for identity theft if they use "made-up" Social Security numbers that they do not know belong to someone else; to be guilty of identity theft with regard to social security numbers, they must know that the social security numbers that they use belong to others.NEWS,weblink Justices Limit Use of Identity Theft Law in Immigration Cases, Liptak, Adam, May 4, 2009, New York Times, Preston, Julia,


An estimated 65,000 undocumented youth graduate from high school every year but only 5 to 10 percent go on to college.{{Citation needed|date=December 2018}} Research shows that policies regarding tuition and admissions procedures, impact students the most.Garibay, J., Herrera, C., Johnston-Guerrero, F., & Garcia, A. (2016). Layers of influence: exploring institutional-and state-level effects on college student views toward access to public education for undocumented immigrants. Research in Higher Education, 57(5), 601-629. As of October 2015, twenty states had given undocumented students' in-state resident tuition (ISRT) while five states had completely prohibited their enrollment. Although states grant undocumented students resident tuition, federal laws do not award undocumented immigrants financial aid.JOURNAL, Gonzales, Roberto G., On the Wrong Side of the Tracks: Understanding the Effects of School Structure and Social Capital in the Educational Pursuits of Undocumented Immigrant Students, Peabody Journal of Education, 2010, 85, 4, 469–485, 25759044, 0161-956X, 10.1080/0161956x.2010.518039, Without financial aid, students cannot afford higher education, making it difficult for this community to attain social mobility. Abrego, L. J. (2008). "Legitimacy, social identity, and the mobilization of law The effects of Assembly Bill 540 on undocumented students in California." Law & Social Inquiry, 33, 709-734. In 1982, Plyler vs Doe granted all students, regardless of status, the right to a public K-12 education. The ruling found that denying undocumented students access to public education outweighed the effects of not educating them, however states continued implementing policies that challenged the Supreme Court decision. American Immigration Council. (2012). Public education for immigrant students: States challenge Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe. Retrieved fromweblink In 1994, California implemented Proposition 187, prohibiting undocumented students from enrolling in schools and required educators to report students who they suspected were undocumented.Crawford, E. (2018). When Boundaries Around the “Secret” are Tested: A School Community Response to the Policing of Undocumented Immigrants. Education and Urban Society, 50(2), 155-182. Likewise, the state of Alabama in 2011, requiring administrators to report the status of recently enrolled students; which resulted in a 13% dropout rate that year.American Immigration Council. (2012). Public education for immigrant students: States challenge Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe. Retrieved fromweblink such as the American Federation of Teachers have created guides for educators of immigrant and refugee students, urging schools to build policies that provide these students with protection from policies that would criminalize them. American Federation of Teachers.(2016). Immigrant and refugee children: A guide foreducators and school support staff. Retrieved fromweblink In 2014, Operation Border Guardians targeted undocumented immigrants who had come to the United States as minors and recently turned 18 or were 16 with a criminal history. Federal immigration judges sent out court orders to apprehend students that were not currently appealing their cases. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was detaining students on their way to school. When undocumented students turn eighteen, their youth status no longer protects them from immigration policies such as deportation. National Juvenile Justice Network. (2018). Protecting immigrant youth fact sheet. Retrieved Fromweblink
The National Education Association (NEA) and the National School Board Association (NSBA) in 2009, created guidelines for educators working with undocumented students, informing school personnel about their students’ rights concerning immigration legislation as it transpires in the community. Borkowski, J. W. (2009). Legal issues for school districts related to the education of undocumented children. Alexandria, VA: "National School Boards Association" Retrieved fromweblink The American Federation of Teachers created a guideline specifically speaking to concern regarding deportation.
A case study conducted on Aurora Elementary examined how school personnel quickly developed boundaries to ensure the safety of their students when ICE appeared in the community. The study evaluated how educators’ established school policies with limited knowledge regarding policies. In the study, 14 staff members of Aurora spoke about the fear it created in the community. The school was placed on an unofficial lockdown, and no one was to leave campus unless given permission. Days following the event, parents stopped sending their children to school. After speaking to the district’s legal department, they informed her that they would not be able to do anything in their part, but that she could call families and inform them about the ICE raids. She worked with school personnel to create school policies that protected the students when immigration legislation transpired in the community. Further, aligning school policies with district goals to ensure that undocumented students’ education is protected.Studies have shown that undocumented immigrants are wary of disclosing their immigration status to counselors, teachers and mentors. In other words, undocumented students sometimes did not disclose their status to the very individuals that could help them find pathways to higher education.Roth, B. J. (2017). When college is illegal: Undocumented Latino/a youth and mobilizing social support for educational attainment in South Carolina. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 8(4), 539–561. {{doi|10.1086/694325}}Raza, S. S., Saravia, L. A., & Katsiaficas, D. (2018). Coming out: Examining how undocumented students critically navigate status disclosure processes. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. {{doi|10.1037/dhe0000085}}

Harm to illegal immigrants

There are significant dangers associated with illegal immigration including potential death when crossing the border. Since the 1994 implementation of an immigration-control effort called Operation Gatekeeper, immigrants have attempted to cross the border in more dangerous locations.NEWS,weblink Commentary: How 1994's Operation Gatekeeper made Border Patrol better and ended the 'chaos', MARTIN, JERRY “BRIAN”, 2019-10-01, San Diego Union-Tribune, en-US, live, 2019-10-01, Those crossing the border come unprepared, without food, water, proper clothing, or protection from the elements or dangerous animals; sometimes the immigrants are abandoned by those smuggling them. Deaths also occur while resisting arrest. In May 2010, the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico accused Border Patrol agents of tasering illegal immigrant Anastasio Hernández-Rojas to death. Media reports that Hernández-Rojas started a physical altercation with patrol agents and later autopsy findings concluded that the suspect had trace amounts of methamphetamine in his blood levels which contributed to his death.WEB, PBS Need to Know, Crossing the Line,weblink July 22, 2012, April 20, 2012, The foreign ministry in Mexico City has demanded an explanation from San Diego and federal authorities, according to Tijuana newspapers. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, there were 987 assaults on Border Patrol agents in 2007 and there were a total of 12 people killed by agents in 2007 and 2008.According to the Washington Office on Latin America's Border Fact Check site, Border Patrol rarely investigates allegations of abuse against migrants, and advocacy organizations say, "even serious incidents such as the shootings of migrants result in administrative, not criminal, investigations and sanctions."WEB, Meyer, Maureen, Are migrants routinely abused by Customs and Border Protection agents?,weblink Border Fact Check, Washington Office on Latin America, September 24, 2012,


A 2017 Science study found that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows unauthorized immigrants who migrated to the United States as minors to temporarily stay, led to improved mental health outcomes for the children of DACA-eligible mothers.JOURNAL, Hainmueller, Jens, Lawrence, Duncan, Martén, Linna, Black, Bernard, Figueroa, Lucila, Hotard, Michael, Jiménez, Tomás R., Mendoza, Fernando, Rodriguez, Maria I., 2017-08-31, Protecting unauthorized immigrant mothers improves their children's mental health, Science, en, 1041–1044, 10.1126/science.aan5893, 0036-8075, 28860206, 5990252, 357, 6355, 2017Sci...357.1041H, A 2017 Lancet Public Health study reported found that DACA-eligible individuals had better mental health outcomes as a result of their DACA-eligibility.JOURNAL, Venkataramani, Atheendar S, Shah, Sachin J, O'Brien, Rourke, Kawachi, Ichiro, Tsai, Alexander C, Health consequences of the US Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration programme: a quasi-experimental study, The Lancet Public Health, 2, 4, e175–e181, 10.1016/s2468-2667(17)30047-6, 29253449, 6378686, 2017, A 2017 study found that extending Medicaid to undocumented immigrants led to improvements in infant health and reductions in infant mortality.JOURNAL, Swartz, Jonas J., Hainmueller, Jens, Lawrence, Duncan, Rodriguez, Maria I., 2017, Expanding Prenatal Care to Unauthorized Immigrant Women and the Effects on Infant Health, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 130, 5, 938–945, 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002275, 1873-233X, 29016491, 5679477,

Exploitation by employers

{{see also|Human trafficking in the United States}}Many Mexican immigrants have been trafficked by either their smugglers or the employers after they have gotten to the United States. According to research at San Diego State University, approximately 6% of illegal Mexican immigrants were trafficked by their smugglers while entering the United States and 28% were trafficked by their employers after entering the United States. Trafficking rates were particularly high in the construction and cleaning industries. They also determined that 55% of illegal Mexican immigrants were abused or exploited by either their smugglers or employers.Looking for a Hidden Population: Trafficking of Migrant Laborers in San Diego County {{webarchive |url= |date=July 29, 2016 }}Indian, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese women have been reportedly brought to the United States under false pretenses. "As many as 50,000 people are illicitly trafficked into the United States annually, according to a 1999 CIA study. Once here, they're forced to work as prostitutes, sweatshop laborers, farmhands, and servants in private homes." US authorities call it "a modern form of slavery".Modern slavery thriving in the U.S. {{webarchive |url= |date=October 18, 2016 }} Retrieved: March 5, 2008 Many Latina women have been lured under false pretenses to illegally come to the United States and are instead forced to work as prostitutes catering to the immigrant population. Non-citizen customers without proper documentation that have been detained in prostitution stings are generally deported.Fox News Latino: "US 'Network of Pimps' Indicted for Enslaving Dozens of Latina Immigrants {{webarchive |url= |date=September 28, 2015 }} January 18, 2013


The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women has reported scores of cases where women were forced to prostitute themselves. "Trafficking in women plagues the United States as much as it does underdeveloped nations. Organized prostitution networks have migrated from metropolitan areas to small cities and suburbs. Women trafficked to the United States have been forced to have sex with 400–500 men to pay off $40,000 in debt for their passage."Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Prostitution {{webarchive |url= |date=January 6, 2005 }} Retrieved: March 5, 2008.


{{see also|Haitian diaspora#Deaths}}Death by exposure has been reported in the deserts, particularly during the hot summer season. "Exposure to the elements" encompasses hypothermia, dehydration, heat strokes, drowning, and suffocation. Also, illegal immigrants may die or be injured when they attempt to avoid law enforcement. Martinez points out that engaging in high speed pursuits while attempting to escape arrest can lead to death. Many migrants are also killed or maimed riding the roofs of cargo trains in Mexico.

Workplace injury

Recent studies have found that illegal immigration status is perceived by Latino immigrant workers as a barrier to safety at work.JOURNAL, Flynn, Michael A., Eggerth, Donald E., Jacobson, C. Jeffrey, September 1, 2015, Undocumented status as a social determinant of occupational safety and health: The workers' perspective,weblink American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 58, 11, 1127–1137, 10.1002/ajim.22531, 1097-0274, 4632487, 26471878, JOURNAL, Liebman, Amy King, Juarez-Carrillo, Patricia Margarita, Reyes, Iris Anne Cruz, Keifer, Matthew Charles, March 1, 2016, Immigrant dairy workers' perceptions of health and safety on the farm in America's Heartland, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, en, 59, 3, 227–235, 10.1002/ajim.22538, 26523613, 1097-0274,

Public opinion and controversy

United States economy

One of the most important factors regarding public opinion about illegal immigration is the level of {{clarify span|text=unemployment|explain=This paragraph, regarding the effect on native employment, should probably be moved into the far-above section, '6. Economic impact ... Native welfare', which covers that same native-employment issue at greater length.|date=January 2018}}; anti-illegal immigrant sentiment is highest where unemployment is highest and vice versa. In general, some say that illegal immigrants are taking away jobs from Americans; however businesses and agricultural groups disagree and say that migrant workers are needed to fill unattractive jobs. This is further supported by a May 2006 New York Times/CBS News Poll report that 53 percent of Americans felt "illegal immigrants mostly take the jobs Americans don't want". However, there are others who say that illegal immigration helps to "decimate the bargaining leverage of the American worker. If you use a form of labor recruitment that bids down the cost of labor, that leads you to a society where a small number are very, very rich, there's nobody in the middle, and everyone is left scrambling for crumbs at the bottom. Yet there are still others who say that the U.S. "has an economy that depends on illegal immigration" and "without illegal immigration labor, it would almost certainly not be possible to produce the same volume of food in the country."

Opinions from influential groups in society


According to a 2006 Gallup poll, 84% of investors believe that illegal immigrants mostly take low paying jobs that Americans do not want.Jacobe, Dennis. "Investors Believe Illegal Immigration Is Hurting The U.S. Economic Climate: Eight In 10 Investors Say The Government Should Do More To Stop Illegal Immigration." Gallup Poll Briefing (2006): 1–4. Business Source Complete. Web. October 25, 2012. However, nearly 62% of investors say illegal immigration is hurting the investment climate. 68% of investors say that illegal immigrants cost taxpayers too much because they use government services like public education and medical services, while 25% say that in the long run, illegal immigrants become productive citizens who come to make up paying their fair share of taxes. About 80% thought that the government should do more to curb illegal immigration.

Response of government

Federal response

In 2007, an ABC News Poll indicated that most respondents (67%) believed the United States was not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants from coming into the country and, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll most Americans believed that US immigration policy needed either fundamental changes (41%) or to be completely rebuilt (49%).Although Americans may favor one immigration policy over another, perceptions of government and officials' ability to implement these policies is consistently negative.Segovia, Francine, and Renatta Defever. "The Polls – Trends: American Public Opinion On Immigrants And Immigration Policy". Public Opinion Quarterly 74.2 (2010): 375–394. ReferenceSearch. Web. October 25, 2012. In November 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a set of executive actions which could extend at least temporary legal status to nearly half of the illegal immigrants in the United States. The Republican majority in the 2015 Congress challenged these actions. Although some Republican senators did vote for the reform bill of 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, President Obama's executive steps were considered by Republicans to not be in accord with the overall stated policy position of the Republican Party.Keeling, Drew (2014), "Republicans' "Principles"," Migration as a travel business {{webarchive |url= |date=March 27, 2016 }} On February 16, 2015, a federal district court judge issued a temporary injunctionWEB, Court injunction against executive actions,weblink, Migration as a travel business, February 20, 2015, against the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program (one of the November 20, 2014 deferred action measures). The Justice Department has appealed the injunction.NEWS, Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Save Immigration Plan, November 21, 2015, New York Times,,

State and local response

According to a 2007 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, most respondents (55%) at the time believed state or local police forces should arrest illegal immigrants they encounter who have not broken any state or local laws.The previously cited CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll indicates that most respondents (76%) were against state governments issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. A similar poll by the Field Institute found "[California] residents are very much opposed (62% to 35%) to granting illegal immigrants who do not have legal status in this country the right to obtain a California driver's license. However, opinion is more divided (49% to 48%) about a plan to issue a different kind of driver's license that would allow these immigrants to drive but would also identify them as not having legal status."Further, most respondents (63%) in the above-mentioned 2006 Quinnipiac University Poll support local laws passed by communities to fine businesses that hire illegal immigrants while 33% oppose it.In addition to these opinions, others at the local level have gotten involved in grass root, citizen-organized efforts to enhance controls on illegal migration.Kevin, Buckler, Swatt Marc L., and Salinas Patti. "Public Views Of Illegal Migration Policy And Control Strategies: A Test Of The Core Hypotheses". Journal of Criminal Justice 37.(n.d.): 317–327. {{DOI|10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2009.06.008}} Several citizen-led anti-illegal migration organizations were created under the "Minuteman" name. These organizations developed with the purpose of patrolling the border and lobbying legislative bodies to reduce illegal migration.

Sanctuary cities

{{see also|California Senate Bill 54}}There has been controversy around sanctuary cities, one response from the state and local governments. Many American cities have designated themselves as sanctuary cities and many other state and municipal governments discourage the reporting of illegal immigrants to U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement. A sanctuary city is defined as a city that follows certain practices to protect illegal immigrants; these include – cities that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about one's immigration status.Fimrite, Peter (April 23, 2007). "Newsom says S.F. won't help with raids". San Francisco Chronicle.


71% of respondents in a 2006 Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll believed that enforcement of immigration laws will require additional measures beyond a border fence, with 65% of respondents supporting employer fines. 77% of respondents to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll support employer fines.A 2007 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll indicates 57% strongly favor employer fines and 17% somewhat favor them, while 44% strongly favor increased border security and 19% strongly oppose. In a CBS News/New York Times poll, 69% of Americans favor prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants; 33% favor deporting those who have lived and worked in the U.S. for at least two years.The Manhattan Institute reported that 78% of likely Republican voters favor a proposal combining increased border security, tougher penalties for employers who hire illegal workers, and allowing illegal immigrants to register for a temporary worker program that includes a path to citizenship. Respondents favored the program over a deportation and enforcement-only plan 58% to 33%.Following the passage of Arizona's Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act in April 2010, which authorizes police officials to question persons on their immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that they are illegally in the country or committing other violations not related to their immigration status, numerous polls showed widespread support for the law. A Rasmussen poll found that 60% of the electorate support such a law while 31% are opposed to such a law. A New York Times poll showed similar results: 51% of Americans felt the law was "about right" in its dealings with illegal immigration, 9% felt that its measures did not go far enough to address the problem while 36% have negative opinions regarding such a law.


Harvard political scientist and historian Samuel P. Huntington argues in Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity that illegal immigration, primarily from Mexico, threatens to divide the United States culturally, into an Anglo-Protestant north, central, and eastern portion, and a Catholic-Hispanic southwest. Immigration researcher Andrea Nill has a similar point. Nill noted that the association of illegal immigration with Latinos would bring adverse attention to their community. Recent immigration laws could help fuel these associations and possibly encourage citizens to discriminate and distance themselves from the Hispanic culture. Furthermore, this separation could allow for tensions and possibly violence to grow between both groups.

Cultural references

A number of films and at least one novel tell stories based on the infamous voyage of the Golden Venture, a ship carrying would-be illegal immigrants from China that ran aground in New York Harbour in 1993.

Commercial films

The 1996 film Deadly Voyage treats the perils endured by would-be immigrants attempting to enter the United States illegally.NEWS, O'Connor, John J., 14 June 1996,weblink TV Weeknd; 9 African Stowaways And a Homicidal Crew, The New York Times,

Documentary films

(How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories) is a 12-part documentary film series that examines the American political system through the lens of immigration reform from 2001–2007, from filmmaking team Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini. Several films in the series contain a large focus on the issue of illegal immigration in the U.S. and feature advocates from both sides of the debate. Since the debut of the first five films, the series has become an important resource for advocates, policy-makers and educators.The series premiered on HBO with the broadcast debut of The Senator's Bargain on March 24, 2010. A directors' cut of The Senator's Bargain was featured in the 2010 Human Rights Watch Film Festival at Lincoln Center, with the theatrical title Story 12: Last Best Chance. That film featured Edward Kennedy's efforts to pass The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. The second story in the 12-part series, Mountains and Clouds, opened the festival in the same year.The films document the attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform during the years from 2001–2007, and present a behind-the-scenes story of the success (and failure) of many bills from that period with an effect on illegal immigration including: Marking Up The Dream, Story Six in the How Democracy Works Now series, focuses on the heated 2003 markup in The Senate Judiciary Committee, contrasting optimistic supporters who viewed The DREAM Act as a small bi-partisan bill that would help children, with opponents who saw the legislation as thinly-veiled amnesty. Also presented in the film are the rallies and demonstrations from illegal immigrant students who would benefit from the DREAM Act. The film opens with demonstration by some illegal high-school students as they stage a mock graduation ceremony on the U.S. Capitol lawn.

See also

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, Spring 2006.BOOK, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, 21,weblink The National Academies Press, 1997, 10.17226/5779, 978-0-309-06356-2, WEB,weblink The Size and Characteristics of the Unauthorized Migrant Population in the US, Passel, Jeffrey, March 7, 2006, Pew Hispanic Center, August 20, 2008,weblink" title="">weblink August 21, 2008, dead, mdy-all, NEWS,weblink Nafta Should Have Stopped Illegal Immigration, Right?, Louis Uchitelle, Louis Uchitelle, The New York Times, February 18, 2007, May 5, 2010, ACLU Calls on President Not to Deploy Military Troops to Deter Immigrants at the Mexican Border {{webarchive |url= |date=October 17, 2009 }}, May 5, 2006Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail {{webarchive |url= |date=March 5, 2012 }}, review by Carol Amoruso.NEWS, Archibold, Randal C.,weblink Judge Blocks Arizona's Immigration Law, The New York Times, July 29, 2010, A1, President Bush Addresses the Nation on Immigration Reform {{webarchive |url= |date=May 7, 2016 }}, May 2006President Bush's Plan For Comprehensive Immigration Reform 2007 State of the Union {{webarchive |url= |date=November 15, 2016 }}WEB, Comprehensive Immigration Reform,weblink, The State of American Public Opinion on Immigration in Spring 2006: A Review of Major Surveys, pew Hispanic center {{webarchive |url= |date=April 17, 2016 }}, May 17, 2006Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll. November 30 – December 3, 2007WEB,weblink Government Accountability Office, Border-Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995; Border Patrol's Efforts to Prevent Deaths Have Not Been Fully Evaluated, 42, August 2006, ABC News Poll. Sept. 27–30, 2007CBS News/New York Times Poll. May 18–23, 2007WEB,weblink Immigration,, January 2, 2012, WEB,weblink Study Details Lives of Illegal Immigrants in U.S., NPR, January 2, 2012, NEWS, Public Broadcasting Service, PBS,weblink About the Film The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, July 7, 2008, July 11, 2008, NEWS,weblink,, January 25, 2006, January 2, 2012, Driver's Licenses For Undocumented Aliens in California {{webarchive |url= |date=February 9, 2008 }}WEB,weblink Immigration: The Demographic and Economic Facts,, January 2, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink January 8, 2012, mdy-all, Banks help illegal immigrants own their own home {{webarchive |url= |date=December 12, 2016 }}, CNN/MoneyJOURNAL, § 1325. Improper entry by alien,weblink Cornell Law School, July 30, 2010, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. Oct. 12–14, 2007NEWS, Slevin, Peter, Deportation of illegal immigrants increases under Obama administration,weblink The Washington Post, July 25, 2010, A1, Bryan Baker. Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2014. Office of Homeland Security, January 2017.House panel plans probe of S. Texas border killing {{webarchive |url= |date=September 23, 2013 }}, July 17, 1997Pentagon Pulls Troops Off Drug Patrols Action Comes as Grand Jury Weighs Indictment of Marine {{webarchive |url= |date=March 3, 2016 }}, July 30, 1997WEB,weblink, January 2, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 12, 2011, mdy-all, Enforcing Corporate Responsibility for Violations of Workplace Immigration Laws: The Case of Meatpacking {{webarchive |url= |date=December 29, 2008 }}, December 22, 2006. Tyson also used its enrollment in the Basic Pilot and EVP Programs (voluntary employment eligibility screening programs) as part of its defense.The Myth of Posse Comitatus October 2000 {{webarchive |url= |date=February 9, 2012 }}Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement {{webarchive|url= |date=November 26, 2016 }}, Congressional Research Service report, August 14, 2006 page 26Roberto Martinez (In Motion Magazine), "Operation Gatekeeper" {{webarchive|url= |date=January 19, 2000 }}, Retrieved: July 4, 2008.Espenshade, Thomas J. and Belanger, Maryanne (1998) "Immigration and Public Opinion". In Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco, ed. ''Crossings: Mexican Immigration in Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Cambridge, Mass.: David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and Harvard University Press, pages 365–403WEB,weblink Immigration Poll, Manhattan Institute, January 2, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink January 6, 2012, mdy-all, WEB,weblink Modes of Entry for the Unauthorized Migrant Population, May 22, 2006, Pew Hispanic Center, February 2, 2011, Mexico Threatens Lawsuits Over U.S. Guard Patrols weblink" title="">, May 17, 2006WEB, No More Deaths,weblink WEB,weblink Nearly Half of Illegal Immigrants Overstay Visas, NPR, June 14, 2006, January 2, 2012, NEWS, Bahrampour, Tara, Number of illegal immigrants in U.S. drops, report says,weblink July 30, 2011, The Washington Post, September 1, 2010, NEWS,weblink U.S.'s Toughest Immigration Law Is Signed in Arizona, Archibold, Randal C., The New York Times, April 24, 2010, A1, Poll Shows Most in U.S. Want Overhaul of Immigration Laws {{webarchive |url= |date=September 27, 2015 }}, The New York TimesNEWS,weblink Court Orders a New Delay on Illegal Worker Rules, The New York Times, Julia, Preston, October 2, 2007, June 27, 2012,weblink June 26, 2012, dead, mdy-all, NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Neil Newhouse (R). June 8–11, 2007Many of these women are forced in to heavy labor to pay for their passage into the U.S. PBS Report on Illegal Immigrant Slavery in the US {{webarchive |url= |date=September 24, 2013 }}Timeline: 1953 Operation Wetback: The U.S. Immigration Service deports more than 3.8 million people of Mexican heritage. {{webarchive |url= |date=May 2, 2015 }} The Border {{webarchive |url= |date=May 3, 2015 }}, PBSNational Guard presence cutting number of illegal US-Mexico border crossings {{webarchive |url= |date=June 21, 2013 }}, June 12, 2006The New York Times, July 9, 2010, by Julia Preston, "weblink" title="">Illegal Workers Swept From Jobs in 'Silent Raids'"Quinnipiac University Poll. Nov. 13–19, 2006.WEB,weblink The most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a presidential election, Rasmussen Reports, May 25, 2007, January 2, 2012, Nationally, 60% Favor Letting Local Police Stop and Verify Immigration Status {{webarchive |url= |date=November 18, 2016 }}, Rasmussen ReportsNational Guard works the border {{webarchive|url= |date=December 13, 2011 }}, October 23, 2006City and County of San Francisco, Office of the Mayor, "Mayor Newsom launches sanctuary city outreach program" {{webarchive |url= |date=February 7, 2010 }}, April 2, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2009.Border Skirmish {{webarchive|url= |date=July 21, 2013 }}, August 25, 1997WEB, in Current Affairs, Film,weblink Immigrationprof Blog: Acclaimed Political Documentary Series 'How Democracy Works Now' Announces Washington D.C. Screenings,, May 3, 2010, September 22, 2011, Immigration raid linked to ID theft, Chertoff says (USA TODAY) December 13, 2006. {{webarchive |url= |date=October 25, 2011 }} Because Swift uses a government Basic Pilot program to confirm whether Social Security numbers are valid, no charges were filed against Swift. Company officials have questioned the program's ability to detect when two people are using the same number.U.S. urged to apologize for 1930s deportations {{webarchive |url= |date=April 24, 2012 }} Wendy Koch, USA TODAY, May 4, 2006Posse Comitatus Act weblink" title="">Not Dated"Illegal Hiring is Rarely Penalized". The Washington Post {{webarchive |url= |date=November 23, 2016 }}, June 19, 2006Wal-Mart to Pay $11 Million: Chain Settles Illegal-Worker Investigation {{webarchive |url= |date=December 4, 2016 }}, March 19, 2005NEWS,weblink $41 Billion Cost Projected To Remove Illegal Entrants, Darryl Fears, Washington Times, July 26, 2005, Bush Set To Send Guard to Border {{webarchive |url= |date=December 7, 2016 }}, May 15, 2006NEWS, He's an ... Illegal Eh-lien, Beth Slovic Bslovic,weblink February 20, 2008, Willamette Week, JOURNAL, Nill, Andrea Christina, Latinos and S.B. 1070: Demonization, Dehumanization, and Disenfranchisement, Harvard Latino Law Review, 2011, 14, 35–66, }}

Further reading

  • Barkan, Elliott R. "Return of the Nativists? California Public Opinion and Immigration in the 1980s and 1990s". Social Science History 2003 27(2): 229–283. in Project Muse
  • Brimelow, Peter; Alien Nation (1996)
  • Cull, Nicholas J. and Carrasco, Davíd, ed. Alambrista and the US-Mexico Border: Film, Music, and Stories of Undocumented Immigrants U. of New Mexico Press, 2004. 225 pp.
  • De La Torre, Miguel A., Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 2009.
  • Dowling, Julie A., and Jonathan Xavier Inda, eds. Governing Immigration Through Crime: A Reader. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.
  • Hirota, Hidetaka. 2017. Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy. Oxford University Press.
  • JOURNAL, Espenshade, Thomas J, 1995, Unauthorized Immigration to the United States, Annual Review of Sociology, 21, 195, 10.1146/annurev.soc.21.1.195,
  • JOURNAL, Flores, William V, 2003, New Citizens, New Rights: Undocumented Immigrants and Latino Cultural Citizenship, Latin American Perspectives, 30, 2, 87–100, 10.1177/0094582X02250630,
  • Harbage Page. Susan and Inés Valdez, "Residues of Border Control", Southern Spaces, April 17, 2011.
  • Inda, Jonathan Xavier. Targeting Immigrants: Government, Technology, and Ethics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.
  • Kalhan, Anil, Rethinking Immigration Detention, 110 Columbia Law Review Sidebar 42, 2010
  • Kalhan, Anil, Immigration Policing and Federalism Through the Lens of Technology, Surveillance, and Privacy, 74 Ohio State Law Journal 1105, 2013
  • Kennedy, John F. A Nation of Immigrants. New York: Harper & Row, 1964.
  • JOURNAL, Kuczewski, Mark G. PhD, Brubaker, Linda MD, MS, Medical Education for "Dreamers": Barriers and Opportunities for Undocumented Immigrants,weblink Academic Medicine, 89, 12, 1593–1598, December 4, 2014, Medical Schools Ethic Obligation to, 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000399, 24988424, 2014, Magaña, Lisa, Straddling the Border: Immigration Policy and the INS (2003)
  • Mohl, Raymond A. "Latinization in the Heart of Dixie: Hispanics in Late-twentieth-century Alabama" Alabama Review 2002 55(4): 243–274. ISSN 0002-4341
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  • Ngai, Mae M. "The Strange Career of the Illegal Alien: Immigration Restriction and Deportation Policy in the United States, 1921–1965" Law and History Review 2003 21(1): 69–107. ISSN 0738-2480 Fulltext in History Cooperative
  • Vicino, Thomas J. Suburban Crossroads: The Fight for Local Control of Immigration Policy. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013.

External links

{{Immigration to the United States}}{{North America topic|Illegal immigration to}}

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Eastern Philosophy
History of Philosophy
M.R.M. Parrott