Illegal Immigration in the US and Its Causes

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There is a widely held opinion among many American politicians and sociologists that illegal immigration is the underlying cause of many problems that the United States experiences now. Certainly, it is quite a disputable issue, and very often, illegal immigrants are viewed as scapegoats, a certain group of people that the government can shift blame onto (Haines, p. 44).


Over the last two decades, American government has adopted several immigration laws. In their core, these acts of legislation are aimed at reducing the number of illegal immigrants to a minimum. However, it does not seem that such policy has been very efficient. For example, we may analyze the so-called “Real ID Act”, which was signed in law in 2005.

According to this law, certain amendments are proposed to visa limits especially, if we are speaking about temporary workers from foreign countries. In addition to that it is stated, that every citizen of the county (or the person, who is temporarily staying within its borders), is obliged to have a certain set of credentials.

To a certain degree, the enactment of this law was also connected with 9/ 11 tragedy. Some officials believe that illegal immigrants can pose threat to the security of the United States. It seems that this is a very common misconception. Such attitude of the government may turn every immigrant into a person suspected of terrorism activity. It changes the public opinion as to this issue, probably it triggers the so-called “witch hunt”, the search for scapegoats. It seems that the government is taking such severe measures just create the allusion of safety to American citizens This act of legislation gave almost unlimited authority to the immigration officers, however, it adversely affected many law-abiding people, who really obtained permission to live and work in the country(Espenshade, p. 195).

Another act of legislation that we can mention is the Illegal Immigration Reform Act. This law drastically changed deportation rules. Since that time of its adoption, every immigrant (legal or illegal) can be easily deported even for minor violation of the law. It should be mentioned that this act also includes people, who are married to a citizen of the United States. However, it does not seem that these measures have reached their aim. Probably, the main reason for it is that the increasing number of illegal (this word is crucial in this case) immigrants is very beneficial to some organizations. Perhaps, it would be better to give a detailed account of this phenomenon. It seems, that the governments actions will never be sufficient, if it does not change some aspects of its policy.

Certainly, the number of foreign citizens, illegally crossing the borders of the United States, has become almost catastrophic. It is estimated, that approximately 12 million people live in the country without official permission of the government. It stands to reason, that such social phenomenon would eventually have detrimental effects on the United States. This issue can be analyzed from several standpoints.

First, one should take into consideration the economic effects of illegal immigration. Large companies or corporations are inclined to hire low-paid workers from “third world” countries. In terms of economics, such behavior seems to be quite prudent. However, such policy has tells upon well-being of American citizens. As a rule, the argument against illegal immigration is formulated in the following way “they took our job”. However, people always forget about the management of the companies that pursue such course of action. It is quite possible to contrive thousand of method in order to outsmart existing legislation and hire people from “the third world” countries.

Probably, public eye should focus attention not only on the illegal immigrants, but also on the companies that are dishonest with American citizens. The main problem is that this process began much earlier, in particular in early nineties, when some American companies began to offshore American jobs to the “developing” counties. Hiring immigrants is just another way to do it.

Certainly, the increasing number of illegal immigrants causes many problems to the modern American society, for example overpopulation. In particular, we should discuss health problems. The main point is that that hospitals (non-profit) are literally teaming with people and the medical workers are hardly possible to cope with this flow. Moreover, there is always risk that illegal immigrants may carry some contagious disease. Naturally, this fact is undeniable. However, one should always bear in mind that non-profit hospitals are not adequately financed and probably this is the main cause of the problem (Flores, p. 25).

Some people presume that illegal immigrants are inclined to commit a crime. Certainly, statistical data can substantiate this question. However, the crime in the United States has become a very acute problem song ago, before the flow of immigrants.


Thus, we can arrive at the conclusion that illegal immigration have recently become a very complicated issue in modern American society. However, it is worth mentioning that illegal immigrants are often used as a plausible excuse for the governments inefficiency.


  1. David Haines. “Illegal Immigration in America”. Greenwood Press, 1999
  2. Flores, William V. “New Citizens, New Rights: Undocumented Immigrants and Latino Cultural Citizenship” Latin American Perspectives , vol 3, 4, pp. 22-30, 2006.
  3. Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, Palgrave, 2004.
  4. Thomas J. Espenshade; “Unauthorized Immigration to the United States” Annual Review of Sociology. Volume: 21. 1995. pp 195.

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