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Unauthorized United States Immigration

Page history last edited by Kristina 10 years, 5 months ago


Problem Definition

  • As of January 2009, the estimated undocumented immigrant population in the United States is 10.8 million (Hoefer) 
  • Increasingly, the U.S. government is pressured from policy makers on both sides of the liberal and conservative political spectrum to enact policies that address both the undocumented population already residing in the U.S. and the large numbers of people daily who attempt to cross the border. 


Causes and Consequences



  • Unauthorized immigration occurs because of labor needs and because immigrants need capital to support their families and better their lives.   
  • Immigrants are viewed as an integral part in helping the United States economy stay afloat by taking the jobs that many Americans refuse to take.
  • Unauthorized immigrants hold a strong presence in industries that require low-skilled labor. 
  • A report by the Migration Policy Institute found that, “In 2008, they represented 25 percent of farm workers, 19 percent of building and maintenance staff, 17 percent of construction labor, 12 percent of employees in food preparation and serving, 10 percent of production labor, and 5 percent of the total civilian labor force.” (Hanson, 5)  





  •  Immigrants are  viewed as a threat to U.S. employment, taking away jobs from Americans. (Katel)  
  •   Policy makers have to address the issue of deciding how much to invest in the nation’s border security and how much to invest in social services.   
  • Social institutions are pressed to handle the issues of education, language, health care and basic necessities that arise with newly arrived immigrants.
  •  At issue is whether unauthorized immigrants should have access to legal services and social services because there are few pathways to gaining these services for these immigrants.



Glossary of Terms   

  • Unauthorized immigration: “foreign-born non-citizens who are not legal residents.” (Hoefer) 

  • Legal residents: “persons who were granted lawful permanent residence; granted asylee status; admitted as refugees; or admitted as nonimmigrants for a temporary stay in the United States" (Hoefer)
  • Nonimmigrant residents: "certain aliens who were legally admitted temporarily to the United States for specified time periods such as students and temporary workers.” (Hoefer)





Greenblatt, A. (2008, February 1). Immigration debate. CQ Researcher, 18, 97-120. Retrieved February 18, 2010, from              CQ Researcher Online, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2008020100.


Hanson, Gordon. (2009, Dec). The Economics and Policy of Illegal Immigration in the United States. Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved February 18, 2010, from   http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/Hanson-Dec09.pdf


Hoefer, Michael, Rytina, Nancy, & Baker, Bryan (2009) Estimates of the Unauthroized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2009. Department of Homeland Security—Office of Immigration Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.dhs.goev/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ois_ill_pe_2


Katel, P. (2005, May 6). Illegal immigration. CQ Researcher, 15, 393-420. Retrieved February 19, 2010, from CQ Researcher Online, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2005050600.


Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.  (2006, March 30). America’s Immigration Quandry. Retrieved February 18, 2010, from http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1048






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