Illegal immigration to the United States

An immigrant attempting to cross the US-Mexico border illegally by climbing over the border fence in Brownsville, Texas

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 (aliens) who have entered the United States unlawfully,[1][2] as well as those who lawfully entered but then remained after the expiration of their visas, parole, TPS, etc. Illegal immigration has been a matter of intense debate in the United States since the 1980s.

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.[3][4] Estimates in 2016 put the number of unauthorized immigrants at 10.7 million, representing 3.3% of the total U.S. population.[3] Since the Great Recession, more illegal immigrants have left the United States than entered it, and illegal border crossings were at the lowest in decades until 2021, when a record of 1.7 million people were caught trying to cross the southern border illegally.[5][6][7][8][9] Since 2007, visa overstays have accounted for a larger share of the growth in the illegal immigrant population than illegal border crossings,[10] which have declined considerably from 2000 to 2018.[11] 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.[12] As of 2016, approximately two-thirds of unauthorized adult immigrants had lived in the U.S. for at least a decade.[3]

Opponents of illegal immigration argue that people who enter the United States illegally are criminals, as well as social and economic burdens on law-abiding natives. Opponents also argue that illegal immigrants who enter the United States illegally should be deported instead of being awarded with U.S. citizenship and social services.[13] Some argue that illegal immigrants should instead enter the United States lawfully through legal immigration.[14][15]

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.[16][17][18][19] Economists estimate that legalization of the illegal immigrant population would increase the immigrants' earnings and consumption considerably, and increase U.S. gross domestic product.[20][21][22][23] There is scholarly consensus that illegal immigrants commit less crime than natives.[24][25] Sanctuary cities—which adopt policies designed to avoid prosecuting people solely for being in the country illegally—have no statistically meaningful impact on crime.[26][27] Research suggests that immigration enforcement has no impact on crime rates.[26][28][29]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference 1325(a) was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference 1181(c) was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b c "5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S." Pew Research Center. November 28, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Blau, Francine D.; Mackie, Christopher, eds. (September 21, 2016). "9. State and Local Effects of Immigration" (PDF). The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration. National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.17226/23550. hdl:10919/83151. ISBN 9780309444453.
  5. ^ "How Much Credit Can President Trump Take for the Secure Border?". Cato Institute. August 8, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "Barack Obama, in Austin, says illegal immigration at 40-year low". @politifact. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "Trump says illegal immigration lowest in 17 years". @politifact. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  8. ^ "Are more undocumented immigrants leaving than coming?". @politifact. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  9. ^ Sullivan, Eileen; Jordan, Miriam (October 22, 2021). "Illegal Border Crossings, Driven by Pandemic and Natural Disasters, Soar to Record High". New York TImes. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  10. ^ Seitz, Amanda; Weissert, Will (January 4, 2019). "AP FACT CHECK: Visa overstays outpace border crossings". AP NEWS. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Qiu, Linda (June 20, 2018). "Border Crossings Have Been Declining for Years, Despite Claims of a 'Crisis of Illegal Immigration'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference Estimates from PHC was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ "Illegal Immigration - Top Arguments For and Against". ProCon.org. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  14. ^ "Why Don't Unauthorized Migrants Come Here Legally?". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  15. ^ Nowrasteh, Alex. "The Most Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They're Wrong" (PDF). Immigration Research Library. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  16. ^ Cite error: The named reference CBO 2007 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  17. ^ Cite error: The named reference Mayda 2017 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  18. ^ Cite error: The named reference Liu 2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  19. ^ Cite error: The named reference Palivos 2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  20. ^ Cite error: The named reference Rivera-Batiz 1999 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  21. ^ Cite error: The named reference Hall 2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  22. ^ Cite error: The named reference Bratsberg 2002 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  23. ^ Cite error: The named reference Dustmann 2017 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  24. ^ Cite error: The named reference Gonzalez 2017 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  25. ^ Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  26. ^ a b Collingwood, Loren; Gonzalez-O'Brien, Benjamin; El-Khatib, Stephen (October 3, 2016). "Sanctuary cities do not experience an increase in crime". Washington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  27. ^ Cite error: The named reference Martinez 2017 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  28. ^ Cite error: The named reference Miles 2015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  29. ^ Cite error: The named reference Baker 2015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

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