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Running Head: Illegal Immigration

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Jaime Gonzales
The Undocumented Immigrant: A review on literature
University of Texas at El Paso
RWS 1302

Running Head: Illegal Immigration

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Abstract:
There are many controversies involving the state of immigration that the United
States currently employs. Millions of human beings are crossing illegally and flooding
careers with undocumented workers. In the past, the United States has been a beacon
of hope for people who believed that they deserved an opportunity of growth after
immigrating to North America. Immigration has been debated when it comes to the
economy, the unclearness of how it affects the nation makes it hard to have a concrete
positive or negative impact on what its effects are. Now that resources are limited and
the human population is reaching a high density in many cities. Immigration has
become more and more debated as many people ensure that deportation is the best
solution while others advocate for allowing everyone a chance at the American Dream.
The purpose of this literary review is to give information about the effect of illegal
immigration mainly pertaining to Mexican immigrants into the United States and to
conclude a possible future for immigrants with illegal status.

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The Undocumented Immigrant: A review on literature
From its founding in 1776, the United States has been a safe haven for people of
all place and religion to be able to work and have a chance at a better life. As the nation
kept growing, its demand for immigration kept growing at an enormous pace to supply
the need for Manifest Destiny. As the country was finally explored from east to west, the
need for immigration was not as necessary. Supply kept coming at alarming rates as
people fled their countries because of corruption, wars, or better opportunities. Many of
these people have gained access illegally to the United States and this topic is seen as
a nationwide issue that separates the public.
President Obama tried to advocate for the protection of millions of undocumented
immigrants by the use of executive power during his terms. His cause was in vain as 26
of the states have sued his administration for having acted unconstitutionally. The states
as well as congress have made it difficult for him to address the problems that the
immigration policy has. This document will talk more in depth about the immigration
structure of the United States as well as taking consideration of the following questions:
1. Why do employers keep hiring illegal immigrants?
2. What are the ways and difficulty of gaining legal status?
3. How would less severe immigration policies affect the economy?
These questions will be used to give a general background and conflicts that arise
through literature review. They will also be used to conjure a hypothesis about what may
be the future for these immigrants that are crossing and working illegally.
Why do employers keep hiring illegal immigrants?

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During the Industrial Revolution, workers in the United States had to endure
many hardships due to the low amount of rights. Unions spread across the United
States and workers had more rights making it harder for employers to be able to get
their full money’s worth of work without being penalized. Employers whom were
struggling then had to look for those who through their status had to endure more and
risk their wellbeing for the same or even less than their legal counterparts. Millions of
undocumented workers have been taken advantage of because they were too scared of
being turned over to immigration and sent back to their home countries. “As noted by
the CDC (2008), the foreign-born may be more willing to perform tasks with higher risks
and be more hesitant to decline due to fear of losing their jobs.” (Zavodny, 2009).
Immigrants are seen as a way to get harder work without having to dish out a bigger
salary. According to PBS NewsHour Extra, the average American salary is 10 times
more than that of a Mexican wage. Even if it is harder labor and less pay than the
residents, an illegal immigrant is still making considerably more than they would be
making in Mexico. In order to counter the employment of illegal immigrants, companies
may risk being fined if suspected of knowingly hiring workers that do not have
permission to work in the United States.
What are the ways and difficulty of gaining legal status?
A person can become resident through different types of ways, depending on
their situation. There are those who gain residency because they have American born
children that are over the age of 21. There are refugees and others who gain citizenship
because they marry someone whom is already a citizen. It can take months to even
years to gain legal status in the United States. Parents whom have alien status that

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have children have to wait until they are old enough to sponsor them. The 2015
presidential elections have focused on immigration and one of the candidates, Donald
Trump advocates that too many people are using what he calls “anchor babies” in order
to stay in the United States and gain residence. He acknowledges that if he is made
president he will take away citizenship in order to give immigrants an even more difficult
situation. “I'd much rather find out whether or not anchor babies are citizens because a
lot of people don't think they are. We're going to test it out.” (Trump, 2015). Donald
trump is a powerful person as he is worth billions of dollars and has his own money at
his disposal which gives him an upper hand during presidential elections, if he becomes
president and keeps his word then the immigration policy of the future may get a lot of
change. Despite his presidency still to be determined, presently less people have been
given legal status to work and reside in the United States.
According to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, the amount of green card
and residency approval has decrease in the previous years. “In 2013, 990,553 foreign
nationals became lawful permanent residents (LPRs), also known as green-card
holders, according to DHS data. The total number of LPRs has decreased since 2011
(1,062,040 in 2011 and 1,031,631 in 2012).” (Batalova, 2015).Decreasing the
acceptance rate for people to become green card holders is in order to decrease the
amount of people who think that it will be easy to live in the country legally.
According to the graph by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration
Statistics, the amount of unauthorized immigration population has been consistent with
the previously mentioned decreased acceptance rate. Despite the data, a survey
conducted to a small group of 20 college students from the University of Texas at El

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Paso determined that 80% of the
surveyed believe that people will
still continue to illegally cross the
border despite it being harder to
gain citizenship or residency. Still
from 2011 to 2012 there has been a
decrease of illegal immigration from
11.5 million to 11.4 million, a
difference of around one hundred
thousand. Making it harder for immigrants to become permanent residents has actually
decreased the amount of illegal immigrants that cross the border leaving their country of
origin behind.
There may be consequences of decreasing the amount of immigrants for the
economy as less people are being accounted for in taxation. This can be either useful or
harmful because while some are not paying the taxes that they are supposed to, others
are not getting their tax returns which leave the United States with money that is
unaccounted for which may be used for social programs. According to Robert W.
Wood, a tax lawyer and Forbes contributor: “one estimate says that illegal immigrants
paid $12 billion in Social Security taxes in 2010” (Wood, 2015). Giving undocumented
immigrants a legal status provides a way to keep track of them and help the nation keep
a follow-up on everyone’s tax contributions.
How would less strict immigration policies affect the economy?

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Less strict immigration policies may affect the way that business is conducted in
the United States, the businesses that search for illegal immigrants for cheap labor will
be forced to give fair salaries. As the businesses have to make up for paying higher
wages, they will be forced to either spend less or increase the price of the products
which will lead to fluctuation in the economy of the Unites States.
Immigration affects the economy in the nation as well as the individual, according
to Gordon H. Hanson “economists have viewed migration as an investment decision.
An individual migrates if the expected discounted difference in the stream of income
between the new and old location exceeds moving costs. The cost of unauthorized
migration includes transport to the border, the physical risks and monetary charges
incurred in crossing the border illegally”(Hanson, 2006) Immigration may be seen as
tourism, a person will be going off to a country (in this case the United States) and will
have to most likely pay for temporary shelter instead of a permanent place of living in
order to accommodate for changing jobs at a higher percentage. These people are
foreign and may be taken advantage of by a landlord which increases price and can
scare the immigrant with threat of calling immigration to have them deported. This can
positively affect the economy but hurt the individual financially.
It is very uncommon that immigrants move to the United States in hopes of better
opportunities to be able to send money back to their families in their home countries. It
would be in the best interest of the country to keep the finances inside the nation
instead of being sent out to other countries. The economy would most likely benefit if
more immigrants would be given residential status and brought their families so that
they can make use of their earnings to help the local businesses. According to Krissah

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Williams from the Washington post “A report released yesterday by the Inter-American
Development Bank estimates that immigrants living in the United States will send $45
billion to family members this year {2006}” (Williams, 2006). Those 45 billion sent to
families could have been used in the United States instead of being exported to other
countries that will benefit from having the family of the workers. There is clearly a
problem that affects the whole country economically which may or may not be
addressed with less strict immigration laws.
Conclusion/Synthesis
In conclusion, this literary review has analyzed the different topics that are
brought about regarding illegal immigration. There are many positive and negative
consequences that arise when regarding to what will happen to immigrants. There is
such a large number of the undocumented population that changes to how they are
addressed will affect the whole country. Strict immigration policies may prove to
decrease the amount of undocumented population while there could be a chance that
less people are getting their green cards and reporting taxes which affects the economy
greatly. There are people who may take advantage of immigrants that do not know the
country making it harder for them to be able to get themselves situated. This may lead
to them suffering a lot of psychological hardships that may lead them to drugs and
organized crime.There are businesses whom try to help immigrants out because they
understand what the illegal immigrants are going through while there are others that are
taking advantage of the cheap labor that they can get through extorting them using
border patrol as a threat in order to control them through fear. The little money gained
from such work may not even be used in the United States as the illegal immigrants

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cannot risk bringing their families with them as it is dangerous and being deported will
leave them in an even tougher situation. The impact of immigration in the United States
is just so large that change in many ways can affect very different sectors of the country,
hurting some while helping others. There may not be a clean-cut solution to the problem
of immigration, yet what is being done is too far from “decent” enough to balance the
issues presented.

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References
Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," Journal
of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 869-924,
December.
Hall, M., Greenman, E., & Farkas, G. (2010). Legal status and wage disparities for
Mexican immigrants. Social Forces, 89(2), 491-513.
Office of Immigration Statistics Policy directorate estimates of the Lawful Permanent
Resident Population in the United States: January 2013. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28,
2015.
It's time to fix our broken immigration system. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2015.
Zavodny, M. (n.d.). Do immigrants work in riskier jobs? Retrieved October 28, 2015.
PBS
Immigration's Role in Building a Strong American Economy. (n.d.). Retrieved October
28, 2015.

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