Illegal Immigration Essay



This illegal immigration essay example provides an examination of all the different parts of a paper of this type that you will need to know when writing your own.  Specifically, it looks at possible topics to cover related to illegal immigration, a variety of essay titles that could help to catch the reader’s interest, a sample outline of how to structure the essay, an introduction for a paper on illegal immigration, an essay hook to keep the reader invested in the paper, a possible thesis statement, and the different elements of the subject that should be addressed:  1) a definition of illegal immigration, 2) the pros and cons of illegal immigration, 3) arguments for illegal immigration, 4) arguments against illegal immigration, and 5) illegal immigration statistics.  Finally, this article provides a conclusion and a list of possible resources you could use for more information.

Related Topics

Build the Wall

If MAGA did anything, it made the catchphrase “build the wall” into one of the most popular talking points when it comes to the subject of illegal immigration.  Israel has a wall; Vatican City has a wall.  China is known for its Great Wall.  Even Germany had a wall at one point.  Today, however, “building a wall” between Mexico and the U.S. is consider one of the most controversial topics in recent history.  In any discussion of illegal immigration, “the wall” is one of the

Border Security

One reason illegal immigration is still a hot topic is that border security is not up to where it needs to be to stop in the influx of illegal immigrants from border countries.  Over the past few decades, both democrats and republicans have called for stronger border security—so this is not a partisan issue, even though it is often made to seem one today.  Proponents of closed borders note that border security is a necessary feature of any nation as it helps to keep illegal drugs and arms from entering the country, and it helps to keep immigrants from illegally seeking entry.

Immigration Costs

What is the cost of immigration?  To what extent are taxpayers on the hook for illegal immigration?  These figures are not well known and some of them are disputed—so it depends on what sources you use and which side you are arguing.  Even regular Americans are divided on this point:  “When respondents were asked specifically about jobs created and lost because of immigration, one poll found that 51 percent of those surveyed said they believe that immigrants take jobs away from native-born workers.  However, 86 percent believe that immigrants are hard workers, and 61 percent think immigrants create jobs and set up new businesses” (West, 2010, p. 9).  Figuring out the cost of immigration alone can provide more than enough material for a solid paper.

Open Borders

If the political cry of the Trump Administration is to “build the wall,” there is an opposite political cry sponsored by open borders advocates like George Soros who want nothing of the sort but rather a freedom for persons to move from one nation to another like that seen in the EU today.

Immigration Reform

Immigration reform is another hot topic.  The essence of it is that current immigration policy needs to be improved in one way or another—either towards greater inclusivity and acceptance of immigrants (making it easier for them to enter the country) or towards more restrictive measures that prevent so many immigrants from entering (measures like a wall or the end of DACA.


The Problem of Illegal Immigration

Protecting America’s Borders:  Ending Illegal Immigration

Why Illegal Immigration is Not as Bad as They Make It Out to Be

The Thin Line between Legal and Illegal Immigration


I.  Introduction

II.  Body

a.  Illegal immigration defined

b.  Illegal immigration pros and cons

c.  Illegal immigration statistics

d.  Legal immigration

f.  Illegal alien population

g.  Border security metrics

h.  Immigration stat profiles

III.  Conclusion


One of the hallmarks of the early days of almost every nation is its attitude towards immigrants.  Ancient Rome was essentially built on the arrival of different peoples from different regions.  They came together to collectively identify as Romans, uniting under the leadership of Romulus.  The U.S. tells a similar story:  it was a nation that opened its doors to many different groups of people.  English, German, Spanish, Italian, Irish, Jewish, Asian, African—they all came to call America their home at some point or another in the nation’s history.  That does not mean, however, that immigrants were always welcome.  There are many instances in American history were legislation was enacted to bar or prohibit immigrants from becoming citizens or certain types of immigrants from entering the country.

While handling immigration issues has become somewhat more streamlined in recent years, with bureaucratic oversight and governmental transparency serving as key characteristics of the issue, the problem of illegal immigration remains.  Many leading democrats and republicans over the years have argued that something needs to be done about illegal immigration because of the risks to safety and stability that it poses.  Yet, today, with a polarizing leader in the White House, some who argued for an end to illegal immigration in the past now call for a more tolerant and welcoming approach to immigration.  This in itself could point to a new political ideology sprouting in the American fabric—or it could merely be a political ploy to undermine the opposition party.  In either case, illegal immigration has become a hot topic that needs to be better understood.

Essay Hook

Whether one likes it or not, illegal immigration is a major socio-political issue that is not going away.  In order to better stake out one’s position on the subject, the facts of the matter have to be uncovered and understood—without bias from one side or another.

Thesis Statement

Illegal immigration is an issue that elicits a varied degree of responses from different people, many of them full of conviction based on facts that they have collected and placed under their belt.  However, the more one looks into the issue of illegal immigration, the less clear the subject becomes:  the reality is that there exists a great deal of misinformation and disinfo regarding illegal immigration—fake news that can be cleared up with a brief rundown of what is known and not known.


Illegal Immigration Defined

Illegal immigration can be defined as the migration of people who enter a country illegally—i.e., through passageways that are not controlled and that do not allow for a proper investigation of paperwork, visas, passports, etc.  Thus, because the immigrant enters into the country without going through any type of inspection, the immigrant is said to be in the country illegally, having shown no respect for the border or customs laws of the nation.  For that reason, the immigrant has no legal right or privilege to be in the country.

Pros and Cons of Immigration

America was founded by immigrants.  It has always been a nation of immigrants.  America’s Statue of Liberty states:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

From the beginning, the U.S. has providing a welcome mat to immigrants.  Now, the U.S. has not always treated them fairly upon arrival—that history has to be acknowledged as well.  The Chinese were not allowed to become citizens though they were employed on the railroad lines out West.  Many immigrants were thrown into slums and denied a variety of opportunities.  Still, Italians, Germans, Irish, Dutch, Asians and Jews all came to America to escape a variety of miseries in the Old Country.  These groups of immigrants helped to create the America that people know and love today.  They shaped communities, shaped lives, shaped experiences, and helped to bring diversity to the continent.  These can be considered the pros of immigration.

The cons of immigration in today’s modern society, however, also have to be considered.  In the early days of the nation, great influxes of people were welcome because there was a great deal of opportunity.  Today, those opportunities are few and far between.  Many jobs have been offshored to other parts of the world, leaving American workers stranded without work, employment, or consistent income.  With so few jobs available today, more immigration can seem like a problem—after all, where are all the immigrants going to work if the people who are already here cannot find employment?

Another con is that of education.  Education in America is already suffering considerably.  As Despress (2018) points out, many immigrants from Latin America fall into the achievement gap in the U.S. because they simply cannot keep up with what their English-speaking classmates are doing.  To...

ranks pretty low (Desilver, 2017).

Arguments for Illegal Immigration

Those who support illegal immigration argue that allowing people to come into the U.S. is the humane thing to do.  They generally argue that an open borders policy is the only moral position to take.  So many people are fleeing war, gang problems, economic collapse and disease in the own nations.  In America they see opportunity and hope.  Americans, therefore, should be a beacon of light for people and should welcome them into their land rather than try to keep them out by building a wall.  The argument for illegal immigration tends to focus a lot on the concept of a wall, which is generally viewed as a symbol of hate and intolerance.  Those who support illegal immigration do so for ideological purposes:  they view anti-immigration policies as oppressive, unfair, and non-inclusive.

For example, Suarez-Orozco, Rhodes and Milburn (2009) argue that illegal immigrants need “supportive relationships” rather than ICE knocking on their doors and arresting them (p. 151).  Vallejo (2012) argues that many immigrants actually seek pathways to becoming good citizens who are “civically active” (p. 22) and willing to participate in the community life in a positive way.  He suggests that many illegal immigrants are stereotyped as drug dealers or criminals but that the reality is they are the same as most other people, just looking for an opportunity to support their families and raise their children in an environment that is safe and free from the oppression in their native country.  Such people should not be turned away:  doing so would be un-American to the core, since America was basically founded by such people.

The reality of the situation is that immigrants only represent 1/10th of the population in America, “so the tremendous variety of ages, life situations, and economic circumstances makes modeling their impact challenging” (West, 2010, p. 9).  It is difficult to see whether they are making a negative or positive or neutral impact on life in America.  Thus, to give them the benefit of the doubt is the most humane thing to do and to let them stay so long as they are not causing trouble is what Americans should support.

Arguments against Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigration is also said to add to the burden of legal citizens.  Critics argue that it changes the social, political and economic landscape of communities.  Metzler and Off (2018) have noted that “North Carolina’s Hispanic population has grown faster since 2010 than both the white and the black population, according to recently released Census data estimates.”  When something like this happens, there tends to be a need for more health services for families who cannot afford basic healthcare and do not have insurance.  To meet their health needs, more time and money has to be spent, more volunteers are required, and more access to care has to be provided.  This is just one example of why those who oppose illegal immigration do not want more of it.

Another argument is that it leads to more crime, more drugs, and more destabilized communities in general.

Illegal Immigration Statistics for 2018

According to Fact Check, it is estimated that there are 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. right now or roughly 3% of the total U.S. population.

The Department of Homeland Security has seen a substantial decline in illegal immigrant entry into the U.S. in recent years.

Illegal immigration is actually waning in terms of border apprehensions, too.  During the Trump Administration, border apprehensions have fallen by more than 40% since the Obama Administration (, 2018).  The drastic decline is seen even more over a 20 year period:  In 2000, there were 1.64 million apprehensions.  In 2018, there 400,000.

However, even statistics do not tell the whole story:  they too can be misconstrued, taken out of context or interpreted in misleading ways.

For example, many people believe immigrants contribute in a positive manner to American society, while others believe than harm American society:  “one poll found that 51 percent of those surveyed said they believe that immigrants take jobs away from native-born workers.  However, 86 percent believe that immigrants are hard workers, and 61 percent think immigrants create jobs and set up new businesses” (West, 2010, p. 9).

Thus, the common consensus among people in the U.S. is that immigrants are actually hard workers and do not try to milk the system or live off entitlements.  They do a lot of jobs that other Americans do not want to do and they rarely complain.  They go about their lives quietly, doing their best to fit in where they can.  That, at least, is the common perception.

Another issue is how much illegal immigrants take from the economy.  The statistics show that the reality is they hardly take anything but rather give more than they receive:

“Undocumented immigrants contribute significantly to state and local taxes, collectively paying an estimated $11.64 billion a year. Contributions range from almost $2.2 million in Montana with an estimated undocumented population of 4,000 to more than $3.1 billion in California, home to more than 3 million undocumented immigrants” (Gee, Gardner & Wiehe, 2016, p. 4).  What’s more, illegal immigrants tend to pay into the tax system than legal citizens:  “Undocumented immigrants nationwide pay on average an estimated 8 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes (this is their effective state and local tax rate). To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay an average nationwide effective tax rate of just 5.4 percent” (Gee et al., 2016, p. 4).  In other words, statistics show that illegal immigrants pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the top 1% or wealthiest people in America pay!

Illegal immigrants tend to receive less aid than legal citizens in return as well:  “Overall, 5 percent of American households receive cash assistance, compared to 1 percent for undocumented immigrants who obtain benefits using false documents” (West, 2010, p. 11).  However, there are other statistics that tell a different story.  The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR, 2013) notes that “illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers about $113 billion a year at the federal, state and local level…The annual outlay that illegal aliens cost U.S. taxpayers is an average amount per native-headed household of $1,117...Education for the children of illegal aliens constitutes the single largest cost to taxpayers, at an annual price tag of nearly $52 billion.”  In other words, statistics can be cherry-picked to support either side of the argument.  Statistics only tell a small portion of the story:  they color the narrative but can be just as misleading as anything else


The truth of the matter is it is hard to say what the overall effect of illegal immigration is in America.  Illegal immigrants get blamed for a lot of the drug and crime and domestic problems in America—but there are myriad factors contributing to those problems and to lay it all on immigrants is unjust.   The fact is that many illegal immigrants come to the U.S. because they feel they will be better off here than in their native land.  Whether or not they actually are is another matter altogether.


Desilver, D.  (2017).  U.S. students’ academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries.  Retrieved from

Despress, C.  (2018). Report: Latino Kids Suffer More Poverty and Gaps in Education, Health Opportunity.  Retrieved from

FAIR.  (2013).  The costs of illegal immigration on United States taxpayers—2013 edition.  Retrieved from

Gee, L., Gardner, M. & Wiehe, M.  (2016).  Undocumented immigrants’ state & local tax contributions.  Retrieved from

Metzler, C. & Off, G.  (2018).  Hispanic population continues to rise in NC as white population trails.  Retrieved from

Suarez-Orozco, C., Rhodes, J., & Milburn, M. (2009). Unraveling the immigrant paradox: Academic engagement and disengagement among recently arrived immigrant youth. Youth & Society, 41(2), 151-185.

Vallejo, J.  (2012).  Barrios to Burbs.  CA: Stanford University Pres.

West, D.  (2010).  Rethinking U.S. immigration policy.  DC:  Brookings Institute Press.


The illegal immigration topic is a good one for an argumentative essay.  You can use it, take a side on whichever way you like, and argue it using factual information, statistics, and opinions.  There really are two sides to the story, and both sides are worth telling.  This illegal immigration essay should be a good help for you when you go to write your own.  You can use it as an example of what an essay on this topic should look like.  Or if you would like a customized example, place an order for your customized essay on illegal immigration today [insert link to order page].  Our writers are waiting to take your order and provide you with a 100% unique essay crafted specifically to the parameters you supply.

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