Illegal Migration: Positive and Negative Outcomes

Table of Contents


The pursuit for a better life has led to people using all means possible to migrate to developed countries. People hold the perception that developed countries offer numerous opportunities that might help them to improve their living standards. A majority of the developed countries do not accommodate immigrants (Liu 2549). As a result, people opt to move into the countries illegally, hoping that they will secure jobs and live a better life.

In the United States of America, illegal immigration increased drastically approximately forty years ago. In 1980, the estimated number of illegal migrants comprised three million. In 2006, almost twelve million immigrants formed up to five percent of the US workforce (Liu 2547). Residents of the state express various opinions concerning the role of immigrants in the country. Some consider them to be an effective labor force, while others believe that they undermine the prosperity of the country. Today, illegal immigration has become a major problem in the European states as well as the United States. It does pose a threat not only to the host nation but also to the immigrants.

One requires revisiting the history of illegal immigration to understand its dangers. Before the 19th century, people moved freely from one country to another. There were no restrictions on movement (Ahmad 855). However, at the end of the 19th century, nations like Canada, the United States, Netherlands, and Australia came up with laws that limited the movement of people into the countries. The objectives of the laws were not to curtail immigration but to avoid chances of criminals getting their way into the countries (Liu 2554). The laws aimed at ensuring that anarchists and communists did not migrate into the countries.

In the late 19th century, countries began to see illegal immigration as a threat. Nevertheless, the threat was not quite pressing at that time. The challenge of illegal immigration became severe in the mid-20th century. Today, countries have numerous laws that restrict illegal immigration. Nevertheless, no country has managed to stop illegal immigration (Newton 17). In spite of the United States erecting wired fences and mounting border checks, illegal immigrants continue to find their way into the country.

Negative consequences of illegal immigration

One of the significant consequences of illegal immigration is an increase in crimes. Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that illegal immigration is not the sole contributor to increased criminal activities. Illegal immigration facilitates the growth of other serious crimes like human trafficking. Once the business owners get used to cheap labor, they no longer hire local workers who demand high wages. Eventually, they engage in human trafficking as a way to procure cheap labor from foreign countries. The concept of human trafficking is rather controversial from the perspective of illegal immigration. Two levels and types of crimes are defined by the same term.

In the first meaning, human trafficking presupposes the encouragement of the person who is not a legal resident of the state to enter the country illegally to make a profit. The second meaning of human trafficking is “the recruitment, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons, either by threat or use of abduction, force, fraud, deception, or coercion…” (Ahmad 854). These actions are regarded as violations of both state laws and human rights.

Another consequence of illegal immigration is the rise in the unemployment rate. Illegal immigration exacerbates the rate of unemployment in developed countries. The immigrants accept to work for lower wages, therefore leading to the local people losing their jobs (Ahmad 867). Illegal immigrants serve as sources of cheap labor. As a result, the companies go for the immigrants at the expense of the local people.

In such a way, a local labor market suffers from losses concerning the provision of job opportunities for legal residents of the area. However, unemployment is a surface problem that leads to the development of other aggravations. Thus, people become biased against immigrants. The latter always are ready to conduct hard handwork. Because of this readiness and even disparity, local residents consider such workers as unequal individuals. Such treatment may result in ethnic or social discrimination. A kind of vicious circle appears. First, illegal immigrants arrive and take as many jobs as possible for the lowest prices. Second, residents remain jobless. This situation leads to a negative attitude towards immigrants that may result in discrimination.

Illegal immigration creates a serious threat to the public sector of the United States. Nowadays, the provision of education and healthcare is regarded as an important issue. People argue whether immigrants should have access to public education or healthcare services. The situation is controversial because of several reasons. On the one hand, immigrants should be protected and have basic human rights.

On the contrary, they are illegal residents, and the country should monitor their activities. The public sector suffers as far as immigrants become part of the community. Consequently, educational and healthcare establishments should service them. However, the lack of finances prevents immigrants from the proper care. Apart from financial strain, another major challenge for illegal immigrants is that they originate from different cultural backgrounds.

For them to become citizens of the host nation, they need to mingle and incorporate into the host community. Nevertheless, a majority of the immigrants are conservative and prefer living in isolation (Newton 21). They do not like to interact with the local communities or adopt new cultures. As a result, it is impossible to create a prosperous community with residents who do not know the native language or history of the country.

Positive consequences of illegal immigration

Illegal immigration has numerous benefits to the host country. The immigrants help to boost the economy of the state. Illegal immigrants pay sales tax that contributes to the revenue of the host nation (Nadadur 1038). The sales tax has immediate economic benefits to the country. Still, it should be noted that this question has not been investigated precisely. The primary problem concerns the lack of data about the exact evidence of the number of undocumented immigrants who pay taxes.

Several investigations have shown that illegal immigrants pay fewer taxes than legal ones. Thus, some scholars argue that in 2004, for instance, undocumented immigrants’ taxes comprised nineteen percent of their total income (Nadadur 1049). This amount is not enough for such public services that are offered in the United States. However, such claims are withdrawn by the statement that it is necessary to take into account immigrants’ level of income. They cannot afford to pay the same taxes because of the different wages. Consequently, immigrants contribute significantly to the development of the state’s economy.

Apart from paying sales tax, illegal immigrants also act as a ready market for various goods and services (Dixon, Johnson and Rimmer 21). In return, they facilitate the economic growth of a country. Illegal immigrants help to uplift economically depressed communities. In most cases, illegal immigrants opt to reside in areas that are economically depressed. The immigrants rent houses in economically challenged areas serving as a source of income to the locals. Renting houses is not the only way illegal immigrants spend money in the United States. In most cases, they continue to live in the country and enjoy the benefits of life.

Thus, they have to pay for all American goods and services, including food, clothing, housing, and entertainment. Nadadur writes, “90 percent of wages that the undocumented population earns are currently spent inside the United States.

As a result, the total consumptive capacity of illegal immigrants remaining in the US is around $450 billion” (1046). The other significant finding refers to the fact that almost ninety percent of immigrants are no older than forty-four. It means that these populations still experience their spending years and contribute to the national economy. Finally, some banks have already recognized illegal immigrants as their potential clients. The so-called “matricula cards” serve as an identification document for immigrants. Banks provide holders of these cards with the opportunity to have a debit card in the US bank.

Local communities are reluctant to take jobs that are poorly paid. Residents of the United States prefer having prestigious and high-paid jobs. One way or another, simple and not well-paid jobs have to be done by somebody. Illegal immigrants represent the best opportunity in this case. They come from poorly developed states mostly. The level of living in such states cannot even be compared to that of the US. Thus, illegal immigrants realize their risks and occupational opportunities. Illegal immigrants do not choose jobs. The objective of the immigrants is to make money no matter how little.

Thus, illegal immigrants facilitate the production and delivery of goods and services on time (Dixon, Johnson and Rimmer 27). Besides, the immigrants serve as domestic workers, thus giving their employers an opportunity to engage in other productive activities. For instance, in the United States, illegal immigrants help in feeding pets, cleaning, household chores, and looking after the old and sick (Nadadur 1042). In return, the Americans get an opportunity to work or do business. Such a system of job organization is beneficial for both sides. Illegal immigrants receive good wages and live in better conditions in comparison to their native countries. At the same time, Americans enjoy freedom from household chores and may devote all their time and efforts to the particular aim.


People may support illegal immigration on the basis that it facilitates the economic growth of the host nation. Nevertheless, it is imperative to compare the revenue obtained from illegal immigrants with the money spent on their upkeep. The first type of measure is to overcome illegal immigration with the help of legal measures. Thus, state authorities often take immigrants to penitentiaries. Today, the United States spends at least $90 a day on each of the illegal immigrants held in different penitentiaries.

The Center for American Progress claims that the United States spends $41 billion to arrest, accommodate and extradite illegal immigrants. Apart from the money spent in penitentiaries, the host nation spends a lot of money to provide health and social services to the immigrants. Therefore, even though illegal immigrants help to boost the economy, they also contribute to the increase in government expenditure.

Rather than investing their income in the host nation, the immigrants repatriate the money back home. The public sector also suffers from excessive expenditure on immigrants. Dixon, Johnson, and Rimmer have conducted a profound survey that examines the potential amounts of losses (connected with illegal immigrants) for the legal residents of the US. The authors have investigated the amount of money spent on illegal immigrants. Thus, the results of the study have shown that the illegal immigrant receives the public expenditure that is 0.5 times the same as public expenditure for residents of the state.

By 2019, illegal immigrants’ share in public expenditure will comprise almost eight percent per person. These estimates demonstrate the urgent need to reduce the influx of illegal immigrants. Dixon, Johnson, and Rimmer write, “with a 28.6% reduction in the number of illegal immigrants, the public sector reduces its expenditure in 2019 by $44 617 million, calculated as 28.6% of 3.7% of public consumption” (26). These numbers will be extremely beneficial for the public sector.

Illegal immigrants offer cheap labor at the expense of the local communities. They eventually render the local people jobless, forcing the government to spend a lot of money for the upkeep of its population. Indeed, illegal immigration has contributed to the instability in the labor market in the United States and other developed countries. For example, wages for low-paid jobs are not likely to increase until illegal immigrants are ready to work for such money.

However, it negatively influences those US residents who work in this sector too. Legal residents may lose up to ninety thousand dollars by 2019 because of the occupation mix. The situation is not advantageous for legal employment. Dixon, Johnson, and Rimmer have found out that “the deviation in 2019 in legal employment is -0.15%. This imposes a loss on legal residents of $28 849 million” (26).

Illegal immigrants contribute to overpopulation. In many cases, they live with whole families illegally in the particular region. They are not eager to become active members of the local community. However, they are inevitably engaged in social life. Even though the immigrants reside in economically challenged localities, they exert pressure on the available social amenities like hospitals and schools. The examples of excessive pressure on hospitals refer to the cases when illegal immigrants need first aid. In the case of an emergency, the lack of necessary information about them creates an atmosphere of chaos. Besides, different languages and cultures often become reasons for misunderstanding. Doctors cannot understand patients while patients have no right to be in the United States.


Illegal immigration has become a major challenge to the developed states. Today, countries spend a lot of money in the fight against illegal immigration. For instance, the United States spends a lot of money on border patrols and the deportation of illegal immigrants. While proponents of illegal migration claim that it facilitates the economic growth of a host country, it is important to acknowledge that it also exerts pressure on the public sector.

Numerous studies demonstrate that the activity of illegal immigrants undermines the prosperity and welfare of the country. The local labor market is damaged significantly because of immigrants’ readiness to work for minimal wages. People will not stop entering the United States and other developed countries illegally as long as they anticipate a better life in the nations. Besides, coming up with stringent measures to fight illegal immigration will only lead to the immigrants devising sophisticated ways of entering the countries.

Hence, it is imperative for the developed countries to come up with immigration policies that encourage people to follow the legal procedures. Such systems will enable the countries to account for the number of immigrants and mitigate possible challenges that might come as a result of the influx of people.

Works Cited

Ahmad, Ali. “The Labor Market Consequences of Human Smuggling: ‘Illegal’ Employment in London’s Migrant Economy.” Journal of Ethics and Migration Studies 34.6 (2008): 853-874. Print.

Dixon, Peter, Martin Johnson, and Maureen Rimmer. “Economy-Wide Effects of Reducing Illegal Immigrants in U.S. Employment.” Contemporary Economic Policy 29.1 (2011): 14-30. Print.

Liu, Xiangbo. “On the Macroeconomic and Welfare Effects of Illegal Immigration.” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 34.12 (2010): 2547-2567. Print.

Nadadur, Ramanujan. “Illegal Immigration: A Positive Economic Contribution to the United States.” Journal of Ethics and Migration Studies 35.6 (2009): 1037-1052. Print.

Newton, Lina. Illegal, Alien, or Immigrant: The Politics of Immigration Reform, New York City, New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.