Social Issues for Illegal Immigrants

By Sofia Rest

What’s my main question?

Many immigrants come to the US from all over the world, hoping to start a new life. But life in the US isn’t all immigrants expect it to be — there are many social issues that affect modern day illegal immigrants coming into the US. What are some of these social issues, and how do they affect modern day illegal immigrants? -Education -Healthcare -Language Barrier

Why do immigrants come to the United States in the first place?

Immigrants chose to come for various reasons, such as to live in freedom, to practice their religion freely, to escape poverty or oppression, and to make better lives for themselves and their children. Some people already have members of their family residing in this country, and desire reunification. Some immigrants come to the U.S. because of employment opportunities. Through employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor an individual for a specific position where there is a demonstrated absence of U.S. workers. Prosperity. For decades, economic growth has easily surpassed population growth, giving the U.S., and much of the rest of the world, both more people and more prosperity.

General facts about illegal immigrants

There are approximately 8.3 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. workforce (2008). 47% of those 8.3 million illegal immigrants have children (73% of those children are U.S citizens). The children of those 8.3 million illegal immigrants make up 6.8% of all elementary and secondary school-going children.


In 1996, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) was created. This banned public services to illegal immigrants, but allowed illegal immigrants to access “emergency” medical services. Although, it provided pregnant women and infants with care.


Some states don’t allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition fees at universities (in-state tuition as about two to three times less than out-of-state tuition). In South Carolina, undocumented students can’t enroll in any public universities or colleges. In North Carolina, undocumented students can’t enroll in community colleges. This ban is very harsh, because community colleges often allow undocumented students to gain and refine knowledge that can propel them to a 4-year university. Overall, only 10 states, including California, award in-state tuition rates to undocumented students.

Language Barrier

Illegal immigrants are hurt by an education system that does not understand how to handle them and contributes to the poverty of illegal immigrants. Few schools in the US offer bilingual education, and even fewer (less than 20% according to the Department of Education) have a teacher that can speak Spanish fluently. This causes illegal immigrants and their children to feel different and alone in a new and confusing place. This poor self-esteem causes them to have poorer test scores in both math and science as well as English.

There are few after-school programs geared towards bilingual students which causes the students to have different experiences than their English-speaking classmates. Early education, after-school programs have proven results with English speaking students. These same advantages are unavailable to the majority of undocumented students and children of illegal immigrants. The education system perpetuates inequality because it gives different experiences to English-speaking children and the children of illegal immigrants.

What can we do?

Overall, illegal immigrants encounter a variety of problems, ranging from education to language to healthcare.

We can help these illegal immigrants by:

-Donating to charities so immigrants can gain enough money for an education

-Supporting after-school programs for bilingual students

  • Raising awareness about illegal immigration and what we can do to help illegal immigrants

Works Cited

“Illegal Immigration.” Illegal Immigration. Tangient LLC, 2016. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <>.

“Estimated Unauthorized Population, 1990 to 2011 (millions).” Migration Policy Institute. Migration Policy Institute, 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. < economic-social-political-landscapes-legislative-reform>.

McGinty, Joe Craven. “Unauthorized Immigrants as Share of Population, 2012.” Americans for Legal Immigration Pac. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2016. < illegal-immigrants-adds-up-why-matters-318187/#top>.

Arizaga, Elizabeth. “Why do immigrants come to United States of America?” The Gramblinite. The Gramblinite, 2006. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. < come-to-United-States->.

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