Immigration Debate: Struggles Undocumented Immigrants Face in the United States

The discussion on immigration has expanded throughout the years and the term “illegal immigration” as the media has helped to describe an undocumented person is not only incorrect but also dehumanizing. A person can’t be illegal, but rather their actions can be. Immigration dates as far back as the 18th century when the nation had an open invitation to those looking to immigrate to the United States. This vast population of undocumented immigrants was due to the rapid growth the nation had and the high demand for laborers. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s when the existence of a federal law came about restricting undocumented immigrants. There has been a shift in terms of numbers of undocumented immigrants as the years have gone by. As of 2016, the undocumented immigrant population falls below 11 million, with Mexican immigrants accounting for half of the population. Throughout his presidency, Obama has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other president in the United States. The immigration debate has left those living in the shadows in fear of deportation. Undocumented status is a setback on immigrants yearning to succeed in the United States.


Central America & Mexico account for more than half of the undocumented immigrants in the United States and also have the most people living in extreme poverty back in their home country.


Undocumented immigrants make up 5.1% of the labor force and oftentimes take on low-waged jobs.


In 2013, more than 72,000 deportations separated families and about 4.5 million U.S. children have one undocumented parent. When these children’s parents are deported, U.S. born children sometimes leave with their parents, stay with a family member or are sent to foster care.


Out of the 2.5 million deportations, 363,000 (83%) of deportations were carried out without appearing before a judge. Authorities want to make the deportation process go by quickly so they have the undocumented immigrants sign something agreeing to depart with no hearing. It costs $20,000 to taxpayers to carry on a single-individual deportation and it would cost more than $285 billion to deport all undocumented immigrants in a 5-year frame.

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