With over 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally, the issue of illegal immigration continues to divide Americans.
Some people say that illegal immigration benefits the US economy through additional tax revenue, expansion of the low-cost labor pool, and increased money in circulation. They contend that immigrants bring good values, have motivations consistent with the American dream, perform jobs that Americans won’t take, and that opposition to immigration stems from racism.
Opponents of illegal immigration say that people who break the law by crossing the US border without proper documentation or by overstaying their visas should be deported and not rewarded with a path to citizenship and access to social services. They argue that people in the country illegally are criminals and social and economic burdens to law-abiding, tax-paying Americans.
ProCon.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that presents research, studies, and pro and con statements on questions related to controversial issues, including illegal immigration in the United States. We normally use the most common terms in the discussion so that the greatest number of people can find and use the free nonpartisan research we provide. For example, we refer to people who have entered the United States without proper legal documentation and who are deportable if apprehended, and people who have entered the United States legally but who have fallen “out of status” and are also deportable, as “undocumented immigrants” (used by 20 of 20 mainstream media organizations we examined) vs. “illegal immigrants” (used by 5 of 20) and “illegal alien” (used by zero of 20). Read more about the terminology here.