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Illegal Immigration Pros And Cons

Illegal immigration has been a hot-button issue for decades in the United States, and it seems that discussions and tempers flare in election years. While there are a lot of issues to be considered when it comes to immigration in the United States, tough economic times have shifted the focus of the discussion toward the economy.

Many conservatives in favor or tighter border control argue that illegal immigrants are negatively impacting the economy. Liberals on the other side of the debate claim that the economy would be in even worse shape if the United States lost all of its illegal immigrant workers overnight.

illegal immigrants picking crops

Illegal Immigrants Help Generate Money for the U.S.

Illegal immigrants in the United States predominately work low-paying, manual labor type jobs. They pick the fruit that ends up on tables around the world â€" they work in the slaughterhouses that supply major food distributors and grocery chains.

That’s why some people claim that illegal immigrants actually help to boost the economy of the United States. Much of what we grow and produce is shipped overseas or sold in the United States for a lower cost than it could be imported from another country.

Without workers to do the low-paying jobs, which many Americans don’t want, many employers would be forced to pay higher wages, driving up the prices of goods that many Americans are used to paying very little for.

In this sense, determining whether or not illegal immigrants help the economy is really quite difficult. On one hand, they do the jobs many won’t and save all U.S. consumers money, which generally amounts to more spending. On the other, they may be taking jobs from U.S. citizens who would be willing to do the work, only at a higher wage.

Unfortunately, the higher wages that would inevitably be demanded by U.S. citizens may make some companies, even large ones, unprofitable, which would negatively impact the economy.

Illegal Immigrants Often Don’t Pay Taxes

One of the most common arguments people make when it comes to the negative side of illegal immigrants working in the United States is that they don’t pay income taxes, and that they can’t be audited or prosecuted because they don’t have a social security number. However, according to IRS and Congressional Budget Office records, more than six million undocumented immigrants paid income taxes in 2010.

How large of a percentage of illegal immigrants working in the United States that six million is can be difficult to figure, but conservative estimates put the amount of illegal immigrants in the United States around 12 million, many of which may be children or individuals that are supported by family members or spouses.

Illegal Immigrants Spend Money


Illegal immigrants that work in the United States also spend their money in the United States. They go to restaurants, buy cars, cell phones, and clothing â€" pretty much everything that naturalized citizens buy. In this respect, working illegal immigrants actually help to bolster the United States economy.

So Ultimately . . .

As it is, much of the United States economy, for better or worse, is based on illegal immigrants doing low-paying jobs. Whether illegal immigration affects the economy positively or negatively, and to what to degree is a very tough question, and we may not be able to find a black and white, yes or no answer to it.

However, much evidence shows that the cost of illegal immigrants to the United States is equal to or outweighed by the contributions that they make to the economy.

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