Undocumented workers in the United States

The influx of undocumented workers

For years, the policymakers have been debating on shutting off the influx of the undocumented workers in the United States. but the economy has grown to rely on them. In his presidential campaigns, Donald Trump promised to implement new immigration policies to improve the US economy and job market. The major motivating factor was the increased influx of undocumented immigrants, especially through the US-Mexico border. Trump believed in the popular opinion that illegal immigrants are stealing job opportunities from American workers. Ideally, the undocumented workers accept the lower wages which allow the companies to obtain a high matching surplus from hiring immigrants than the natives. With about 12 million undocumented immigrants in the US, their impact on the labour market can be perceived as positive or negative.

Benefits of the undocumented immigrants

The undocumented immigrants have been beneficial to many industries especially those involved in agriculture, food industry and construction works. These workers are deployed in low-skilled jobs with low wages. It is estimated that undocumented immigrants provide cheap labour as they can lower wages by approximately 3-8 per cent for low skill jobs. The low wages paid to the illegal immigrants in low-skill positions tend to cut the cost of production thus lowering the prices of consumer goods. According to (haha), undocumented immigrants are not substitutes for all American workers as suggested by many people. A large number of the undocumented workers are low-skilled compared to the natives, and so they tend to be substituted for poor workers. Instead, illegal immigrants are supplements for skilled domestic workers. This implies that the increase of the undocumented immigrant workers will raise the wages of skilled domestic workers. The hiring of the undocumented immigrants has brought many firms the advantage of paying less in the way of welfare contributions and other non-wage costs. For many undocumented immigrants in the United States, the underground economy is the only way to acquire employment. However, it doesn’t mean that the underground economy exists because of illegal immigrants.

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Filling of low wage jobs for undocumented immigrants

Employers usually fill low-wage jobs with undocumented immigrants because they believe immigrants have a high work ethic and tolerance to low wages. This encourages informal networks in labour markets where illegal immigrants gain better access to these jobs compared to the natives. Besides, the availability of illegal immigrants has made it difficult for firms to increase the minimum wage rates. The higher minimum wage payable to native workers increases the attraction to employers of hiring illegal immigrants.
There is increasing concern about the presence of the undocumented immigrants in the US Justice systems. A substantial number of inmates in the United States are non-citizens. This has led to wide believe that illegal immigrants are posing a significant threat to public safety. However, research by The Marshall Project and The Upshot shows no connection between the undocumented immigrants and crime. The Marshall Project report shows that a large majority of the areas with undocumented immigrants recorded decreases in both violent and property crimes between 2007 and 2016. The decrease of the crime occurred regardless of whether the illegal population rose or fell. The illegal immigrants’ conviction rate is about half of those of the American citizens. The study shows that socioeconomic factors such as unemployment rates, housing instability and metrics of economic hardship are the main cause of the crimes in the US but not the undocumented immigrants.

Arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants

In most cases, when undocumented immigrants are arrested, they face deportation. Thus it’s hard to estimate the number of immigrants involved in crimes. Some studies have shown an increase in crimes with an increased influx of illegal immigrants. The increased illegal immigrants lead to social disorganization which can pave a way for various crimes in the society. In their study, Stansfield et al. () found that the increased undocumented immigrants in Austin, Texas has a small impact on property crimes. They argued that when these immigrants fail to secure some job, they tend to join crime gang in an effort to survive in the new environment. However, the study shows no direct correlation between increased immigrants and property crimes. Measuring the illegal crime rates is difficult because most states do not record the immigration statuses of those in prison or convicted.
In the study, Lott (haha) found that undocumented immigrants are responsible for the increased crimes in Arizona. The research shows that illegal immigrants are 142 per cent more likely to be arrested of crimes than the native-born Arizonans. While the undocumented immigrants make up to 2 per cent of the population in Arizona, 8 per cent of the inmates in Arizona correctional facilities are non-citizens. Furthermore, Lott suggested that these immigrants are more likely to commit crimes and serve 10.5 per cent longer sentences. This research affirms the claim that illegal immigrants cause social disorganization in the society which may have some way for criminal activities.


Immigration has been a crux on which America built. However, illegal immigration has a focal point of several political debates in the country. With about 12 million undocumented immigrants, the public is still divided on the implications of the economic and social development of the country. Undocumented usually have tremendous effects on the English Language, cost, job, and crime rate. However, the illegal immigration pros and cons depend on how an individual looks at the situation. Illegal immigrants usually come to the country looking for greener pastures. This means that the English language is paramount to their search for jobs. They have to learn the English language to overcome deficits of culture in the new environment. While most illegal immigrants learn English in the workplaces, their U.S born children grow up learning English while also hearing and speaking their native languages. The develops a society of bilinguals thus increasing linguistic diversity. However, the use of two languages has been found to lead increased grammar and syntax errors which affect English proficiency.
Undocumented immigrants have tremendous benefits to the economic growth of the country. They offer cheap labour which increases production and decreases the prices of consumer goods. However, most immigrants do not pay taxes which may affect economic growth. Illegal immigrants offer reliable human capital for low-skilled jobs, especially in agriculture and construction works. This enables the firms to cut the cost of production. However, undocumented immigrants stall plans to increase minimum wages in the country. Some studies have linked undocumented immigrants with increased crime rates but several researchers have found that there is no correlation between illegal immigrants and crimes in the United States.

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