Causes and Effects of Immigration: Examining the Impact on the United States

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Updated: Aug 23, 2023
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Eugene Tartakovsky said, “Immigration is a ubiquitous phenomenon in human history (Tartakovsky).” This is the best possible way to describe immigration because it has occurred so often throughout history, and it will only continue to happen.

Founding and Modern Perspectives on Immigration

America was founded by immigrants, so one might think that immigration is still a good thing. However, the settlers who migrated to America in the 1700s had one goal in mind, and that was to build a great country where everyone could come and enjoy the freedoms it offered.

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Today, immigrants see America as a place where they can come to get a free ride. There may be some who want to better the country, but ultimately, they do not care about the well-being of the citizens or the nation itself.

It is, however, completely acceptable and even encouraged for people to come to America and try to gain citizenship. That is not what most of them want to do, though. It is because of loose immigration laws that those who enter our country do not go through the naturalization process to become citizens. It is these loose immigration laws that will only hurt the United States by putting Americans in danger financially, economically, and physically.

Financial Strain on Society

The problem that America as a whole is faced with is that immigration negatively affects the country from an economic standpoint, which creates a downward spiral in more individual categories. In 2014, America’s immigration population was approximately 13 percent of the total population at 42.3 million illegal immigrants (Soergel). Over 70 percent of the undocumented immigrants that we know of in the United States are in the workforce (Amadeo). Of those, less than half have payroll taxes deducted from their paychecks (Amadeo). Each year, the average American spends over 10,000 dollars in payroll taxes (Maxfield). That is only an average number, though, so there are many Americans paying much more than that every year. If all the undocumented immigrants who are working paid their taxes as these hard-working Americans do, the country would see a significant increase in income tax revenue. Additionally, it would be a little fairer to the Americans paying their taxes to know that immigrants have to do the same. Taxpayers shell out approximately 135 billion dollars each year to cover the costs of illegal immigrants and their children (O’Brien). Therefore, the tax dollars that are paid in by Americans are used for funding facilities and programs for illegal immigrants.

Impact on Education and Job Opportunities

There is also a financial impact of immigration on individual Americans that causes many of them to struggle with day-to-day life. As stated previously, the average American pays about 10,000 dollars in payroll taxes alone each year (Maxfield), so this does not even include other personal and property taxes they must pay. This money goes toward funding for immigrants, among other things, and the hard-working citizens of America are faced with financial hardship. As much as some of the higher-ups in America try to deny it, there are American citizens who do not have the proper education or qualifications to land them a high-paying job. These men and women are forced to take some of the jobs in America that others do not want.

When immigrants come in, employers offer them lower wages than Americas, and they accept those wages. Of course, the employers are just fine with this setup because it causes them to spend less on payroll and taxes since employers have to pay based on what their employees pay in taxes. Immigrants who do pay payroll taxes usually have less taken out of their checks than citizens do, though. This causes unemployment to rise among U.S. citizens. On paper, it looks as if the economy is growing because unemployment rates are not recorded based on only the jobs possessed by citizens, so government officials and economists praise and encourage immigration. What these government officials and economists are not thinking about is the citizens of this nation. They struggle to find work and pay their bills, while immigrants take their jobs and get a free ride. When America started caring for illegal immigrants, it started letting the backbone of this once great nation falter.

Not only does this affect the people on the lower end of the social ladder, but it also affects those who wish to attend college. Immigrants are offered free or at least partially free education. Twenty-nine percent of immigrants have a college degree (Amadeo). Many colleges also offer scholarships for immigrants because they believe it promotes diversity. The citizens of America – those who were either born here or went through the naturalization process – present enough diversity, though. They worked hard to get where they are, and giving away opportunities for them to get an education in order to please immigrants is not acceptable.

Criminal and Terroristic Threats

The final and potentially most disastrous threat to America is the criminal and terroristic threat posed by immigrants. Many immigrants who come to America were kicked out of or are fleeing their home countries as a result of committing serious crimes. 45 percent of the 434,015 immigrants deported in 2013 had a criminal record (Amadeo). That same year, the Department of Homeland Security reported that there were 1.9 million “removable criminal aliens” in the United States (Amadeo).

Foreign Policy and Security Implications

That is a very general statement, but we know there were for sure at least 1.9 million dangers to American citizens in the country at that time, so there are likely even more by now. Everyone who watches the news has heard about the murder of the missing Iowa student by an illegal immigrant. Many people may say, “Well, it was only one person.” While that may be true, that one person was someone’s daughter, granddaughter, best friend, girlfriend, and whatever other titles she may have held.

Addressing Immigration Challenges

She is never going to be able to live the life she deserves because we allowed that illegal immigrant to come into our country and take her life. It is very discouraging to believe that we have gotten to that point in America where we care so little about the lives and well-being of our citizens. Other countries, including Japan, Australia, and Denmark, just to name a few, have strict immigration policies with results that range anywhere from immediate detainment to cash incentives if immigrants cannot conform to the country’s culture (Line). They want to keep their nations safe and culturally sound, so America should be able to do the same. Foreigners are able to see that there are no consequences for things like immigration, so the United States appears to be vulnerable and weak, therefore becoming an easy target for other countries that promote war and violence. Unfortunately, the evil people in this world are not going to stop being evil just because we are nice to them and allow them to cross our borders with no repercussions.

Conclusion and Policy Implications

The United States’ loose immigration laws have opened a window for many bad things to seep into the country, including drug and sex trafficking. The Mexican drug cartel is responsible for the majority of illegal drugs coming into the United States (Villa). As some may believe, it is not just marijuana that is making its way across the border, but also methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, crack, oxycodone, and other miscellaneous and unknown drugs (Villa). It is no secret that there is a drug problem in the United States. Almost 1 in 10 people in America use and abuse some type of drug (Nationwide). When immigration rates started to increase in America, so did drug smuggling rates. If we could stop or at least limit immigration, it would drastically cut down on drug abuse in America. In addition to drug trafficking, there is also human trafficking, and the two usually go hand-in-hand. In fact, two states that see the most immigration, California and Texas, also had the highest number of human trafficking cases (2017). The end result of human trafficking is usually not a good one, and the things that these people have to endure are unspeakable, so it would be in America’s best interest to do everything we can to stop human trafficking by tightening our immigration laws.


  1. Tartakovsky, E. (2013, February). Immigration: Policies, challenges and impact. Tel Aviv University.
  2. Soergel, A. (2015, September 3). America’s Immigration Population at Record 42.1 Million. U.S. News & World Report.
  3. Amadeo, K. (2022, August 3). Undocumented Immigrants in the United States. The Balance.
  4. Maxfield, S. (2021, April 17). Here’s How Much the Average American Pays in Taxes. The Motley Fool.
  5. O’Brien, M. (2019, November 22). The Cost of Illegal Immigration to the United States. Federation for American Immigration Reform.
  6. Line, A. (2021, February 23). Countries with the Strictest Immigration Laws. Insider.
  7. Villa, L. (2020, June 5). Mexican Drug Cartels Smuggling Cocaine, Meth, and Fentanyl. NBC News.
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Causes and Effects of Immigration: Examining the Impact on the United States. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from