My Two Cents on Illegal Immigration

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Written in 2007, This essay shows the need for thourough, coherent research on the impact of illegal immigration in one of the largest problem areas of our American society today.

Submitted: February 20, 2019

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Submitted: February 20, 2019



Applied Anthropology and the Issue of Illegal Immigration


Illegal immigration has recently become a prominent issue in America. According to the Center for Immigration Studies there are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States (Camarota 2007). The number of illegal immigrants increases at a rate of half a million every year. These estimates are considered conservative and do not include children of illegal immigrants born in the United States. The large population of illegal immigrants in the United States is clearly a cause for concern to citizens of this country for several reasons. Illegal immigration may have an effect on America’s economy such as employment or unemployment rates, and wages. Increasing populations of illegal immigrants may have detrimental ramifications for government services like healthcare, Social Security, and welfare benefits. Large populations of illegal immigrants may also have a divisive effect on American culture, causing internal discord. All these problems can be successfully addressed through Applied Anthropology.

Many studies have been done that would help determine the economic impact of illegal immigration in the United States. One study conducted in the United Kingdom states “Academic studies disagree on the effects of immigration on the less skilled sections of the population. The only study explicitly devoted to the local UK employment situation finds that these effects are statistically insignificant, but recent evidence from other countries suggests that they may be quite large, significant, and negative, at least in those countries. There is no reason to believe that the mass immigration of unskilled workers is to the advantage of the local workers with whom they will compete, however convenient such inflows may be to the short-term interests of employers” (Coleman and Rowthorn 2004). Empirical models presented by Australian Anthropologists over a decade ago could be adopted and tested here in the United States to help determine the impact of immigration on unemployment rates (Pope and Withers 1993).

Applied Anthropology is a tool well suited to determine the impact of illegal immigration on our countries resources. We must consider the burden placed on various social programs such as healthcare, Social Security, and Welfare benefits by a large population of illegal immigrants if these programs are to survive. Medicaid, Social Security, and Welfare benefits are predominantly paid out to beneficiaries by the taxes collected from skilled workers. Unskilled illegal immigrant workers receive benefits from American social programs without contributing funds into these programs. Some of America’s finest emergency medical facilities have had to close due to the overwhelming influx of illegal immigrants who receive free medical care (Cosman 2005). How illegal immigration will effect American culture is unclear. Lawrence H. Fuchs (1984) argues in a dated publication that illegal immigration will not have a negative effect on American culture but he focuses his discussion on the children of illegal immigrants who remain in this country. Applied Anthropology is well suited to determine the true impact of sustained large-scale illegal immigration on American Culture. Applied Anthropology may even be able to determine optimum avenues in which America could successfully deal with this issue (Espenshade and Hempstead 1996) but more research is needed.

The presence of a large population of illegal immigrants in America may constitute a threat to our economy, resources, and to American culture. Applied Anthropology has been addressing this issue for some time but further studies are required if we are to determine the impact that illegal immigration will have on our society. It is through Applied Anthropology that thorough, coherent research may be conducted to resolve this issue.






Camarota, Steven A.

2007 100 Million More: Projecting the Impact of Immigration on the U. S. Population, 2007 to 2060, Backgrounder, August, Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, D. C.

Coleman, David and Robert Rowthorn

2004 The Economic Effects of Immigration into the United Kingdom, Population and Development review, Vol. 30, No. 4, December, pp. 579-624.

Cosman, Madeleine Pelner

2005 Illegal Aliens and American Medicine, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Vol. 10, No. 1, Spring, pp. 6-10.

Espenshade, Thomas J. and Katherine Hempstead

1996 Contemporary American Attitudes Toward U. S. Immigration, International Migration Review, Vol. 30, No. 2, Summer, pp. 535-570.

Fuchs, Lawrence H.

1984 Cultural Pluralism and the Future of American Unity: The Impact of Illegal Aliens, International Migration Review, Vol. 18, No. 3, Special Issue: Irregular Migration: An International Perspective, Autumn, pp. 800-813.

Pope, David and Glenn Withers

1993 Do Migrants Rob Jobs? Lessons of Australian History, 1861-1991, The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 53, No. 4, December, pp. 719-742.



© Copyright 2019 Charles E Alexander Jr. All rights reserved.

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