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Illegal immigration to the united states

The meaning of «illegal immigration to the united states»

Illegal immigration to the United States is the process of migrating into the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. This can include foreign nationals who have entered the United States illegally, as well as those who entered legally but then remained after the expiration of their entry visa or parole documents.[1] Illegal immigration has been a matter of intense debate in the United States since the 1980s.

Research shows that illegal immigrants increase the size of the U.S. economy, contribute to economic growth, enhance the welfare of natives, contribute more in tax revenue than they collect, reduce American firms' incentives to offshore jobs and import foreign-produced goods, and benefit consumers by reducing the prices of goods and services.[2][3][4][5] Economists estimate that legalization of the illegal immigrant population would increase the immigrants' earnings and consumption considerably, and increase U.S. gross domestic product.[6][7][8][9]

There is scholarly consensus that illegal immigrants commit less crime than natives.[10][11] Sanctuary cities—which adopt policies designed to avoid prosecuting people solely for being in the country illegally—have no statistically meaningful impact on crime, and may reduce the crime rate.[12][13] Research suggests that immigration enforcement has no impact on crime rates.[14][15][12] Stricter border controls have been linked to increased levels of undocumented immigrants in the United States, as temporary undocumented workers who used to enter the U.S. for seasonal work increasingly settled permanently in the U.S. when regular travels across the border became harder.[16]

The illegal immigrant population of the United States peaked by 2007, when it was at 12.2 million and 4% of the total U.S. population.[17][18] Estimates in 2016 put the number of unauthorized immigrants at 10.7 million, representing 3.3% of the total U.S. population.[17] Since the Great Recession, more illegal immigrants have left the United States than entered it, and illegal border crossings are at the lowest in decades.[19][20][21][22] Since 2007, visa overstays have accounted for a larger share of the growth in the illegal immigrant population than illegal border crossings,[23] which have declined considerably from 2000 to 2018.[24] In 2012, 52% of unauthorized immigrants were from Mexico, 15% from Central America, 12% from Asia, 6% from South America, 5% from the Caribbean, and another 5% from Europe and Canada.[25] As of 2016, approximately two-thirds of unauthorized adult immigrants had lived in the U.S. for at least a decade.[17]

The categories of foreign-born people in the United States are:

The latter two constitute illegal immigrants: as they have no legal documentation to entitle them to be in the U.S., they are also referred to as undocumented immigrants.

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