The Argument Against Illegal Immigration Into America
Illegal immigration is not in America’s interests.
Let me repeat that: illegal immigration is not in America’s interests.
Period. End of story.
But that’s not what you hear from the Democrats or the GOP is it?
The Democrats are convinced that America’s doing the right thing: allowing illegal immigrants to live in the US is an unabashed good. In fact, it would be fundamentally immoral to deport them—in effect, we have no right to. Basically, it boils down to a classic case of “think of the children”.
But establishment Republicans aren’t much better. They lie through their teeth, saying that the economy would collapse without its illegal alien workers—its de facto serf class. “Who will pick our fruit? Who will ask if we want fries with that?”
This argument’s even more repugnant than the first.
Both these arguments are red herrings, they’re smokescreens made to hide the otherwise obvious fact that illegal immigration benefits only the elites—the latte-sipping millionaires who live in (curiously immigrant-free) gated communities, big businesses, and the tone-deaf (read: highly bribe-able) politicians living it up in DC.
Meanwhile, America suffers. Regular Americans suffer.
The fact is that illegal immigration is destroying this country—if you support it, then you’re either clueless, ignorant, or selfish (to the point of being a sociopath). There are no other options. This is an open and shut case.
This article starts from scratch: I’ll tell you how many illegal immigrants are in the U S, and then run through each of the major points of debate on the topic, from economics, to social, and moral concerns.
By the end of this article, you will not only understand why illegal immigration is bad for America, but you will have the arguments and facts you need to defend your position.
And bare in mind, this is a long and comprehensive article; if you’re looking for something quick and easy, read this article debunking the common lies about illegal immigration.
First Thing’s First: How Many Illegal Immigrants Are In The US?
No one knows for sure—they’re undocumented.
But we do have some (very wide-ranging) estimates.
On the low end, Pew Research estimates that the number of illegal immigrants living in the US is roughly 11.1 million—this number tracks fairly closely with official government figures (which shouldn’t be given undue weight, the government’s working with the same data).
This is a good starting point, and gives us a baseline: there are at least 11.1 million illegal aliens living in the US.
However, these figures have been criticized for two main reasons.
First, they don’t include anchor babies (the children of illegal immigrants who were born in the US, for the sake of subverting America’s deportation laws). There are at least 6.5 million anchor babies in America—that’s a lot of people that have been educated at America’s expense.
There’s a big debate over whether or not being born on the land should grant citizenship—this isn’t the place for that.
However, you should know that only 33 of the world’s 196 countries grant citizenship jus soli (Latin for “by the soil’s right”)—this isn’t the only (or best) way to grant citizenship. Moving on.
Second, the number itself may be underestimated due to political pressure—too many illegal immigrants make the government look bad. It makes them look like they don’t have control of the situation.
This could explain why the number of estimated illegal immigrants peaked in 2007, and subsequently remained stagnant—despite the fact that illegal immigration maintained a linear rate of growth between 1990 and 2007. It’s possible this was caused by 2008’s recession, but then why no similar drop following the Dot-Com Bubble?
Better question: why didn’t it resume its growth after the economy recovered?
The border remained porous after 2007. And don’t tell me it was because President Obama silently deported 3 million people (which isn’t reflected in the numbers anyways), since that number was itself fudged by changing the definition of “deportation”.
For those of you who think the government’s beyond fudging the numbers, you should know they’ve been doing it to the unemployment rate for decades.
Back to the numbers.
On the high end, it’s thought there are up to 30 million illegal immigrants in the US.
This number has been best explained by conservative author Ann Coulter in her book Adios America. She based her findings off banking and remittance payment records, government service demands (like how many immigrants were applying for drivers’ licenses), and arrests by ICE.
Personally, I think Coulter’s number (or at least somewhere down the middle) is more compelling given the research I’ve done on the topic (not all of which can be presented here), but I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Either way, 11.1 million illegal immigrants (at bare minimum) is a lot of people.
Some Basic Facts About Illegal Immigration
So we know there are at least 11.1 million undocumented people living in America. Let’s flesh that out a bit to get a better sense of who these people are, in a demographic sense.
Here are some basic facts:
- According to the Migration Policy Institute, 70% of illegal immigrants either “do not speak English well” or don’t speak English at all (which isn’t all that different from legal immigrants, depending on the country of origin).
- Again from the MPI, 71% of illegal immigrants earn at or below America’s median individual personal income—32% of adults (and 51% of all children) live below the federal poverty level.
- 74% are from Hispanic countries (Mexico being the largest single contributor); China & the Philippines are also large origin countries.
- Most illegals work in low-wage, low skill jobs. At least 55% work in the service sector (24% work in retail). Only 10% of undocumented people (610,000) work in agriculture.
We’ll dig a little deeper as we go, but for now it’s fair to say that illegal immigrants generally work low-end jobs, and are poorer than American citizens.
Here’s How Illegal Immigration Harms America
Here follows your one-stop shop for all the arguments against illegal immigration. I also debunk the standard leftist and libertarian arguments for you.
I cover all the best economic, social, and moral arguments against illegal immigration. Cheers.
1. Illegal Immigration Is Bad For The Economy
As with most things in life, the debate over illegal immigration often boils down to money. As it turns out, this is an open-and-shut case: aliens hurt the economy—especially Americans without a college education.
This section will break down the specific costs of migration, and then get into the macroeconomic arguments.
How Much Do Illegal Immigrants Cost American Taxpayers? $110.1 Billion Per Year
Illegal immigrants cost the American government, and therefore taxpayers, far more than they contribute in taxes.
Here are the facts:
- The federal government spends $28.6 billion per year subsidizing illegal immigrants, according to a report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform. This money goes to services such as education ($2.1 billion), healthcare ($5.9 billion), policing etc.
- State and local governments cough up more, $93.3 billion a year on illegals. This goes to everything from education, healthcare, municipal services, court and policing costs etc. You can get a good sense of what this looks like in my cost analysis on California.
- Illegal immigrants do pay taxes to the tune of $14.9 billion at the federal, state, and local level.
Adjusted for inflation, the US government spends a net $110.1 billion every year on illegal immigrants—that’s the sort of statistic they don’t tell you about.
And it’s a lot of money. In fact, it’s enough to build a brand new house for every homeless American.
But taxes aren’t the whole story—illegal immigrants also drain the economy vis-a-vis remittances.
Undocumented Immigrants Send $38 Billion In Remittances Every Year
Remittances are simply money transfers from someone working in the US, to their family back home.
It’s tough to get a hard number on this, but for my calculations, I assume that remittances are only being sent by first generation immigrants (both legal and illegal), and that they are equally likely to remit funds. Yes, illegal immigrants make less than do legal immigrants, but they also remit larger portions of their income.
According to Pew Research America lost $133.6 billion in remittances in 2015—$136.9 billion when adjusted for inflation.
From this, we can guess that illegal immigrants send $38 billion from America every single year.
Remittances are especially bad for the economy because the money literally disappears, never to be seen again by local consumers or businesses. This can completely destroy the economy in smaller towns.
For you libertarians out there who don’t have a problem with remittances because they’re governed by the free market, look at it this way: remittances impact the economy like maximally inefficient taxes. Let me explain.
Imagine the worst tax you could ever imagine. What would it look like?
It would be a tax that gave you nothing of value in return—like if you’re a French cobbler from Rouen who’s forced to pay King Louis money so that he can live it up in Versailles. That money wasn’t reinvested into your community, on new roads or bridges, it was wasted on a pompous asshole who lives far away. This impoverishes you.
Remittances are the same thing. Americans employ illegal immigrants, who then send the money abroad. Just like the tax, the money disappears—it’s not used to buy American goods, support American businesses, or build American roads.
It buys Mexican goods. Supports Chinese businesses. Builds Filipino roads.
Beyond that, illegal immigrants hurt the economy in other ways.
Illegal Immigrants Lower Wages For US Citizens By Distorting The Labor Market
I’m going to change tack here and move into some of the macroeconomic problems with illegal immigration (a dedicated article can be found in the embedded link).
How do illegal immigrants lower wages for American workers? Two ways:
I. More Illegal Aliens Means A Bigger Labor Supply, Lowering Wages
You’ve heard of the law of supply and demand? It’s a tool we use to help us understand how prices are determined in a free market.
All you need to know is that when demand goes up, prices go up (more people are bidding up the price); when supply goes up, prices go down (there’s lots to go around, so there’s no urgency); and vice versa.
This holds true when it comes to the prices of apples, oil, or a person’s labor—if there’s lots of workers who can do a job, then employers don’t have to pay as much to get a qualified employee; if there’s a shortage of workers, then employers have to pay more to hire someone. Simple.
America’s labor market has been flooded with illegal immigrants looking for work. This increases the supply of labor, which decreases the price employers must pay for workers (wages).
There’s no way around this logic: if you accept the law of supply and demand, then you must accept that illegal immigration decreases American wages.
End of story.
Of course, the facts bare this out.
You can see in the above graph how real wages (adjusted for inflation) for American workers have stagnated for quite some time. Part of this is due to offshoring (which basically does the same thing as illegal immigration, but on a bigger scale), but part of it’s due to illegal immigration.
II. Migrants Undercut American Workers, Reducing Wages
Undocumented workers not only increase the labor supply, but they also work off-the-books, making less than minimum wage. Likewise, they don’t get the various benefits that citizen’s would get etc.
Basically, illegals undercut the labor market’s mandated floor, pulling the rug out from American workers—there’s no way a minimum wage worker can compete against someone working for $2 a day. It’s not going to happen.
Wages aside, employers like to hire illegals because they have leverage over them: if the illegal misbehaves they can fire them without recourse; they can force the illegal to work long hours or in unsafe conditions using the threat of deportation as their leverage etc.
Aside from the obvious moral problems here (I’ll get to those later), this makes it impossible for American citizens to compete with illegal immigrants for the same jobs.
This is why the black and youth unemployment rates are so high (because black, and young Americans filled the labor market niche that illegals are now filling)—fast food places used to be operated by teenagers, now they’re stuffed with illegals.
Debunking The Economic “Benefits” Of Illegal Immigration
At this point, a determined proponent of illegal immigration will be forced into 1 of 2 positions: either they’ll say that (I) illegals do jobs Americans don’t want to do, and therefore don’t impact wages, or (II) that the economic benefits outweigh the costs.
Claim I: “Illegal Immigrants Do Jobs Americans Don’t Want To Do”
This isn’t true. Why?
I. There are 23 million unemployed Americans right now. There are 11 million illegal immigrants—even if you deported every illegal and gave that job to an American, the unemployment rate would still be around 7% (the real unemployment rate, not the nonsense number the government spouts off).
II. Americans are willing to work the jobs illegals do, and they currently work them in states where there aren’t illegal immigrants. If you check out this document published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you’ll see that there are literally millions of Americans, white, black, and Hispanic, who are employed as janitors, laborers, store clerks—everything.
It’s simply not true that Americans won’t do these jobs—they can’t, because they’re being undercut by illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are unemployed.
Believe it or not, people in states without high levels of illegal immigration (for example, Montana or Ohio) can still afford McDonald’s and Starbucks—they just hire teenagers to do the jobs.
The same goes for entire countries like Canada or the UK.
The entire economic argument in favor of illegal immigration is predicated upon the fact that there’s no way to fill the jobs without them—that’s just not true.
Unemployed teenagers, and black and Hispanic Americans would fill the job vacancies in California or Texas (just like they do in Pennsylvania or Indiana)—the reason they don’t right now is because they can’t compete with illegals (whom employers can underpay, overwork, and otherwise abuse with legal impunity).
Even without people to fill the voids, most of the jobs could be done by machines anyways (which, thankfully, don’t require government welfare checks). Funny that.
A final note on this point: there was a time before illegal immigration. How do you think the jobs got done before that? We hired teenagers and invested in better processes and technology to improve our efficiency.
Here’s a damning piece of evidence: the standard of living (in real terms), as measured by disposable income grew much more rapidly before we opened the immigration floodgates. In fact, it’s actually declined for most Americans. You can see for yourself in the below graph.
Clearly all these illegal immigrants aren’t making us any richer.
Claim II: “The Benefits Outweigh The Costs”
This just isn’t true. Illegal immigration does more economic harm than good.
As I’ve already discussed, the massive drain on government resources, which leads to higher taxes, itself puts this claim on shaky ground—you can’t have illegal immigrants and low taxes, it just doesn’t work.
Likewise, the drain from remittances, while not massive in the grand scheme of things, is significant when you remember that most illegal immigrants are concentrated in a small number of states (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Arizona etc.).
There’s an opportunity cost associated with spending on illegal immigration.
For example, the American Society of Civil Engineers predicts that America’s infrastructure deficit (the money we need to spend to maintain our roads, ports etc.) will reach $3.6 trillion by 2020.
Given that the illegal population hasn’t changed too much since 2010 (and assuming it won’t change much until 2020), if we spent the money on infrastructure instead, we could’ve cut this deficit by nearly half—not to mention that something as mundane as traffic jams cost America $124 billion a year—good infrastructure is more economically valuable than illegal immigrants, by far.
I’d also like to point out that the USA is the only country in the Western world that imports millions of illegal immigrants to work in its service jobs—Canada, Japan, the UK are all getting by just fine without illegal immigration.
The whole thing is a scam by the elites to better their quality of life at the average American’s expense.
As you can see, Japan’s GDP per person growth actually outpaced America’s during the period of high illegal immigration, despite the fact that Japan didn’t have any of the “advantages” of illegal immigration, nor free trade, as a matter of fact.
The mainstream economic narrative just doesn’t mesh with the facts. It’s wrong.
I’ll tell you what: university professors, senators, news anchors aren’t losing their jobs to illegals. It’s guys who work construction. Gals who work in malls. Ordinary folk.
I can guarantee you that if all illegal immigrants were Pulitzer-winning writers and famous actors that the borders would be shut up tighter than the gated communities where Hollywood’s elites live.
2. Illegal Immigration Negatively Impacts Society
The problems with illegal immigration aren’t just economic, they’re also social. In this section, I’ll discuss the three biggest sticking points: crime, culture, and politics.
Illegal Aliens Are Committing Crimes
Any crime committed by an illegal immigrant shouldn’t have occurred, since they shouldn’t be in America to begin with.
Yes that’s a tautology (truism), but it’s one many people can’t seem to wrap their head around—if there were no illegals, there would be no crimes committed by illegals. Simple.
Beyond that, there are two points I’d like to make here: (1) aliens cause a disproportionately large share of America’s crime, and (2) this crime costs a lot (both financially and socially).
I. Illegal immigrants are far more likely to commit crimes than American citizens.
This is a fact, it’s not up for debate.
The National Review looked at incarceration rates for homicides in New York, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California, and found that illegal immigrants were significantly more likely to be implicated in homicides than legal immigrants.
In fact, in New York illegals were 350% more likely to be imprisoned for homicide than legal immigrants—despite what certain people want you to believe, there’s a big difference between legal and illegal immigrants.
This is even more pronounced in other types of crime. For example, 75% of all federal drug possession sentences were given to illegal immigrants, while 40% of all federal crimes were committed in jurisdictions bordering Mexico (due to violence caused by the drug cartels).
A good article to check out on the topic is this one from the Daily Wire (I usually can’t stand Ben Shapiro or his brand of conservatism, but I’ll give credit where credit’s due), which curates some interesting statistics.
These crimes aren’t just statistics, they impact real people. Thousands of American citizens have been murdered by people that shouldn’t have been in the country in the first place—there’s no escaping that fact.
By allowing illegal immigration to continue, the government is abdicating its primary duty: to keep its citizen’s safe.
II. Crimes committed by illegal aliens are expensive.
Undocumented people cost $16.1 billion a year; $8.3 billion at the state and local level, $7.8 billion federally.
What a waste of money, and truthfully, it doesn’t even begin to contemplate the true costs of crime.
That figure only tabulates the tangible cost (the cost of policing, courts etc.), not the intangible costs (pain and suffering, lost time working, long-term medical costs).
A study which estimated the average intangible costs of crimes in California (2008 dollars) shows that the real cost of crime is much higher than the paper costs for most serious crimes—especially for violent and sexual crimes.
The intangible costs are estimated based on special damages awarded by court proceedings.
|Type of Offense||Tangible Cost||Intangible Cost||Total Cost|
|Motor Vehicle Theft||$10,534||$262||$10,772|
|Forgery and Counterfeiting||$5,265||N/A||$5,265|
When you consider the intangible costs, you could very easily double, even triple the crime costs and still be in the right ballpark.
Large Alien Populations Impact American Culture
Immigration, legal or not, means that new people are coming to America. They don’t just bring their bodies, they bring with them their language, religion, and culture.
This can be a good thing: who doesn’t love Mexican food? Or Japanese food? Whatever food.
But it can also bring problems, particularly if immigrant groups are unable or unwilling to assimilate into the host country’s culture. This generally happens only when there is an over-saturation of immigrants in a certain area, who live in self-segregated communities, as opposed to dispersed among the population.
This is a specifically a problem in southern California, where cities like San Bernardino, Riverside, or Long Beach are nearly 10% illegal immigrants, who are overwhelmingly from Mexico.
Many don’t bother learning English (remember, 70% of all illegal immigrants speak little to no English), nor are they particularly interested in becoming American.
It’s dramatically changed the cultural landscape of the area: you cross a street, poof, you’re now in Mexico, complete with all the gang violence you’d expect.
This is bad if you happen to prefer American culture to Mexican culture. And what’s worse, it’s making many Americans feel like strangers in their own country.
And no, this isn’t a racist, nativist position to take: why do you think millions of Mexicans immigrated to the US legally?—because they wanted to escape Mexico, they wanted to become Americans.
We’re doing citizens, whether they were born here or not, a great disservice.
Just look at the literacy and crime statistics: illegal immigrants aren’t turning into Americans, they’re turning America into Mexico—an 8 hour ride in a van doesn’t magically turn you into an American citizen. It just doesn’t.
800,000 Illegal Immigrants Voted In The 2016 Election
Illegals impact US politics in 2 main ways, both of which are highly toxic:
1. Illegal immigrants can vote—not officially, but they do. In fact, roughly 800,000 illegals voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. If they were not concentrated in states already voting for Clinton, this would’ve changed the outcome of the election.
This happens every election: it’s a democratic disaster.
How do they vote, you ask? Well, since there are inadequate voter ID laws in many states (always ones run by Democrats), and because the voter lists are incorrectly populated with millions of deceased people, it’s fairly easy to say you’re someone else and cast a ballot.
Here’s the deal, if you want to preserve the validity and sanctity of America’s democracy, either we need strong voter ID laws, or illegals have to go—this is a real dilemma that democrats need to own up to at some point.
2. Having this many undocumented people in the country has exacerbated the political divide in America, due to the emotional nature of the issue. Democrats smear republicans as being evil cartoon villains who want to break up families, while republicans increasingly believe democrats are intentionally subverting America.
This isn’t healthy.
Worse still, this shouldn’t even be a problem: they’re not citizens, so they have no say. They should rightly have the same rights and political weight as people living in Russia or Brazil—none.
3. Illegal Immigration Is Immoral & Other Ethical Issues
The final major set of problems with illegal immigration are ethical in nature.
You’re probably thinking: “yea, they broke the law, I get it.” Sure they did, but what’s illegal and what’s immoral aren’t always the same thing. This issue’s bigger than you might think.
The Government Owes A Moral Obligation To Its Citizens
Let’s start with the most basic issue. The government owes a moral duty to put its citizens first, and above all, to protect them from violence. That’s not happening right now.
Illegal aliens are causing crime. They’re killing Americans. The government’s refusal to enforce the law is an abdication of its primary duty. That’s immoral.
And no, it’s not a question of degree, it’s a question of distinction: it doesn’t logically matter whether illegals are murdering 10,000 Americans a year or 1—the fact is that they should be murdering 0. They shouldn’t be here.
In a sense, every crime committed by illegals is really a crime committed by the government against its people: but for their negligence, or their omission to enforce the laws, the crime wouldn’t have occurred.
We have our own criminals to deal with, we shouldn’t be dealing with foreign criminals. Period.
Of course, this duty isn’t limited to crime, it’s also important when it comes to economics.
Millions of Americans are out of work, America’s growing more unequal etc.—you’ve heard it all before. And yet, the government’s spending billions to care for illegal immigrants. This money should be going to struggling citizens first—there are 50,000 homeless veterans who need help, yet we’re busy paying for illegal immigrants, or even worse, genocidal dictators via foreign aid.
America must put Americans first, and that means putting illegals last.
Just as an aside: countries don’t owe foreign citizens this same duty. In other words, the US doesn’t have a moral obligation to help foreigners, and vice versa.
This boils down to biology and the power of group selection, which I discuss in this article. But even if it didn’t, immigration for the sake of alleviating poverty is a fools game.
Don’t believe me? Watch this video.
Illegal Immigrants Are The New Slaves
Proponents arguing in favor of illegal immigration almost inevitably say that we need undocumented laborers to do the jobs Americans don’t want to do.
Not only does this argument fail economically, but it’s also a morally dubious position to take.
The crux of their argument is this: Americans are too good to do these jobs, but foreigners aren’t. Therefore, we should let foreigners move here and do them for us (in fact, they’re lucky to have the opportunity to scrub our toilets and pick our fruit).
The obvious point here is that if the jobs are so bad that our own people refuse to do them, the moral thing to do is to make those jobs better (improving working conditions, paying more to attract employees etc.)—not importing people that we can abuse.
Frankly, illegal immigrants are the reason why wages aren’t going up and conditions aren’t improving—they’re a way for employers to cheat the laws of supply and demand.
Beyond that, the fact that these people live in America permanently is another moral landmine. Essentially, we’ve created an illegal underclass, a serf class, to work crappy jobs, in bad conditions, for very little money, so that we can enjoy cheap tacos and dry-cleaning.
There’s nothing moral about that.
Now let me be clear, in theory I don’t have a problem with foreign workers.
If there were really jobs that Americans wouldn’t do (there aren’t), and the only way to get them done was to hire foreign workers (pretend robots aren’t a thing), then I would support a temporary foreign worker program, where foreigners could come and do the jobs for a specified period of time, and then leave.
But this would have to be strictly enforced, and only used as a last resort—no overstaying work visas.
Illegal Immigration Is A Problem & It’s Undermining America
Illegal immigration isn’t a joke. It’s hurting America’s economy, undermining our culture, and is fundamentally immoral.
We can do better. We deserve better.
But how do we make it better?
The first step is to shore up the border: there’s no sense deporting people if they can just come back the next day. Right now, the border’s leaky.
I think Donald Trump’s wall is a decent first step, you can read about why I think the wall will work here.
But it’s bigger than that. This is about culture, it’s about information—most people who support bone-headed ideas like amnesty don’t know the facts.
Spread the information.