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Encyclopedia > Illegal immigrant

Illegal immigration is the act of moving to or settling in another country or region, temporarily or permanently, in violation of the law or without documents permitting an immigrant to settle in that country. People who are illegal immigrants are foreign nationals, who often come to another country with the aid of a temporary visa, and who continue to reside and work while their legal authorization to stay in that country has expired (and while they do not have documents authorizing them to stay in the country).



There are various terms used to describe a person who either enters a country illegally, or who enters legally but subsequently violates the terms of their visa, permanent resident permit or refugee permit. The status and rights of such individuals is a controversial debate based on economics, nationalism and moral concerns. Nationalism is an ideology which holds that the nation, ethnicity or national identity is a fundamental unit of human social life, and makes certain political claims based on that belief, above all the claim that the nation is the only legitimate basis for the state, and that each nation is...

Due to the political contention surrounding immigration issues, the use of language to describe certain types of immigrants is a sensitive matter. Terms that refer to immigrants who do not have residency permits to stay in the country of their choice, include:

  • illegal immigrant
  • illegals
  • illegal alien
  • undocumented immigrant, or sans-papiers

The terms "illegal immigrant" and "illegal alien" are legal phrases that refer to the illegality of the action of migration without legal authorization. "Illegal" most properly describes actions, not people. The term "undocumented" refers to the absence of certain residency documents that certify an individual's permission to reside in a country.


The international migration of people is largely driven by economic and social forces, including neocolonialism, demand created by consumers and the agribusiness industry, desire to secure a higher earning power, benefits such as education and healthcare, other multinational corporations seeking cheaper labor, unemployment in less-developed nations, globalization, wars, repression, resistance to various involuntary military servitude (such as conscription, "the draft" or its peacetime equivalent the National Service), and sexism. Human migration denotes any movement of groups of people from one locality to another. ... Neocolonialism is a term used by Marxist as well as non-Marxist groups and individuals to describe operations at the international level during the era when colonial empires, created by the European powers from the 16th to the 19th century, are no longer in existence. ... In agriculture, agribusiness is a generic term that refers to the various businesses involved in the food production chain, including farming, seed, agrichemicals, farm machinery, wholesaling, processing, distribution, and retail sales. ... Health care or healthcare is one of the worlds largest and fastest growing professions. ... A multinational corporation (MNC) or multinational enterprise (MNE) or transnational corporation (TNC) is one that spans multiple nations; these corporations are often very large. ... A corporation (usually known in the United Kingdom and Ireland as a company) is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a Civil law systems may refer to corporations as moral persons; they may also go by the name... Dorothea Langes Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California during the Great Depression. ... Globalization (or globalisation) is a term used to describe the changes in societies and the world economy that are the result of dramatically increased international trade and cultural exchange. ... An act of war - the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan during World War II War is a state of widespread conflict between states, organisations, or relatively large groups of people, which is characterised by the use of violent, physical force between combatants or upon civilians. ... A repressed memory, according to some theories of psychology, a memory (often traumatic) of an event or environment which is stored by the unconscious mind but outside the awareness of the conscious mind. ... The United States has employed conscription (mandatory military service, also called the draft) several times, usually during war but also during the nominal peace of the Cold War. ... National Service was the name given to the system of military conscription employed in the United Kingdom (although excluding Northern Ireland) between 1949 and 1960. ... Sexism is discrimination against people based on their sex rather than their individual merits. ...

Advocates of more restricted immigration divide people into political migrants and economic migrants, while supporters of more open immigration may consider migrants as legitimate refugees. Those who migrate for personal reasons are generally classed as economic migrants, even if living in the new country greatly reduces their earnings potential. An economic migrant is a person who voluntarily leaves his or her country of origin for economic reasons. ...


Some illegal immigrants enter a country legally and then overstay or violate their visa.

Immigrants from nations that do not have an automatic visa agreements, or who would not otherwise qualify for a visa, cross the borders illegally. In some areas like the Mexican-American border at Rio Grande, the Strait of Gibraltar, Fuerteventura and the Strait of Otranto, people smugglers (known as "coyotes" along the US/Mexican border) receive money from migrants to get them into the new country. Sometimes migrants are abandoned if there are difficulties, often dying in the process. Others may be victims of intentional killing. The official estimate is that between 1998-2004 there were 1,954 people who died in illegal crossings of the US/Mexico border. These smugglers often charge a hefty fee, and have been known to abuse their customers in attempts to have the debt repaid. The United States Mexico barrier is actually several separation barriers designed to prevent illegal immigration into the United States from the territory of adjacent Mexico. ... The Rio Grande flowing past Albuquerque Rio Grande by Big Bend National Park,Texas Known as the Rio Grande in the United States and as the Río Bravo (or, more formally, the Río Bravo del Norte) in Mexico, the river rises in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, USA, flows... The Strait of Gibraltar as seen from space. ... Fuerteventura, a Spanish island, is one of the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. ... People smuggling is a term which is used to describe the illegal and organised smuggling of people across international boundaries, usually for financial gain. ... 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... According to the US Border Patrol, 1,954 people died crossing the US/Mexico border between the years 1998-2004, from all causes. ... US,Us or us may stand for the United States of America us, the oblique case form of the English language pronoun we. ...

The Snakeheads gang of Fujian, China has been smuggling labor into Pacific Rim nations for over a century, making Chinatowns frequent centers of illegal immigrantion.[1] Snakeheads (Chinese: 蛇頭 she2 tou2) are smuggling gangs. ... Fujian (Chinese: 福建; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Fu-chien; Postal System Pinyin: Fukien, Foukien; local transliteration Hokkien from Min Nan Hok-kiàn) is one of the provinces on the southeast coast of China. ...

People smuggling may also be involuntary. Following the close of the legal international slave trade by the European nations and the US in the early 19th century the illegal importation of slaves into America continued for decades, albeit at much reduced levels. More recently, a sweatshop in Los Angeles, California was discovered in 1995 to be staffed by more than 30 imprisoned Thai persons who had been smuggled in for the purpose and in 1997 57 deaf Mexicans were found to have been kidnapped and enslaved as pan handlers in New York City, these people were deported to Mexico after being placed under house arrest to secure their testimony for the trial. This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... A sweatshop is a factory, where people work for a very small wage, producing a variety of products such as clothes, toys, shoes, and other consumer goods. ... The Downtown Los Angeles skyline. ... 1995 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1997 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Midtown Manhattan, looking north from the Empire State Building, 2005 New York City (officially named the City of New York) is the most populous city in the United States, and is at the center of international finance, politics, communications, music, fashion, and culture. ...

The so-called "white slave trade" referred to the smuggling of women, almost always under duress or fraud, for the purposes of prostitution. Now more generically called "sexual slavery" it continues to be a problem, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. White slavery is a 19th century term for a form of slavery involving the sexual abuse of women held as captives and forced into prostitution. ... Sexual slavery is a special case of slavery which includes various different practices: forced prostitution (which can include religious prostitution) single-owner sexual slavery slavery for primarily non-sexual purposes where sex is common or permissible In general, the nature of slavery means that the slave is de facto available... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ...

Legal and political status

Many countries have or had laws restricting immigration for economic, political or ethnic reasons. Whether or not a person is permitted to stay in a country legally may be decided on by quotas or point systems or may be based on considerations such as family ties (marriage, elderly mother, etc.). Immigrants who do not participate in these legal proceedings or who are denied permission under them and still enter or stay in the country are considered illegal immigrants.

In response to the outcry following popular knowledge of the Holocaust, the newly-established U.N. held an international conference on refugees, where it was decided that refugees (legally defined to be people who are persecuted in their original country and then enter another country seeking safety) should be exempted from immigration laws, however it is up to the countries involved to decide if a particular immigrant is a refugee or not, and hence whether or not they are subject to the immigration controls. Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II. Early elements include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people. ... This article is about the United Nations, for other uses of UN see UN (disambiguation) Official languages English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic Secretary-General Kofi Annan (since 1997) Established October 24, 1945 Member states 191 Headquarters New York City, NY, USA Official site http://www. ...

Since immigrants without proper legal status have limited use of their identity cards or other official identification documents, they may have reduced or even no access to public health systems, proper housing, education and banks, which may result in the creation or expansion of an illegal underground economy to provide these services. German identity document sample An identity document is a piece of documentation designed to prove the identity of the person carrying it. ... Public health is an aspect of health services concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. ... The essential function of a bank is to provide services related to the storing of deposits and the extending of credit. ...

See also: Immigration to the United States, Australian immigration, Immigration to the United Kingdom

The United States of America has had a long history of immigration, from the first Spanish and English settlers to arrive on the shores of the what would become the United States to the waves of immigrants from Europe in the 19th century to immigration in the present day. ... Australian immigration has a checkered history. ... The United Kingdom has had a long history of immigration, from the Beaker people of the 3rd millennium BC, to the waves of invasions by the Roman Empire, the Anglo-Saxons and Normans, to the settlement of people arriving from the Colonies in the 19th and 20th centuries and finally...

Economic and social involvement

Most countries have laws requiring workers to have proper documentation, often intended to prevent the employment of illegal immigrants. However the penalties against employers are not always enforced consistently and fairly, which means that employers can easily use illegal labor. Agriculture, construction, domestic service, restaurants, resorts, and prostitution are the leading legal and illegal jobs that illegal workers are most likely to fill. For example, it is estimated that over 85% of US crop workers are without valid legal status. Construction on the North Bytown Bridge in Ottawa, Canada. ... Toms Diner, a restaurant in New York familiarized by Suzanne Vega and the television sitcom Seinfeld A restaurant is an establishment that serves prepared food and beverages to be consumed on the premises. ... A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation. ... Prostitution is the sale of sexual services (typically manual stimulation, oral sex, sexual intercourse, or anal sex) for cash or other kind of return, generally indiscriminately with many persons. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about: United States Wikinews has a related story: United States United States government CIA World Factbook Entry for United States House. ...

The presence of illegal immigrants often generates opposition. A perception may exist among some parts of the public in receiving countries linking illegal (or even legal) immigrants to crime increases, an accusation that others may claim is "anti-immigrant" or "xenophobic". When the authorities are overwhelmed in their efforts to stop immigration, they may issue periods of regularization (amnesties) for those who can demonstrate their integration into the receiving country. Anti-immigrant and anti-immigration are labels often applied to those who are opposed to having significant levels of immigration in their countries. ... Xenophobia denotes a phobic attitude towards strangers or of the unknown and comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning foreigner, stranger, and φόβος (phobos), meaning fear. The term is typically used to describe fear or dislike of foreigners, but racism in general is sometimes described as a form of xenophobia. ...

United States

Restricting immigration to the United States has been driven by what some claim is nativism, by economic fears of union busting, and by security interests. In the U.S. the first laws requiring passports for American citizens and creating a quota for immigrants were passed around the turn of the 20th century, in response to increased Irish, Italian and Jewish immigration. A few years earlier the Chinese Exclusion Act had restricted Chinese immigration. The quota for Jews was 5,000 a year in the 1930s and 1940s, and the waiting list for these immigration spots grew enormously when Hitler came to power in Germany. In the 1960s the US removed most nation-specific quotas in the immigration law, while retaining an overall quota, this changed the composition of the immigrants from mostly Western European, to a variety including many Asians. But in the 1990s the U.S. government again tightened restrictions on immigration. It is alleged that Ex post facto residency restrictions led to the imprisonment and deportation of over one million legal immigrants between 1997 and 2004. This has caused concern among some civil liberties advocates. The term Nativism is used in both politics and psychology in two fundamentally different ways. ... Economics (deriving from the Greek words οίκω [okos], house, and νέμω [nemo], rules hence household management) is the social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy unlimited wants. ... A union (labor union in American English; trade union, sometimes trades union, in British English; either labour union or trade union in Canadian English) is a legal entity consisting of employees or workers having a common interest, such as all the assembly workers for one employer, or all the workers... This page covers security in the sense of protection from hostile action. ... A quota is a prescribed number or share of something. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination of these attributes. ... The Chinese Exclusion Act, signed into law May 6, 1882, followed revisions made in 1880 to the Burlingame Treaty of 1868. ... Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... [[Im? Henry Jan age:LocationAsia. ... An ex post facto law (Latin for from a thing done afterward or after the deed), also known as a retrospective law, is a law that acts retroactively, affecting facts or legal relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law. ... Civil liberties are protections from the power of governments. ...

In the United States, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) made the hiring of an illegal alien an offense for the first time. Enforcement has been lax, but major businesses have occasionally been found to use undocumented workers. Tyson Foods was accused of actively importing illegal labor for its chicken packing plants, and Wal-Mart was accused of using illegal janitorial workers, though it claimed they were hired by a subcontractor without company knowledge. Philippe Kahn, who wanted to stay in the United States, created the successful computer software company Borland International without proper legal status. During his 2003 campaign for California governor, it was revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger had violated his visa by working without a permit in the 1970s. The employment by prominent individuals of persons without work permits has been a recurring issue in politics ever since the practice was banned in the 1990s. Linda Chavez, Tom Tancredo are among those accused of hiring illegal aliens, the resulting scandals sometimes being dubbed "Nannygate". The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) Is a United States law that was created in order to stop illegal immigration from Mexico, which was seen as a threat to the economy. ... Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) is an American firm based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. ... Binomial name Gallus gallus (Linnaeus, 1758) This article is concerned with chicken as a domesticated fowl; for other uses of the term see chicken (disambiguation). ... Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ... A janitors bucket with mop A janitor or caretaker (term used in British English) is a person who takes care of a building, such as a school, office building, block of flats. ... Philippe Kahn (born March 16, 1952) is a French-born entrepreneur. ... Borland Software Corporation (formerly Borland International, Inc. ... A Green Card is an identification card for a permanent resident of the United States of America who does not have US citizenship. ... 2003 is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Arnold Schwarzenegger 38th Governor of California Shown here as Governor of California, with the gubernatorial seal in the background. ... This article provides extensive lists of events and significant personalities of the 1970s. ... // Events and trends The 1990s are generally classified as having moved slightly away from the more conservative 1980s, but keeping the same mind-set. ... Linda Chavez, born June 17, 1947, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a prominent Hispanic conservative author, commentator, and radio talk show host. ... Tom Tancredo Thomas G. Tancredo (born December 20, 1945), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999, representing the 6th District of Colorado (map). ...

A controversial alternative to fake IDs and other illegal practices is the Matricula Consular ID being used in the US, which is issued by Mexican consulates. A Matricula Consular is an identification card issued by Government of Mexico through its consulate offices. ...

In the U.S., the 14th Amendment requires that citizenship be granted to all children born in the country. The U.S. government cannot deport a child citizen, but may deport his or her undocumented family members. Children of families with mixed immigration status are sometimes perjoratively referred to as anchor babies. Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses (Section 1). ... An anchor baby is a child born in a country specifically to receive citizenship rights, and thereby anchor the childs family to the country in which it was born. ...

Illegal emigration

There are also undocumented emigrants. During the Cold War, and even today, countries have prohibited both immigration and emigration. The Berlin Wall was the site of many fatal attempts to leave a country, and defection was a common concern. In the same period, the US seized the passports of suspected communists and restricted the movement of citizens with highly prized knowledge. After the end of the Cold War many of these restrictions were removed. Today the only restriction on the emigration of US citizens in good standing is taxation of any income emigrants earn while living outside the country. Since the end of the Cold War, restrictions are driven primarily by a concern over Brain Drain, this is when the professional classes leave in larger numbers than less skilled workers. The Cold War was the open yet restricted rivalry that developed after World War II between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies. ... Berlin Wall on November 16, 1989 The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a long barrier separating West Berlin from East Berlin and the surrounding territory of East Germany. ... A defector is generally a person who gives up allegiance to a certain country in exchange for allegiance to another. ... US,Us or us may stand for the United States of America us, the oblique case form of the English language pronoun we. ... The title page of European Union passports bears the name European Union, then the name of the issuing country, in the languages of all EU countries. ... A brain drain or human capital flight is an emigration of trained and talented individuals for other nations or jurisdictions, due to conflict or lack of opportunity or health hazards where they are living. ...

See also

This politics-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

  Results from FactBites:
Illegal immigration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2023 words)
Illegal immigration is the act of moving to or settling in another country or region, temporarily or permanently, in violation of the law or without documents permitting an immigrant to settle in that country.
Roughly 60% of the illegal alien population are undocumented aliens and 40 percent are nonimmigrant overstayers.
Since immigrants without proper legal status have limited use of their identity cards or other official identification documents, they may have reduced or even no access to public health systems, proper housing, education and banks, which may result in the creation or expansion of an illegal underground economy to provide these services.
Illegal Immigrants' Cost to Government Studied (washingtonpost.com) (632 words)
A report that found that illegal immigrants in the United States cost the federal government more than $10 billion a year -- a sum it estimated would almost triple if they were given amnesty -- has drawn criticism from immigration advocacy groups.
The report estimates that granting legal status to illegal immigrants would dramatically increase their cost, causing the net fiscal deficit to rise to nearly $29 billion because, the author argues, unskilled immigrants would have access to more government services while continuing to make modest tax payments.
"The costs of the children of immigrants are accounted for [in the report], but not their contributions to the economy as workers and taxpayers," he said in a written statement, adding that the report's conclusions were not helpful to the debate on immigration reform.
  More results at FactBites »



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