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Deportation Of Illegal Immigrants Essays

As a young boy, I remember accompanying my parents to visit their accountant and seeing them turn over large folders, neatly organized, with all of their tax forms and corresponding documents. My mother would tell me her priority was to show the government our family was contributing, so that when it came time to become legal permanent residents, and later US citizens, there would be no questions about our contributions to the country.

I have lived in the United States for the past 17 years, half of that time as an undocumented immigrant. Paying taxes has, at times, felt like a contradictory experience for me.

My parents, who became undocumented immigrants after losing their immigration status in 2007, continue to pay their taxes to this day. Just like me, they have always abided by the simple belief that regardless of their immigration status, they have to do right by the country that has given their family a better life and opportunities.

No matter what Donald Trump and his anti-“illegal” immigrant supporters may think, there is plenty of evidence pointing to the fact that undocumented immigrants like my parents are just as American as anybody else — especially when it comes to fulfilling our responsibility of diligently paying our taxes on a regular basis.

“If we are to be deported, at least I hope the government takes into consideration the fact that we have always paid our taxes.”

My family arrived to the United States in the year 2000 in hopes of opening their own business, fleeing political unrest and economic instability in the early years of Hugo Chávez’s presidency in Venezuela. I was 11 years old at the time, while my two younger brothers were 9 and 7, when we moved into a small apartment in a suburb of Miami.

During my first six years in the US, I lived like any other regular middle school–aged kid. I went to school, skateboarded in the evening with my friends, and attempted to integrate as much as possible into my new country and culture. Then in 2007, I became undocumented the day my parents lost their immigration status.

What happened was my family’s immigration attorney mishandled our case. She misfiled forms and gave us poor advice, which resulted in the rejection of our green card application. Ironically, even when immigrants try to get in “line” and do things the “legal way,” there are still plenty of pitfalls that could place them on a fast track to deportation. My entire family became removable from the United States at any point in time.

Scared of what our future in the United States would look like without the proper documentation, my parents decided to recommit to their original reason for coming here: to provide a better life for my brothers and me. That goal, of course, included abiding by the laws of this country and contributing back through our taxes.

To this day, I follow this philosophy. I have never failed to file my taxes. In fact, paying my taxes is one of the few experiences that makes me feel unbound by the constraints of my lack of legal status. I live under a daily reminder that DACA, the Obama-era program that allows me to drive, work, and live free from the fear of deportation, could be terminated by the Trump administration at any point in time. Paying taxes reaffirms my commitment to this country and proves that undocumented immigrants, like my family and me, are not the freeloaders Republicans make us out to be.

Growing up, I recall my parents feeling the same kind of way. “Ay, hijo,” my mother would tell me from time to time, “If we are to be deported, at least I hope the government takes into consideration the fact that we have always paid our taxes.”

Paying taxes as an undocumented immigrant comes with its own complications

Filing taxes may be a relatively painless process for many Americans, but for immigrants like me, tax season always brings a new set of challenges, questions, and, in some instances, concerns. Unfortunately, many Americans often forget about the tax contributions undocumented immigrants make on a regular basis. That becomes a problem when undocumented people like me try to use tax services and are met with confusion and bad information.

A couple of years ago in grad school, I had a conversation with the university’s office of financial services. After requesting a specific tax form, the office told me that the computer system had not generated a form due to my immigration classification in their records.

“Are you sure you need this form?” the financial services officer stated, almost in disbelief that I intended to file my taxes. I replied with a simple, “Yes.” Evidently she had never seen a situation like mine before.

A visit to a local accountant that year prompted even more questions, despite having all of the forms and paperwork required to file my taxes. The accountant asked why I had been without health insurance for a specified period of time, and told me I could be penalized under the Affordable Care Act. “I do not qualify for the ACA. I am an undocumented immigrant,” I revealed to the tax preparer.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the tax preparer had no idea what I was talking about. I used my phone to navigate to the National Immigration Law Center’s website, and showed her that undocumented immigrants, or “illegals” as the tax preparer repeated, were exempt from any ACA penalty. The accountant finally agreed to move on to the next step in my tax filing process.

This would not be the first time I ran into this situation. One of my younger brothers, who is also undocumented, was fined by his tax preparer for not having any medical insurance. After returning to his tax preparer’s office with that same National Immigration Law Center webpage pulled up on my phone, he was refunded his $90 penalty.

It’s troubling how many tax preparers I’ve come across who are unaware of this exemption. It makes me wonder how many undocumented immigrants across the country are penalized and forced to pay fines for not having health insurance as required by the ACA. It just goes to show you the lack of awareness that some undocumented Americans may have about their taxes could lead to further pitfalls in their filing process.

The tax dollars of undocumented immigrants are, unfortunately, fueling the Trump agenda

Donald Trump, who ran on a campaign demonizing “illegal” immigrants, is nearing his 100 days benchmark as president of the United States. The American people have yet to see his tax returns. Yet undocumented immigrants like Belen Sisa are using Tax Day to reveal how much they contribute to the United States. The hypocrisy is simply unmeasurable.

Regardless of whether you believe Trump’s excuses for withholding his tax returns, the truth is that undocumented immigrant do in fact pay their fair share of taxes.

A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that undocumented immigrants, the same people Trump referred to as drug dealers, murderers, and rapists, contribute $11.74 billion in state and local taxes.

Even more admirable is the fact that many undocumented immigrants risk their lives and deportation in order to work and generate the income necessary to pay taxes. Yet Trump’s un-American and racist deportation policies want to build a wall, unleash a deportation force, and incarcerate undocumented immigrants using the very tax dollars they are contributing. He wants to remove undocumented parents who are dropping off their kids to school or are making their way to work.

Undocumented immigrants also contribute billions to the Social Security program without receiving benefits unless they are able to adjust their immigration status. Yet Trump claimed on the campaign trail that illegal immigrants are being treated better than veterans in our country. This is flat out false.

Is that the kind of values our country should be proud of? Where we punish, and deport aspiring Americans for attempting to work and provide a better life for their loved ones while contributing back to our country through taxes? I say it is not.

Here’s the truth: The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that the 11 million undocumented immigrants nationwide contribute an average of 8 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes, which is comparable to the state and local tax rate of middle-income taxpayers.

Moreover, that same report projects that if all undocumented immigrants residing in the United States were given legal status as part of comprehensive immigration, their state and local tax contributions would increase by an estimated $2.1 billion a year.

Our current president may see undocumented immigrants as nothing but “illegal aliens” who should be swept up when he “takes the shackles off” the deportation force. And yet we are the ones willing to work and contribute, against all odds, to the country we call home.

I am an undocumented immigrant, and unlike President Trump, I am willing to show my tax returns. Will the president of the United States of America demonstrate that he contributes his fair share just like undocumented immigrants like me?

This essay is adapted from an article originally published in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Juan Escalante is an undocumented immigrant and DACA beneficiary. He loves pineapple on pizza, black coffee, and public radio. You may find him taking photos around Tallahassee, Florida, whenever he is not advocating for immigration policies at the state or national level. Find him on Twitter at @JuanSaaa.

First Person is Vox's home for compelling, provocative narrative essays. Do you have a story to share? Read our submission guidelines, and pitch us at firstperson@vox.com.

See also: Illegal emigration

"Illegals" redirects here. For the Russian spy network, see Illegals Program. For the band, see Los Illegals.

Illegal immigration is the illegal entry of a person or a group of persons across a country's border, in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country, with the intention to remain in the country.

Illegal immigration, as well as immigration in general, is overwhelmingly upward, from a poorer to a richer country.[1] Living in another country illegally includes a variety of restrictions, as well as the risk of being detained and deported or of facing other sanctions.[2]

In terms of the number of Illegal immigrants living in a country, India hosts the largest number for any country in the world, with illegal immigrants from Bangladesh alone numbering 20 million.[3][4]

Asylum seekers who were denied asylum may face impediment to expulsion, for example if the home country refuses to receive the person or if new asylum reasons occur after the decision. In some countries or cases, these people are considered as illegal immigrants, and in others, they may get a temporary residence permit, for example with reference to the principle of non-refoulement in the international Refugee Convention. The European Court of Human Rights, referring to the European Convention on Human Rights, has shown in a number of indicative judgments that there are enforcement barriers to expulsion to certain countries, for example due to the risk of torture.[5]


There have been campaigns in many countries since 2007 discouraging the use of the term "illegal immigrant". They are generally based on the argument that the act of immigrating illegally does not make the people themselves illegal, but rather they are "people who have immigrated illegally". In the United States, a "Drop the I-Word" campaign was launched in 2010 advocating for the use of terms such as undocumented immigrants or unauthorized immigrants when referring to the foreign nationals who reside in a country illegally.[6][7]

News associations that have discontinued or discourage the use of the adjective "illegal" to describe people include the US Associated Press,[8] UK Press Association, European Journalism Observatory,[9]European Journalism Centre,[10]Association of European Journalists, Australian Press Council,[11] and Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.[12] Related terms that do not directly describe people are not similarly discouraged by these campaigns. For example, Associated Press continues to use the term "illegal immigration" to describe the action of entering or residing in a country illegally.

In contrast, in some contexts the term "illegal immigrants" is shortened, often pejoratively,[13] to "illegals".[14][15][16]

A related term, irregular migration, is sometimes used e.g. by the International Organization for Migration, but it describes a somewhat wider concept which also includes illegal emigration. [17]

Effects of illegal immigration[edit]

Further information: Human migration § Theories for migration for work in the 21st century

Economy and labour market[edit]

Further information: Economic results of migration and Economic migrant

Research on the economic effects of undocumented immigrants is scant but existing studies suggests that the effects are positive for the native population,[18][19] and public coffers.[20] A 2015 study shows that "increasing deportation rates and tightening border control weakens low-skilled labor markets, increasing unemployment of native low-skilled workers. Legalization, instead, decreases the unemployment rate of low-skilled natives and increases income per native."[21] Studies show that legalization of undocumented immigrants would boost the U.S. economy; a 2013 study found that granting legal status to undocumented immigrants would raise their incomes by a quarter (increasing U.S. GDP by approximately $1.4 trillion over a ten-year period),[22] and a 2016 study found that "legalization would increase the economic contribution of the unauthorized population by about 20%, to 3.6% of private-sector GDP."[23]

According to economist George Borjas, undocumented immigrants may have caused the decline of real wages of US workers without a high school degree by 9% between 1980 and 2000 due to increased competition.[24] However, migration scholars such as Gordon Hanson and Douglas Massey have criticized this view for being oversimplified and not accounting for contradictory evidence, such as the low net illegal immigration from Mexico to the US before the 1980s despite significant economic disparity.[25]Douglas Massey argues that there is bifurcation in the labor market in developed countries, which creates a structural demand for unskilled immigrant labor to fill undesirable jobs which citizens do not seek, regardless of wages.[26] That means that postindustrial economies have a widening gap between well-paying, white-collar jobs that require ever higher levels of education and human capital, for which citizens and legal immigrants can qualify, and bottom-tier jobs that are stigmatized, require no education and are often filled by undocumented immigrants. Massey argues that this refutes claims that undocumented immigrants are "lowering wages" or stealing jobs from native-born workers, and that it instead shows that undocumented immigrants "take jobs that no one else wants."[26]

Since the decline of middle-class blue-collar jobs in manufacturing and industry, younger native-born generations have acquired higher education. In the US, only 12% of the labor force has less than a high school education, but 70% of illegal workers from Mexico lack a high school degree.[25] The majority of new blue-collar jobs qualify as Massey's "underclass" work, and suffer from unreliability, subservient roles and, critically, a lack of potential for advancement. These "underclass" jobs, which have a disproportionate number of undocumented immigrants, include harvesting crops, unskilled labor in landscaping and construction, house-cleaning, and maid and busboy work in hotels and restaurants. However, as even these "underclass" jobs have higher relative wages than those in home countries they are still attractive for undocumented immigrants and since many undocumented immigrants often anticipate working only temporarily in the destination country, the lack of opportunity for advancement is seen by many as less of a problem. Support for this claim can be seen in a Pew Hispanic Center poll of over 3,000 undocumented immigrants from Mexico in the US, which found that 79% would voluntarily join a temporary worker program that allowed them to work legally for several years but then required them to leave.[27] From this it is assumed that the willingness to take undesirable jobs is what gives undocumented immigrants their employment.[26] Evidence for this may be seen in the average wages of illegal day laborers in California, which was between $10 and $12 per hour according to a 2005 study, and the fact that this was higher than many entry-level white collar work or service jobs.[28] Entry-level white-collar and service jobs offer advancement opportunities only for people with work permits and citizenship.

Research indicates that the advantage to firms from employing undocumented immigrants increases as more firms in the industry do so, further increases with the breadth of a firm's market, and also with the labor intensity of the firm's production process. However, the advantage decreases with the skill level of the firm's workers,[29]

Reasons for illegal immigration[edit]

Trade liberalization[edit]

In recent years, developing countries have pursued the benefits of globalization by adopting measures to liberalize trade. But rapid opening of domestic markets may lead to displacement of large numbers of agricultural or unskilled workers, who are more likely to seek employment and a higher quality of life by illegal immigration.[citation needed]


Undocumented immigrants are not impoverished by standards of the home country. The poorest classes in a developing country may lack the resources needed to mount an attempt to cross illegally, or the connections to friends or family already in the destination country. Studies from the Pew Hispanic Center have shown that the education and wage levels of illegal Mexican immigrants in the US are around the median for Mexico and that they are not a suitable predictor of one's choice to immigrate.[27]

Other examples do show that increases in poverty, especially when associated with immediate crises, can increase the likelihood of illegal migration. The 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, subsequent to the start of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), was associated with widespread poverty and a lower valuation for the peso relative to the dollar.[30] It also marked the start of a massive swell in Mexican immigration, in which net illegal migration to the US increased every year from the mid-1990s until the mid-2000s.

There are also examples where natural disasters and overpopulation can amplify poverty-driven migration flows.[31]


Further information: Human overpopulation

Population growth that exceeds the carrying capacity of an area or environment results in overpopulation.[32] Virginia Abernethy notes that immigration is a road that provides a "relief valve" to overpopulation that stops a population from addressing the consequences of its overpopulation and that exports this overpopulation to another location or country.[33] Overpopulation and its consequences is a bigger issue in developing countries.


Some undocumented immigrants seek to live with loved ones, such as a spouse or other family members.[34][35][36]

Having family who have immigrated or being from a community with many immigrants is a much better predictor of one's choice to immigrate than poverty.[27] Family reunification visas may be applied for by legal residents or naturalized citizens to bring their family members into a destination state legally, but these visas may be limited in number and subject to yearly quotas. This may result in family members entering illegally in order to reunify. From studying Mexican migration patterns, Douglas Massey finds that the likelihood that a Mexican national will emigrate illegally to the US increases dramatically if they have one or more family members already residing in the United States, legally or illegally.[26]

Wars and asylum[edit]

Unauthorised arrival into another country may be prompted by the need to escape civil war or repression in the country of origin. However, somebody who flees such a situation is in most countries under no circumstances an undocumented immigrant. If victims of forced displacement apply for asylum in the country they fled to and are granted refugee status they have the right to remain permanently. If asylum seekers are not granted some kind of legal protection status, then they may have to leave the country, or stay as illegal immigrants.

According to the 1951 Refugee Conventionrefugees should be exempted from immigration laws and should expect protection from the country they entered.[37] It is, however, up to the countries involved to decide if a particular immigrant is a refugee or not, and hence whether they are subject to the immigration controls. Furthermore, countries that did not sign the 1951 Refugee Convention or do not attempt to follow its guidelines are likely to consider refugees and asylum seekers as illegal immigrants.

Deprivation of citizenship[edit]

See also: Denaturalization

In a 2012 news story, the CSM reported, "The estimated 750,000 Rohingya, one of the most miserable and oppressed minorities in the world, are deeply resentful of their almost complete absence of civil rights in Myanmar. In 1982, the military junta stripped the Rohingya of their Myanmar citizenship, classing them as illegal immigrants and rendering them stateless."[38]

In some countries, people born on national territory (henceforth not "immigrants") do not automatically obtain the nationality of their birthplace, and may have no legal title of residency.[39]

Problems faced by illegal immigrants[edit]

Aside from the possibility that they may be intercepted and deported, illegal immigrants also face other problems.

Lack of access to services[edit]

Illegal immigrants usually have no or very limited access to public health systems, proper housing, education and banks. Some immigrants forge identity documents to get the access.[40]


Main article: Human Trafficking

After the end of the legal international slave trade by the Europeans and the United States in the early 19th century, the illegal importation of slaves has continued, albeit at much reduced levels.[citation needed] For example, research at San Diego State University estimates that there are 2.4 million victims of human trafficking among illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States.[41] Although not as common as in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America[citation needed], some women are smuggled into the United States and Canada.[42]

People have been kidnapped or tricked into slavery to work as laborers, after entering the country, for example in factories. Those trafficked in this manner often face additional barriers to escaping slavery, since their status as undocumented immigrants makes it difficult for them to gain access to help or services. For example, Burmese women trafficked into Thailand and forced to work in factories or as prostitutes may not speak the language and may be vulnerable to abuse by police due to their undocumented immigrant status.[43]

Kidnapping and ransoms[edit]

In some regions, people that are still en route to their destination country are also sometimes kidnapped, for example for ransom. In some instances, they are also tortured, raped, and killed if the requested ransom does not arrive. One case in point are the Eritrean migrants that are en route to Israel. A large number of them are captured in north Sinai (Egypt) and Eastern Sudan and held in the buildings in north Sinai.[44][45]


Main article: Sex trafficking

Some people forced into sexual slavery face challenges of charges of illegal immigration.[46]

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Western Europe is being confronted with a serious problem related to the sexual exploitation of undocumented immigrants (especially from Eastern Europe), for the purpose of prostitution.[47]

In the United States human trafficking victims often pass through the porous border with Mexico. In an effort to curb the spread of this affliction, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez signed an accord in 2012 to expand prosecutions of criminals typically members of transnational gangs who engage in the trafficking of human beings between the two countries.[48]

Exploitation of labour[edit]

Main article: Exploitation of labour

Most countries have laws requiring workers to have proper documentation, often intended to prevent or minimize the employment of undocumented immigrants.[citation needed] However the penalties against employers are often small and the acceptable identification requirements vague, ill-defined and seldom checked or enforced, making it easy for employers to hire illegal labor.[citation needed] Where the minimum wage is several times the prevailing wage in the home country, employers sometimes pay less than the legal minimum wage or have unsafe working conditions, relying on the reluctance of illegal workers to report the violations to the authorities.[49][citation needed]

Injury and illness[edit]

The search for employment is central to illegal international migration.[50] According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, undocumented immigrants in the United States often work in dangerous industries such as agriculture and construction.[51] A recent study suggests that the complex web of consequences resulting from illegal immigrant status limits illegal workers' ability to stay safe at work.[52] In addition to physical danger at work, the choice to immigrate for work often entails work-induced lifestyle factors which impact the physical, mental and social health of immigrants and their families.[53]


Each year there are several hundred undocumented immigrant deaths along the U.S.–Mexico border.[54] Death by exposure occurs in the deserts of Southwestern United States during the hot summer season.[55] In 2016 there were approximately 8,000 migrant deaths, with about 63% of deaths occurring within the Mediterranean.[56]


Illegal border crossing[edit]

Immigrants from countries that do not have automatic visa agreements, or who would not otherwise qualify for a visa, often cross the borders illegally in some areas like the United States–Mexico border, the Mona Channel between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the Strait of Gibraltar, Fuerteventura, and the Strait of Otranto. Because these methods are illegal, they are often dangerous. Would-be immigrants have been known to suffocate in shipping containers,[57]boxcars,[58] and trucks,[59] sink in shipwrecks caused by unseaworthy vessels, die of dehydration[60] or exposure during long walks without water. An official estimate puts the number of people who died in illegal crossings across the U.S.-Mexican border between 1998 and 2004 at 1,954 (see immigrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border).

Human smuggling is the practice of intermediaries aiding undocumented immigrants in crossing over international borders in financial gain, often in large groups. Human smuggling differs from, but is sometimes associated with, human trafficking. A human smuggler will facilitate illegal entry into a country for a fee, but on arrival at their destination, the smuggled person is usually free. Trafficking involves a process of using physical force, fraud, or deception to obtain and transport people.

Types of notorious human smugglers include Snakeheadgangs present in mainland China (especially in Fujian) that smuggle laborers into Pacific Rim states (making Chinatowns frequent centers of illegal immigration) and "coyotes", who smuggle undocumented immigrants to the Southwestern United States and have been known to abuse or even kill their passengers.[61] Sometimes undocumented immigrants are abandoned by their human traffickers if there are difficulties, often dying in the process. Others may be victims of intentional killing.

Overstaying a visa[edit]

Many undocumented immigrants are migrants who originally arrive in a country lawfully but overstay their authorized residence (overstaying a visa).[62][63] For example, most of the estimated 200,000 illegal immigrants in Canada (perhaps as high as 500,000) are refugee claimants whose refugee applications were rejected but who have not yet been expelled from the country.[64]

Another example is formed by children of foreigners born in countries observing jus soli ("right of territory"), such as was the case in France until 1994[65] and in Ireland until 2005.[66] In these countries, it was possible to obtain French or Irish nationality (respectively) solely by being born in France before 1994 or in Ireland before 2005[66] (respectively). At present, a French born child of foreign parents does not automatically obtain French nationality until residency duration conditions are met[citation needed]. Since 1 January 2005, a child born in Ireland does not automatically acquire Irish nationality unless certain conditions are met.[66]

Sham marriages[edit]

Another method is by entering into a sham marriage where the marriage is contracted into for purely immigration advantage by a couple who are not in a genuine relationship. Common reasons for sham marriages are to gain immigration,[67] (this is called immigration fraud[68]) residency, work or citizenship rights for one or both of the spouses, or for other benefits.

In the United Kingdom, those who arrange, participate in, or officiate over a sham marriage may be charged with a number of offenses, including assisting unlawful immigration and conspiracy to facilitate breach of immigration law.[69]

The United States has a penalty of a $250,000 fine and five-year prison sentence for such arrangements.[70] The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Justice Department say that they do not have accurate numbers on the rate of attempted marriage fraud.[71] In the 2009 fiscal year, 506 of the 241,154 petitions filed were denied for suspected fraud, a rate of 0.2%; seven percent were denied on other grounds.[72]

Illegal immigrant populations by country or region[edit]

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


Main article: Illegal immigration in Angola

In 2007 around 44,000 Congolese were forced to leave Angola.[73] Since 2004, more than 400,000 illegal immigrants, almost all from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have been expelled from Angola.[74][75]


Main article: Immigration in Australia

Official government sources put the number of visa overstayers in Australia at approximately 50,000. This has been the official number of illegal immigrants for about 25 years and is considered to be low. Other sources have placed it at up to 100,000, but no detailed study has been completed to quantify this number, which could be significantly higher.

On 1 June 2013, the Migration Amendment (Reform of Employer Sanctions) Act 2013 commenced. This new law puts the onus on businesses to ensure that their employees maintain the necessary work entitlements in Australia. The new legislation also enables the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship to levy infringement notices against business (AUD $15,300) and individual (AUD $3,060) employers on a strict liability basis - meaning that there is no requirement to prove fault, negligence or intention.[76][77]


There are about 1.2 million Indians living in Bangladesh illegally as of 2014.[78][79] The illegal migrants are mainly from the poorest states in India including West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam and Manipur, which surround Bangladesh. They illegally immigrate to Bangladesh in search of jobs in the metropolitan hubs and a better standard of living. Bangladesh is fifth among the nations sending highest remittances to India. Indians working in Bangladesh sent more than $3.7 billion back to India in 2012.[80]

There is a significant number of Burmese illegal immigrants in Bangladesh. As of 2012, the Bangladesh government estimated about 500,000 illegal Burmese immigrants living across Bangladesh.[81]


Main article: Illegal immigration in Bhutan

Immigration in Bhutan by Nepalese settlers (Lhotshampa) began slowly towards the end of the 19th century. The government passed the Bhutanese Citizenship Act 1985 to clarify and try to enforce the Bhutanese Citizenship Act 1958 to control the flood of illegal immigration. Those individuals who could not provide proof of residency prior to 1958 were adjudged to be undocumented immigrants. In 1991 and 1992, Bhutan expelled roughly 139,110 ethnic Nepalis, most of whom have been living in seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal ever since. The United States has offered to resettle 60,000 of the 107,000 Bhutanese refugees of Nepalese origin now living in U.N. refugee camps in Nepal. The Bhutanese government, even today, has not been able to sort the problem of giving citizenship to those people who are married to Bhutanese, even though they have been in the country for 40 years.[82]


See also: Illegal immigration in Brazil

Brazil has long been part of international migration routes. In 2009, the government estimated the number if illegal immigrants at about 200,000 people; a Catholic charity working with immigrants said there were 600,000 illegal immigrants (75,000 of which from Bolivia). That same year, the Brazilian Parliament approved an amnesty, opening a six-month window for all foreigners to seek legalization irrespective of their previous standing before the law. Brazil had last legalized all immigrants in 1998; bilateral deals, one of which promoted the legalization of all reciprocal immigrants with Bolivia to date, signed in 2005, are also common.[83]

Illegal immigrants in Brazil enjoy the same legal privileges as native Brazilians regarding access to social services such as public education and the Brazilian public healthcare system.[83] A Federal Police operation investigated Chinese immigrants who traveled through six countries before arriving in São Paulo to work under substandard conditions in the textile industry.[84]

After signing the 2009 amnesty bill into law, President Lula da Silva said, in a speech, that "repression and intolerance against immigrants will not solve the problems caused by the economic crisis", thereby also harshly criticizing the "policy of discrimination and prejudice" against immigrants in developed nations.

An October 2009 piece from O Globo, quoting a UNDP study, estimates the number of undocumented immigrants at 0.7 million,[85] and points out to a recent wave of xenophobia among the general populace.[86]


Main article: Illegal immigration in Canada

There is no credible information available on illegal immigration in Canada. Estimates range between 35,000 and 120,000 illegal immigrants in Canada.[87]James Bissett, a former head of the Canadian Immigration Service, has suggested that the lack of any credible refugee screening process, combined with a high likelihood of ignoring any deportation orders, has resulted in tens of thousands of outstanding warrants for the arrest of rejected refugee claimants, with little attempt at enforcement.[88] Refugee claimants in Canada do not have to attempt re-entry to learn the status of their claim. A 2008 report by the Auditor GeneralSheila Fraser stated that Canada has lost track of as many as 41,000 illegal immigrants.[89][90] This number was predicted to increase drastically with the expiration of temporary employer work permits issued in 2007 and 2008, which were not renewed in many cases because of the shortage of work due to the recession.[91]


Chile has recently become a new pole of attraction for illegal immigrants, mostly from neighboring Argentina, Peru and Bolivia but also Ecuador, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Venezuela and Haiti. According to the 2002 national census, Chile's foreign-born foreign population has increased by 75% since 1992.[92]


Main article: Illegal immigration in China

China is building a security barrier along its border with North Korea to prevent the defectors or refugees from North Korea.[93] Also, many illegal immigrants from Mongolia have tried to make it to China. There might be as many as 100,000 Africans in Guangzhou, mostly illegal overstayers.[94] To encourage people to report foreigners living illegally in China, the police are giving a 100 yuan reward to whistle blowers whose information successfully leads to an expulsion.[95]

Dominican Republic[edit]

Main article: Haitians in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. An estimated 1,000,000 Haitians live and work in the Dominican Republic, which has a total population of about ten million. The percentage of Haitians that have illegally immigrated to the Dominican Republic is not accurately known, and "many Dominicans have come to resent the influx of lower-paid workers from across the border and have sought to make their country less hospitable to noncitizens."[96]


Main article: Illegal immigration in India

It is estimated that several tens of millions of illegal immigrants live in India. Precise figures are not available, but the numbers run in tens of millions, at least 10 million are from Bangladesh, others being from Pakistan, Afghanistan and others.[97] According to the Government of India, there at least 20 million illegal immigrants from Bangladesh alone.[3] This makes India the country with the largest number of illegal immigrants in the world.[4] During the Bangladesh Liberation War at least 10 million Bangladeshis crossed into India illegally to seek refuge from widespread rape and genocide.[98] According to Indian Home Ministry, at least 1.4 Million Bangladeshi crossed over into India in the last decade alone.[98] Samir Guha Roy of the Indian Statistical Institute called these estimates "motivatedly exaggerated". After examining the population growth and demographic statistics, Roy instead states that a significant numbers of internal migration is sometimes falsely thought to be immigrants. An analysis of the numbers by Roy revealed that on average around 91000 Bangladeshi nationals might have crossed over to India every year during the years 1981-1991 but how many of them where identified and pushed back is not known. It is possible that a large portion of these illegal immigrants returned on their own to their place of origin.[99]

According to a pro-Indian scholar, the trip to India from Bangladesh is one of the cheapest in the world, with a trip costing around Rs.2000 (around $30 US), which includes the fee for the "Tour Operator". As Bangladeshis are cultural similar to the Bengali people in India, they are able to pass off as Indian citizens and settle down in any part of India to establish a future.,[98] for a very small price. This false identity can be bolstered with false documentation available for as little as Rs.200 ($3 US) can even make them part of the vote bank.[99]

Most of the Bengali speaking people deported from Maharashtra as illegal immigrants are originally Indian citizens from West Bengal. Police would demand 2000-2500 from each of the detained Bengali speaking people for their release. If they fail to pay that amount, they are kept behind the bar for 10–15 days following which they would be taken to border and pushed into Bangladesh.[99]

India is constructing barriers on its eastern borders to combat the surge of migrants. The Indo-Bangladeshi barrier is 4,000 km (2,500 mi) long. Presently, India is constructing a fence along the border to restrict illegal traffic from Bangladesh.[100] This obstruction will virtually isolate Bangladesh from India. The barrier's plan is based on the designs of the Israeli West Bank barrier and will be 3.6 m (11.8 ft) high. The stated aim of the fence is to stop infiltration of terrorists, prevent smuggling, and end illegal immigration from Bangladesh.[101][102]


Since late April 2007, the Iranian government has forcibly deported back Afghans living and working in Iran to Afghanistan at a rate between 250,000 and 300,000 per year. The forceful evictions of the refugees, who lived in Iran and Pakistan for nearly three decades, are part of the two countries' larger plans to repatriate all Afghan refugees within a few years. Iran says that it will send 1,000,000 by next MarchTemplate:Of what year, and Pakistan announced that all 2,400,000 Afghan refugees, most living in camps, must return home by 2009. Experts[who?] say it will be "disastrous" for Afghanistan.[103][104][105]


See also: Illegal immigration from Africa to Israel

Tens of thousands of migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, had crossed the Israeli border between 2009 and 2012.[106] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "This phenomenon is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity."[107] In May 2012, Israel introduced a law which would allow illegal immigrants to be detained for up to three years, a measure that the Interior Ministry intended to stem the flow of Africans entering Israel across the desert border with Egypt.[106] As a result, completing a barrier along the border with Egypt, illegal immigration from Africa decreased by over 99%.[108]

Israel faces substantial illegal immigration of Arab workers from the Palestinian Authority territories, a migration that includes both workers seeking employment, and homosexuals escaping the social approbation of Arab society.[109][110][111][112]


Main article: Illegal immigration in Libya

Before the Libyan civil war, Libya was home to a large illegal Sub-Saharan African population which numbers as much as 2,000,000.[113] The mass expulsion plan to summarily deport all illegal foreigners was announced by then-current Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in January 2008, "No resident without a legal visa will be excluded."[114][115]


Main article: Illegal immigration to Malaysia

There are an estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants in Malaysia.[116] In January 2009, Malaysia banned the hiring of foreign workers in factories, stores and restaurants to protect its citizens from mass unemployment amid the late 2000s recession.[117] An ethnic Indian Malaysian was recently sentenced to whipping and 10 months in prison for hiring six illegal immigrants at his restaurant. "I think that after this, Malaysian employers will be afraid to take in foreign workers (without work permits). They will think twice", said immigration department prosecutor Azlan Abdul Latiff. "This is the first case where an employer is being sentenced to caning", he said. Illegal immigrants also face caning before being deported.[118]


Main article: Illegal immigration in Mexico

In the first six months of 2005, more than 120,000 people from Central America were deported, as compared to 2002, when for the entire year, only 130,000 were deported.[119] People of Han Chinese origin pay about $5,500 to smugglers to be taken to Mexico from Hong Kong. It is estimated that 2.4% of rejections for work permits in Mexico correspond to Chinese citizens.[120] In a 2010 news story, USA Today reported, "... Mexico's Arizona-style law requires local police to check IDs. And Mexican police freely engage in racial profiling and routinely harass Central American migrants, say immigration activists."[121]

Many women from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Central and South America take jobs at table dance establishments in large cities. The National Institute of Migration (INM) in Mexico raids strip clubs and deports foreigners who work without proper documentation.[122] In 2004, the INM deported 188,000 people at a cost of US$10 million.[123]

In September 2007, Mexican President Calderón harshly criticized the United States government for the crackdown on illegal immigrants, saying it has led to the persecution of immigrant workers without visas. "I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico", he said.[124] However, Mexico has also deported US citizens, deporting 2,000 cases in 2015 and 1,243 in 2014.[125]

Illegal immigration of Cubans through Cancún tripled from 2004 to 2006.[126] In October 2008, Mexico tightened its immigration rules and agreed to deport Cubans who use the country as an entry point to the US. It also criticized US policy that generally allows Cubans who reach US territory to stay. Cuban Foreign Minister said the Cuban-Mexican agreement would lead to "the immense majority of Cubans being repatriated."[127]


In 2008, Nepal's Maoist-led government has initiated a major crackdown against Tibetan exiles with the aim to deport to China all Tibetans living illegally in the country. Tibetans started pouring into Nepal after a failed anti-Chinese uprising in Tibet in 1959.[128]


Main articles: Illegal immigration to Pakistan and Immigration to Pakistan § Illegal aliens

As of 2005, 2.1% of the population of Pakistan had foreign origins, however the number of immigrants population in Pakistan recently grew sharply. Immigrants from South Asia make up a growing proportion of immigrants in Pakistan. The five largest immigrant groups in Pakistan are in turn Afghans,[129]Bangladeshi,[130]Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Iranians, Indians, Sri Lankan, Burmese[131][132] and Britons[133] including a sizeable number of those of Pakistani origin. Other significant expatriate communities in the country are Armenians, Australians, Turks, Chinese,[134]Americans,[135]Filipinos,[136]Bosnians[137] and many others. Migrants from different countries of Arab world specially Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are in thousands. Nearly all illegal migrants in Pakistan are Muslim refugees and they are accepted by the local population. There is no political support or legislation to deport these refugees from Pakistan.


It was estimated by Teresita Ang-See, a prominent leader and activist of the Chinese Filipino community, that by 2007, as much as 100,000 illegal immigrants from China are living in the Philippines, a tenth of the ethnic Chinese population. The latest influx has come in part because of Manila's move in 2005 to liberalise entry procedures for Chinese tourists and investors, a move that helped triple the number of Chinese visitors to 133,000 last year. Many of the new Chinese immigrants encounter hostility from many Filipinos, including Filipino-born Chinese, for being perceived as engaging in criminal activities and fraud.[138]


Main article: Illegal immigration in Russia

Russia experiences a constant flow of immigration. On average, 200,000 legal immigrants enter the country every year; about half are ethnic Russians from other republics of the former Soviet Union. In addition, there are an estimated 10–12 million illegal immigrants in the country.[139] There has been a significant influx of ethnic Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks, and Uzbeks into large Russian cities in recent years, which has been viewed very unfavorably by many citizens and contributed to nationalist sentiments.[140][141][142]

Many immigrant ethnic groups have much higher birth rates than native Russians, further shifting the balance. Some Chinese

Arrested refugees-immigrants in Fylakio detention center, Evros, Greece.
HMC Vigilant, one of several customs cutters of the UKBA, capable of speeds up to 26 knots departing Portsmouth Naval Base.
ABVP against Bangladeshi undocumented immigrants
Demonstration against the expulsion of undocumented immigrants and their families from Israel, Tel Aviv, 2009

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