The issue of illegal immigration is often viewed through the prism of values, politics and free enterprise. The U.S. population of 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants raises issues ranging from national security to impacts on local economies. Proponents argue that many low-paying jobs are filled by illegal immigrants, which benefits the economy. Opponents express concern about crime and the loss of jobs for legal citizens. Research paper topics on illegal immigration can explore the issue from a variety of viewpoints.

The Dream Act

Children born outside the United States but who lived in the country as illegal immigrants when their parents emigrated often face resentment and obstacles. The proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act introduced in March 2009 by Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois would make those children eligible for a six-year program that would grant them citizenship after completion of a college degree or two years of military service. A research paper on this topic could discuss the origins of the DREAM Act, the specific requirements and the viewpoints of those in favor and those who oppose the legislation.

Illegal Immigration and Terrorism

Since the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the government has become far more vigilant in policing the borders. Border security remains a serious issue, as illustrated by the October 2010 case of a Brazilian couple arrested for facilitating more than 1,000 false visas for people to enter into the country illegally, according to a report by Accuracy In Media. A research paper could examine the arrests of illegal immigrants tied to terrorist activities and also discuss what initiatives have been taken to identify illegal immigrants with terrorist affiliations.

Immigration Amnesty

The federal government has proposed that amnesty be given to those illegal immigrants already living in the United States. This amnesty would exist as part of a larger immigration program that would include more secure borders, removing incentives for immigrants to enter illegally and working with Mexico for improved economic development. A research paper on this topic would examine the specific requirements for amnesty, the history and effectiveness of similar amnesty laws, and the obstacles to the law being passed.

Illegal Immigration Effects On Crime

Arizona became a lightning rod for illegal immigration in 2010, with lawmakers saying stringent anti-immigration laws will keep legal citizens safe from crimes committed by illegal immigrants. However, FBI statistics paint a different portrait in cities across the southern border of the United States. Violent crime declined 17 percent in San Diego, 36 percent in El Paso and 10 percent in Phoenix, according to a report by CBS News online. A paper on this topic could research statistics in the major cities where illegal immigration is a problem, and explore crimes committed by illegal immigrants. The paper could evaluate any causal links discovered or refute the claims that illegal immigrants elevate a city's crime rate.

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