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Mastery 3 Newspaper 
Legal vs. illegal immigrants what’s the difference? 
 
By Claire Kovchegov, Asia Musa, and Hasan Iftikhar 

Image from CNN 

 
According to The New York Times, an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. are 
currently illegal immigrants, which accounts to be 3.4% of the United States population. 
According to Newsmax, 61 million immigrants and their ‘American-born’ children live in the 
U.S. legally, which accounts for 19% of the United States population. This immigrant 
population is a significant portion of the population, making about 1 out of 5 people in the 
United States immigrants. So, with the increasing number of immigrants entering the 
United States illegally, what is the major difference between legal and illegal immigrants? 
Many factors can be compared between the two, such as, the employment rate, how many 
are in jail, and the educational status of illegal and legal immigrants. 

 
 
 

Many immigrants, in general, come to the U.S. looking for job opportunities. 8.1 million 
illegal immigrants are working currently, according to The New York Times. In addition, 
EdHelper stated that the U.S. admits around 700,000 - 900,000 immigrants each year 
legally, meaning the immigrants have the official documentation of U.S. citizenship. 
Immigrants struggle to find jobs when they first immigrate into the U.S. because they are 
unauthorized to work in many places. Though, many people even say that immigrants are 
taking the jobs of many Americans, which continues to exploit their opinion on immigration 
laws. Since they are unauthorized, they are technically not allowed to work, but employers 
hire these people who can do the same thing as those who are authorized, for less pay. So 
these employers end up paying them way below minimum wage. According to Migration 
Policy Institute, nearly 17% of Americans in the workforce are immigrants, which has gone 
from 5% in the 70’s, to nearly 20% in 2015. This means that every year, more and more 
people come to the U.S. and end up being paid minimum wage. According to The Atlantic, 
the Social Security Administration collects billions of dollars in tax money from unknown 
people who submit a W-2 form with an undocumented social security number. Therefore, 
undocumented workers who are already being paid less than minimum wage aren’t fully 
knowledgeable of what they are being paid compared to others. 

Because of the struggle to find work, some illegal immigrants resort to committing crimes 
for what they are required to have to survive. According to CNN, 177,960 people in the U.S. 
are undocumented immigrants and are convicted criminals. Also according to CNN, 73,665 
people are not U.S. citizens and are in jail. Prison Policy states that “The American criminal 
justice system holds more than 2.3 million people”. Using these statistics, immigrants, both 
legal and illegal, account for about 11% of the total incarcerated population, while illegal 
immigrants account for about 10% of the population, with legal immigrants accounting for 
the other 1%. According to The New York Times, there are about 11 million illegal 
immigrants living in the US. This means that about 2% of the illegal immigrant population is 
in jail. Newsmax says that 61 million people who live in the US are immigrants, and using 
these sources and doing the math, that means .1% of legal immigrants are in jail. Meaning 
that not even a percent of legal immigrants are in jail and therefore, immigrants commit 
less crime than Americans. Also, these numbers mean that in the immigrant group, illegal 
immigrants are more likely to commit a crime because they already are committing a 
separate crime than illegal immigration.   

 

 
 

Immigrants come to the U.S for various reasons such as to live in freedom, practice their 
religion freely, and to get a better education. All children in the United States are entitled to 
equal access to a public elementary and secondary education, regardless of their or their 
parents' actual or perceived national origin, citizenship, or immigration status, according to 
the U.S. Department of Education. Moreover, immigrants and their children born in the U.S. 
make up for nearly 20% of people currently living the U.S. According to The Washington 
Post, 6.9% of all students attending K-12 schools are children of illegal immigrants and 1.4% 
of all students aren’t U.S. citizens. The percentage of students with illegal parents has gone 
from 3% to nearly 7% in 20 years. In addition, “immigrants with a legal status tend to 
graduate college more than native-born Americans,” according to the U.S. Department of 
Education. Using these sources, it can be seen that a reason illegal immigrants come to the 
U.S. is for their children to achieve a better education than where they originally came 
from.  

People who put themselves through the trouble of immigrating to the United States can be 
unexpected of what is to come next in their lives. They come here and become unable to 
obtain health care and many other necessary things that are essential in today’s society. 
Immigrants are also at great risk of being deported once they come here. Becoming a U.S. 
citizen, becoming legal, takes a long time and costs a lot of money, which is another reason 
why many people enter the country illegally.  

In conclusion, immigrants, in general, come to the U.S. for many reasons. One being finding 
work, even though they do not always land a well-paying job. As they enter a whole new 
world, many resort to crime to support themselves and sometimes their families as well. 
This situation accounts for many legal and illegal immigrants across the United States. 
According to the research above, immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. born citizens 
and legal immigrants also commit fewer crimes than illegal immigrants. One crime is 
entering the country illegally. Also, it was seen that as the number of immigrants in the 
country increased, the income of Americans increased. In all, other than the restrictions 
that illegal immigrants hold compared to legal immigrants, there isn’t much of a difference 
in the two. 

 
 

 
 

Editorial / Opinion 
 

​Addressing Immigration

Immigrants, in general, are entitled to the same resources as native-born Americans. Moreover,

many people have heard lies told by the media that the 41 million immigrants living in America

are refusing to learn English, driving up crime rates, and taking our jobs. Many individuals claim

immigrants are freeloading off the health care system and government. On the contrary, this

simply is not true. Immigration has been a vital part of America for many decades. However,

many Americans blatantly feel that immigrants are a problem that should be dealt with

accordingly.

Lately, many Americans have been watching the Trump administration unfold with its hostile

incompetence. Trump has been spewing his hateful rhetoric about immigration. He has been

saying quite ignorant and untrue statements about immigrants coming into America, especially

from Mexico. For instance, Trump stated, “When Mexico is sending its people, they’re not

sending their best...they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crimes, and they’re rapists”.

However, immigrants from Latin American countries are no different than immigrants from

Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. They move to the United States — legal or

undocumented — to find better opportunities for their families. According to Solidarity - US,

“immigrants pay taxes and add more to the economy than they take out.”. That is somehow

rarely acknowledged. Given these points, the myth and lies fed by the right wing media, that

immigrants come here to get freeload off the government, is simply false.

 

 
 

Immigrants should be treated equally. In America, a country founded by immigrants, for

immigrants (by the people, for the people), all those seeking basic human rights should be given

and provided to them. If America actually wanted to have the kind of country where

foreign-born, non-citizen immigrants were treated poorly and not given the same rights as

citizens, the founding fathers wouldn't have written "all men are created equal" in the

Declaration of Independence. For that matter, America would not be America. In short, certain

Americans need to treat immigrants well because that is what the founding fathers wanted.

Americans tend to make numerous assumptions and biases towards immigrants. They claim

various things and sometimes say ignorant things about immigrants. For example, some

Americans believe all newly arriving immigrants are illiterate and just bring terrible things to the

US. According to NY Daily News, “immigrants are learning English at the rate of previous

arriving immigrants, commit crimes 25% the rate of the native-borns, and are contributing

greatly to the economy.”. As can be seen, having false unjust biases towards immigrants does not

give Americans a good reputation and it causes an unpleasant divide between native-borns and

immigrants.

As has been noted, immigrants are essential to America. They bring a lot of great new ideas, get

a high education, and eventually learn English. Immigrants are what makeup America. They

make America great place full of rich different cultures. Immigrants usually bring their cultures

to America and it definitely makes America a place with diversity. Although, many immigrants

 

 
 
whether legal or illegal face challenges, they still endure the close examination, remarks, and

questions raised by the native-born Americans. Given these points, immigrants should be

welcomed to America graciously and should have the same inalienable rights as native-born

Americans.

Cartoon 

 

 
 

 
Letter to the Editor 
 
Immigrants are what make America, America 
 
In response to Asia Musa’s article “Addressing Immigration,” I completely agree with her 
claim that immigrants have been a vital part of America for decades. Immigrants have 
enriched the American culture for the longest time. The United States of America is known 
as the Land of Opportunities for a reason. America gives many people around the world 
hope, hope for a better future. It’s a place where immigrants can fulfill their desires, where 
they can receive a proper education, where they can receive proper health care, and where 
they can receive a well-paying job to support themselves and their families. As Donald 
Trump thinks that many immigrants are terrorists, he is quite wrong. Maybe the reason for 
all this terrorism is because Mr.Trump puts that name on many immigrants. If Trump keeps 
having a biased view on immigrants and terrorism, more and more attacks will be aimed at 
the U.S. All immigrants have done is bring good to America, so what’s the point of kicking 
them out now?  
 
Hasan Iftikhar 
3961 Hoffman Valley Dr. 
Columbus, OH 43219 
614-589-0068 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Reflection 
 

Article: 

Sentence: “Moreover, immigrants and their children born in the U.S. make up for nearly 

20% of people currently living the U.S. According to The Washington Post, 6.9% of all 

students attending K-12 schools are children of illegal immigrants and 1.4% of all students 

aren’t U.S. citizens.” 

Type of appeal: Ethos 

Editorial: 

Sentence: ​They move to the United States — legal or undocumented — to find better

opportunities for their families. 

Type of Appeal: Pathos 

Letter to the Editor 

Sentence: If Trump keeps having a biased view on immigrants and terrorism, more and 

more attacks will be aimed at the U.S. 

Fallacy: Slippery Slope 

(one action will lead to an inevitable and undesirable outcome)  

Following my statement on Trump thinking that immigrants bring terrorism and his 
immigration ban, I’m saying that if he keeps doing what he is now, America will become a 
greater target from more countries (undesirable outcomes).  

 

 
 
Cartoon 

Allusion: Alluding to Spartacus when everyone claims they are Spartacus. 

   

 

 
 

Works Cited 

Burke, Cathy "Study: 61 Million Immigrants Living in the US." ​Newsmax​.  

N.p., 07 Mar. 2016. Web. 23 May 2017. 

<​http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/center-for-immigration-studies-immigration-
illegal-immigrant-undocumented/2016/03/07/id/717847/​> 

Campbell, Alexia F. "The Truth About Undocumented Immigrants and Taxes." T​ he Atlantic​.  

Atlantic Media Company, 12 Sept. 2016. Web. 23 May 2017. 

<​https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/undocumented-immigrant
s-and-taxes/499604/​> 

Greenstone, Michael, Looney, Adam "What Immigration Means For U.S. Employment and  

Wages." ​What Immigration Means For U.S. Employment and Wages | The Hamilton 
Project​. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2017. 

<​http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/what_immigration_means_for_u.s._employ
ment_and_wages​> 

Glock, Allison P
​ ardon Our Interruption​. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2017. 

<​http://www.oprah.com/world/What-Its-Like-to-Be-an-Undocumented-Immigrant-in-
America/2​> 

Kenny, Jennifer "Legal Immigration vs. Illegal Immigration." ​Worksheets and No Prep  

Teaching Resources​. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2017. 

<​https://www.edhelper.com/ReadingComprehension_54_184.html​> 

Rabuy, Peter Wagner, and Bernadette. "Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2017." Prison  

 
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Policy Initiative. Prison Policy Initiative, 14 Mar. 2017. Web. 22 May 2017. 
<​https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2017.html​>. 

Shoichet, Catherine E. "Immigrants, and Crime: Crunching the Numbers." CNN. Cable  

News Network, 08 July 2015. Web. 22 May 2017.  

<​http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/08/politics/immigrants-crime/​>. 

Strauss, Valerie. "How many K-12 students are illegal immigrants?" T​ he Washington Post​.  

WP Company, 21 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 May 2017. 

<​https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/11/21/how-many-
k-12-students-are-illegal-immigrants/?utm_term=.1da7c79b983e​> 

Yee, Vivian, Kenan Davis, and Jugal K. Patel. "Here’s the Reality About Illegal Immigrants in 

the United States." ​The New York Times​. 06 Mar. 2017. Web. 23 May 2017. 

<​https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/06/us/politics/undocumented-illegal
-immigrants.html​> 

Zong, Jie and Batalova, Jeanne "Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and  

Immigration in the United States." ​Migration policy​. N.p., 06 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 May 
2017. 

<​http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-
and-immigration-united-states​> 

   

 
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