Illegal immigration to the United States has long been a subject of heated debate. Some argue that immigrants take jobs away from Americans, commit crimes, traffic drugs and unduly strain social welfare programs but pay no taxes. Others counter that immigrants contribute valuable labor and should have a path to citizenship. The rhetoric reached new heights during the 2016 presidential campaign, notably with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the nearly 2,000-mile long border Mexico shares with the U.S. and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The debate has largely focused on immigrants from Mexico because, according to the Pew Research Center, they constitute the largest single group of immigrants in the United States.