Why should undocumented immigrants be given legal status in the United States?

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Compelling arguments can be made and supported for providing legal documentation to many, but not all, undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. The way that people become undocumented correlates with the advisability of their becoming documented. For example, if an individual enters the United States with false identification and the intention of committing criminal activity, it would be unwise to help that person transition to legal status. However, many undocumented people were in the country legally at some previous point, and many others were brought into the country as children. Overall, many people have pointed to the need for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a clear path to citizenship for current residents.

One argument in favor of providing legal documentation is the benefit to the US economy. Undocumented workers are often seasonal agricultural laborers or construction workers; the employers often pay such workers in cash, so they are not paying into a variety of government systems, such as income tax and Social Security.

Another aspect of legalization that is often considered worthy of support is that of Dreamers, or child migrants who were brought to the United States by undocumented parents or other relatives. As those individuals played no role in entering the country illegally, they should not be penalized for their parents’ errors. In addition, their younger siblings may have been born in the United States and are US citizens, and it would impose an undue burden on the foreign-born children to be separated from their siblings or deported to a country where they only lived for a short time.

Other compelling reasons relate to people who formerly had legal status, such as temporary work visas, which expired. If they still have valid reasons for staying in the United States, such as valuable skills, their presence would be beneficial to the country, and their applications for renewals should be approved.

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