What are Undocumented Immigrants?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 January 2020
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Undocumented immigrants is a title that is often given to illegal aliens. These are individuals who are in a foreign country without the proper authorization. In some cases, these individuals are committing criminal acts, but in other jurisdictions, their behavior is merely considered an administrative offense. The problem of undocumented immigrants exists around the globe and poses serious social issues in some countries.

A person’s permission to enter and remain in a foreign country is usually communicated through some type of document, such as a visa. There are many people, however, who are in foreign countries and who either do not have such documents or possess documents that are no longer valid. This is why they are often referred to as undocumented immigrants.

There are numerous reasons why people are in this type of situation. Some flee their home countries due to war, political violence, or shortage of basic necessities. For others, the situation may not be dire, but they may wish to seek a better life elsewhere. Some illegal aliens may have received permission to go to a foreign country, but they may not accomplish all that they desire within the given period, so they may overstay. In many cases, the individuals were never granted permission to enter the foreign country, but they found an illicit means to do so.


The lives of undocumented immigrants are not always as good as they expect before arriving in a foreign country. These individuals commonly face a wide range of problems. These may include difficulty finding gainful employment, securing quality housing, and utilizing services that allow them to send and receive money. In many cases, these people also experience problems with social integration.

Many citizens who live in countries that have large numbers of undocumented immigrants possess strong feelings about the presence of these individuals. They often accuse these people of adding unnecessary competition to job markets and driving down wages and benefits. Citizens also commonly complain that these individuals cause an increase in crime and tax rates.

The governments in countries with large numbers of undocumented workers often attempt but fail to prevent the problem from growing. Many believe that the countries where people are emigrating from need to do more to prevent people from leaving, but there are many problems with that solution. To begin with, many of the nations that people leave behind are poor and have limited resources. Many also have ailing governments that have much larger priorities.


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