Jacques-Laurent Agasse: The Flower Seller, 1822.

Illegal Immigration


We want to be able to apply sociological theory to social problems. The final chapter of Contemporary Social Theory provides us with some direction in this task. Here, we introduce a social problem that has received considerable public attention over the past several years: illegal immigration.

This issue forces us to think about our sociological perspective. Should society place primacy on its economy or on its laws? To what extent should laws be enforced? What is the best approach to organizing societal institutions to adjust to, prevent, or just ignore illegal immigration?

Because thinking about this issue forces us to face our beliefs about how best to organize society it helps us to understand our sociological perspective. Deciding about social policy related to illegal immigration helps us understand our philosophical positions and our preferred approaches to building the good society.

Readings Related to Illegal Immigration

One can find many web sites, newspaper articles and opinion columns, and social science research articles regarding illegal immigration. The list of readings provided here is a sampler of these materials. Please feel free to use these materials as well as others to help you answer the questions asked for the two individual response papers.

Readings That Speak in Favor of Enforcing Current Laws

  1. Lawmakers Say Law Cannot Be Ignored.
  2. U.S. Obligated to Enforce Laws.
  3. Rep. King Wants Only Legal Workers.
  4. The Real Christmas Story.
Readings That Speak in Favor of Immigration Reform
  1. Reform Needed.
  2. Need for Reform.
  3. End Aggressive Raids.
  4. Stop Aggressive Raids.
  5. Free Market Opinion.
  6. No One Gains from Raids.
  7. Through Latino Eyes.
Social Science Readings Regarding Illegal Immigration
  1. The 21st Century Immigration Story.
  2. Indisputable Points in the Immigration Debate.
  3. Circles of Influence.
Newspaper Reports About the Raid of the Swift Plant
From: The Des Moines Register
  1. Feds Raid Marshalltown.
  2. Raids in Six States.
  3. 911 Moment.
  4. Breastfeeding Moms.
  5. School Dropouts.
  6. Officials Won't Say Where They Hold Detainees.
  7. Families Meet Detainees.
  8. Fast Deportations.
  9. Rattled Kids.
  10. Meeting Regarding Raid.
  11. Frustrated Residents.
  12. More Charged.
  13. Production Drops.
  14. Single Mothers.
  15. State Officials Meet Families.