Illegal Immigration
A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition
by Michael C. LeMay
September 2015, 382pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4012-8
$66, £49, 55€, A95
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4013-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

More than 11.5 million immigrants in the United States are in an unauthorized (illegal) status.

A valuable resource for high school, college, and general readers, this book provides an up-to-date, comprehensive examination of illegal immigration in America, addressing its complex history, comparing its occurrence today with the past, and explaining why a solution is so difficult to enact.

Who is coming into the United States illegally and why? What compels people to leave their country of origin? Is the United States responsible for taking care of the more than 11 million individuals who are here illegally? Are illegal immigrants helping or harming our nation’s economy and infrastructure? Should our borders be “secured” as called for by many politicians? This book examines the history of illegal immigration in the United States, addressing the tough questions about the issue and describing in detail the most significant issues and events in recent decades. It succinctly tackles the topic of illegal immigration without bias, explores the myriad of problems and controversies that have arisen due to illegal immigration, and explains how lawmakers have historically tried—and continue to try—to solve these issues.

This thoroughly revised and updated second edition ofIllegal Immigration: A Reference Handbook covers the debate over the vexing and seemingly intractable illegal immigration problem from all angles and updates the discussion to 2015. It covers the key court, executive, and legislative-branch actions on the matter and examines both state and national-level government attempts to cope with illegal immigration. The book also contains a variety of primary source documents in summary format that cover all the key laws enacted, presidential or state governor’s executive actions taken, and key court decisions since 1985. These documents not only provide factual data but also give context that allows readers to better grasp the complexity of the problem and the difficulty in trying to improve the situation through regulation.


  • Discusses in detail all of the proposed solutions to the illegal immigration problem in the United States
  • Enables the reader, on an objective and factual basis, to compare illegal immigration of today with the immigration of the past, and to assess for themselves whether today's immigrants are any more or less likely to be able to successfully assimilate into American society and economy
  • Provides perspective essays by a range of scholars, "think-tank" subject experts, and advocacy activists that give voice to various sides of the issue in a contrasting point/counterpoint fashion
  • Documents how the U.S. federal system of three levels and three branches of government complicates any effort and approach to resolving the illegal immigration problem
  • Includes an extensive, annotated bibliography of print and nonprint resources that directs readers toward further reading on the topic
Michael C. LeMay, PhD, is professor emeritus of political science at California State University-San Bernardino (CSUSB), CA. He has received awards for teaching excellence, university service, and professional development from CSUSB, where he served as director of the National Security Studies program, chair of the Department of Political Science, and assistant dean for student affairs of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. His published work includes immigration policy titles such as Praeger's From Open Door to Dutch Door: An Analysis of U.S. Immigration Policy Since 1820, Guarding the Gates: Immigration and National Security, Anatomy of a Public Policy: The Reform of Contemporary American Immigration Law, and Doctors at the Borders: Immigration and the Rise of Public Health; Greenwood's American Immigration and Naturalization Laws and Issues: A Documentary History; ABC-CLIO's U.S. Immigration: A Reference Handbook and Illegal Immigration: A Reference Handbook; and The Struggle for Influence: The Impact of Minority Groups on Politics & Public Policy in the United States. He is a contributing author and series editor of the three-volume Transforming America: Perspectives on U.S. Immigration.

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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