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Economic Contribution of Slaves and Present Day Legal and Illegal Immigration Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 20th, 2018

Brief Historical Background

Slavery is a kind of lifestyle in which people live under an authority called the lord, who takes them as their property. Slaves usually perform their duties against their will. They are often captured and sold after which they are forced to render compulsory service to their lords.

Slaves have limited rights attached to their livelihood. Since they are the property of their lords, they are often misused without compensation. Slavery began long time ago even before writing began. It was a common phenomenon in many cultures. In Europe, slavery peaked in the fourteenth and ended in the late twentieth century after the emancipation of serfdom.

Immigration is the movement of people from their country of origin to another country. Illegal immigration is immigration without proper documentations. Illegal immigration is deadly because the immigrants may end up into slavery.

This is because they cannot be offered protection by the institutions since they are not documented. Illegal immigration is present in the border between the United States and Mexico. Slaves and illegal immigrants can also contribute to economic development in one way or another as it is discussed in this paper.

Description of the Historical and Political Issues of Slavery and Their Challenges

In America, slavery was viewed as the institution of suffocating oppression, so airtight that it allowed its victims limited opportunity to function as full human beings. Slavery is about domination and of necessity, it rested on coercion. It was characterized by power, violence, and usurpation of labor for the aim of aggrandizing a small minority.

There were many instances of murder, beatings, mutilations, and humiliations (both petty and great). The slave owners lashed, traumatized, raped, and killed their victims. Slaves would be punished in many ways including being sold away from their kin. Thus, the narration of slavery is the story of ill-treatment, cruelty, and segregation that the black people were subjected to by their masters.

Another way to look at slavery is considering the system as a lifestyle. This lifestyle involved slave trade. Black men and women were often chained together while being marched towards the rivers where they would be put in steam boats leaving for places that required their demands.

Possible Causes of Slavery

There are quite a number of reasons as to why people become enslaved. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, economic factors were the major causes of slavery. This was when colonists chiefly depended on indentured servitude so that their demand for labor could be met. In England, there was a decrease in population during this time. This led the colonial masters to believe that Africans were the most viable slaves who would come in handy as cheap and efficient labor.

Currently, slavery has been coined names such as human trafficking, bonded labor, forced labor, and even some instances refer to sex trafficking as a form of slavery.

This means that slavery is evolving. All these kinds of slavery are driven by economic factors. In the past, one could become a slave simply by being loaned some money. All that the person owned including their family belonged to the lender until the entire debt was paid. This situation is termed as collateral debt bondage and it is the complete control of a person because of a debt (Bales 4).

Another point worth noting is the aspect of vulnerability. It is crucial to understand the ease in which the vulnerable people can become slaves. However, this should be taken with caution because it depends with the type of vulnerability. The elderly, the sick, and the very young children do not fall victims of slavery.

Thus, those young and strong people who are taken captive for forced servitude usually lack both the personal and financial resources and the social and governmental protections to prevent them from being enslaved (Bales 10). Therefore, financial factors, vulnerability, and availability of slaves are among the major causes of slavery.

Possible Causes of Legal Immigration

Legal immigration is also caused by economic factors. Another factor includes less legal restriction of movements of people either in the sending or the destination country. This was particularly happening during the late nineteenth century when Europeans would move freely into and out of the United States. Nowadays the U.S. has put certain restrictions of free movement of people especially to countries outside the agreement (Ghosh 34). Thus, the major causes of legal immigration include search for better jobs and diplomatic missions.

Possible Causes of Illegal Immigration

The economy of a country is undoubtedly the last receptor of the effects of illegal immigrants. It is quite clear that illegal immigration accomplishes what legal migration does not accomplish in the United States’ economy. This is because illegal immigration moves large numbers of low skilled workers from a low productivity to a high productivity environment. Illegal immigration also brings low skilled workers to the United States when the productivity gains of doing so appear to be at the highest levels.

The highest number of illegal immigrants in the United States comes from Mexico. Thus, this paper discusses the causes of illegal immigration within the two countries. Mexico has been experiencing several sever economic contractions. These economic conditions have spiked major exodus of workers towards the United States. This exodus is beneficial to the economy of Mexico because their labor productivity is at its lowest (Hanson 15-16).

Effects of Slavery and Immigration

Slavery robbed African Americans and their descendants their culture and denied their language, religion, and family life thereby reducing them to infantilized ciphers. In short, slavery is responsible for breaking Africans and African Americans. Slavery also commandeered the labor of many to make a few rich (Horton & Horton 6).

It made class as it made race and in combining the two processes, it mystified both. Due to the kind of everyday life slaves adopted, they made and sustained life in the form of relatives, place of worship, and involvements of all nature. These organizations which were often fugitive, fragile, and unrecognized by the larger society resulted into formation of a new language, aesthetics, and philosophies.

The above results have been expressed in story and cultural activities such as music, dance, and cuisine. The slavery scheme created leaders and dogmas that go on with informing about the American life such that it is impracticable to garishly figure out American culture without the heritage created by slave trade. On the other hand, slaves and illegal immigrants bring with them a form of cheap labor.

The agricultural sector is the major beneficiary of cheap human resource thereby increasing the income levels of the farmers. Slaves and illegal immigrants can also take on the jobs that the American citizens reject due to the working conditions and low wages. This is quite beneficial to the economy since slaves and illegal immigrants can fill the gap left by the legal citizens.

Legal immigration is usually accompanied by the presence of new skills, which are normally needed in the country. This creates competition in the labor market. Legal immigrants also bring with them some aspects of cultural diversities. The process also brings scientific and technological achievements to a country. In the United States of America, documented immigrants usually participate in the labor force actively. This helps in enhancing sustainable economic growth of the USA.

The negative effects of illegal immigration are however overwhelming to the legal citizen. In the United States, aliens cause unemployment rates to increase (Haines & Rosenblug 2). For instance, statistics reveal that should all the illegal immigrants lose their jobs, all unemployed legal American citizens would become employed.

It is however not a feasible happenstance since not all employers are willing to get off the cheap labor of illegal immigrants. It is also documented that foreigners populace constitute over 28 per cent of the population in some regions of the United States. They are also found in prisons in higher percentages. Thus, they take a heavy toll on America’s education, imprisonment, welfare programs, food stamps, and health care.

In addition to this, illegal immigrants are often involved in criminal and terrorist activities. An investigation into one of the ways in which the illegal immigrants find their way into the U.S. reveals that they pass through a dangerous and deadly process so as to gain an entry into the country.

If they survive the trip, they are usually subjected into some form of slavery or held hostage. Housing standards also depreciate in quality. Although the American government has attempted to find solutions to the depreciating housing standards in the USA, the process has received substantial resistance from major stakeholders especially farm owners. In other areas, the farm owners have been compelled to close work camps since they cannot put up with the demands of the federal government.

Proposed Solution to Slavery and Illegal Immigration

There are many ways available for dealing with issues of illegal immigration and slavery. First of all if the issue of illegal immigration is dealt with slavery will not occur. This is for the reason that most of the people who are engaged in forced servitude are usually illegal immigrants. Therefore, in order for the issue of slavery to be dealt with, the state has to consider the roots of this vice. Thus, a thorough investigation into this matter reveals that illegal immigration is the root of slavery.

The United States of America is currently undertaking some policies aimed at curbing the vice of illegal immigration. For this reasons, various possibilities have been explored aiming at controlling the entry of aliens into the border. Some of the considerations include documentation of the illegal immigrants so that they can be allowed to settle in the United States after they acknowledge that they are in the country illegally (Dinnerstein & Reimers 22).

Deportation, amnesty, and enforcement of existing legislature are also among the options considered. Some companies consider sponsoring their employees so that they become citizens of the state in a bid to benefit from the same. Thus, the employers can offer to pay for the legal fees in order for their employees to gain legal papers that are required for any illegal citizen to acquire a legal status. Deportation is quite a controversial process due to the complications involved especially when dealing with family issues (Rudolph 56).


Slavery when intertwined with illegal immigration is a controversial issue to deal with because of the complications involved. The controversies arise especially due to the advantages and the disadvantages of illegal immigration. Legal immigration concerns a lot with documentations hence it is hard for a legal immigrant to become a slave, although sometimes this happens.

Some of the benefits of legal immigration are that it brings new skills and improves scientific and technological advancement. As it has been discussed in the paper, there is a close relationship between illegal immigration and slavery. Illegal immigrants often become slaves of the legal citizens. They provide cheap labor and take on jobs that the legal citizens reject. This can be advantageous to the economy because of the competition in the labor market.

On the other hand, illegal immigrants cause a lot of trouble to the country. They are often involved in violent criminal activities including terrorism. They cost the exchequer substantial amounts of money in the health sector, welfare, schools, and food stamps and other welfare programs. This does a great influence in bringing down the economy. Thus, illegal immigration causes more harm than good to the economy of a country due to the expenses involved.

Works Cited

Bales, Kevin. Understanding Global Slavery. California: University of California Press, 2005.

Dinnerstein, Leonard., & Reimers, David. Ethnic Americans: A History of Immigration. Ed. 5. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

Gosh, Bimal. Refugees and Human Rights Huddled Masses And Uncertain Shores: Insights Into Irregular Migration. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1998.

Haines, David., & Rosenblug, Karen. Illegal Immigration in America: A Reference Handbook. New York: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Hanson, Gordon. The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration. Council of Foreign Relations (CSR) No. 26. March 2007.

Horton, James & Horton, Lois. Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory. New York: The New York press, 2006.

Rudolph, Christopher. National Security and Immigration; Policy Development In The United States And Western Europe. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.

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