As usual, my objective is that you think thoroughly and critically about the topic.

As usual, my objective is that you think thoroughly and critically about the topic.
Illegal Immigration and You:
Reflections on the Impact that Undocumented Immigrants Have on Your Life
[Click here to download a PDF version of this assignment]
It is hard to get an exact figure on the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States today, but the estimates range from seven to twelve million. The impact that such a large number of immigrants have on the social and economic institutions of this country is an issue of much debate. While some people believe that undocumented immigrants are a strain (and a drain) on these institutions, others believe that, on balance, their economic, social and cultural contributions to American society far outweigh any costs that their presence may generate. What there is no doubt about, however, is that undocumented immigrants are widely and almost inextricably embedded in the economic and social life of this country. Their presence affects everybody’s lives in obvious, and in not-so-obvious ways.
It strikes me as interesting that we engage in extensive and often bitter debates over the positive or negative impact of illegal immigration on public arenas like the educational system, social services, the criminal justice system, the social security coffer, inflation and wages, but rarely do we stop to reflect on how all those undocumented immigrants affect our own, private lives. All too often, the debate seems to focus on relatively abstract and general socio-economic issues –which indeed affect all of us—but are somewhat removed from the day-in-day-out operations of our everyday life. How are our daily routines shaped by, enhanced or worsened, made easier or harder by undocumented immigrants? And, in what subtle –or sometimes taken-for-granted ways—are these effects manifested?
Your first job for this assignment is to reflect on your daily routines, on the quality of life that you enjoy, and/or on what has happened to you in the past. In doing so, try to uncover all the direct and indirect ways in which your routines, your resources, your behaviors, and even your thoughts have been shaped, hindered or made possible by the presence of undocumented immigrants in this country. After a thorough inspection of these connections, try to assess whether these immigrants have had a positive, a negative or no impact on your own life.
Be very specific. Write down what it is that you do, what has happened to you, what you have, etc. –whether it is shopping, owning a home, driving, loosing a job, etc.—and how these experiences are (or have been) influenced by the presence of undocumented immigrants. Once again, I am not very picky about the format or length of this assignment. As usual, my objective is that you think thoroughly and critically about the topic. Therefore, I am not interested in you parroting platitudes or sound-bytes about immigration. This assignment is more intimate and reflective than that: I am particularly interested in the subtle, indirect, and more personal connections between undocumented immigrants and your life.
Finally, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to this assignment. It is an exercise in reflection. I have intentionally left it vague. I don’t want to tell you exactly what aspects of your life you should focus on. This way you can approach it anyway you want.