Nikolla Papa

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA)

Date Information

May 2019


Accounting and Finance

First Advisor

Sanjay Jain


There is a common belief that there are approximately 11.3 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States; however, a recent Yale study published in September of 2018 finds that estimates show the range of undocumented immigrants in this country to be between 16 million and 29.1 million, with 22.1 million as the mean1 (Fazel-Zarandi et al., 2018). This mean number is approximately twice that of the consensus of 11.3 million. Out of all ~44 million or so foreign nationals living in the United States2 (Zong et al., 2019) undocumented immigrants, in numbers, make up roughly 50% of the foreign population according to this new study. Undocumented immigration has been in the spotlight as one of America’s biggest problems for the past two decades, perhaps even longer.

With the newest finding revealing that there are almost twice the number of undocumented immigrants than previously thought, the problem becomes a little larger. When it comes to a solution, it would not be preposterous to assume that all Americans would agree that there needs to be a solution; however, what would be considered the right solution? The answer to this question seems to be rooted in one's perception of undocumented immigrants' place in the larger picture of America. Some would say that they are the frame—the support system—of American society, and others would say that they don’t even belong in the picture. Both sides of the debate hold merit, leading to difficulties in finding a compromise and permanent solution.

Since undocumented immigrants make up such a large portion of the United States, it is important to understand the economic realities— the area in which the solution truly lies. The purpose of this thesis is to shed light on an area of undocumented immigration that is seldom understood to the level of which it should: the economics. By shedding light on the economics behind undocumented immigration we can begin to have an educated discussion on how to proceed. This thesis serves as a 'piece of the pie' that could potentially lead to permanent immigration reform. This thesis will focus specifically on two categories of undocumented immigrants: primarily DACA recipients, and their non-status-holding constituents, traditional undocumented immigrants.

Included in

Economics Commons