12 Helpful Sources to Support Your Immigration Essay

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

You might recognize this quote as part of the poem on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. It has almost become synonymous with immigrants coming to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream.

But if this quote and the Statue of Liberty are where your knowledge of immigration ends, you’ll need a little help supporting your immigration essay.

Here are 12 sources to get you started.

12 Helpful Sources to Support Your Immigration Essay

I’ve divided the list of 12 sources into categories covering the basics of immigration, facts and statistics, news, anti-immigration, and proponents of immigration.

I’ve included a brief summary of each source, an APA and MLA 8 citation*, and a few example essays to help get your brain waves in motion.

*For sources for whole websites, the APA and MLA 8 citations provided are for one resource item from the website rather than a citation for the whole website.

immigration essay

Immigration Websites

These two websites focus solely on immigration and provide a variety of facts and resources for both the general public and immigrants.

Even if you don’t end up citing one of these websites in your final paper, because the sites cover so many subtopics related to immigration, you may find them extremely helpful in narrowing your topic.

#1: American Immigration Council

The American Immigration Council is a non-profit organization designed to assist immigrants by providing resources and legal counsel.

The website covers a wide array of informational topics, including immigration and the workforce, the impact of immigration, and humanitarian protection.

This website could prove to be an excellent resource if you wish to explore the steps immigrants must take to work in the United States or to become U.S. citizens.

MLA 8 Citation (example page from website)

Feliz, Wendy. “How the Diversity Visa Lottery Honors American Values.” American Immigration Council, 1 Nov. 2017, immigrationimpact.com/2017/11/01/immigrant-visa-lottery-honors-american-values/.

APA Citation (example page from website)

Feliz, W. (2017). How the diversity visa lottery honors American values. Retrieved from http://immigrationimpact.com/2017/11/01/immigrant-visa-lottery-honors-american-values/

#2: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

This government website is part of the Department of Homeland Security and offers tools for immigrants, including information about working in the United States, obtaining a U.S. Green Card, and obtaining U.S. citizenship.

The Tools section of the site also contains immigration and citizenship data.

MLA 8 Citation (example page from website)

“Path to U.S. Citizenship.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-naturalization/path-us-citizenship.

APA Citation (example page from website)

Path to U.S. citizenship. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-naturalization/path-us-citizenship

Immigration History, Facts, and Statistics

These three articles offer background information to help discuss the history of immigration both in the United States and in other parts of the world.

They also offer the facts and statistics you’ll need to help your audience understand just how many immigrants and migrants leave their homeland for another country.

#3: U.S. Immigration Before 1965

Part of A&E Networks, this article includes, as the title suggests, an overview of U.S. immigration before 1965. This article also links to several videos about Ellis Island that document U.S. immigration.

Looking for ideas on how to incorporate the history of immigration into your essay? Check out the example essay The Outstanding Effects of Immigration and Its Contribution to the History of America.

MLA 8 Citation

“U.S. Immigration Before 1965.” History.com, 2009, www.history.com/topics/u-s-immigration-before-1965.

APA Citation

U.S. immigration before 1965. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/u-s-immigration-before-1965

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#4: Immigration Data & Statistics

This page from the Department of Homeland Security provides ample facts and a number of reports regarding immigration data.

MLA 8 Citation

“Immigration Data & Statistics.” Department of Homeland Security, 9 Jan. 2018, www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics.

APA Citation

Immigration data & statistics. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics

immigration essay

#5: International Migration: Key Findings From the U.S., Europe and the World

Published by the PEW Research Center, this source passes the CRAAP Test with flying colors. The article is clear, specific, and objective. It also includes data from as recently as 2016 regarding migration patterns in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world.

Migration takes many different forms, so if you want to focus on specific types of immigration as they relate to various countries, read The Migration Types in Different Countries for a little writing inspiration.

MLA 8 Citation

Connor, Phillip. “International Migration: Key Findings From the U.S., Europe, and the World.” Pew Research Center, 15 Dec. 2016, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/15/international-migration-key-findings-from-the-u-s-europe-and-the-world/.

APA Citation

Connor, P. (2015). International migration: Key findings from the U.S., Europe, and the world. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/15/international-migration-key-findings-from-the-u-s-europe-and-the-world/

Immigration in the News

These two news websites offer the latest updates (and archived articles) about immigration.

Remember that news changes quickly, so if you’re reading a breaking news story (or perhaps an archived story), the details can change within hours or even minutes.

While it’s of course important to include current information in your paper, it’s also important that you review stories to make sure that you’re including the most accurate, up-to-date information.

Also, keep in mind that most news sources are not completely non-partisan and therefore contain some bias. Thus, you should always carefully review information by checking the facts in an article with other information you’ve located through your research.

#6: Politico

Launched in 2007, Politico claims to offer a non-partisan perspective of current news. The ability to remain non-partisan increases this site’s credibility, so it’s certainly an acceptable research source.

This site also links to a selection of political cartoons. If you’re looking for a way to start a conversation about a specific topic on immigration, try basing your discussion on one of these cartoons. It’s a great way to analyze current topics and argue policy.

MLA 8 Citation (example news article, web only) 

Marinucci, Carla. “Sessions Lashes Out at California Officials for Resisting Immigration Orders.” Politico, 7 Mar. 2018, www.politico.com/story/2018/03/07/jeff-sessions-california-immigration-444387.

APA Citation (example news article, web only) 

Marinucci, C. (2018). Sessions lashes out at California officials for resisting immigration orders. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/07/jeff-sessions-california-immigration-444387

#7: Los Angeles Times—Immigration

Like most news sources, the Los Angeles Times has done its fair share of reporting on immigration. A search of LA Times articles will produce not only a list of current topics but also a lengthy history of articles.

This can be extremely useful if you’re attempting to create a timeline of specific immigration policies.

MLA 8 Citation (example news article, print/web publication)

Hennessey-Fiske, Molly. “U.S. Is Separating Immigrant Parents and Children to Discourage Others, Activists Say.” Los Angeles Times, 20 Feb. 2018, www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-immigrant-family-separations-2018-story.html.

APA Citation (example news article, print/web publication)

Hennessey-Fiske, M. (2018, February 20). U.S. is separating immigrant parents and children to discourage others, activists say. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-immigrant-family-separations-2018-story.html


immigration essay

Anti-Immigration Groups

These two websites focus on anti-immigration efforts in the United States. Such groups have been known to be radical and biased—and thus sometimes skew data in their favor. So it’s important to use caution when reviewing information.

If you’re in favor of immigration, you might use these sites to illustrate the opposing view in your counterargument. If you’re against immigration, you can certainly consider these sources as part of your argument, but do so carefully.

In either case, make sure to fact-check information before using it in your own paper.

#8: FAIR

FAIR was established by John H. Tanton in 1978, so it’s a well-established anti-immigration group in the United States.

The site offers specific resources geared toward individual groups, such as students, media, and the general public.

As you review this website, remember the group focuses on anti-immigration. This means that all information you’ll read on this site is intended to convince readers of the negative aspects of immigration. Given that, it fails to illustrate any positive aspects of immigration.

MLA 8 Citation (example page from website)

O’Brien, Matthew, and Spencer Raley. “The Fiscal Cost of Resettling Refugees in the United States.” Federation for American Immigration Reform, 5 Feb. 2018, fairus.org/issue/legal-immigration/fiscal-cost-resettling-refugees-united-states.

APA Citation (example page from website)

O’Brien, M., & Raley, S. (2018). The fiscal cost of resettling refugees in the United States. Retrieved from https://fairus.org/issue/legal-immigration/fiscal-cost-resettling-refugees-united-states

#9: Americans for Immigration Control

On its website, Americans for Immigration Control states that it is a “non-partisan grassroots activist organization” with a goal of stopping illegal immigration, limiting legal immigration, and securing the nation’s borders.

Though this website claims to have members from many races and creeds, the site also links to more radical anti-immigrant websites.

Once again, it’s important to mention that the data presented on this site works to convince readers that immigrants are harming the country and that immigration should be stopped. It does not present any information to support immigration.

Thus, carefully review the information to determine how you might best incorporate this type of site into your research paper.

MLA 8 Citation (example page from website)

“The Wall Can Pay for Itself.” Americans for Immigration Control, 13 Mar. 2018, www.aicfoundation.com/the-wall-can-pay-for-itself/.

APA Citation (example page from website)

The wall can pay for itself. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.aicfoundation.com/the-wall-can-pay-for-itself/

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Check out thousands of example essays.

Immigration Proponents

These three resources support immigration and acknowledge both the struggles and contributions of immigrants.

Though some may argue that these types of sites only illustrate the positive aspects of immigration, their purpose is not necessarily to convince readers. Given that, they are far less likely to skew data or information.

Thus, using these sources means you don’t need to be as concerned about bias as you might be when reviewing anti-immigration sites.

#10: Immigration Advocates Network

This organization provides free services to connect immigrants and partners with law firms to help immigrants with legal matters. Its goal is to “…increase access to justice for immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them.”

Most of the non-news content is restricted to members only, but the website includes links to recent news updates and links to a number of immigration organizations. That makes it a great place to look for relevant research sources.

If you’re writing about the network itself, though, the About page provides some useful information.

MLA 8 Citation (example page from website)

“About.” Immigration Advocates Network, Pro Bono Net, www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/about/.

APA Citation (example page from website)

About. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/about/

#11: United We Dream

United We Dream is the self-proclaimed “largest immigrant youth-led community in the country.” Its goal is to help people find their voices and empower youth to fight for justice.

The website offers a variety of articles, tools, reports, and resources for immigrants. It even provides some tools in multiple languages.

If your immigration essay focuses on youth, this website could be an excellent resource to help explain the specific struggles young immigrants face. The site could also be used as a resource for a larger discussion about how immigration affects all age groups.

Writing an essay about the positive contributions of immigrants? Read The Benefits of Employing Immigrants in the Workplace to see how one writer tackled the topic.

MLA 8 Citation (example for report from website)

Pérez, Zenén  Jaimes, et al. Immigration Raids: The Real Impact. United We Dream, Jan. 2016, unitedwedream.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Report-Hotline-raids-1.pdf.

APA Citation (example for report from website)

Pérez, Z. J.,  Canizales, C., & Ochoa, R. A. (2016). Immigration raids: The real impact. Washington, DC: United We Dream. Retrieved from https://unitedwedream.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Report-Hotline-raids-1.pdf

#12: Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)

Looking for something other than a standard news article or organization website to cite in your immigration essay? Check out this video that brings attention to immigration using hip-hop to send a powerful message.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (the creator of the hit musical Hamilton) is one of the executive producers of the mini-film. This video is posted on NPR’s website and includes a brief article that provides a bit of background information about the video.

Interested in incorporating Lin-Manuel Miranda or the story of Alexander Hamilton—who was an immigrant—in your paper? Check out this sample essay for ideas.

Do you want to tell the story of one immigrant who got the job done, or are you writing a case study? Look no further! This sample essay contains both and may be just the inspiration you need for your own paper.

MLA 8 Citation

Flanagan, Andrew. “Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Stunning New Video For ‘Immigrants (We Get the Job Done).’” NPR, 28 June 2017, www.npr.org/event/music/534746532/watch-lin-manuel-mirandas-stunning-new-video-for-immigrants-we-get-the-job-done.

APA Citation

Flanagan, A. (2017). Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stunning new video for ‘Immigrants (we get the job done).’ Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/event/music/534746532/watch-lin-manuel-mirandas-stunning-new-video-for-immigrants-we-get-the-job-done

immigration essay

Look How Far You’ve Come

You started reading this post looking for sources for your immigration essay. At this point, hopefully, you’ve found at least a few that are suitable for your paper.

If you’re looking for even more ideas for sources, check out 5 Best Resources to Help With Writing a Research Paper.

If you have plenty of sources but need help putting it all together, here are a few posts to help:

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