In society there are many preconceptions and prejudices about immigration and its overall effect. Statements are made such as: "they are stealing our jobs!"They are all scroungers" and "we are to generous to them." It can be argued that such negativity not only arises from institutions such as the tabloid media and right wing political groups, but also from past Government policy which took a hard line on immigration. So what is the true impact of immigration on a receiving country? What areas of society are impacted? Is that impact substantial or minimal, positive or negative? Immigration affects different countries in different ways, and as there are many different forms of immigration, i. e. asylum seekers, refugees, temporary settlers, permanent settlers, illegal immigration and migration from one part of a country to another, it is impossible to give universal answers to these questions. I will look at the arguments for and against immigration to try establishing a picture of whether the impact on the whole is positive or negative for a receiving country.

I will focus primarily on the United States as a case study but will also look at the effects of immigration on other countries as well as third world countries. One of the most common arguments against immigration is that it puts a strain on government expenditure. This causes major problems in all areas of society, but immigrants are productive members of their chosen community, thus elevating many of the perceived problems of immigrants ending up on social assistance.