Increased global mobility has created a need to ensure the safety and security of those entering nations. The United States of America is a nation of immigrants and has enacted laws to protect the interests of its citizens while also allowing for continued immigration. The scope and complexity of these policies can impact families and businesses in both positive and negative ways.

In this article, we’ll explore how immigration laws affect families and businesses in the United States.  By understanding these laws and their consequences, we can see how they shape life in America today.

What are Immigration Laws?

Immigration laws are the rules and regulations that determine who can enter a country and how they may do so.  In the US, immigration laws are established by Congress, while the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies enforce them. 

The most popular form of immigration is family-based immigration, which allows U.S. citizens to sponsor their relatives to legally come to live in the United States.  There are also employment-based programs that would enable employers to bring foreign workers into the country and temporary visa programs such as student visas or tourist visas.

These are just some of the immigration laws and regulations in the United States.  Now let’s explore how these laws and regulations can impact families and businesses.

Impact of  Immigration Laws on Families

The immigration laws of the United States have significantly impacted families, both legally and emotionally.  These laws were designed to protect the country from potential danger, but they have also caused significant disruption in the lives of countless individuals.

Here  are some of the most common ways these laws have affected families:

Separation of family members

Immigration laws can be incredibly devastating to families, both in the short and long term. These laws often require family members to be separated for extended periods of time. The fear of deportation and the potential for detention can be significant sources of anxiety for families.

Families may sometimes be torn apart if a family member’s visa is denied. This can lead to reduced access to education and other resources for the affected family members. In addition, families who have already been separated by immigration laws may experience difficulty in reuniting due to complicated legal processes. The effects of these separations can be felt for generations.

Discrimination in the workplace

Immigration laws have also contributed to increased workplace discrimination based on national origin, ethnicity, and religion. Immigrants are often targeted due to their status, regardless of their skills or qualifications. This form of discrimination is illegal but still persists in some parts of the country.

The fear of being discriminated against can lead immigrants to remain in the shadows, avoiding participation in the workforce and other activities that involve interaction with government officials. This lack of integration into society can have long-term adverse effects on individuals and their communities.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)  was intended to protect immigrants from workplace discrimination, but it has not effectively eliminated the problem. The  IRCA has also created additional barriers for immigrants seeking legal employment.

Limitations on access to social services

Immigration laws can also limit access to social services such as healthcare, education, and housing. Immigrants may be denied access to these resources due to their status or lack of documentation. This can lead to further hardship, as immigrants often cannot access the resources needed.

The   1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA)  limited the availability of certain social services to non-citizens, including immigrants. This has had a particularly negative impact on immigrant families with children, as they are often unable to access crucial resources such as healthcare or food assistance.

Impact of Immigration Laws on Businesses

Immigration laws can also have a significant impact on businesses. These laws affect the labor supply and the cost and difficulty of hiring foreign workers. In addition, employers are often left with uncertainty regarding future immigration policies due to changes in political administrations.

Changes in labor supply

Immigration laws can significantly influence the labor supply for businesses. Restrictions on legal immigration can lead to a decrease in the number of foreign workers available and an increase in wages, causing companies to suffer financially. In addition, policy changes can create uncertainty regarding future labor availability.

If employers cannot find enough domestic workers or the cost of hiring foreign workers is prohibitively high, businesses may need to adjust their operations. This could include cutting staff, reducing hours or wages, or shifting production overseas. The resulting consequences can have a significant impact on the economy.

Increased costs of hiring foreign workers

Hiring foreign workers can be expensive, especially if employers are subject to additional fees or taxes related to the process. In some cases, these costs may be too high for businesses to bear. This can lead to an inability to fill positions or a loss of profits due to increased expenses.

Another cost associated with foreign workers is additional training and support services. Businesses may be required to provide language classes or other forms of assistance to ensure that their employees are productive and successful. For small businesses, this can be a significant burden. So, these costs must be carefully weighed before deciding to hire foreign workers.

Uncertainty over immigration policy

Changes in political administrations can lead to uncertainty regarding future immigration policies. Businesses often struggle to stay updated with the latest rules and regulations as they constantly change. This can make it difficult for employers to plan for the future or make long-term investments in their workforce.

This issue is compounded by the fact that immigration policies also vary from state to state. Depending on local regulations, businesses operating in multiple states may need to adjust their practices. This can create a significant burden for employers, as they must ensure compliance with diverse laws and regulations. 


Immigration laws substantially impact families and businesses in the United States. Families are often separated due to immigration policies, with discrimination in the workplace contributing to income disparities.

Access to social services is limited for many immigrants, making it difficult to receive the same protection as citizens. Businesses also face changes in their labor supply when hiring foreign workers, as well as increased costs and uncertainty over policy changes.

We hope this blog post has provided a better understanding of the impact that immigration laws can have on individuals and businesses.

Neda Zaman, Esquire – Immigrant Law Specialist in Encino, Los Angeles

Offering Professional Legal Services in Multiple Languages: English, Farsi, Arabic, Armenian, Turkish

Location: 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 510, Encino, California 91436

Contact: (310) 855-0992 or (818) 290-3625