Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Frank Raymond


The United States has witnessed a declining yet still significant number of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border over the past decade, while the European Union experienced a rapid increase in the number of illegal immigrants within its borders, hosting over two million illegal immigrants in 2015. This paper seeks to provide guidance to European and United States lawmakers on creating effective immigration policy by identifying significant push and pull factors that are driving illegal migration from West and North Africa to Europe and from Latin America to the United States. This empirical analysis indicates that, in both the United States and European Union, GDP and favorable employment prospects are strong pull factors for illegal immigrants. Furthermore, low employment is a significant push factor for emigrants in West Africa and Latin America, reinforcing the need to address chronic structural problems that exacerbate unemployment in these regions.