I have heard it said that an illegal immigrant cannot be buried in the United States. That makes no sense: if an unlucky illegal immigrant with no family is killed, I am sure the Government would provide some kind of burial or cremation, or else the body would rot away in the open, creating a potential health hazard.

My question is more specifically about the case where the illegal immigrant has family and said family wish to bury the deceased in the United States. Is that allowed? Would the family first have to provide proof that the deceased was legally authorized to be in the United States (something which could not be done if the deceased were an illegal immigrant)?

  • I think it's more common for the illegal immigrant to have his remains shipped back to Mexico than having his relative's remains shipped up here.
    – D M
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 17:44
  • 1
    @DM what if the illegal immigrant has never been to Mexico?
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 0:58
  • @phoog Never? If they were born in the US, then according to the Constitution they are a US citizen and not an illegal immigrant.
    – D M
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 19:54
  • @DM maybe they were born in China or Ireland or Senegal.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 4:44
  • 1
    @phoog While that's certainly possible, I note that my original comment said "more common".
    – D M
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


The laws governing the disposal of dead bodies do not make distinctions based upon citizenship. You have heard a myth that isn't true.

There are regulations governing the disposal of dead bodies, but this isn't one of them.

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