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There are over 10 million undocumented aliens in the United States, with the majority working in American fields and some working in restaurants to make a living. In the public domain, they are actually illegal aliens residing in the United States without authorization from the federal government (Schmidt et al.). The majority are Hispanics, who are Mexicans who have crossed the southern boundary unlawfully into the United States. Advocates for undocumented immigrants see them as employers and mothers who take jobs that no one else can do to stay out of trouble in order to have a decent life for themselves and their families. However, according to the government, they are criminals who disturb the peace of the American neighborhoods, take the American jobs as well as the exploitation of the American generosity. Thus, they are people who should be permanently expelled out of the United States. This paper, therefore, intends to assess the impact illegal immigrants are having in the United States in various aspects and sectors of the country.
Impacts of Illegal Immigrants
It is clear that different people or sectors in the society have differences of opinion concerning the illegal immigrants. Most people view the impact of illegal immigrants in economic perspectives (Schmidt et al.). Economists in the United States feel that illegal immigrants affect the financial security of the legal residents of the country as there are reduced wages in that they are unregulated workers who are underpaid hence keeping wages lower in a given region or occupation. The trend, therefore, puts both the government and the locals on the financial burden. On average, they have larger families compared to those of the natives. The difference is likely to put the strain on various resources in the society such as schools, hospitals among others. Similarly, undocumented immigrants contribute to the local taxes of the state as it is estimated that they can pay over $10 billion annually. They pay approximately 8 percent of their earnings in local taxes and state hence making them among the top taxpayers in the country. Illegal immigration has also affected national security specifically after the September 11 attacks (Schmidt et al.).
Some scholars claim that undocumented workers do not compete with skilled workers, but they complement them. The wealth of a given country works best when there is the specialization of labor hence the ability of illegal immigrants to take up regular jobs give other specialists to focus what they do best. States had fewer immigrants will force skilled workers to work more hours to hasten the growth of economy and productivity. They are numerous ways to debate immigration, but economic aspect lives little to argue about. It is because the incomes of families in the United States on average are increased by a small but a significant amount due to immigration. However, there are still challenges because illegal immigrants are not evenly distributed in the country. For instance, in areas like Arizona and Southern Texas, the immigrants impose a substantial cost to both the local and the state government. They use public assistance, schools, and medical care at the expense of the locals. Some neighborhoods with illegal immigrants experience high rates of crime due to the stiff competition local workers with little education face from the illegal immigrants. The benefits that immigrants bring are diffuse and difficult to see for an average American while imposing costs on others.
Positive Impact of Illegal Immigrants
There have been claims that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from the American people. However, the jobs that they take are manual labor and low skilled that even ordinary Americans who are unemployed will not be willing to take. Despite the reason that the United States is experiencing its highest rates of unemployment in the current years, there are many jobs vital for the economy of the country that needs to be filled (Fussel 482). For example, there is a need for a seasonal labor in the agricultural sector of which most Americans are not willing to do due to its temporary nature. The immigrants do not only provide a significant labor in the agricultural sectors and other industries but also assist in the sustenance of work for high-skilled laborers. A good example is that of the local restaurant that has both the non-skilled workers and skilled laborers. If the owner of such a restaurant decides to close due to lack of dishwashers or kitchen helpers then many skilled workers such as the manager, waiter and chef would lose their jobs. This would also apply in other sectors meaning that works up the ladder will have less work and ultimately a breakdown in the local economy. Much of the tasks performed by the illegal immigrants are in vital industries and mostly do these jobs at very low wages.
The reason that they can accept low wages is beneficial to American consumer because they will get goods at lower prices. It is because as the salaries of the illegal immigrants go down, the prices of the product they produce go down as well. Therefore, the illegal immigrants are vital to the economy of the United States as they assist in the provision of the low-skilled labor that helps in the success of industries that require unskilled labor (Borjars 7).
Furthermore, illegal immigrants do not only provide the United States with low skilled labor but also provides the country with the budget surplus (Ngai). One of the critical reasons that Americans have become tougher on illegal immigrants is the perception that they do not always pay taxes while they receive most social benefits offered by the government. However, the truth of the matter is that illegal immigrants pay taxes just the same as ordinary citizens despite the reason that they receive very few benefits that are not proportional to the taxes they pay. Illegal immigrants pay property taxes, payroll taxes, and sales taxes but they do not always apply for social programs like welfare for fear of their status that is illegal being revealed. Most of the people who immigrate to the United States illegally solely migrate in search for job opportunities and not necessarily welfare. This is advantageous to the economy of the country.
Over the years, some illegal immigrants specifically their children have been integrated into American society hence making significant contributions to American institutions. It is also true that some immigrants have participated in violence and some other socially disapproved conducts (Ngai). However, it is clear that immigrants are no more probable to take part in activities that are socially disapproved than the Native Americans. National Foundation for American Policy predicts that illegal immigrants are likely to contribute to a net of $600 billion in the next 70 years to the social security system. Immigrants are the chief driver of ensuring that Social Security remains solvent hence cutting off immigration in the country would undoubtedly lead to an increase in Social Security deficit by over 30 percent in the next 45 years (Borjars 10). In addition, it is important to note that immigration is not undermining American culture and immigrants are part of the United States. They have kept the United States young regarding demographics as well as enriching the culture through adding to the productive capacity of the nation. Contributions of immigrants are also apparent in the sector of technology (Borjars 12). High technologies such as Silicon Valley will cease to operate if the country decides to blindly close the border to skilled immigrants who are educated. The immigrants comprise of human capital that is capable of transforming the economy in a more productive way using technology. For instance, an immigrant developed Java computer language, which has created several job opportunities in the country.
Adverse Impacts of Illegal Immigrants
Despite illegal immigration having positive impacts on American society, there are also numerous negative consequences that are associated with it. The process had a significant on young teens and youths who can supplement their needs through working as low-skilled laborers in American firms. Economic recession affected the ordinary life of almost all the Americans hence the need for other means to survive and that means is employment as low-skilled workers in particular among the teens. However, the youth have experienced a decline in job opportunities due to illegal immigrants. The country has also faced deteriorations in the labor sector and American natives especially the Hispanics and African Americans have been adversely affected. Illegal immigrants take work from American workers specifically the poor and people who are disadvantaged in the society. Moreover, illegal immigrants drain the budget of the state by using various public services such as schools and paying little or no taxes hence hurting the budget of the state. When illegal immigrants are detained, the government will spend more money in incarcerating them.
Drugs are frequently used and smuggled into the country by the illegal immigrants who are entering or are already in the country. Illegal immigrants are responsible for the large percentage of possession, and drug usage in the country was hence leading to their incarceration frequently hence draining the budget and economy of the United States (Baker 221).
Advocates of unlawful immigrants would convince everyone think that unlawful immigration and drug smuggling is two distinct things. Both illegal immigration and drug smuggling affect the minority communities in a negative way. Drug usage makes them commit disproportionate amount of crime in the United States compared to other populations. The crimes range from various degrees of murder, rape kidnapping among others. People can wonder if both drugs and individuals can be smuggled into the country what of the terrorists especially if the law is a catch and release.
People caught entering the country illegally are issued with court dates and asked to appear in a court of justice for immigration offense (Hanson 873). They are later released and disappear, and law enforcers seem to locate them or know their motives. Another issue is the identity theft that the government has failed to give much attention about unlawful immigration. The realism is that there are several communal security cards, birth certificates and much other credentials that are false. If this happens, the person whose identification has been used will have problems with law enforcers in the case of anything. Most often, the individuals who are affected are poor Latino middle class because most U.S Latinos have the same surnames that are easier to assume. False documentations are made possible by some underground printing industries particularly in the southwest of the country.
Unlike documented immigrants, illegal immigrants do not go through the medical screening process to assure that they do not have any contagious diseases. The move is risky as the population of illegal immigrants is swelling and capable of bringing adverse effects on American Health sector. Infectious diseases that are considered by U.S physicians to have been controlled in the United States are readily evident along the borders (Martinez et al. 872). Similarly, the diseases that have been previously considered the third world countries like leprosy are also present in the boundaries and might find their way in the United States as long as illegal immigrants are allowed in the country. The new cases of tuberculosis in the United States were also diagnosed in people of foreign origins. The infection rate of T.B among the foreigners in the United States is estimated to be over nine times higher than the people born in the country. Therefore, there is a need for medical testing for these foreigners especially the ones that are not documented (Martinez et al. 882).
There are also signs of The Pork tapeworm in United States borders. The disease thrives in Mexico and Latin America and ravaging the victims with signs and ranging from seizures and eventually death. The Mexicans have migrated in the northern part of the country to find jobs hence bringing the parasite that usually lodges in the brain of the affected individual causing hallucinations as well as speech and vision problems. However, it is clear that the problem is not confined to the border region as illegal immigrants are spreading rapidly across the country into new economic sectors such as construction, processing and hospitality industries.
It is evident that the U.S government needs to close the borders to keep any individual who is intending to commit acts of terrorists in the country especially after the September 11 incident (Ngai). The problem is not the common perception that America is letting too many people in their country. The government is the one that has failed to identify and keep wrong people out of the country. It is possible to stop the bad people from entering the country without necessarily closing the borders or cutting down the number of hardworking individuals who are in the country to find a living and change their living standards as well as those of their families. Similarly, the government must do everything necessary to keep dangerous people out of the country. It calls for law enforcement and various intelligence agencies working together through sharing information of potential terrorists (Schmidt et al.). Locking innocent people out of the country is not a solution to insecurity in the country given that the whole world is currently not secure. The only solution is working with various governments where the illegal immigrants are coming from and assist America through releasing their citizens who are in need of the job. The approach is likely to be beneficial to both governments hence creating the peaceful coexistence between the countries as well as economic benefits.
Baker, Scott R. "Effects of immigrant legalization on crime." The American Economic Review 105.5 (2015): 210-213.
Borjas, George J. "The labor supply of undocumented immigrants." Labour Economics 46 (2017): 1-13.
Fussell, Elizabeth. "Warmth of the welcome: Attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy in the United States." Annual review of Sociology 40 (2014): 479-498.
Hanson, Gordon H. "Illegal migration from Mexico to the United States." Journal of Economic Literature 44.4 (2006): 869-924.
Martinez, Omar, et al. "Evaluating the impact of immigration policies on health status among undocumented immigrants: a systematic review." Journal of immigrant and minority health 17.3 (2015): 947-970.
Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal aliens and the making of modern America. Princeton University Press, 2014.
Schmidt, Jenna, et al. "Impact of Illegal Immigration in the United States." (2012).
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