Illegal Immigration and Schools

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 8
Words: 1977
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College


During the 20th century, illegal immigration has been the major social and economic problem of the state. The main problem is that it is difficult to control illegal immigration and flows of foreigners coming each month to Americas. Also, it is difficult to predict economic problems and changes caused by illegal immigration. Many illegal immigrants coming to American have poor language skills and need additional training. Illegal immigration becomes a real burden for education system which has to increase annual budgets and reduce expenditures per pupil (Watts 43).

Problem Identification

The problem is that illegal immigration demands additional spending and financial investments in education because of the increasing number of students. For instance, Minnesota’s Education Board increased budgets from $118.14 million to $157.53 million during 2003-2004 years. The main state that suffered from illegal immigration in California, which spends additional $3,220,200 on illegal students. Texas spends $1,645,400, New York – $1,306,300 and Illinois – $834,000 a year (Nevins 29). These questions raise not merely narrowly economic but also moral-philosophical and sociological issues since they involve in an essential way the relationship between individuals and nation-states. Because of increased expenditures, schools cannot introduce innovative solutions and improve quality of education for native citizens. The ethical dilemma is that native-born citizens cannot receive good education and improve their knowledge and skills because of increased number of illegal immigrants aimed to receive American education and enter the labor force. The case studies made by De Souza Campos (2006) and Fujiwara (1998) show that illegal immigration does more harm than good for local communities and urban public schools.

The Senate and the House of Representatives, and public figures who followed their deliberations, agreed that popular education must elevate and improve and purify American life by teaching freedmen and white illiterates and immigrants their duties and responsibilities as citizens (Watts 72). Advocates of federal aid continued to speak from time to time in the accents of the common school awakening, with its emphasis on the protection of individual liberty and the encouragement of individual prosperity, but even the most generous spokesmen among them portrayed an education that would limit rather than multiply the paths that the democracy might take (Som 286). In every sense the first national attempt to stimulate public education since the days of the founding fathers was both conservative and republican. Thus, many native citizens and students who oppose illegal immigration seen it as the main threat fro their life opportunities and education (Watts 71).

Positive Outcomes

The positive outcomes of this problem are that the state would spend enough money and support schools in innovative solutions and technologies. From moral standpoint, a common finding in studies of migration is that better-educated individuals have a higher propensity to migrate. This finding may be due partly to more educated individuals being more likely to have better information concerning alternative areas. Moreover, persons with higher educational attainment may be better able to adapt to the requirements faced when entering a new occupational environment. Overall education would benefit the country and allow illegal immigrants to enter the labor force (Porter 66). From economic standpoint, the incremental value that the U.S. labor market assigns to a prospective immigrant’s education, which is acquired in his respective home country, maybe less than the incremental value of the education if used in the native country. If this argument is valid, the effect of education is less clear. Another important consideration is that the effect of educational attainment may differ considerably across occupational categories.

Occupational knowledge is not perfectly transferable from another country to the United States. It is therefore noteworthy that the rate of immigration to the United States is higher for persons from English-speaking countries. From legal standpoint, support of illegal immigration and access to schools would lead to increased number of newcomers and additional burden for the country. This evidence is compatible with the hypothesis that, if a prospective immigrant is from an English-speaking country, the costs of adjustment to the U.S. labor market are reduced. Hence, the incentive to migrate is greater (Som 286). Moreover, receiving an education at a U.S. university would certainly increase the probability that the accumulated knowledge will be transferable, without substantial losses, to the U.S. labor market. As a consequence, increasing the proportion of natives from a country who receive a college education in the United States appears to increase the flow of immigrants who enter the United States to perform work. In this relationship, however, the causality may be subject to question. If a prospective immigrant wants to migrate to the United States, the move may be facilitated by first coming to the United States as a student (Porter 66).

Possible Solutions

  1. One of the possible solutions is to tax illegal immigrants (force them to pay for education). The essence of my proposal for taxing migrants makes sense, however, on a different rationale that requires neither that the countries of emigration are damaged by the outmigration nor that the incomes received abroad by the migrants represent economic rents. There is no reason why citizens who reside or work abroad, no matter what their legal status as migrants or their intentions about the length of stay, should be exempt from the national tax obligation of the country whose nationality they hold (De Souza Campos 539).
  2. Another solution is to find a beneficiary (employer) who will pay for school education. This is not a common solution but it will help education system to collect money and improve the quality of education for all students. Education is surely essential to any kind of achievement, but the reasons people seek education are also important. It may be that the many illegal immigrants sought education as an asset to the making of money but that the others turned to education as the result of having made money. Each individual can help schools by granting some money or books when leaving school. It can be a small donation but it will help illegal immigrants and schools to reduce cost of education. Also, volunteers can teach illegal immigrants the basic language skills and history of the country (Nevins 65).

Evaluation of the Proposed Solutions

Interns of Utilitarianism, the first solution is the most desirable because it will help the state to avoid financial burden and additional spending on education. The aim of this approach is to promotion of the best long-term interest of everyone. They attempt to maximize good right) over. In terms of Kant’s categorical imperative, one should take that action that he or she would wish everyone to take in all circumstances, irrespective of the consequences of the single, individual action. This ethical theory would deny this solution because it harms illegal immigrants and limit their future opportunities. Many immigrants and their states would not pay for education abroad. In terms of Rawl’s theory of justice this solution is wrong because it does not reflect ideas of equality and liberty. Libertarianism states that people should be able to do whatever they wish, so the proposed solution is disadvantageous for illegal immigrants so they are unable to pay for education. In terms of Aristotelian ethics, the state would accept this solution as the most desirable for the state and education system. Aristotle supposed that the heist good is “desirable for its own sake” (Nevins 88).

The solution to finding a beneficiary (employer) who will pay for education is problematic but the most disabled for the state and education system. It will ensure employment of the illegal immigrant and will free the state from the army of unemployed and poor. Utilitarianism will approve this solution the concept that rights and duties have no independent standing; that they derive from the goal of maximizing the overall good. This solution will maximize the overall good: of the state, education system and illegal immigrants. In terms of Kant’s categorical imperative, this solution is irrespective of the consequences, since we would have chaos in society. To the categorical imperative Kant added the “practical imperative,” that in considering actions one must treat all persons, including oneself, as an end and never as a means. in terms of Rawl’s theory of justice, this solution is desirable but it will limit freedoms and equality of the citizens: illegal immigrants. Libertarianism will reject this solution because it limits individual liberty and freedoms. In terms of Aristotelian ethics, this solution will be the heist good for the state but not for illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants will be limited by obligations to work for a particular employer or a company for a certain number of years.

My Proposed Solution

The best solution is to limit access to or exclude illegal immigrants from schools and educational institutions. Special schools for illegal immigrants located in their communities will help to solve the problem. The immigrant community, however, tends in time to dissolve. Often the foreign-born move to secondary areas of settlement within the city. In the days of heavy illegal immigration, their place often was taken by new immigrant arrivals. But this is no longer the case, and immigrant communities are rapidly dissolving. Though the foreign-born individual himself may never be completely divorced from the immigrant community and from ties with his European countrymen, this is not true of his native-born children. The rapidity with which second-generation Americans draw away from the traditions of their foreign-born fathers has often been commented upon (Nevins 29).

That this rejection of the parental traditions may sometimes be a cause of conflict between the children and parents and be responsible for certain personality problems is not surprising. Perhaps the greatest agency for the adjustment of the foreign-born in the system of compulsory education which, while educating the child in the ways of American life, indirectly influences the parent. Night classes in English and in citizenship for adults also contribute their share. In recent years the adjustment process has been speeded up. Often the stage of living in an immigrant community is omitted entirely, the immigrants now being dispersed more widely among the native-born residents. Skilled professional workers employed by immigrant-aid agencies assist new arrivals in choosing a place of residence, often in the less congested regions of the country, and in securing their first jobs and setting up a normal family life. Apart from the reduction in the volume of immigration, the development of the agencies of communication and the dynamic tempo of American life makes isolation of the immigrant much less of a problem than it was a generation ago (Porter 66).

It is known fact that the immigration depresses the wages of unskilled workers, a larger proportion of native unskilled workers qualify for some benefits, and some of those already receiving benefits may receive a larger transfer. It will be assumed that the income transfer system is invariant with the immigration policy; that is, the criteria for eligibility and the schedule of benefits do not change as the number and characteristics of the immigrants change (Porter 66). Excluded from education system and schools, illegal immigrants will not enter labor force and probably return to their native countries. This is a non-democratic solution but it will help to protect native-born citizens and improve quality of education.

In sum, illegal immigration has a negative impact on schools and quality of education so only strict and immediate actions can help to solve the problem. The nature of illegal immigration to this country itself has been at once a cause and a result of the superior appeal exercised by the United States over other nations seeking immigrants. Immigration to this country has been unique not only by reason of its volume but also because of the diversity of its composition. Education and access to schools should be limited because it is the main ‘tool’ and ‘way’ which helps illegal immigrants to enter labor force and stay in the country.

Works Cited

De Souza Campos, M. S. Brazilian and Immigrant Families in Sao Paulo City: Education and Work. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 37 (2006): 539.

Fujiwara, L. h. The Impact of Welfare Reform on Asian Immigrant Communities. Social Justice, 25 (1998): 82-84.

Nevins, J. Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the “Illegal Alien” and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary. Joseph; Routledge, 2002.

Porter, L. Illegal Immigrant Should Not Receive Social Services. International Social Science Review, 81 (2006), 66.

Som, S. O. The Immigration Reform Debate. Eileen Momblanco; Social Education, 70 (2006): 286.

Watts, J. R. Immigration Policy and the Challenge of Globalization: Unions and Employers in Unlikely Alliance. Cornell University Press, 2002.