Illegal immigration is a hot issue in the United States. There are approximately 12 million illegal aliens in the country, and their number is growing. Illegal immigration is a problem; therefore, it has to be solved. Some policymakers advocate a mass amnesty and support of legal immigration, others stress the need for mass deportations, while third propose attrition by enforcement. Illegal immigrants do not bring any benefits to the American national economy and society.
On the contrary, most of the illegal immigrants have no education, no professional skills, and are able to do manual work only. Illegal immigration raises welfare costs and increases poverty. Even though Americans are a welcoming nation, illegal immigration laws have to be changed to minimize the inflow of illegal immigrants to the country.
Individuals entering the country in violation of immigration law are not immigrants. These people are aliens who violate American law. The difference between illegal immigrants and aliens is crucial to the debate over immigration reforms. Lawfully admitted immigrant goes through health screening and investigation of his criminal background. While in the case of illegal aliens, they are not checked for communicable diseases as well as for their criminal involvement. Illegal aliens bypass rules and regulations. Legal immigrants may become illegal if they violate the terms of their stay in the country. For example, the person who overstayed his visa or violated the terms of permanent residency automatically becomes an illegal immigrant.
The United States is the global leader in terms of attractiveness for illegal immigrants. People leave their countries with the hope for a better life, and they choose a country that is technologically advanced and can offer more employment opportunities.
Illegal immigrants are aware of the risk they undertake when they enter the country, bypassing the immigration laws; however, it does not stop them. Illegal immigrants can take on low-skilled jobs only, and they are often paid less than minimum wage. The major reasons why illegal immigration should be stopped are the low education level of immigrants, their dependence on welfare programs, the absence of professional skills, and their contribution to poverty and crime.
Immigration and Poverty
The majority of illegal immigrants come to the United States from Mexico, and it is good for neither of the two countries.
Mexican immigrants see the United States as the country with more opportunities; however, they forget that these opportunities are offered to legal immigrants only. Interestingly, “Mexican migrant workers are viewed by many lawmakers and officials as an economic boon.” At the same time, the census confirms that illegal immigrants are importing poverty.
Moreover, the increasing inflow of illegal immigrants leads to the United States fracturing. As polls suggest, Americans do not see how immigration policy is serving their needs, and they demand the policy changes.
Currently, most of the illegal immigrants are poorly educated (legal immigration is tied to skills and education), and they are forbidden to be legally employed. Illegal immigrants lack even a high school education, and they contribute to the poverty and government expenditures increases. Some of the results of illegal immigration include: 1) one-third of illegal immigrants live in families in which members have no higher education, 2) first-generation immigrants (one-sixth of the whole American population) represent the one-fourth of all poor people in the country, 3) children of illegal immigrants compromise 26 percent of all poor children in the United States.
Immigration and Crime
Many of the illegal immigrants get involved into criminal activities. Crime involvement is closely related to low educational level and lack of professional skills. Thus, when an illegal immigrant tries to find a job, he cannot be hired legally, and if he is eventually employed, he is paid less than an American or legal immigrant.
As a result, an illegal alien cannot satisfy his basic needs because of insufficient income and sees criminal activity as the only way to survive. Historically, the crime rate among illegal immigrants has been higher than among native-born Americans. For example, incarceration rates among Hispanics in federal and state prisons are twice higher than among non-Hispanic whites.
As research indicates, many of the most violent criminals are illegal immigrants. However, immigration status is not used as a tool for apprehending the high crime level in the United States. Illegal immigrants who were deported for committing murders, drug trafficking, and assaults with weapons can freely return to the United States again. At the same time, illegal immigrants cannot be treated as criminals in the United States because it is in violation of the law! In Los Angeles alone, 95 percent of all warrants for homicide are targeted at illegal immigrants, and 33 percent of all fugitive felony warrants are issued to aliens.
Why Stop Illegal Immigration
The number of illegal immigrants is increasing: in the year 2000, there were approximately 8 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, while in the year 2005, their number has increased to 12 million. This number would be much higher if the government did not give amnesty to illegal immigrants granting them the status of legal citizen. Moreover, illegal immigration undermines the policies of legal immigration. There are millions of educated and experienced people waiting for legal admission while illegal immigrants make a mockery of them. Illegal immigrants are a cheap workforce, but they harm the American economy. According to the statistics, illegal aliens displace more than 1 million American workers. A cheap labor force leads to the decreased wages and poor working conditions.
Illegal immigration puts an additional burden on the taxpayers. In particular, these costs include emergency medical care, children’s education, and incarceration of criminals. Some of the illegal immigrants get welfare benefits using false documents and receive welfare assistance for U.S.-born children. The deportation rate is rather low, taking into account the continuous increase in illegal immigrants’ inflow. Amnesty is not an answer to the illegal immigration problem because illegal aliens should not be allowed to remain in the country. It is the same as pardoning criminals because it is easier than arresting them. Amnesty encourages the growth of illegal immigration, adds costs to the taxpayers, and contributes to the poverty increase.
According to the reports, 170,000 illegal immigrants return home each year, 50,000 are deported, half of them die. However, many more illegal immigrants come to the United States, and if the country adopts less hospitable laws, many of them will decide to go home. This can be achieved through enforcing new laws barring illegal immigrants from being hired. The role of local law enforcement is of primary importance. For example, if an illegal alien is encountered by police, he should be picked up by the immigration service and be deported. In addition, more fencing and more agents are needed to prevent an illegal crossing of the border. Implementation of stricter immigration laws and policies for deporting illegal immigrants will save the taxpayers’ money and restore the rule of law.
As Bush has offered, granting citizenship to undocumented workers is not a solution to illegal immigration; it will not stop the inflow of illegal aliens but rather motivate more people to enter the United States illegally. In the current situation, granting citizenship to illegal immigrants is like giving a reward for violating American laws. Mass deportations will not help to solve the problem as well.
The illegal population is big in size, and massive relocation will have a negative impact on economy because many businesses use illegal labor. The best way to discourage illegal immigration is to withdraw benefits and entitlements granted to immigrants by national and state governments.
In conclusion, illegal immigration is the real threat to development of American nation. Illegal immigrants spread poverty, contribute to criminal activity increase, negatively influence American economy, take away the money of taxpayers, and undermine the national laws. If illegal immigration is not stopped, the United States will be at risk of transforming into lawless poor society. Mass deportations and amnesty as the solutions to illegal immigration have failed and there is an urgent need to develop the strict policies minimizing the benefits granted to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration threatens the national security and if it is not stopped, the outcomes can be devastating for the American community.
Haerens, Margaret. Illegal Immigration (Opposing Viewpoints). Greenhaven Press, 2006.
Mac Donald, Heather. “The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave.” City Journal 2004. Web.
Moore, Art. “Is Mexico reconquering U.S. Southwest? Illegal immigration fueling aims of Hispanic radicals.” WorldNetDaily.com. 2002.
Rector (A), Robert. “Amnesty and Continued Low Skill Immigration Will Substantially Raise Welfare Costs and Poverty.” The Heritage Foundation, 2006.
Rector (B), Robert. “Importing Poverty: Immigration and Poverty in the United States: A Book of Chart.” The Heritage Foundation, 2006.
Swain, Carol. Debating Immigration. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Weissinger, George. “The Illegal Alien Problem: Enforcing the Immigration Laws.” New York Institute of Technology,, 2003. Web.
 George Weissinger, “The Illegal Alien Problem: Enforcing the Immigration Laws”
 Art Moore, “Is Mexico reconquering U.S. Southwest? Illegal immigration fueling aims of Hispanic radicals”
 Robert Rector (B), “Importing Poverty: Immigration and Poverty in the United States: A Book of Chart”
 Robert Rector (A), “Amnesty and Continued Low Skill Immigration Will Substantially Raise Welfare Costs and Poverty”
 Heather Mac Donald, “The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave”
 Margaret Haerens, Illegal Immigration (Opposing Viewpoints), 114
 Ibid 118
 Carol Swain, Debating Immigration, 70
 ibid 87