Over the past decades, the U.S has increased its efforts to secure its borders against illegal immigration. But according to a fox news report, about three-quarters of Americans think that the border is no more secure than it was some years ago. Critics of the federal governments argue that the border has never been more porous than it is today. The government in response has tried to seal its borders to more pilferage of illegal immigrants into the U.S, but the question is if the goal is to devise better ways of keeping illegal entry into the US, then what is done of the already illegal immigrants who have accessed the US soil already.
The issue of illegal immigration is such a hotly debated topic with more controversy in the US than any topic currently. It leaves illegal immigrants with lots of predicaments about what most Americans take for granted and at the same time revealing a society divided over how illegal immigrants should be treated. Due to very many standpoints on the issue, we will consider the subject on both sides; the proponents and opponents for legalization of illegal immigrants stay in the US.
The presence of the illegal immigrants in the US is a product of the gap between the number of people who want to reside in the US being outstripped by the global demand for US residency. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people across the globe attempt to enter the US and live their permanently. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service statistics, between 1992 and 1998, averagely 825,000 people annually immigrated into the US.
Despite the government’s effort to regulate immigration, the US has millions and millions of illegal immigrants who ignores the proper law procedures and become US citizens. Reasons that motivate illegal immigration include; better jobs, better life, escape oppressive regimes at home or re-unite with a loved one(s). There are those who propose as to the legalization of illegal immigrants and make them US citizens while opponents have their reasons for opposing the idea. We will look at both sides of the argument and draw conclusions from it.
Opponents of illegal immigrants being made legal citizens
For many, doing anything illegal is a crime punishable by law and therefore illegal immigration is punishable. There are those who criticize the legalization of illegal immigrants and make them US citizens. This group argues that the presence of illegal immigrants in the US is like an invasion that threatens the economic and social future of the US. They further argue that the sovereignty of the US is at risk by flooding illegal immigrants who usurp the benefits of being American citizens.
The arguments also concentrate on the fact that the US has limited resources and therefore the ability to assimilate new immigrants, and that greater effort should be made to prevent people from entering the US illegally. According to them, greater effort should be made to prevent people from entering the US illegally. They propose for deportation of illegal immigrants who are already in the country and take punitive measures against those who employ illegal immigrant. They defend the action that although cruel, it will discourage people from coming into the US without valid documents and that compassion will only encourage more illegal immigration (Mikulin, Rebecca).
There is also the argument that illegal immigrants take away jobs and have reduced the wage pay in the US. Once in a foreign country, illegal immigrants tend to such low skilled jobs that are labor intensive and do not attract many US employees. In the US for example, such jobs that attract illegal immigrants include landscaping, construction jobs, hospitality, prostitution, domestic jobs and agriculture. Employers tend to pay lowly for these people and take advantage of the immigrant’s situation to exploit them. Although studies suggest that immigrants generate an overall increase in wage levels, the fact is that they negatively impact wages in the low skill jobs that they are employed in (Illegal Immigration).
Other reasons being put forward about legalizing illegal immigrants is that they are easily subjected to great poverty. Due to the fact that immigrants occupy low income wages, they are easily affected by downturns in the economy. As compared to the citizens, they tend not to have health insurance and thus need public resort more often. Treating the illegal immigrants who do not contribute by means of taxation to the national kitty is a minus to the economy and subjects those who pay tax to lesser services (Immigration, Newsbatch).
According to a report by Dordeski and Steffens, illegal immigrants burden the education costs in the country the more. Immigrant children and children of immigrants account for a greater number of school going children and their education costs is disproportionate than do the natives due to greater birth rate especially among the Mexicans and Hispanics and need for more intensive care than the citizens children. Thus making this large population a legal lot in the US will most likely spell doom not only for the economy but also for the quality of education in the US. This is an extra burden to the taxpayer and unfortunately illegal immigrants and not taxed but their children are cared for free (Dordeski, V and Steffens, 2010).
Increased danger especially from terrorists is another reason to argue against making legal immigrants legal citizens. Some people with evil reasons enter the US and continue to carry out their terrorist activities. If these illegal immigrants are granted US citizenship, they are likely to increase the threat of domestic terrorism. Thus those who oppose granting citizenship the legal status have every reason to fear for domestic terrorism from this group who should otherwise be deported (Immigration, Newsbatch).
Studies indicate that in America over 1 million children have no place to call home and are hungry and exposed to dangers of society like crime and drugs. Therefore, the question that most ask is whether America should rush to make some illegal immigrants citizens while its own children suffer. Shouldn’t the money that will be used on these illegal immigrants be used on these homeless and hungry children?
Economic statistics also show some staggering costs that are used to cater for illegal immigrants each year in the country. The money could otherwise be used on some other development projects in the country. These include; about $11-$22 billion used on illegal aliens’ welfare, $2.2 billion spent yearly on food assistance programs like WIC and free lunch for aliens, $2.5 billion spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens. All these monies could otherwise be saved and used in other economically sound projects which will otherwise improve the general aspect of the American citizens (Mario, Garibaldi).
Proponents of illegal immigrants being made legal citizens
However, in all circumstances to deport or otherwise punish illegal immigrants, is often seen as too harsh and inhumane. Other people question whether immigration prevention is the real reason for immigration laws. A lawyer for a refugee shelter in Texas who also doubles as an immigrant rights advocate criticizes statutes that require illegal immigrants to return to their original countries and wait for ten years to apply for immigrant visa. According to him, this kind of legislation will instead create an almost slave labor force by having undocumented people who live in the US and cannot claim their rights (Mikulin, Rebecca). But this is usually weighed down by the many reasons that argue against granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.
The debate on whether to treat illegal immigrants as criminals, victims or as potential US citizens has been and will continue to be debated for a long time in the US till a compromise is reached which seems is not in the offing in the near future. For those opposing viewpoints on illegal immigration, they examine several questions like; do illegal immigrations harm America, how should America respond to immigration, should the US change its immigration and refugee policies?