Illegal immigration is an ever growing and present event for the United States, and some would even say it is one of the biggest problems the American economy is facing today. People who choose to come into America with passports or green cards do not pose a threat to the American people, but rather those who cross the borders illegally that are causing harm on the economy. The American government must figure out how to solve this dire situation, and keep it from causing more damage in the future. Illegal immigration must be curtailed and stopped.
Illegal immigration burdens our taxpayers, endangers our nation, and robs American citizens of jobs and higher wages. Most people might argue that if it were not for illegal immigration, America would have never existed at all. Centuries ago our ancestors were brought over on the Mayflower. Illegal immigration has existed for a little more than a century. The Chinese were one of the first to immigrate to America. The California Gold Rush of 1849 and 1882 brought the Chinese into America (Galante, 2003, para 1).
The Chinese, like the Hispanics today, were viewed as a threat to the American economy because they accepted lower wages, fewer benefits, and more dangerous working conditions than the American people. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Chester A. Arthur” (Galante, 2003, para 2). Many across the world might find the American dream was far too enticing for them to sit idly by, so they found a loop hole. The 14th Amendment declares “jus soli”, or right by land; which means that any person born on American soil is considered an American citizen.
The Chinese created paper sons, which allowed them to forge papers that claimed children, who were citizens, as their own. The 14th Amendment was a valuable tool to the Chinese until the Exclusion Act was repelled in 1943. The Supreme Court later made a ruling for jus sanguinis, or right by blood, which stated that a child born to an American citizen would also be considered an American citizen no matter what country the child was born in. The San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906 added to the confusion of who was or was not a citizen because it destroyed the records of citizenship.
This made it easy for anyone to claim that they were a citizen prior to the natural disaster, and illegal immigrants could come into America without repercussions. The United States Supreme Court ruled that if one was claiming citizenship they must be able to prove citizenship before immigrating to America. Birth certificates and/or parent’s birth certificates, and passports were ways to prove citizenship. In the last century, Congress and the Supreme Court have tried to regulate and control immigration without success.
The American dream proves more than enough motivation for illegal immigrates to find ways into a great country without regards to the affect they have on the lives of others and even themselves. This picture helps capture what the Chinese had to go through to get into America. Today, the economic factors of other countries still have an effect on immigration. America has been fighting the battle of illegal immigration for many years, and has tried many ideas to win the battle. According to Samuelson (2006), “in 2005 the Border Patrol stooped 1.
19 million people trying to enter the United States illegally (para 2). For example, Mexico, the lack of money in the hands of the average Mexican citizen often prevents them from immigrating legally, which leads to immigrating illegally. One could even argue that the Mexican government is the cause of illegal immigration into America because they do not carry their citizen’s best interest in mind. The country of Mexico is rich with resources, but is considered very unethical. Being an unethical country causes poor Mexicans to want to come to America (McLaughlin, 2007, para 4).
Money misspent and poorly invested by the Mexican government constantly adds to the poor living and working conditions provided. Every day more jobs are lost due to Mexican outsourcing, like in many countries. The failing economy is leading to the deflation of the peso causing prices to rise, but farmers are loosing their crops, animals, and money because of the wages remaining the same. The decay of the Mexican economy leave citizens with one solution: to jump the border. Since most cannot afford passports, visas, or permits; they choose to cross illegally.
If caught, they are taken back to Mexico, and more than likely they will attempt to cross again. If they get through; they get a job, apply for Medicare or Medicaid, and they get to live like what their country considers Kings. “Borders are becoming more and more impenetrable to the asylum seekers, those who are in danger at home for whom a safe haven in a matter of survival” (Withol de Wenden, 2007, para 10). Illegal immigrants are hurting tax paying American citizens because they do not have a Social Security Number, so they do not have to pay taxes.
According to Buckley, 2003), there are approximately seven million immigrants in America. The Supreme Court and Congress must find a way to relieve the economic stress illegal immigration has on the nation. An undocumented immigrant puts an increasing strain on those Americans that pay taxes. If one were to sit down and think about all of the programs that tax dollars go towards the list would grow very long, very quickly. That list would include Medicare, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Food Stamp program, and Social Security to name a few.
These programs are designed to aide Americans in need; yet how much is actually going to Americans? Illegal immigrants are willing to work for less; therefore most of them cannot afford to feed themselves or their families. Illegal immigrants look for help through these programs. Unfortunately, these programs do not require a person receiving the aide to be a United States citizen, but that they make a certain amount per year, a requirement all too often met by illegal immigrants. American tax dollars are in turn routed to purchase food for the families of illegal immigrants.
“The political threat that low-skill immigration poses to the welfare state is more serious than the fiscal threat: the disastrous Medicare drug bill alone does far more to undermine the finances of our social insurance system than the whole burden of dealing with illegal immigrants” (Krugman, 2006, para 9). American citizens are paying for undocumented persons to continue living in the United States. This benefit allows illegal immigrants to use the money they receive form working to send to the rest of their family who were left behind in the hope of someday being reunited in America.
The money from the programs is never put back into the American economy. Illegal immigration is and will continue to be the leading cause of the economic decline in the United States. Adding to the strain on the American people is the fact that as aide becomes more readily available to those who are in the country illegally; it becomes increasingly difficult for Americans who fall on hard times to receive the same aide given to undocumented immigrants.
State programs have to divert funding from public education to compensate for the ever growing need of relief for citizens that can barely make a living. According to Anrig Jr. and Wang (2004), United States citizens with little or no experience, and with little education backgrounds were considered to have a greater risk of feeling the effects that immigration has on wages throughout America (para 4). Illegal immigrants are willing to do jobs that many Americans would find unappealing, but for what cost? Some illegal immigrants accept jobs for only a few dollars an hour, and without benefits.
Immigrants do not worry about wages because Medicare will help them with doctor visits, food stamps will put food on the table if they cannot, and taxpayers will pay for what the employer does not provide for them. While America continues to provide so many aides with few requirements to meet, the economy will continue to struggle. The United States has been feeling the effects of illegal immigration since the 1800’s, but healthcare is one of the largest groups affected. The following chart illustrates this point. Table 1
National Estimates of Noncitizen Immigrants on Medicaid in 1994, Based on Combined QC and SSA Data TOTAL Children Adults Aged Blind & Disabled Number of Noncitizen Medicaid Enrollees (in Avg. Month, in 1000s) 2,415. 5 655. 0 1,059. 3 262. 1 699. 1 Proportion of Enrollees in Category Who Are Noncitizens 7. 5% 4. 1% 16. 0% 13. 0% 4. 9% Medicaid Expenditures for Noncitizens (in millions of $) $8,129. 3 $504. 0 $2,118. 3 $2,567. 5 $2,939. 5 Note. From the Urban Institute analyses of Medicaid QC and SSA data, by Ku and Kessler, para.
5, Copyright 2008 by Urban Institute. Provided with all the information, the question becomes what should be done about illegal immigration? One suggestion might be to immediately deport all illegal immigrants, which would free up many jobs to allow United States citizens to get back on their feet. Deporting the immigrants would also bring money back into the economy. American taxpayer’s money would go back to where it is needed; such as education and healthcare. Even though the population would decrease, a better quality of life would become available to the American people.
“The point, in other words, is not merely to curtail illegal immigration, but rather to bring about a steady reduction in the total number of illegal immigrants who are living in the United States” (Krikorian, 2005, para 2). Another suggestion would be to allow immigrants to stay in the United States only if they legalized their status. Becoming legal would help them meet requirements for pay, benefits, and paying taxes. Being legal would allow them to lead the life of a true American citizen, and enjoy a far better quality of life than their current undocumented status has them leading currently.
Even though America is not one of the worst off countries, “the US has our own resident poor and uneducated to take care of and as rich as the country is, we simply can not support all the poor and uneducated who want to come here” (McLaughlin, 2007, para 2). Illegal immigration is damaging to the economy. Its negative impact affects every citizen in the United States. Illegal immigration burdens our taxpayers, endangers our nation, and robs American citizens of jobs and higher wages. Illegal immigration is no longer only a problem for those citizens living within the Border States, but throughout the entire country.
Illegal immigration has far reaching detrimental effects on the United States. The United States has always found pride in our diversity, but illegal immigration does not shine light on the country. Illegal immigration is a dirty underbelly of our nation’s mixing bowl. After people arrive in the United States every day as undocumented immigrants, they begin to disperse throughout the country to hide and work in, perhaps, some of the most corrupt and seedy areas of the society. This migration poses a serious threat to the United State’s economy and security.
If the nation continues to allow illegal immigration to go unchecked, the United States will find it to be the downfall of the culture and nation. References Anrig Jr, Wang, Greg, Tova Andrea (2004 September 29). Immigration, Jobs, and the American Economy. The Century Foundation, Retrieved March 24, 2008, from http://www. tcf. org/list. asp? type=PB&pubid=491 Buckley, Jr, William (2003). Stopping Illegals. National Review, 55, Retrieved March 24, 2008, from http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true&db=aph&AN=11350338&site=ehost-live Galante (2003).
The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882): Brief Overview. Retrieved May 12, 2008, from Lehigh. edu Web site: http://www. lehigh. edu/~ineng/VirtualAmericana/chineseimmigrationact. html Krikorian, M (2005, May). Downsizing Illegal Immigration: A Strategy of Attrition through Enforcement. Retrieved April 1, 2008, from Center for Immigration Studies Web site: http://www. cis. org/articles/2005/back605. html Krugman, Paul (2006). North of the Border. New York Times, A19, Retrieved April 15, 2008, from http://find. galegroup. com/ips/start. do? prodId=IPS McLaughlin, T (2007, January 15).
Economic costs of illegal immigration. Retrieved March 23, 2008, from Family Security Matters Web site: http://www. familysecuritymatters. org/challenges. php? id=590505 Samuelson, R. J. (2006, March, 8). Build a fence–And amnesty. Washington Post, Retrieved April 5, 2008, from http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/07/AR2006030701202. html Withol de Wenden, C (2007). A World without Borders?. Queens Quarterly, 114, Retrieved March 26, 2008, from http://proquest. umi. com/pqdweb? did=1285304421&sid=1&Fmt=2&clientId=13118&RQT=309&VName=PQD