Immigration has been an important issue in the United States of America ever since the day the country was founded. America was built by the hands of immigrants who came from different regions around the world. However, not all immigrants in America’s history arrived legally. The numbers of illegal immigrants have increased rapidly over the last decade (“American Immigration”). The federal government and many Americans consider the flow of illegal immigrants to the United Stated a threat to the economy and the national security.
But those who oppose illegal immigration forget that America is a country that was raised by the efforts of immigrants in the first place. Illegal immigrants give the U. S. economy what native-born Americans can’t give. The government thinks that the methods that it uses to stop illegal immigration are useful, but they cost taxpayers unnecessary billions of dollars yearly. Immigration Is the Foundation of the United States of America America was founded on the concept that immigrants are welcomed. It aims to include immigrants in its citizens. Thus, America is a nation of various races, religions and cultures.
The diversity in the American society made America a stronger nation. “America has been good for immigrants, and immigrants have been good for America” (Meese III and Spalding). Europeans were the people who started immigration to North America in the 15th century. The country started to receive immigrants from Africa in the 17th century, but their immigration was involuntary (“American Immigration”). It is estimated that 63 million people from different countries around the world have immigrated to the United States of America between 1820 and 1996 (“Immigrant Education”).
Most of them were European: Germans were cumulatively the largest group, with 7. 1 million, followed by Mexicans, with 5. 5 million (60 percent of the Mexican immigrants over the 176-year period had arrived in the last 15 years). Other groups of immigrants, in order, were from Italy (5. 4 million), the United Kingdom (5. 2 million), Ireland (4. 8 million), Canada (4. 4 million, however, many Irish immigrants came via Canada), and Russia (which used to include much of Poland and the Baltic states – 3. 8 million). (“Immigrant Education”)
Immigrants made America what it is today. People who try to fight illegal immigration that comes from Latin America (especially Mexico) must remember that Mexicans have been the second largest group of immigrants in the history of the United States of America. National Review editor, Kate O’Beirne, underestimates the potential risk that can come from illegal immigration. She provides numbers to supports her claim. In the year 2000, it was found that the majority of illegal immigrants (about 80%) concentrate in 10 states only.
Also, more than half of the illegal immigrants (about 52%) concentrate in 3 states only. Those states are Texas, New York and California (O’Beirne). Illegal Immigrants Fuel the U. S. Economy Many experts consider illegal immigration a problem, generally for the U. S. economy and especially for the American working force. They claim that those immigrants steal jobs from native-born Americans and affect the quality of services in a negative way (Beaman). But some other experts prove that those claims are false. Kate O’Beirne believes that illegal immigrants “take the jobs that Americans refuse”.
Those undesired jobs include working in plantations and construction projects (Davidson). O’Beirne even claims that some states have a lack of necessary illegal workers (O’Beirne). The illegal workers are very beneficial for the U. S. economy because they accept low wages that native-born Americans don’t accept. As a result, goods and services become cheaper for American consumers (Isidore). Many economists have similar claims. Economist Andrew Sum claims that immigrants helped the U. S. economy to grow faster and made the situation better for native-born Americans.
Surprisingly, Sum says that without immigrants the number of labor in the economy would be 3%-4% less than the actual needed number. Other economists supported this claim and said that without immigrants the U. S. economy would grow slower by 0. 5%-2%. Another surprising fact, the fact that immigrant workers cost a little for employers allows employers to employ more native-born American workers who have better skills (Isidore). Construction projects across the United States depend mainly on immigrant workers. Many statistics show how important immigrants are for this sector: 1.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics”: 22% of workers in the sector are immigrants (Isidore). 2. “The National Association of Home Builders”: The numbers are provided by the CEO, Jerry Howard. He claims that about of 30% of the labor in the sector are immigrants. The percentage can rise to 50% in states that are crowded with immigrants like Texas (Isidore). It’s not easy for constructors to leave cheap immigrant labor for native-born American labor. Immigrant workers accept lower wages and do more than what American workers can do. Also, immigrants are not just important as workers only, but as buyers too.
According to Howard, “the four cornerstones driving demand for building has been boomers buying second homes, (children of baby boomers) coming into the market, people using equity to renovate existing homes and immigration” (Isidore). He says that any negative effect on one of those cornerstones will have a negative effect on the entire housing market (Isidore). Immigrants play an important role in the agriculture sector. Expert Benjamin Powell from the Independent Institute says that in 2004 the U. S. government made immigration procedures more complicated.
And that resulted in a lack of workers in lettuce plantations. The total loss for plantation owners was about one billion dollars because “many growers had to leave their fields unharvested”. Powell claims that using native-born American workers in this case will cost plantation owners more unnecessary money, and it will be economically better for plantation owners to leave their fields without workers (Isidore). Illegal immigrants pay income taxes just like American citizens, but they don’t get “Social Security benefits” (University of Pennsylvania).
Ironically, the biggest part of revenues in the American budget comes from income taxes, and the Social Security programs consist “the largest outlay of the federal government each year” (“Fiscal Policy”). Measures to Prevent Illegal Immigration Are Too Costly to the Taxpayers The methods of preventing illegal immigrants from entering the United States cost unnecessary amounts of money every year. In 2006, the “Department of Homeland Security” decided to “build a virtual fence” in order to protect the United States’ southern boarders. This mission should be accomplished by 2011.
The total estimated cost for the virtual fence is 7. 6 billion dollars. Unfortunately, it is expected that the total costs for the fence will reach 30 billion dollars. Those costs are expected for the fence alone. The total costs for securing boarders (not including the fence) for the period 2008-2011 are expected to reach 40. 7 billion dollars. Despite its high costs, this plan is not trusted by experts. And that’s because the government has implemented 2 different programs for securing boarders before, but both of them failed. Those 2 programs “have cost taxpayers $429 million since 1998” (Hsu).
Conclusion This research paper showed how immigrants are important for America. They built America and its economic power. Ironically, the second biggest source of immigrants throughout America’s history has been Mexico. Immigrants help the U. S. economy by performing jobs that most Americans won’t accept, and also they accept low wages. As a production asset, they are much better than native-born Americans. The government must take another look at the costs of security programs. And that’s because taxpayers pay billions of dollars every year for those programs.
Immigrants can bring to the economy more than what taxpayers pay to stop illegal immigration. Works Cited Davidson, Adam “Q&A: Illegal Immigrants and the U. S. Economy. ” NPR. 30 Apr 2009 <http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php? storyId=5312900>. “Fiscal Policy. ” Answers. com. 2009. 2 May 2009 <http://www. answers. com/fiscal%20policy>. “History of American Immigration. ” Newspaper Archive. 2009. Heritage Microfilm, Inc. 1 May 2009 <http://www. immigrationarchive. com/History. aspx>. Hsu, Spencer. “Gaps seen in virtual border fence plan: Report cites cost, lack of benchmarks. ” SFGate.
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