The United States Illegal Immigration Dilemma
The United States throughout its history has been built by the hard work and contributions of immigrants. Immigration has always been a vital part of the development of this nation from Colonial days until now; however, Illegal Immigrations has become an issue that is not just discussed by the politicians in Washington, DC and those Border States that are been affected most by it. The issue of Illegal Immigration over the last decade or so is now an issue that seems to be affecting more aspects of the Nation than most seem to be aware of.
Illegal immigration has the United facing a situation that it has not had to deal with in over two centuries. The issue of illegal immigration is poses several questions that need to be addressed; how did we get ourselves in the predicament that we are in? Was it the Government Policies and Laws that were or are not being enforced? Maybe, the lack of border security or could those employers who hire known illegal immigrants be the cause. Another, topic that needs to be address when considering the dilemma facing the US is; What impact does Illegal Immigration have on the countries overall Economic System?
How does this problem affect our Health Care System, our Educational Systems and Employment opportunities for legal Tax-paying citizens? The most important topic of all is; what is a viable solution to the problem of Illegal Immigration? What type of Immigration Reform will work for all parties involved? Will allowing States to come up with their own laws, instead of relying on the Federal Laws be the right answer, or will revising the 14th Amendment, or Amnesty is the solution?
Congress’ major intent when creating Immigration Laws and Policies both early in US history and recently was to accomplish the several goals; “First, to reunite families by admitting immigrants who already have family members living in the United States. Second, seeks to admit workers with specific skills and to fill positions in occupations deemed to be experiencing labor shortages. Third, it attempts to provide a refuge for people who face the risk of political, racial, or religious persecution in their country of origin.
Finally, it seeks to ensure diversity by providing admission to people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States” (Congressional Budget Office, 2006 p. 8); however, there are others actions, or lack of action by government agencies that seem to counteract the very intent of the laws and policies created. One example is the lack of funding and enforcement of our countries border security system. Another example is the non-enforcement of laws and policies governing employers who knowing hire illegal immigrants.
Statements like the following by then President Bush, sums up the US governments state of mind and the country’s National Interest concerning the Illegal Immigration issue; “the U. S needs more cheap labor from south of the border to do the jobs Americans aren’t willing to do, there are uncalculated cost involved in the importation of such labor – public support and uninsured medical costs” (Costs of Immigration, 2007, para. 1). Illegal Immigration’s impact on the US economy can be seen in the following areas: Our Health Care System, our Education System and in Employment Opportunities for legal citizens.
The net fiscal cost of immigration ranges from $11 billion to $22 billion per year, with most government expenditures on immigrants coming from state and local coffers, while most taxes paid by immigrants go to the federal treasury. The net deficit is caused by a low level of tax payments by immigrants, because they are disproportionately low-skilled and thus earn low wages, and a higher rate of consumption of government services, both because of their relative poverty and their higher fertility. This is especially true of illegal immigration.
Even though illegal aliens make little use of welfare, from which they are generally barred, the costs of illegal immigration in terms of government expenditures for education, criminal justice, and emergency medical care are significant. California has estimated that the net cost to the state of providing government services to illegal immigrants approached $3 billion during a single fiscal year. The fact that states must bear the cost of federal failure turns illegal immigration, in effect, into one of the largest unfunded federal mandates.
Yet we still have those who believe that illegal immigrants do not have an adverse effect on the economy (“Center for Immigration Studies”, 2006, para. 1). The Health Care system here in the US has probably seen the biggest impact of illegal immigration when looking at the overall picture and considering the dilemma as a whole. An example of these effects in Texas is the statement made by “Rick Alleyer, director of research for the Health and Human Services Commission, said illegal immigrant health care – mostly emergency hospital care – cost the state over $100 million last year” (Illegal Immigrant Care, 2010, para. 5).
Throughout the country in states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California hospitals have had to either closing their doors completely or file bankruptcy because of federally mandated programs requiring free emergency room services to all illegal immigrants. The effects of illegal immigration on the US educational systems may not be as profound as they are for the health care system, the impact is noticeable enough for educators, politicians and state governments to consider when they receive yearly reports of how poorly their schools are performing, the increase in student population, and how the cost of education continues to increase.
According to Edwin Rubenstein, “Immigrant children are poorer than native-born children, and their numbers have increased far faster. At least 19 percent of all K-12 enrollments are the result of immigration. In excess of 9. 2 million are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Because of their lack of language abilities, they take 25 percent of funding. Out of $499. 1 billion in the 2008 school year, $125 billion was spent on foreign born children” (Illegal Alien Education Impact, 2008, par. 7).
Notice this was just considering secondary schools in the state of California. There are numerous states and schools that are rewarding illegal immigrants for enrolling in the schools, yet they are denying the same subsidies to lawful students or legal immigrants. The ever increasing number of illegal immigrants flowing into the US every month plays a dramatic role in displacing American workers, over the past five years it is estimated that 1 million legal citizens have been replaced by immigrants allow to come this country on work visas.
Another area for concern pertaining to illegal immigration and its effect on employment opportunities is, the trend among illegal immigrants changing from the traditional few industrial area and parts of the country, integrating themselves into all sectors of the economy throughout the nation. The concern here is the increasing widespread demand for their labor. Having discussed some of the areas that our country are faced with, and most do something about, we now will look at some possible solutions on how to deal with this dilemma.
Realizing that Immigration Reform is must do, what areas need to be addressed, and what adjustments need to be made is the question at hand. One of the many Immigration Laws and Policies that has been created over the years is the 14th Amendment and the “anchor baby” concept. This amendment has been in the news and on the mouths of politicians almost as much as Immigration Reform itself. The question that needs to be addressed is will amending this amendment provide enough assistance to drastically decrease the flow of illegal immigrants into the country?
If we look at the direct effects that the 14th amendment has on the country some feel very strong about amending this amendment. For example some believe that rescinding the citizenship of anchor babies; “American hospitals welcome anchor babies…Anchor babies are citizens, and instantly qualify for public welfare aid: Between 300,000 and 350,000 anchor babies annually become citizens because of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution: ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside. ’” (Illegal aliens threaten U. S. economic system, 2008, para. 12).
The concept of individual states enacting their own laws and initiatives could be the short term solution. Arizona’s AZ SB 1070 law, even though not fully implemented, is one such example of states taking matters into their own hands not waiting on the Federal government to enforce the laws they created. Arizona Senator Russell Pearce (2010) “characterizes the illegal immigration problem as one of invasion and quotes the Constitution: “The United States shall guarantee that every State of this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion” (p. ).
Arizona is not the only state that has come up with laws to help deal with the illegal immigration population in their states; you have states like Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, and Oklahoma. The state of California has a bill that has begun the signature process, the California Taxpayer Protection Act of 2010, Initiative 09-0010. This bill is for “real world citizens, “The people of California have an opportunity to curb the illegal immigration. Many in California may not have seen the grass lately, but we’ve been seeding our roots” (Dvorak, 2009, p. )
The Illegal Immigration Amnesty bill was signed into law by President Reagan in 1986 in an effort to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants that entered the country before 1982. The intent was to be tighter security on the borders and stricter penalties for employers hiring undocumented workers. Needles to say, this law seem to accomplish the exact opposite.
There are some who believe that with the proper oversight and funding this could prove to be a viable solution to the illegal immigration problem that the U. S. aces today. There are also those who believe that the Amnesty Law is a major cause of illegal immigration, many immigrants believe that once they get here to the U. S. they will qualify for amnesty in a matter of time. “Many in California believe the federal government has dropped the immigration ball over the last 40 years. “In Washington D. C. they have a few nicknames; reform is code word for amnesty” (Dvorak, 2009, p. 2) It is without a doubt that the US was founded on immigration and its many contributions over the years.
The dilemma that we face today brings into question if the laws and policies of the past are serving their intended purposes, if they are still beneficial to the country, and if there are new laws that need to be created to address some of the issues that have been created because illegal immigration. Even though actual numbers of illegal immigrants were not discussed because of inaccurate data; the issues concerning how did we get to this point; what are the impacts of illegal immigration on the countries social and economic systems, and probably the ost the most import issue is what are we going to do about it.
The solution to this dilemma should include, not just the enforcement, of the policies and laws established but, it should also make sure they are properly funded as well. The solution should contain initiatives that address those topics that negative effect the country as well as initiative that reward positive effects of illegal immigration; keeping in mind the countries national security and national interests in mind.