Immigration has been a common topic for so many ancient years, but it’s not up until most recently where the subject of illegal immigrants has become controversial especially in America. Many of American citizens feel that Illegals have taken over (jobs, government help, etc.), ‘ruined’ the way the economy works and fear that the country will become too miscellaneous. Issues that have become concerning are the income wages and illegals not contributing to tax paying. Some American citizens also believe that illegals are taking advantage of government resources like food stamps, housing, and remain a crime threat to the U.S. Due to these issues, many citizens feel the US should restrict immigration and begin to constrict immigration laws to control the presence and activities of illegal immigrants. While this decision remains controversial, the US may potentially run into economic problems causing wages to decrease leading to failure to keep up with the economy, nonetheless, possibly set a decline in the net gain for the US economy if they began to restrict immigration and tighten the immigration law.
Equal access to opportunities allows immigrants to achieve the so-called American dream. Their success compares with America’s success because of the contributions immigrants provide to America. Unfortunately, the current immigration policy in America denies many immigrants the American dream. It is crucial to understand the historical background of immigration in America. Originally, most immigrants were from Europe and were not restricted by any immigration laws. Now, most immigrants come from Latin America but are restricted to severe immigration laws. Back in the 1840’s and 1850’s, Germany was one of the first largest populations that moved to the western part of the country, later followed by Russians, Irish, and Italians throughout the decades (West, 2011).
Even though each of them spoke different languages and came from different cultures/backgrounds, they all related in the sense that they looked familiar to one another. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that the country began to shift. This included immigrants coming from Asia, South and Central America, and Africans. These individuals spoke unfamiliar languages and looked differently than those who European. Because of the many differences in religious and culture background, it was difficult for those to accept. Americans have not always been so accepting of those from different backgrounds because of the opinions beginning from centuries ago.
Immigrants now, come to the US seeking a better life for their family that they cannot achieve in their countries due to the high level of crime, lack of government law enforcement, and the countries poor economy. Despite native born thoughts on the negative impact illegal immigrants may cause, immigrants have enriched the economic, intellectual, social, and cultural life in several fundamental respects (West, 2011). In fact, illegal immigrants are not allowed to participate in any government-based help. Such as, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, food stamps. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or the State Children’s Health Insurance program. Illegal immigrants are not able to receive any forms of welfare, public health care, or retirement benefits. While legal permanent residents must contribute to Medicare and Social Security for at least 10 years before they can benefit from these government programs. Despite some immigrants receiving public assistance, those who were given the help, received less in aid than those who came from a U.S household. The only other exception to the rules is that schools must educate children regardless of whether they are legal or illegal residents of the United States. This came from a Texas law that did not allow those from foreign countries to be accepted into any school enrollment, but because this did follow the 14th amendment, the Supreme Court ruled that the law put out by Texas was deemed unconstitutional.
The same logic applies to emergency health care. Hospitals cannot deny anyone from receiving the help they need whether they are poor, illegal, or have no insurance. Nor can they morally ask a person if they are legal or not. California hospitals get about half the $2 billion spent annually on Emergency Medicaid. The rest is spread mainly among a handful of states. Although there have been reports on the effect immigration has had on certain cities, the main costs have only been associated with law enforcement, education, and healthcare being the cause.
A National Immigration Forum and Cato Institute report estimated that immigrants paid $162 billion in federal, state, and local taxes (West, 2011). Truth be told, many illegal immigrants pay taxes although they are ineligible to collect social service benefits even though it may not be so through the eyes of American citizens. Undocumented migrants must pay sales taxes on purchases they make in the same way any buyer would. If the alien owns or rents a house/apartment, they must pay or are paying for property taxes relating to the accommodations. Illegal immigrants, like US Citizens, buy food, enjoy entertainment, keep up with their looks or hygiene, spend tons of money on a variety of things that actually contribute to the US’ economy. In addition, they also utilize city services that require critical capacity such as bus services and those services that require numbers to determine intergovernmental aid such as in the public-school system. It’s true that many Americans become fearful about immigrants taking over the jobs, but, when those immigrants take on jobs, they are not just taking jobs of so-called citizens, they are taking on the jobs that are mainly seen as undesirable to the native-born eye.
These immigrants take on entry-level jobs in custodian services, restaurants, or construction that pay poorly and are often not very looked-for. American citizens want to believe that closing the borders will have a positive impact on the economy, on the contrary, immigration benefits the host country by subsidizing the labor supply and reducing unemployment (Hummel, 2015). With illegals coming in, they begin to start new businesses, create new jobs, and introduce different perspectives on diverse foods and cultures.
The one area where there has been a consistent belief regarding illegal immigrants is their supposed link with increasing crime in some cities. When an illegal immigrant comes into a neighborhood, it is rumored that they are associated with crimes more often than those who are legal immigrants. Violent crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, assault and drug trafficking. Yet, many of the crimes in today’s country, involving school shootings and massacres, are done by those who are American citizens. Some of those serious crimes sometimes involve those who fought for their country, being more of a threat for their high background skill level they learned in combat. In fact, 39% of the U.S incarcerated population holds whites, 40% black, and 19% of the population are those who are considered immigrants.
Research has consistently shown that being foreign born, is negatively associated with crime overall and, is not reluctantly connected with committing either violent or property crimes. If an undocumented immigrant is arrested for a criminal offense, it tends to be for a misdemeanor. Illegal immigrants are less likely to commit a crime because they seek to earn money and not to draw attention to themselves. In addition, immigrants tend to be more of the victims of a crime due to the association that they are part of the crime. The perception is not that crime is increasing, but that many citizens feel threatened by the country’s diversity growth, giving them reason to think that the increase in crime is because of illegal immigrants.
While many citizens believe tightening immigration laws and forcing a wall around the border will help, they have not come to the realization the cost and affect it’s going to revenue in doing so, but also not asking themselves the question if it will slow down the U.S. employment growth. Remembering the recession years, as the U.S. economy began to slow, worries began to fall. By March 2001, the U.S. had officially entered a recession and apprehensions had fallen 33 percent from their high in January 2000. They fell even further in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack. Since 2000, apprehensions never returned to the highs of the mid- to late- 1990s. This was the result of both, more intense border enforcement, which raised crossing costs, and began to gradually slowdown the U.S. employment growth. While payroll employment grew at an annual average rate of 2.4 percent in 1995-2000 it slowed to 0.5 percent in 2001-2008, weakening the economic incentives for immigration (Duarte, 2018).
By allowing borders to continue to be open, gives a person who is born, the decision in which he/she is able to choose to live their life in another country that better corresponds to his/her beginning of a good life. Instead of having their fate determined by the place of birth. Freedom to choose a place to live in, means not only a conquest of uninformed factors in one’s life, but also a positive development of a person’s capacity to participate in shaping one’s own moral world, creating one’s own life (Duarte, 2018).