Illegal Immigrants. How Does U.S. Control Them?


Wealth and prosperity and political stability are driving people from different parts of the globe to flock to United States of America in search of better life. Some of these aspirants enter United States legally and others come in to U.S violating Nationality and immigration law. A civil litigation can be filed against these individuals under the Paragraph (a), Title 8, Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, “Improper Entry By Alien”. These migrants are termed illegal for one of three reasons: entering without authorization or inspection, staying beyond the authorized period after legal entry, or violating the terms of legal entry. There a growing public concern for illegal immigration as it is viewed as a serious problem.

Main Discussion

There is a widespread perception that illegal immigration encroaches upon the job opportunities of the legal American citizens. They are also accused of being responsible for lowering of wages. The American taxpayer is feeling that the illegal immigrants are burdening the services and programmes of the government. The highest percentages of undocumented illegal immigrants are from Mexico as U.S shares its land borders with it. The illegal alien population is 225,000 almost 70% of these are from Mexico. (Edmonston, 1996). The other foreign nationals come to U.S legally but go on to stay illegally. The USICS has developed technologies to keep track of those who have come to U.S legally by taking their finger prints. A programme called the US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) has been devised to curb the unauthorized stay of these foreign national. These undocumented illegal immigrants are usually young males.

The statistics prior to 1986 showed that the number of undocumented immigrants in United States were around 3 to 5 million. An amendment was made in the immigration and the nationality act called “Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986″. “8 USC 1101 note” was made to tackle the problem of undocumented immigrants. It gave a comprehensive programme of granting amnesty to those who had a prolonged stay in America and could prove and pay a penalty and all the taxes due to them in the past. This partly due to the realization that they contributed positively to the American society (Ngai 2004).The recent comprehensive act 2006 proposes to do the same i.e. of granting the option of legalizing their stay in U.S to almost 85 percent of the nation’s current 11.9 million illegal immigrants grant amnesty to 85 percent of the current illegal immigrant population, or some 10 million individual.

Some will be able to get amnesty with immediate effect. Other would be attaining an LPR status with a provision that they can call their family and dependents to U.S. This amnesty is granted only in case of those illegal immigrants who do not have committed crimes. The reason for this is that deportation of these individuals is cost effective and they are seen to be positively contributing to the economy and the social fabric of the American society. The medic aid that s provided to illegal immigrants who come to the E.Rs of the hospital was also costing. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority had calculated its spending on the emergency relief to be $9.7 million.This was largely due to child birth and related gynaecological problems. The hospital cannot deny medical aid to any illegal immigrant under the federal Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1990.Legalization is going to reduce cost on the health care system as there is screening of the individuals before granting them green cards.Countries like Mexico where poverty is rampant have high incidence rate of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases

It was for the first time hiring of the illegal immigrants was declared to be illegal and it was punishable under law. It is incumbent upon the employer to very the identity and the documents of the worker before hiring him. The employers need to fill the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) and keep the same for period of 1 to 3 years according to the directives of the U.S labour departments. If it is found that the those hiring the workers are knowing the fact that they are hiring a person who has illegal status and cannot work legally then they are liable to pay fine.This is can act as deterrent because the root cause for migrating to U.S is to get better and more paying jobs. Ironically it has proved to be the most difficult section to implement to implement this reform. These young adults are mostly working in the farms and the service industries. They hold 33% of the service industry jobs as they are less qualified than their American counterpart.They are also a sizeable population of the undocumented worker in the installation and repair industry. This measure that has not been fully implemented and it would be surprising that big conglomerates like Wal-Mart ,Swift and co and Tyson food have been indicted in flouting the law. The comprehensive reform act declares that it is incumbent on all big and small business to install ‘Employment Eligibility Verification System ‘so that a central database is created and it would become easier to get information regarding migrants.

Temporary visa permits or the guest worker programs for the low skilled jobs is going to reduce the illegal immigrants and the cost of apprehending and detaining will eventually lessen.

The public outrage at the economic, security social political consequences of the rising tide of the illegal immigration led to the government taking stricter measures to reduce the wave of unauthorized foreigners from entering U.S. This led to increasing the border security patrol. Lot of infrastructure and technology like the underground sensors and infrared scopes has been pumped to enhance the border security force. Measures like building a physical barrier like walls and fencing have been increased so that number of illegal immigrants entering the U.S is curtained. California proximity to San Diego and the fact that maximum amount of illegal makes crossed over unauthorized from this entry point makes it the centre of the border patrol program. The security has been tightened around California and the border with its hustle and bustle of the illegal immigrants trying to cross the border has been replaced by that of eerie silence.The law has been enforced and the results are visible. Almost 200,000 to 400,000 people try to cross over through the hostile desert of Arizona or the wilderness of about 15 to 30 miles. The outcomes of the operation Gatekeeper as it is nicknamed is evident in the drop in the incoming of the unauthorized immigrants. (Nevins, 2001).

The negative fallout of this measure is the shift in the trend of the illegal worker to work and then go back to their homeland and then come back when work is available to permanently stay in U.S as there no chances to come back. The rotational nature of the illegal migration has changed to permanent stay. The heightened concern to secure the border with Mexico has been undertaken because the public viewed the Migratory labor phenomena as being responsible for the lowering of the wages especially in the farming sector. Earlier there was dichotomy between the practice and the saying of the government in order to protect the economic interest of the agricultural industry. The comprehensive reform act 2006, if it is passed by the senate proposes to introduce the guest worker program as the previous experience that stricture measures cannot fully hem the tide of the unauthorized migrations.It is going to increase the influx of immigration to 5million. Under this program the foreign national can enter into America and can stay there for a period of six years. A legalized alternative to entering the U.S is thought to deter the people of the economically backward country like Mexico from jeopardizing their lives to enter America and have a shadowy existence with the imminent danger of the law enforcing agencies looming large over their head. The comprehensive reform act once more emphasis the need of secure borders and proposes to deploying additional 200,000 border patrol force on and erecting a370 miles fencing on the Mexico American borders.


The rising resentment among the populace and increased concern for homeland security has led to the government proposing stringent measures of controlling the influx of the illegal immigrants. Only time will prove the efficacy of these measures.

Works Cited

Committee on National Statistics and Committee on Population , National Research Council Barry Edmonston Editor”Statistics on U.S. Immigration: An Assessment of Data Needs for Future Research” 1996 Publisher: National Academies Press ISBN-10: 0309052750 ISBN-13: 978-0309052757.

Joseph Nevins Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the ‘Illegal Alien’ and the Remaking of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (2001) ISBN-10: 0415931053 ISBN-13: 978-0415931052.

Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004),

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