The Impact of Illegal Immigration on American Society

Abstract

The United States of America has remained very attractive to the illegal immigrants who believe that this is a land of opportunities. Most of the illegal immigrants come to the country to look for better employment opportunities. In a recent report, the country is estimated to host over 11 million illegal immigrants. These immigrants have massive impact on the economy. Some pay taxes through pay-as-you earn program. They all pay value-added tax through the purchases they make. Some even contribute towards social security fund, although they cannot claim this money when they retire. Some local citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are taking away their jobs. This is because they have equal or even better qualifications, but are always willing to accept lesser wages as opposed to the locals.

This is true because these immigrants are always willing to accept what the locals consider barely minimum and that which is not acceptable to them. Although recent reports show that the immigrants are beneficial to the country’s economy, they also note that illegal immigrants are dangerous to the country. Some of these illegal immigrants engage in criminal activities and given the fact that the government lacks their detailed identification, it becomes difficult to trace them. Their huge population also makes it difficult for the government to approve applicants who want to immigrate to the country legally. In order to have a more coordinated approach to handling immigration, the government should use the military and other security agencies to close our borders from these illegal immigrants. Those arrested should be deported back to their country on incarcerated in our prison facilities.

Introduction

Illegal immigration into the United States is one of the social problems that the current regime and other regimes in the past have had to deal with in various ways. Martin (2009) defines illegal immigration as “The act by foreign nationals of entering the United States without government permission and in violation of immigration law of the United States, or staying beyond the termination date of a visa, also in violation of the law.” As stated in this definition, illegal immigration involves staying in the United States against the stipulation of the law. While a number of illegal immigrants sneak into our borders without the knowledge of relevant authorities through dubious means, another group come legally, but overstay beyond the stated period. According to LeMay (2013), the United States of America remains the most attractive destination for immigrants all over the world. Those who fail to acquire the right documentation would sneak into the country and stay without the knowledge of the authorities. There has been a raging debate on the real effect of these immigrants to the economy of the country, and how this issue can be addressed in an amicable manner. This research focuses on the impact of illegal immigrants into the United States, and how this illegal immigration can be controlled.

The Proper Ways to Legally Enter into the US and Proper Way to Become a Citizen

According to Coy (2010), the world is fast turning into a global village, and the need to travel from one country to another cannot be avoided. Citizens of other countries may need to travel to the United States, or even become citizens of this country. There is a clear law that states what one needs to enter United States of America. The law also states what happens when one needs to become a United States citizen. In order to enter the United States, one must have a visa that can be obtained in the American embassies across the world. There are two types of visa. One can obtain an immigrant’s visa or a non-immigrant’s visa. For those who do not intend to stay in the country permanently, the no-immigrant visa would be issued based on the intentions of the travel, and the duration one would take in the country.

As LeMay (2013) says, it is always easier to obtain a non-immigrant’s visa than obtaining an immigrant’s visa. A non-immigrant’s visa is always issued to tourists, students, and people coming in the country to visit the family or for other reasonable causes that would make one want to visit the country. For the immigrants, it may be necessary to explain to the embassy why one intends to immigrate to the United States. Some of the valid reasons that one be considered for immigration into the country may be work-related, especially those with special skills, investors, those seeking asylum, or when one is married to an American.

Before one can acquire a visa for non-immigrants, there are some conditions as set by the law that should be met. The first requirement that one must meet is that he or she must be in a possession of a round-trip ticket. This ensures that the immigrant to not claim that he or she has not financial ability to come back once the time awarded expires. The applicant must also have a machine-readable visa which is valid for the next six months from the day the application should be approved (Coy, 2010). This will act as the identification document when in the United States where national identity card of the immigrant may be of little use. The applicant must undertake to use the designated carrier to allow for an easy in tracking his or her movements into the United States. These regulations are set to ensure that people who come to the country as visitors do not overstay beyond the stated period. It also helps in monitoring their movements in the country as a way of deterring them from engaging in illegal activities while in the country.

How Illegal Immigration Affects Those Trying to Immigrate Legally

Illegal immigration has not only affected the current citizens of the United States, but also other people from various parts of the world who are trying to immigrate into the country legally. According to the report by LeMay (2013), the number of illegal immigrants into the country is so high that the government is considering enacting laws that would limit both legal and illegal immigration into this country. This report further states that the government has been seen as helpless in handling individuals who are living in the country illegally. This is so because they are actively engaged in national building activities. Some of these illegal immigrants are people with desirable skills and are actively employed in various industries in the country. Another desirable characteristic of these immigrants is that they accept low wages, making them very popular with most employers in the country. However, this comes at a cost to those trying to immigrate legally.

According to Coy (2010), the government of the United States has tightened the requirements that one needs in order to immigrate to this country. This is as a result of increased illegal immigration into the country. The government has also limited the number of those who can be allowed to immigrate into the country per given period. This means that even those trying to immigrate legally and have all the qualifications may be denied the opportunity because of the high population of the illegal immigrants in the country. It is unfair to those trying to immigrate llegally to be locked out just because some individuals have immigrated into the country illegally, making it difficult for the government to allow more immigrants into the country. Other illegal immigrants come to the country as criminals or terrorists, making the government weary of foreigners who request to be allowed to visit or stay in the country.

Economic Impact of Illegal Immigration

There has been a raging debate over the years as to whether or not the illegal immigrants have positive or negative economic impacts to the country. Many scholars have been asking whether illegal immigrants are helping or hurting the US economy. According to Warner (2010), the answer to this question would depend on the approach one takes to analyze it. This country is a home to over 11 million illegal immigrants according to the estimates given in 2010 (LeMay, 2013). This is a huge population that must have a massive economic impact in the country. Most of these illegal immigrants come to the country in search of employment opportunities. This means that they are participating in the development of the country’s economy.

As mentioned above, some of these immigrants are engineers, doctors, architects, designers, or other professions that are vital in the development of the country’s economy. Given the fact that they accept low wages as compared to the local country nationals, most firms that hire them would make higher profits. This helps in their expansion to other countries, making them even more profitable. The higher tax they generate would also translate to a higher tax the firms pay to the government. When these immigrants stay in the country, they expand the local market for various commodities. This expanded local market would mean that the local business society would be making increased sales. This would help in their development. They also contribute to the economic growth by paying taxes to the government through the purchases they make. The value added tax is paid by anyone who makes purchase to non-subsidized products in the country.

Another issue that many have been asked is whether or not illegal immigrants are paying taxes besides sales tax. According to Polyanichko (2010), some illegal immigrants pay tax such as pay-as-you-earn, while others do not pay tax, depending on the nature of their job and their employer. Illegal immigrants who work in large companies as doctors, nurses, engineers, designers or other professional jobs always pay tax. They even contribute towards social security fund although they are fully aware that they cannot claim such funds once they retire. Such contributions always go towards the development of various governmental projects. There are those who are employed as casual laborers who work in the informal sectors. It may not be possible to tax this group because they are always paid their wages as soon as they complete their work.

Many of the American citizens have been complaining that the illegal immigrants are taking American jobs, including the attractive white collar jobs blue chip companies. According to Tichenor (2002), a good number of illegal immigrants are highly qualified professionals with skills that are needed in various companies. They come to the country looking for better employment opportunities that is rare in their home countries. They are always willing to accept lower wages as compared to the citizens of the country. Given the fact that some are even more qualified that the local workforce, they are always hired at the expense of the citizens of the country. This has forced Americans to settle for lesser appealing jobs. The presence of illegal immigrants ready to do any casual jobs at meager pay has meant that Americans must be willing to accept similar amounts or be qualified enough to work in other areas. Anyone who does not fit in the two options would be left jobless.

Managing Illegal Immigrants into US

Following the recent rise in the number of people immigrating into this country illegally, there has been a need to control the borders in order to eliminate or minimize the rate at which illegal immigrants get into the country. Several options have always been flouted as a way of dealing with this issue. According to Vigdor (2009), the United States is still the preferred destination country for the illegal immigrants all over the world. This means that if measures are not put in place to control it, the country will still be subjected to illegal immigration. The government must find the most appropriate strategy that would help address this social issue that affects Americans in various ways.

Border patrol is one of the recommendations that have been made to the government in combating illegal immigrations. These illegal immigrants use our porous borders to find their way into the country. Some of these borders are poorly manned by police officers. Some of the officers accept bribes to allow these immigrants into the country. Tichenor (2002) says that we use the US Military to assist in border security because over 70 percent of these illegal immigrants use these borders (Donovan, 2004).

The officers should ensure that all tracks and other vehicles that come through our borders are thoroughly searched to eliminate incidences where illegal immigrants hide within the cargo. If necessary, the government may need to recruit more border patrol officers who will be working around the clock to ensure that chances that illegal immigrants would use the border is completely eliminated. Some have even suggested erecting fences on our borders, but this may not be effective enough in combating illegal immigration because fences can easily be destroyed.

Another appropriate strategy would be to identify overstaying visa holders who failed to travel to their home country upon the expiry of the dates given to them in the country. Recent reports show that those who come with legal visas but overstay form a substantial percentage of the illegal immigrants. The government should have a program that would make it possible to monitor movements of visitors in the country. When their visas have expired, the government should be able to flush them out and send them back to their countries. The system should be effective enough to be able to combat illegal immigration. The number of who are taking advantage of their visas by staying in the country even past their due date has expired is very high. This system should address this issue

Social Evils Associated with Illegal Immigration

Illegal immigration is associated with the rise in various social evils within the borders of the United States. According to Loucky, Armstrong and Estrada (2006), illegal immigration has led to high rates of crime in this country. These scholars say that these are individuals who are in the country without the knowledge of the government. This makes it very difficult for the government to trace their identities once they commit a crime. The government does not have their fingerprints in its database, and this means that when their fingerprints are taken at crime scenes, it may take a very long time for their true identity to be revealed. This makes it easy for them to run their criminal activities in the country.

Some of the common social crimes associated with the illegal emigrants include robberies, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and prostitution. Drug and human trafficking is very common among the Mexicans illegally staying in the country. Prostitutions is high among the Indian or African immigrants who come seeking for jobs, but are attracted to the industry because it is perceived to be more attractive. Although they are fully aware that such practices are illegal in the country, they do not hesitate to engage in them as long as they realize that one can earn good income from it. The fact that they are not in the government record makes it even more complex for the law enforcers to track and arrest them, much to their advantage.

According to Anderson (2010), the United States government should come up with a clear plan on what should be done to illegal immigrants who commit crimes while in the country. Currently, the government would incarcerate such individuals in US prisons, especially if they are suspected to be terrorists. Guantanamo Bay still remains open for people suspected to be organizing crime against humanity in this country. There are several other prisons in the country that can be used to detain such criminals. Incarceration has its pros and cons. One advantage is that when such criminals are detailed in the country, they will reveal the identity of their accomplices whom they have been committing crime with in the country.

They would give important leads that can help in the arrest of other gang members that are still running loose in the country. They will also be unable to sneak back to the country and continue with their criminal activities. However, this approach has the disadvantage of crowding our prisons. The government would also incur the cost of keeping them in the country. For this reason, when the crime is considered less serious such as prostitution, the suspects should be deported back to their country when they are first offenders. When such criminals find their way back to the country and continue with their crime, the government may consider incarceration. Although the process of deporting these criminals may be high, it may be an option in cases where the offences are minor to avoid congestion in prisons.

Further Ideas to Solve Illegal Immigration

It is important to understand the future and reality of the situation so as to establish a plan that would help eliminate the problem of illegal immigration. According to LeMay (2007), immigration into the country may not be considered as a problem. In fact the immigrating population has played a pivotal role in the development of this economy. Some of the immigrants are highly skilled professionals in various areas. Recent reports show that the country has been receiving highly qualified doctors, especially from the developing countries. The cost of training a single doctor is very high. It would also take time for such a doctor to gain experience to handle patients suffering from complex diseases. However, when these professionals come to the country already trained and experienced, the country benefits a lot. The government should therefore, develop a mechanism that would eliminate illegal immigration using approaches discussed above to enable more deserving immigrants come to the country legally to help in nation building.

Conclusion

The issue of illegal immigration into the country has raised a lot of controversy for various reasons, and it has been seen as a problem that needs to be addressed. Millions of people have migrated into the country illegally, making it very difficult to account for their activities locally. Although they benefit the economy from the taxes they pay, the purchases they make, and the skills they bring, they also pose dangers to the society, especially those who come as criminals. The government should find a way in which illegal immigration can be combated in order to encourage legal immigration into the country.

References

Anderson, S. (2010). Immigration. Santa Barbara: Greenwood.

Coy, P. G. (2010). Research in social movements, conflicts and change. Bingley: Emerald.

Donovan, S. (2004). Protecting America: A look at the people who keep our country safe. Minneapolis: Lerner.

LeMay, M. C. (2007). Illegal immigration: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

LeMay, M. C. (2013). Transforming America: Perspectives on U.S. immigration. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.

Loucky, J., Armstrong, J., & Estrada, L. J. (2006). Immigration in America today: An encyclopedia. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Martin, P. L. (2009). Importing poverty: Immigration and the changing face of rural America. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Polyanichko, E. (2010). Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Mexican Immigration. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH.

Tichenor, D. J. (2002). Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Vigdor, J. L. (2009). From immigrants to Americans: The rise and fall of fitting in. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Warner, J. A. (2010). U.S. border security: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.