Since time immemorial, people have traveled and migrated from one place to another. There are a number of reasons why persons leave their place of residence to live in another country. One is because of political reasons as an individual may be the subject of persecution in his own country. The other is because of social reasons as an individual may want to avoid the rising crime rate in his own country.
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Another reason is economic as an individual may want to pursue better employment opportunities for himself and for his family. The last reason is the most common reason why since two centuries ago, the United States has become the haven for immigrants from different parts of the world. Immigration is not per se bad for the United States. The issue in this essay is whether illegal immigration, or the situation when immigrants enter the territory of a particular nation without authorization coming from the said country or having entered the territory of a particular country with authorization they either overstay their visa or violate the terms and conditions of their visa, is prejudicial to our country. I aim to prove that while there are benefits to illegal immigration it seriously outweighs the disadvantages because it deprives the rightful citizens of the decent employment opportunities, decent wages and exposes us to the terrorist threat.
Statistics shows that illegal immigrants represent around 4% to 7% of the entire US population. Currently, there are 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants working in the United States. (“The Benefits of Illegal Immigration”) Despite the increasing number of illegal immigrants, nothing substantial has been done by the US Congress about this situation. It is also noteworthy that in 2004 the number of illegal immigration even increased under the Bush Administration. With these staggering statistics, immigration reform has become one of the most important issues confronting the United States today. With rising number of illegal immigrants in the United States, questions have been raised about the effects of illegal immigration on United States economy, the criminal justice system and the potential national security threats posed by the unauthorized entry into the country. (“Is Immigration a Problem or Opportunity for U.S.?”)
Not everyone is against illegal immigration. Some say that illegal immigrants help fuel the American economy because of their willingness to perform jobs that not every US citizen is willing to do. For some people, illegal immigrants actually give more than what they can take insofar as helping the economy is concerned. This is emphasized by Presidential Candidate and Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain, who said that immigration can be an advantage to the United States. "Immigration will help the United States be a more productive, competitive and successful nation in the 21st century. As the U.S. economy creates more jobs than can be filled by native-born workers, immigration complements the workforce exceptionally well and fills gaps at all skill levels.” (“EDITORIAL: Immigration reform in '07: fact or fiction?: Our view: With Democrats on Bush's side on this issue, it's time to address problem”)
Consider the hiring and employing illegal immigrants who are willing to work and perform the same job that a United States citizen does at a cheaper price. It is said that employers cut their overhead cost by a significant amount by hiring illegal immigrants. Lesser overhead expenditures mean more savings. More savings translate to more profits. More profits mean for incentive for businesses and investors to put up their own businesses in the United States. (Deborah White, 2006, p.3)
On the other hand, there are also some who are against illegal immigration. They say that illegal immigration seriously prejudices the United States labor force by depriving them of the opportunity to get jobs. The citizens of the United States, the people who are entitled to protection from the government, are denied their opportunity to get a decent job and earn a decent wage because they are forced to compete with the illegal immigrants. Moreover, when the citizens of the country are denied the opportunity to get decent jobs and decent wages, the quality of their life is substantially affected. Supporters of illegal immigration say that the country is benefited by illegal immigration because it drives the prices of commodities down to the minimum as the labor cost is reduced. This, however, is not supported by facts as labor cost is but just one component of the total overhead cost for the price of basic commodities. Much of the basic costs go to warehouse expenses, shipping expenses, taxes, rent and retailer’s markup, all of which affect the price of basic commodities. Moreover, the most serious concern involving illegal immigration is terrorism. Illegal immigration exposes the United States from potential terrorist attacks. It must be stressed that some of the terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attack are illegal aliens who had expired visas.
Based on the arguments presented, it is clear that a strong policy against illegal immigration must be adopted. Improving border security is an essential component in the fight for immigration reform, but the United States Congress should not focus on it alone. There are many other strategies that can be used to solve this problem. To get rid of illegal immigrants we only have eliminated the motivations why illegal immigrants are here in the first place. Thus, laws must be passed so that illegal immigrants are denied medical, welfare and educational benefits which they are currently receiving. Second, is to prohibit employers from hiring illegal immigrants. In this regard, Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Missouri should be emulated for passing laws that impose an obligation upon business owners to verify the legal status of all newly-hired employees since they can be punished by law for hiring illegal aliens whether purposely or inadvertently. Third, is to stop the issuance of driver’s license to illegal aliens or to refuse its renewal for those who have already been issued driver’s license. I believe that it is time for the United States to start giving preferential attention to the United States citizens.
- "EDITORIAL: Immigration reform in '07: fact or fiction?: Our view: With Democrats on
Bush's side on this issue, it's time to address the problem." AZ Daily Star (Tucson, AZ).
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. 2007.
- “Is Immigration a Problem Or Opportunity for U.S.?” Chicago Sun-Times. August 20, 1993.
- “The Benefits of Illegal Immigration.” 13 March 2009.
- White, Deborah. (2006) Illegal Immigration Explained – Profits, Poverty, Social Security, and Starvation. 13 March 2009, from www.umsl.edu/~rkeel/200/ratchoc.html