The problem of illegal immigration has been one of the main societal issues of the United States. It is for this reason that one of the matters of concern during the 2016 Presidential elections was how the candidates running for the post would handle the issue of undocumented immigrants. On the one hand, some people consider that undocumented immigrants are associated with a range of foreseen advantages not only to the economy of the country but to the whole society at large. On the other hand, other people feel that the problem of illegal immigrants should be eradicated and the government should take bold steps to curb illegal immigration. It is on this note that President Trump has a stance that the United States needs to build a wall along its borders with Mexico to prevent illegal immigration. Consequently, the issue of undocumented immigrants provokes debates among the various members of the society, with each member supporting their stance on whether or not the United States should deport the undocumented immigrants. It is suggested that the United States should stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants due to the positive economic impact that these individuals have on the economy of the country, as well as due to the strife or political prosecution that they may face when deported, and due to the decrease in consumer prices for the citizens of the United States.
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Illegal Immigration: An Overview
The United States welcomes undocumented immigrants from different regions of the world. According to the United States Constitution, an undocumented immigrant is an individual who enters the country without permission, an individual who continues living in the US after the expiration of their visa, or the one who violates the immigration rules of the country. Before 1924, the United States had open borders for all individuals who sought to enter the country. This means that the individuals who entered the country before that time were deemed as legal migrants. It is after that period that the Immigration Act of 1924 addressed the parameters through which various visa requirements had been established before individuals were allowed to enter the country and certain quotas were set for individuals from specific countries. However, even with the above steps taken to rid the country of any form of undocumented immigrants, the US still receives many undocumented immigrants each year. By 2015, the US had a total of about 11 million undocumented immigrants bringing the number to about 3.4% of the total population. Immigrants have been observed to come from different countries. About 5% are from the EU and Canada, 5% from the Caribbean region, and 6% from South America. 12% of the undocumented immigrants in the US have come from Asia, 15% from Latin America and Mexico has been observed to have the highest number of 52%. This shows that the majority of the undocumented individuals come from Central America.
There are different categories of undocumented immigrants. One of these groups includes the undocumented immigrants who enter the country by illegal means. About six to seven million of the immigrants in the US have used this form of entry to the US. The next group of undocumented immigrants includes those who enter the US through valid visas and extend their stay after the expiration of their visas. Individuals are considered undocumented immigrants in this case if they continue staying in the foreign country after the valid time of admission in the country has expired. The individuals who overstay after their visas have expired have been observed to be more educated than those who enter the country through illegal means. To avoid this form of overstay, individuals caught after having overstayed for more than 180 days but less than a year face a three-year ban if they attempt any form of readmission into the US. Those who try to seek readmission after overstaying for more than a year are subjected to a ten-year ban. The rest of the undocumented immigrants are those who perform what is known as border crossing cards violations. Whenever crossing the border, some individuals are provided with what is known as the crossing cards that indicate how much time they are going to spend within the borders of the United States. In some cases, such individuals violate the dates written on these cards and extend their stay. However, such individuals are of much smaller number as opposed to those who gain entry through the other means mentioned above.
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Reasons for Illegal Immigration
Before outlining the reasons why the United States government should not deport illegal immigrants, it is crucial to take a look at some of the reasons that cause such undocumented immigrants to enter the United States. Generally, the reason why individuals come to the United States is due to being in search of greener pastures. The United States has always been described as a land of opportunities where individuals can make a decent living irrespective of their country of origin, religion, race or even background. As such, most individuals who come to the US are chasing the American Dream. One of the other reasons why people move to the US is due to economic concerns. The US has been viewed to offer various job opportunities that are unavailable in the individuals countries of origin. Moreover, the minimum wage in the United States is much higher than the wages offered in other countries. As a result, individuals choose illegal entry so as to be paid the minimum wage. Even with all the deductions made the wages of the undocumented immigrants are about three times higher than what they would have got in their countries of origin. Another reason why people choose to immigrate to the United States is due to the political strife in their native countries. Some individuals have been observed to run away from their native countries to avoid instances of political oppression in their countries of origin. As such, they come to the United States as a form of political haven to ensure that they are not oppressed for their political affiliations. One more reason why some individuals move to the United States is to unite with their families . Some individuals come from families that have already immigrated to the United States. As such, this reason is often the hugest motivator for immigration as compared to economic motivations or seeking political asylum. These are some of the reasons why the United States has a higher rate of undocumented immigrants within its borders.
Economic Impacts of Illegal Immigrants
The United States government should not deport the undocumented immigrants within its borders for several reasons. First, the undocumented immigrants have several positive effects on the economy of the United States. Undocumented immigrants cannot be formally employed in the country. As such, they work in the unskilled and the semi-skilled sectors of the economy in the US such as the agricultural sector and the manufacturing sector. In the US, most individuals work in the sectors of the economy that largely depend on white collar jobs. As such, the sectors of the economy that rely on manual labor are left behind when it comes to generating GDP of the country. Without the undocumented immigrants, such sectors might be neglected. The undocumented immigrants fill the gaps in such sectors of the economy and ensure that all the sectors of the economy are contributing positively towards the countrys GDP production. This ensures that there is a balance within the countrys economy and that all sectors contribute towards the increase of the national GDP. This is a contradiction to the opinion that undocumented immigrants take away the jobs meant for the US citizens. Instead, the undocumented immigrants generally fill the sectors of the economy that do not have a huge workforce, balancing all the sectors of the economy, thus increasing the countrys GDP.
Another economic impact that the undocumented immigrants have on the economy of the United States is the change in the prices of consumer goods. The cost of goods has been observed to go up in the cases where the cost of production of such goods is high. On the other hand, the cost of goods tends to go down in the cases where the cost of production of such goods is low. The undocumented immigrants provide labor in various manufacturing industries within the United States. This means that these individuals are paid less than what would be paid if the US citizens were to be given the same jobs. As such, these industries produce their products at a lesser cost. What this means is that they provide the same goods to the consumers at a lower cost than what they would have done if the same products were to be produced using a labor force comprising the native citizens of the US. This means that illegal immigration leads to overall price reduction of the products and services offered to the consumers in different sectors . This is not limited to the manufacturing sector but also affects other sectors such as the agricultural sector, for example. By providing cheap labor in the farms, agricultural products become cheaper. This also translates to what the consumers within the United States pay in restaurants since such restaurants use cheaper products hence provide cheaper services to their customers. Without the labor provided by the undocumented immigrants, the cost of products and services within the United States would actually be higher. As a result, the US government should not deport the undocumented immigrants to ensure that the price levels of various commodities remain low.
Moreover, the United States government should not deport undocumented workers due to the direct contributions that they make to the economy of the country. Despite receiving low wages when providing labor in the various sectors of the economy, the undocumented immigrants also pay taxes to the United States government. A report published by the Congressional Budget Office indicates that undocumented immigrants amounting to about six million file their tax returns to the IRS. Additionally, about 50% and 75% of the undocumented immigrants also remit federal, state and local taxes to the concerned authorities . It has also been observed that undocumented immigrants also pay close to $7billion when it comes to social security expenses. These numbers show that a substantial part of the countrys GDP directly correlates with what is remitted by undocumented immigrants within the United States. This is contrary to the opinion that undocumented immigrants only use the resources of the country without paying for them in the form of taxes or other cuts to the federal, state or local governments. Undocumented immigrants have also been noted to boost the economy of the country by spending millions of dollars in various ways such as buying commodities or even seeking for services within the United States. This promotes the countrys economy indirectly and also leads to the creation of jobs within the economy. As a result, the illegal immigrants also play a huge role in the economy of the US hence deporting them would affect the economy in numerous ways. For this reason, the US government should not deport them.
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As mentioned earlier, the illegal immigrants also contribute to the social security of the United States. However, since they are not citizens of the United States, they are not legible to receive such benefits. This, therefore, has a positive impact on the residents of the United States who are legible for the services provided by social security. Every year, the United States Social Security Administration which is the body tasked with managing all the funds remitted for social security collects between $6-$7 billion of contributions for social security and keeps it in an earnings suspense file which is an account for W-2 tax forms that cannot be added by an accurate social security number. When the social security numbers are already in use, when the number does not match the names in the records, in cases where the social security numbers are fake, or in cases where the individual in question is too young or too old, the remittance of such numbers are posted in the Earnings Suspense File. This means that the social security remissions made by the undocumented immigrants fall under this category. The undocumented immigrants do not claim any forms of benefits from the US Social Security Administration. An example is in a report by the US Social Security Administration that observed that illegal immigrants paid close to $13 billion for social security through their employers. Therefore, the citizens of the United States receive various benefits in greater amounts than they would have due to the amounts already provided by the illegal immigrants. What this means is that those who are legible to receive the social security are to receive some form of subsidy since they enjoy the benefits provided by the illegal immigrants. Due to this positive impact that the undocumented immigrants have on social security, the government should not deport them.
Benefits to the Employers
Illegal immigrants also bring a number of benefits to their employers. Employers benefit from illegal immigrants since they do not have to pay them higher wages as long as they pay them the minimum wages. Paying such individuals minimum wages is advantageous to such employers since it ensures that they do not spend much when it comes to the welfare contributions or other costs that are not related to wages. Moreover, such employers do not have to provide any form of benefits to such employees. In such cases, the payments are translated into cash for such individuals and the money is spent almost immediately. As a result, approximately 8 million jobs within the United States are dependent upon the money paid to the undocumented immigrants. This, therefore, has a huge economic impact on the employers of such individuals along with other employers that offer various products and services to the immigrants.
As stated above, one of the reasons that leads to illegal immigration to the United States is due to political oppression in ones native country. A considerable number of undocumented immigrants come from regions experiencing wars or some forms of political instability. As such, these individuals only travel to the United States for the sake of peaceful living and to avoid any calamities that might come up as a result of the political climate within their native countries. In some cases, the undocumented immigrants leave their countries to avoid prosecutions due to the various political affiliations that they might have. Deporting such individuals means that the undocumented immigrants will be brought back to the same conditions that they were running away from. As such, the government should not deport such individuals but instead offer them refuge to avoid such instances.
Illegal Immigrants and Crime Rates
The main proponents of the stance that illegal immigrants should be deported argue that illegal immigrants lead to an increase in the crime rates within the United States. However, there is no form of empirical evidence that shows that illegal immigration translates to the growth of criminal activity in the US. For example, the study of Gonzalez, Collingwood & El-Khatib shows that immigrants commit les crimes compared to the US citizens. Many studies have shown that there is a low crime rate associated with the immigrant population in general as opposed to non-immigrants and that a higher number of undocumented individuals are associated with lower rates of crime. Some of the researches performed by various scholars have even suggested that illegal immigration can partially be the reason why there is a reduction in the rates of crime in the United States. According to Green, there is no link between the high number of undocumented immigrants and the high rates of violent crimes. Another study by Light, Miller, and Kelly shows that an increase in the number of illegal immigrants leads to a decrease in the arrests made as a result of drug trade, arrests due to DUI or even drug overdoses in the country. Moreover, in California, the provision of driving licenses to undocumented immigrants did not lead to an increase in the total number of traffic accidents within the state, or the occurrence of fatal accidents. It, however, led to a decrease in the number of hits and run accidents thus leading to the improvement of traffic safety within the state. These are some of the examples used to show that illegal immigration to the United States does not lead to an overall increase in crime within the United States. As a result, the stance that illegal immigration translates to an increase in crime rates has no grounds and the government should not deport the undocumented immigrants based on this stance.
Cost of Deportation
Lastly, the US government should not deport undocumented immigrants due to the cost that the mass deportation would produce on the economy of the country. According to Wolgin, a mass deportation of all the undocumented immigrants would be a logistical nightmare for all the institutions involved in the deportation. Moreover, the cost that the government is likely to incur would be so large that instead of conducting the full procedure, the government should just provide a legal status to the undocumented immigrants and then develop stringent immigration policies to curb illegal immigration within the country. As estimated by Wolgin, it would cost the government about $10070 per individual to remove 11.3 million people from the boundaries of the country, which amount to a sum of $114 billion in total. This is only the direct cost that would be incurred, although the economy would be caused damage in some other ways as well. For these reasons, the government should not deport immigrants.
The government should not deport immigrants for a variety of reasons. First, the immigrants have several positive impacts when it comes to the economy of the country. First, the illegal immigrants ensure that the prices of various commodities go down due to the cheap labor that they provide by working in the various sectors of the economy. Moreover, the immigrants also pay taxes and cover their social security similar to other citizens meaning that they also directly contribute to the economy. Deporting the undocumented immigrants means that they are brought back to their native countries, which they might have run away from to avoid political oppression, hence forcing the immigrants to return to their homelands would open them up to the same oppression that they have been trying to run away from. For these reasons, the government should not deport illegal immigrants, but instead, should develop stringent measures to prevent further immigration.