The effects of illegal immigration on the economy
The debate on the effects of illegal immigrants on the United States economy has been marked with controversy. Proponents of illegal immigration claim of its importance in providing cheap labor to companies, a factor that greatly boosts their competitive economic stand. Another common claim is that illegal immigration benefits the government through increased tax revenue collections as well as expansion of the gross domestic product (Briggs, 1996). It is also asserted by some proponents of illegal immigration that the practice finds strong influence on the transfer of innovation and economically useful information into the nation.
On the contrary, opponents of illegal immigration have blamed the trend to the increased employment in the nation (Edmondson, 1996). Illegal immigration serves to provide cheap labor to business investments, a factor that not only compromises the availability of employment for the locals but also negates the terms and conditions of employment. The practice of illegal immigration is closely attributed with an increase in crime activities such as drug trafficking in the community (Edmondson, 1996). Another negative effect of illegal immigration is it impact on environmental pollution and exploitation of the nation’s natural resources as it leads to increases demand of resources and waste production.
Still, the economic contribution of illegal immigrants is found to be far much less the cost incurred by the government in providing for their basic social support infrastructures like health, security, and education. This paper is written as a discussion on the positive and negative implications of illegal immigration into the economy of the United States of America. The author also gives an argument on the need to enforce stiffer immigration rules as a tool for protecting the long-term social and economic prosperity of our nation.
Negative effects of illegal immigration on the US economy
Illegal immigration has been blamed for having various negative implications on the US economy. First, illegal immigration has increased levels of unemployment among the citizens of American. The realization of sustainable economic development is mainly dependent on the economic independence of the individual citizens. To realize this, it calls for provision of quality, reliable and well paying jobs to the citizens. However, this is compromised by companies, which seek to maximize profits through hiring of cheap labor brought by illegal immigrants (Smith, Edmonston, & National Research Council, 19998). Statistics indicate that most illegal immigrants are involved in cheap and highly exploitative employments. Such have been closely attributed to the fact that they lack political and legal strength to engage in competitive labor bargaining practices (Hanson, 2007). Based on this reasoning, illegal immigrants bring unfair employment competition to the American citizens.
In addition, the high rate of illegal influx of immigrants in the United States is compromising the culture of developing professionalism among the American citizens (Edmondson, 1996). According to available statistical findings, most American firms are increasingly engaging employing skilled and qualified illegal immigrants for increasing there competitive advantage (Edmondson, 1996). This practice is blamed for denying young professionals the opportunity to gain practical work experience, a factor that contradicts the career nurturing and innovation policies of our nation. Just to be underscored here is that organization cannot engage in training employees given availability of already skilled professionals in the market. Therefore, illegal immigration has negative implications on the development of professionalism among the local citizens of America.
Secondly, illegal immigration is blamed for increased crime activities in the United States. Insecurity in the American nation remains an issue of contention among its citizens. According to research findings, illegal immigrants stand a high chance of being involved in crime activities. This has been closely attributed to the fact that such families are marked with numerous economic problems as is mainly witnessed in their poor living conditions (Briggs, 1996). In support of this claim for example, reports from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated that illegal immigrants are more likely to go to prison for serous and petty crimes compared to the local citizens. On the question of human rights abuse in the American nation, illegal immigrants are accepted with high levels of hostility in some regions of the American nation.
Statistics from the FBI indicate that the American nation is comprised of an estimated over 30,000 organized crime groups (Briggs, 1996). Still evident from the statistics is that most of these groups are mainly involved in anti-racial practices, particularly against the minorities who are mainly illegal immigrants. Due to this reason, most immigrants in America find comfort in forming their own crime groups to protect their members. This has the implication of compromising the realization of sustainable crime prevention strategies in the community. To emphasis on this claim is the founding of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) crime group by refugees from El Salvador to provide security for its members against racial hostilities imposed on them by Mexican American and African American crime groups (Briggs, 1996). Just to be appreciated is the fact that MS-13 crime group remains one of the most inhuman crime groups in the American nation according to reports by the FBI.
Still, illegal immigration is closely attributed with increased incidences of drug, and firearm trafficking in the American nation. Research findings have sufficiently identified a strong link between drugs and firearms with illegal immigrant such as those from Mexico (Edmonston & Smith, 1998). This has been explained by the claim that increased level of illegal immigrant influx opens the US nation to free flow of foreigners in and out of the nation. It is worthy appreciating that drug trafficking is no doubt one of the serious problems facing the American nation. In addition to these crimes, illegal immigration is identified as a potential cause of terrorist threats in America. Unlike before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the American nation, terrorist groups have decentralized their operational cells (Hanson, 2007). America is no doubt a major target by terrorist groups. Therefore, unchecked immigration practices are a threat to the homeland security of the American nation.
Thirdly, illegal immigration is blamed for straining of the law enforcement agencies in US. According to a recent report from the US department of defense, the high rates of illegal immigration practices are increasing the cost of providing security services in the nation (Smith, Edmonston, & National Research Council, 1998). Given the high terrorist attack threats, security checks and patrols remain a priority role by the law enforcement. As an emphasis to this claim, increased influx of new populations come with its cultural, social, and economic challenges; a factor which dictate for an increase in the number of law enforcement officers to ensure sustainable security in the communities. Statistical evidence from the Center of Immigration Studies indicates that the population of illegal immigrants in America has been on the increase through out the twentieth century. In addition, illegal immigrants are identified with higher fertility rates compared to the local Americans. It therefore implies that; the country is channeling extra funds into identifying, mitigating, and/or punishing crime offenders (Smith, Edmonston, & National Research Council, 1998). This further compromises the funding of other socially and economically viable community projects by the government.
Another important argument on illegal immigrants as a strain to the law enforcement is the question drug and firearm trafficking into the nation. According to the US department of defense, the problem of drug trafficking is mainly associated to illegal immigration practices (Smith, Edmonston, & National Research Council, 1998). This is explained by the fact that providing for illegal immigration opens our nation to free flow of foreigners in and out of the nation. It has been evidently established that illegal immigrants from the Mexican republic, who found the largest number of immigrants in the nation, are highly involved in drug and firearm trafficking businesses. On the other side, the problem of drug abuse among the Americans remains a major concern by all fronts of the community (Briggs, 1996). This is despite the fact that the federal government is spending several billions of dollars on the war against drugs. Based on this reasoning, the problem of crime activities such as drugs and illegal weapons remains a big challenge to law enforcement due to illegal immigration.
Fourthly, illegal immigration into America can also be blamed for increased environmental pollution. The sustainable development of any nation is highly dependent on its environment conservation policies. By the principles of demand and supply, increase in population leads to increased exploitation of available natural resources (Edmonson, 1996). It also causes an increase in waste production levels in the community, thus increased environmental pollution potential. According to reports from the Census Bureau of American, the population of America is projected to hit the 400 million marked by 2050 given the current trends of illegal immigration into the nation. This is a potential threat to the long-term environmental conservation practices in the nation given the fact that, just like other nations, America has limited artificial and natural resources for sustaining its social and economic prosperity.
Moreover, reports indicate that, despite the fact that American houses only five percent of the world population, it consumes more than 25 percent of the world natural resources. Increased illegal immigrant population could dictate for more resources to meet the demands of the swelling population. Such also will lead to increased production of greenhouse gases as well as other forms of industrial and household wastes into the environment. To clarify this point, available statistical information indicate that the America is currently producing an estimated 25 percent of carbon dioxide gas and about 30 percent of the overall waste products in the world (Edmonson, 1996). Still to be noted, greenhouse production is the reason behind the problem of global warming facing the world today. Therefore, with high rates of population, environmental problems are bound to inevitably affect the Americans, a factor that could compromise our future social and economic prosperity.
In addition, illegal immigration is blamed for failure by the government to provide quality, efficient, and reliable services to its citizens (Hanson, 2007). According to available statistical evidence, majority of the poor in the nation are illegal immigrants. This has been associated to the fact that immigrants are usually subjected to exploitive employment practices, a factor that negates their economic stand in the community. They enjoy government services such as emergence health care, federal funded education, community housing, and food stamps among others. As a consequence, they are bound rely heavily on government services and on help from non-governmental social groups. Such have been cited as causing overstraining of public facilities such as public schools and hospitals (Edmonson, 1996). This, as a problem is explained by the fact that; an increase in population without a matching increase in the capacity of affected can only compromise the quality of their services.
Further, despite their over-reliance on services from public facilities, these immigrants enjoy higher government subsidized or no taxation schemes compared to the working class American citizens. Based on this reasoning, the American citizens are bearing the social, educational, and health burdens of illegal immigrants through payment of high taxes. According to reports from Center of Immigration Studies, illegal immigrant contribute only about $12 billion to government revenue while spending about $26 billions on government funded services (Smith, Edmonston, & National Research Council, 1998). Another common claim is that illegal immigration leads to the introduction of new types of diseases into the American community. This has the implication of further increasing the costs of health care provision in the nation, a factor that does not match the revenue contribution by these illegal immigrants.
According to proponents of illegal immigration, it provides an economic boom to the American nation. Being illegal immigrants, they are usually attributed with the provision of low paying labor services (Hanson, 2007). On the other hand, the aim of investments is to maximize profits through reduction of operational costs. This has the implication that illegal immigration is serving the ultimate purpose of providing cheap and reliable labor force to organization, a factor that functions to provide a competitive advantage to the firms.
It has been evidently established that most of illegal immigrants are marked with low levels of education, legal and political influence (Edmonston & Smith, 1998). This makes them victims of exploitative practices by employers. Another positive effect of illegal immigration on the economy of the United States of America is that it provides additional government revenue through payment of taxes. Statistical information available indicates that the federal government gets an estimated over $12 billions from illegal immigrants in terms of revenue. This is quite instrumental in promoting improvement of public infrastructure by the government.
Recommendations and Conclusion
Based on the above discussion, illegal immigration only adds to America’s list of problems, thus immigration should be more restrictive, with stronger immigration laws and enforcement. The main cause of illegal immigration into the American nation is ineffective border security measures by the law enforcement agencies. According to information from the department of state security, the Mexican-American border is a major gateway for illegal immigration into the nation. Following this reasoning, the government and all its stakeholders should engage more resources in enhancing cross border immigration security measure. Such should include implementation of stiff immigration laws like the recent Arizona’s Anti-Immigration law which law signed into law in April 2010.
Another viable solution to illegal immigration is engaging in joint border security checks among neighboring nations. Statistics have it that illegal immigration has significantly reduced following consulted border security checks by the Mexican and American law enforcements. Still, illegal immigration into America has been lowered by an agreement signed between Mexico and Cuban allowing Mexican government to deport Cuban citizens seeking to enter American government illegally. All these measures could serve the important role of protecting the sustainable social and economic prosperity of the American people.
Briggs Jr., Vernon. (1996). Immigration Policy and the U.S. Economy: An Institutional perspective. Journal of Economic Issues, 30 (1996): 13-47.
Edmondson, B. (1996). Life without Illegal Immigrants. Retrieve June 2, 2010, from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4021/is_n5_v18/ai_18225773/
Edmonston, B., & Smith, J. (1998). The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Hanson, G. (2007). The Economic Logic of Illegal Immigration. New York: Council on Foreign Relations.
Smith, J., Edmonston, B., & National Research Council. (1997). The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.