The Problem of Illegal Immigration
|Topics:||Illegal Immigration, 🛳️ Immigration, 💱 Macroeconomics, 💳 Microeconomics|
If one were to look at illegal immigration as an international problem, world events, such as the displacement of Syrians due to the war in Syria, the problem is not localized to one country. Germany, Greece, Spain, and other European countries all battle this problem daily. However, none of the other countries with illegal immigration issues has to deal with the problem on the same scope and level as the United States of America. The U.S. has been actively battling illegal immigration ever since it became a type of immigrant country of choice for most immigrants during the past century. The problem of illegal immigration in the U.S. finally came to fore during the last 2016 presidential campaign, with then Republican candidate Donald J. Trump informing the public about the extent of the illegal immigration problem while Democratic rival Hillary R. Clinton tried to make the American people believe the opposite. The people chose to believe candidate Trump and make him the president, as he promised to swiftly deal with the illegal immigration problem caused by the illegal crossings at the Mexican border. Some of the problems caused by this crossing are the transfer of illegal drugs, anchor babies meant to secure a resident spot for illegal immigrant parents upon the birth of their child, and several other serious concerns regarding the existing welfare state and government subsidies for immigrants. Very little is known about the current legal and social issues regarding this problem even as the proposed solutions to the problem are always taking center stage in the nightly news which is why solving the problem seems to be hampered politically rather than socially. This essay hopes to shed light on the issue by discussing these various problems and possible solutions.
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To better understand the illegal immigration problem, one must first understand the meaning of an illegal immigrant is. By definition, an illegal immigrant is someone defined by the United States Homeland Security as: “… all foreign-born non-citizens who are not legal residents. Most unauthorized residents either entered the United States without inspection or were admitted temporarily and stayed past the date they were required to leave. . .” (cis.org, n.d.). The United States is facing an illegal immigrant problem numbering at least 11.1 million people (Center for American Progress, 2017) of various nationalities, with majority of those coming from Mexico. The Mexican illegal entry and residency concern is of a high priority in the United States due to the rate of illegal drugs coming in from the border and the rate of heinous crimes committed by illegal Mexicans entering the country. Added to the problem, are the number of other country illegal immigrants, such as those from war torn countries, that come into the United States.
While America is a large country, it does not have unlimited resources with which to deal with the illegals. America is dealing with illegal immigration on two fronts, border and national security. For the illegal immigrants from the Middle East, now President Trump has tried to restrict the national security negative effects of illegal immigration by issuing an executive order that limits the number of persons from several countries from the Middle East from entering the country on a temporary basis. The problem with that executive order and its other incarnations, is that the political players of the democratic party are blocking his moves by getting judges across the country to place a stay or a temporary ban on the enforcement of the law (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2017).
For the problem much closer to home, the case of the Mexican border, the solution the president sees to that is simple, build a formidable wall to stop the immigrants from coming in. The wall solution is the most obvious since the U.S. – Mexico border doesn’t have a complete border wall set up yet. The only stumbling block facing that solution is that the president has repeatedly said since the campaign that Mexico will pay for the wall through increased border fees between the two countries (Corasaniti, 2015).
It is important to note that there are many illegal immigrants in the United States at present who are truly working on legalizing their stay in the country by getting proper documentation. The problem though, is that the process of legalization takes years and a tremendous amount of money to achieve. It isn’t like these people just need to go to Burger King and order their papers off the preset menu. There are legal requirements that needs to be passed before one can gain either a residency or permanent status visa, on their way to becoming legal citizens of the United States. The one election promise that the president cannot keep due to the legal impediments surrounding the illegal immigrant issue is the mass deportation of illegal immigrants. However, recent reports from border patrol agents and enforcers have shown that, since the election of Pres. Trump, illegal border crossing has been down 67 percent (Lioll, 2017) as per Homeland Security reports released by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, due in part to the fact that the Mexicans know that the current American president is a man of action and ensures the reality of his campaign promises. There were only 17 thousand arrests made in March at the border, down from 58,478 in December (Lioll, 2017).
It seems that the mere image of the American President as a strongman in the eyes of the world was a good enough start as a deterrent to the illegal immigration problem (Tobin, 2017). That is not to say that the mere presence of Pres. Trump shall resolve the issue. In fact, for the illegal immigrants who wish to stay in the country, there are still 4 avenues of legalization available to them such as; “Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, DREAMers Green Card through Employment with LIFE Act Protection, asylum status, or the U Visa for victims of crime” (Citizen Path, 2016). The only drawback is that all of these methods of legal means to stay in the country requires years of document processing, as well as an undisclosed sum of expenses that not all illegal immigrants can afford to pay.
There are still many legal and social impediments to the full solution to the illegal immigration crisis. Even as the problem continues to affect the American economy and employment opportunities for the low-skilled American worker.
Reports by The American Resistance indicate that the illegal immigration problem has a clear economic impact on the lives of American citizens. As of 2002, the illegal Mexican immigrants have been the largest drain on the economy as they manage to remit more than $60 million to their home country every year. That makes the flow of American dollars into the Mexican market the highest revenue stream of the country next to exports and oil sales (The American Resistance, n.d.) Having been appraised of these economic problems also raised by illegal immigration, the president is keen to study various legal ways and means to prevent this practice from continuously happening in the United States.
The action plan for enacting changes in the illegal immigration problem of the United States has been laid out by the president in the form of his executive actions and increased border patrol security. It is an action plan that is seen to have merit and effectiveness on the field because the president increased the border agents and managed to convince the possible illegal immigrants that it would be detrimental to their freedom if they dared try to enter the United States illegally. As Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testified at a recent senate hearing on the border problem:
We’ve seen an absolutely amazing drop in the number of migrants coming out of Central America taking that terribly dangerous route from Central America to the United States…In particular, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the number of families and the number of children that are in that pipeline. (Lioll, 2017)
While the effects of the executive order regarding the temporary travel ban from 7 Middle Eastern countries remains tied up in court, it is heartening to see that the illegal immigrant problem, at least coming from the Mexico side of the border is being resolved in a manner that does not drag the judicial system into the problem. For whatever reason, the Mexicans are mostly deciding to stay in their country, work there, and educate their children there, which can only be a good thing for the American system that has, for decades, been overly taxed by the presence of illegal immigrants in the country. The action plan of Pres. Trump seems to be working well in this instance. How effective and how far it will go remains to be seen.
- Corsaniti, N. “Donald Trump Releases Plan to Combat Illegal Immigration”.
- “Economic Costs of Illegal Immigration”. The American Resistance,
- “4 Paths to Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants”. CitizenPath,
- Lioll, M. “Illegal Immigration Down 67 Percent Under Trump”. Conservative Tribune,
- “Illegal Immigrants”. Center for Immigration Studies,
- “The Facts on Immigration Today: 2017 Edition”. Center for American Progress,
- Tobin, J. “How Trump Has Already Put the Brakes on Illegal Immigration. “. New York Post,