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Today, illegal immigration of inhabitants and dwellers with no proper working papers to the United States has an estimated 8.9 million (77 percent) of the total 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2011. They were from North America, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. The immigrants who came to the U.S. that originated from Asia was 1.3 million and from South America was 0.8 million. Of all unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2011, 55 percent entered between 1995 and 2004. Entrants since 2005 accounted for only 14 percent of the total. Only 59% of the unauthorized immigrants in 2011 were from Mexico. Mexico continued to be the leading country that contributes to growth in unauthorized immigration to the United States because illegal immigrants cross our U.S. borders predominantly from Mexico. There were 6.8 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico in 2011. (Hoefer, Rytina, & Baker, 2011).
Illegal immigration causes a problem for us because it is a consequence of people's desire or dream to be free and opened to valuable benefits and opportunities as well as other resources that were not available in their own native countries by fleeing to the U.S. Our attention are directed towards the media through daily news reports and observations that everyone is exposed to shows that immigration arouses interests and worries relating to employment, yearly income, our access to public services and the quality of those services provided to us.
Illegal immigrants arrive to the U.S. to take on jobs that bring good offers in hope of having a brighter future for themselves. Plus, they are often welcomed by employers here in the United States. They are able to hire these illegal aliens for lower minimum wages than they would have to pay for hiring legal workers, who have permanent residence in the U.S. This employment is illegal, but some employers still continue to employ them in the underground economy. Other employers just accept fake employment documents and hire the illegal workers as if they were already citizens. The illegal alien workers are mostly foreigners who sneaked into the country, which almost all of them are either Mexicans or Central Americans who enter from Mexico. ("Illegal aliens taking," 2011).
The media's attention and curiosity on crimes and its rates raises concern whether an increase in the immigrant population causes more crimes. At the moment, there are no known link between crime and immigration, but there is a need for local law enforcement to work alongside with federal immigration authorities. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is one of the departments of the U.S. Federal Government, was created to secure our nation from terriorist attacks, foreigners, and other potential threats. A little bit over a two year period, between October 2008 and July 2011, more than 159,000 illegal immigrants were arrested by local authorities and then was released back onto the streets. This was found in a Congressional Research Service report released in August 2012. According to this research study, all but one-sixth of those same illegal aliens were again arrested for crimes after being released from prison. ("Criminal aliens (2012)," 2012).
The DHS estimates that immigrants together both legal and illegal, make up twenty percent of prisoners in jails. Most studies that compare immigration levels and the crime rates across cities show no clear connection between the immigrant population and its crime rates. Right now, immigrants do not necessarily have a higher tendency to commit crimes. These studies only measure overall crime rates, not crimes committed only by the immigrant population, so their value is not yet able to determine a possible correlation between illegal immigrants and increased crime rates. (Camarota & Vaughan, 2009).
Illegal immigration does create economic and security burdens on Americans and its communities. A serious cost is in association with granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. First, it would keep Americans and legal immigrants away from jobs and lowering their wages and working hours as amnesty recipients gained the opportunity to compete for legal jobs. Illegal immigration would costs taxpayers $10 billion every year at the federal level because amnesty would impose enormous burdens on American taxpayers. The reason behind it is that illegal immigrants are eligible to apply for Obamacare and other welfare benefits. ("Amnesty: Breaking the," 2012).
The legalization process will increase the costs of illegal immigration. If illegal immigrants were given green cards, meaning that they have been granted lawful permanent residence in the United States, they will be known as Legal Permanent Residents and green card recipients. They would begin to pay taxes and use services like the legal immigrants with the same education levels. As a result, the annual cost at the federal level would likely to increase from $2,736 to $7,668 per household. The total could increase from $10.4 billion to $28.8 billion annually. (Camarota, 2004). For this reason, the money that was invested in border security and immigration enforcement has huge public safety benefit. (Vaughan, 2013).
One of the causes to immigration includes the weak economy in Latin America, especially in Mexico. Immigrants originating from Mexico can earn about twice as much in construction and manufacturing jobs compared to what they would be paid in their home country. Another cause comes from the blame that some people have on the restrictive legal immigration process.
They felt that the process of becoming a legal worker or resident in the United States is very slow and complicated that many foreigners rather take the shortcut and cross the border to North America illegally rather than applying for a legal status.
Possible solutions that experts thought about were a plan to promote economic development in Mexico (Pettigrew, Wagner, and Christ, 2007). They mentioned that although the plan will not end illegal immigration, it will aid Mexicans to think about their future in their own country rather than escaping to the U.S. They believe that adjusting the process and making it reasonable, simple and affordable can reduce illegal immigration.
There were many U.S. immigration laws and policies in the past that began from the 1700s to May 2006 in order to try and address the issue of illegal immigration . The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 denied Chinese immigrants from citizenship and blocked their entry into the United States. It was not repealed until 1943. The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 (INA), the law that currently governs the immigration policy, got rid of the race-based admission criteria, allowing permanent immigrants to settle in the United States. Congress and the President determined a limited number for refugee admissions. The act does state the conditions for temporary and permanent employment of foreigners in the U.S. This includes certain arrangements that address employment eligibility and verification. Immigration to the United States has been based upon three principles: the process of reuniting families together, permitting the entrance of immigrants with skills that are beneficial to the U.S. economy, and protecting refugees. ("The immigration and," ). The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act controlled illegal immigration to the U.S. and granted amnesty to undocumented immigrants and employers who hire undocumented workers. ("Immigration reform and," ).
Under these laws, some proposals aimed towards strengthening the U.S. security border along with other immigration enforcement. Other proposals suggested programs, and opportunities for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status in the United States.
The Americans' view on illegal immigrants is different now than it was a couple years ago. Most Americans today, about 51% voted on illegal immigrants that are currently employed in the U.S. should be able to stay and apply for citizenship. Twenty percent say they should be allowed to stay, but only as guest workers. Twenty-five percent of Americans voted on having illegal immigrants deported and leave the country even if they are working here in the United States. The overall percentage of Americans who wants illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. with the opportunity to become naturalized is higher, and it has increased by 14 points since September 2011. (De Pinto, 2013).
The efforts of President Obama to currently address the problem of illegal immigration include publishing an immigration blueprint called "Building a 21st Century Immigration System that discussed the immigration reform and outlined the President's plans for reform. The blueprint details the continuation of border security and strengthening it. Since 2004, President Obama had placed additional Border Patrol agents, thus making our border security much more secure and stable. He enables the government the right to remove criminals in order to shield our communities from crime. He believes that employers who hire illegal immigrants should be held responsible for their actions. His proposal was to stop these unfair hiring practices and provide employers a way to verify if the employees they hire are legally authorized to work in the United States. The proposal allowed undocumented immigrants to become naturalized and be held accountable by living in the U.S. illegally through different background checks, paying for penalties and taxes, as well as becoming proficient in the English language before earning citizenship.
In addition, he strongly supported the DREAM act as the first step toward immigration reform in the year 2010. The dream act is an acronym for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. It would create a long process for young immigrants with no documentation an opportunity to earn permanent residency in the United States if they meet certain requirements such as serving in the U.S. military, or obtaining secondary education. (".fixing the immigration," ).