America was founded by immigrants from all over the world. These immigrants had a vision, work ethic, values, fortitude, imagination, and pioneering spirit which enabled us to become the greatest nation on earth. Ellis Island opened in 1892 and was the major portal for immigrants. It became the nation's premier federal immigration station. Too prove their identity, new arrivals were required to, answer a series of questions, find a friend or relative who could vouch for them, and were scanned for physical ailments. When it finally stopped operation in 1954, Ellis Island had processed over 12 million legal immigrants. Most of the immigrants came here by choice and all eventually integrated into American society. While it took longer for some than others, they and their descendents ultimately became "One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all." Very few Americans are against a reasonable amount of legal immigration, regardless of race, nationality or ethnicity, but most Americans are against any amount of illegal immigration, regardless of race, nationality or ethnicity
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The majority of people who enter the United States illegally do so seeking employment. Since 1986, it has been against the law for employers to hire illegal immigrants but the federal government has never enforced this law. If businesses would hold back from employing these illegal immigrants many of them would leave the country voluntarily and the number of future illegal's coming into this country would be greatly reduced. But immigration discussions must now consist of two components: legal and illegal. This report will not attempt to cover the many contributions that legal immigrants are currently making to this country. But will explore various aspects and costs of illegal immigration to the United States.
Illegal Immigration Facts & Statistics:
A study was conducted of 65 rural communities in California's San Joaquin Valley between 1980 and 1990 and found that with the addition of 100 farm jobs it resulted in an additional 139 people, including immigrants, their families and area residents, living in poverty. This statistic is driven by the low wages paid to the farm worker. With these low wages they are unable to support dependents, creating the social welfare problem. (Desert News, 08/04/1998,)
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the nation's immigrant population (both legal and illegal) reached nearly 38 million in March 2007, one-third of which are comprised of illegal immigrants. (Center for Immigration Studies).
The U.S. Census Bureau also noted that if immigration continues at current levels, the nation's population will increase from 301 million today to 468 million in 2060 - a 167 million, or 56% increase.
(Center for Immigration Studies).
There were approximately 7.7 million illegal aliens employed in the U.S. in 2008. (NumbersUSA).
The cheap labor of illegal immigrants and poor immigrants caused a 44% decrease in wages among the poorest Americans from 1980 to 1994 which was noted in a study by the Center for Immigration Studies.
Costs would increase significantly from $10.4 billion a year to $28.8 billion if amnesty was granted to illegal immigrants. Under the amnesty program an illegal immigrant's status would be transformed to an "unskilled immigrant with legal status" who then would be able to access various government programs. Because these "unskilled immigrants with legal status" would most likely be making a very low income but they would be making very modest tax payments. (Center for Immigration Studies).
Enforcement, which includes Mandatory workplace verification and measures to curb misuse of Social Security numbers, could reduce the illegal population by as many as 1.5 million illegal immigrants each year. (Center for Immigration Studies).
The defeat of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2007 prevented the legalization of thousands of illegal immigrants. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented students born in this country as illegal immigrants the same financial aid and in-state college tuition along with other education and government benefits not available to legal immigrants or citizens. The DREAM Act also would have set in motion a process for potentially amnestying 2.1 million illegal immigrants, not counting the 1.4 million parents and siblings who would likely have been legalized (Center for Immigration Studies).
Impacts of Illegal Immigration: Crime
There are many decent illegal immigrants who work hard to support their families and are trying to make a better life for themselves but there are just as many, if not more, of those illegal immigrants committing a lot of crime. For most illegal aliens their only crime is ID theft, breaking the immigration laws of the United States and being in the country illegally.
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But with the rise of imprisoned violent prisoners as detailed by Edwin Rubenstein in Criminal Alien Nation, criminal illegal aliens are a growing threat. This report states that in 1980, our Federal and state facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens but at the end of 2003, approximately 267,000 illegal aliens were incarcerated in U.S. correctional facilities, as follows
46,000 in Federal prisons
74,000 in state prisons
147,000 in local jails
H further states that approximately 27% of all prisoners in Federal custody are criminal illegal aliens and 63% of those are Mexican citizens. The reason for the large Mexican factor is mostly due to the fact that the Mexico supplies the United States with the majority of illegal aliens and the incarceration rate is only slightly above the Mexican representation (approximately 57%) of the illegal aliens in the overall illegal alien population. In fiscal year 2004, the federal government spent $1.4 billion to imprison criminal aliens. This total included $280 million of reimbursements made to state and local governments under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP). Local jurisdictions pay 75% which is the remaining balance after the SCAAP funds. SCAAP funds cover less than 25% of the full cost to imprison criminal aliens. Besides being a drain on our criminal justice system, criminal aliens are a growing threat to public safety and national security. In 1980, our federal and state prisons housed fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. By the end of 1999, these same prisons housed over 68,000 criminal aliens. In Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities today, criminal aliens account for over 29% of prisoners and a higher share of all federal prison inmates (National Institute of Corrections, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and June 2003). These illegal criminal aliens represent the fastest growing segment of the federal prison population. Over the past five years, an average of more than 72,000 aliens have been arrested annually on drug charges alone.
Here are some other interesting facts on impacts of illegal immigration and crime:
25-50% of all gangsters arrested in the criminal gang control efforts in northern and western Virginia are estimated to be illegal immigrants. (Study for Immigration Studies).
Illegal immigrants collectively represent a group that is a significant menace to the public. 80% have committed serious crimes in addition to immigration violations, and 40% have violent crime histories. (Center for Immigration Studies).
It is worth noting that the taxpayers ultimately pay for the incarceration costs and these costs will continue to accumulate, often dramatically. Common sense would dictate that with proper border security and immigration enforcement there would be fewer illegal aliens entering the country and little of those costs would be incurred thus allowing a cost-benefit analysis. The GAO issued a report, number GAO-05-337R, entitled Information on Criminal Aliens Incarcerated in Federal and State Prisons and Local Jails on May 9, 2005. It noted: "At the federal level, the number of criminal aliens incarcerated increased from about 42,000 at the end of calendar year 2001 to about 49,000 at the end of calendar year 2004, a 15 percent increase. The percentage of all federal prisoners who are criminal aliens has remained the same over the last 3 years, about 27 percent. Federal reimbursements for incarcerating criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails declined from $550 million in 2001 to $280 million in 2004, in a large part due to a reduction in congressional appropriations."
In a 2006 study,Â Deborah Schurman-KauflinÂ of theÂ Violent Crimes InstituteÂ in Atlanta in her article, Profiling Sex Trafficking: Illegal Immigrants At Risk she estimated that from January 1999 through April 2006Â approximatelyÂ 240,000 illegal aliens had committed about 960,000 sex offenses in the United States.
Ms. Schurman-Kauflin breaks down her study for the 1,500 cases reviewed as follows:
525, or 35 %, were child molestations
358, or 24 %, were rapes
617, or 41 %, were sexual homicides and serial murders
Of the child molestations, 47% of the victims were Hispanic, 36% Caucasian, 8% Asian, 6% African American and 3% other nationalities. In 82% of the cases the victims were known to their attackers. "In those instances, the illegal immigrants typically gained access to the victims after having worked as a day laborer at or near the victims' homes," she says. "Victims ranged in age from 1 year old to 13 years old, with the average age being 6."
Another aspect of sexual crimes is the fast growing "sex slave" crimes where illegal aliens kidnap, enslave, and sell the sexual services of young illegal alien women to other sexual deviants and perverts both foreign and domestic.
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Most of the underage girls and young women who are trafficked and held captive come from many countries with the majority being from Eastern Europe and Latin America. Mexico is the number one source for young female sex slaves in North America. Tlaxcala, in Central Mexico is as a breeding ground for slave traders along with the towns and cities close to the U.S./Mexico border due to its porous nature. These underage girls and young women are abducted, tricked, and sometimes sold by poor families into a caged life. Highly prized are the underage girls sneaking across the border into the United States. The girls are grabbed by pimps, and rented out for sex sometimes for as little as 15 minutes each time and could include up to 20-30 men per day. It is well known that this often occurs in Mexico. Victims are beaten, drugged, and repeatedly raped until the just give in. They can be sold to other traffickers or sex rings. The CIA estimates that between 18,000 and 20,000 are trafficked annually into the United States.
The main artery for entry into the United States is easy at the U.S./Mexico border. Puerto Rico is another point of entry as there are only 23 U.S. border patrols for the entire island. Once individuals enter Puerto Rico, with fake paperwork, coming to the mainland is simple. This is a dangerous open back door to the U.S., and traffickers are taking notice.
Street and prison gangs are extremely violent criminal organizations. In recent years the relationship between illegal immigration and gangs has become all too clear. Illegal immigration provides a steady stream of new recruits for the various street gangs while providing the drug cartels with a method to transport drugs into the United States. The violent crime along with the human misery suffered by Americans and illegal immigrants from these violent organizations should be reason enough for stronger enforcement of immigration laws. Fighting the gang problem has to include strong immigration enforcement.
A confidential study reported in 1995 by the California Department of Justice that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California is illegal but police officers say the proportion is actually much greater. The ruthless gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in California prisons, on complicated drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County. The gang has grown dramatically over the last two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.
The leadership of the Columbia Lil' Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.'s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002, says former assistant U.S. attorney Luis Li. Francisco Martinez, the gang was controlled from prison by a Mexican Mafia member and an illegal alien both while serving time for felonious reentry following deportation.
Gang investigators in Virginia estimate that 90% of the members of MS-13, the most notorious immigrant gang, are illegal immigrants. (Center for Immigration Studies).
The LAPD and the L.A. city attorney recently requested an injunction against drug trafficking in Hollywood, targeting the 18th Street Gang and the "non-gang members" who sell drugs in Hollywood for the gang. Those non-gang members are virtually all illegal Mexicans and are smuggled into the country by a ring organized by the 18th Street Gang. The Mexicans pay off their transportation debts to the gang by selling drugs yet many soon realize how profitable that line of work is and stay in the business for themselves.
Impacts of Illegal Immigration: Education
A study done by the National Academy of Sciences has estimatedÂ that the average immigrant without a high-school degree will, over the course of his or her lifetime,Â impose a net cost, above and beyond any taxes he or she pays, of nearly $100,000 on U.S. taxpayers;Â this cost does not include the cost of educating the immigrant's children. Based on that figure,Â the estimatedÂ 6 millionÂ legal immigrants lacking a high-school diploma and residing in the U.S. today, will cost taxpayers more than a half trillion dollars over their lifetimes.
Many legal immigrants to the US are highly educated - something that is highly desired in an immigrant. But if you look at most illegal aliens they are very poorly educated. The average education levels for Mexican fathers which are a large component of the illegal alien population, and their U.S.-born children are at the bottom of the educational ladder.
According to a survey by the University of California at San Francisco and the Field Institute, Latinos are much less likely to benefit from the state's explosion in job growth because they are less likely to finish high school or attend college.Â 56% of the state's Latinos had an education level of high school or lower compared to 28% of blacks, 14% of whites and 11% of Asians. (University of California San Francisco / Field Institute).
Nationwide, 33% of Third World immigrants who settled in the USA since 1990 live in poverty, nearly three times the rate for US-born natives. Some 36% of immigrants failed to finish high school, more than double the percentage for US-born nationals. (Washington Post)Â
The average cost of educating children, including the children of illegal aliens, in the U.S. public schools is about $7,524 per child per year. This is excluding the additional costs for the subsidized school feeding program. It comes out to almost $100,000 per child for a K-12 education.
Many of the nearly 1,000,000 newcomers who legally enter the nation each year and an unknown number among the estimated 300,000 illegal aliens find if unusually difficult to learn English because they can't read or write even in their native language. (Washington Times).
Regardless of a person's background or race, uneducated immigrants who have little interest in education, generally end up with poorly educated children. While the averages are already bad, the education gap between Mexican and non-Mexican natives is large and the poor education level of illegal immigrants leads them to poverty level jobs and prevents them from climbing the economic ladder of success.
Impact of Illegal immigration: Terrorism
The potential of terrorism and its impact to directly harm the greatest number of Americans should be of a great concern to the United States. By paying smuggling networks and organized gangs, terrorists are able to exploit the current crossing procedure to make their way into the U.S. Smugglers have been caught trafficking dangerous radioactive material such as plutonium and uranium across the borders and many terrorists have the power to make deadly bacteria and viruses from scratch. This is something to watch for in the near future according to a report by The Center for Strategic and International Studies
There was report from the Department of Homeland Security that revealed 45,008 aliens from countries on the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terror or from countries that protected terrorist organizations and their members were released into the general public between 2001 and 2005, even though immigration officers couldn't confirm their identity. If the report is true that 85% of those released aliens "will abscond", even if deportation order are issued, means 38,000 individuals from Ian, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, whose identities could not be verified and who could be working for terrorist groups, are today roaming the streets of America as we speak.
FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed that "a number of individuals from countries with al- Qaieda connections are changing their identity. "They're changing their Islamic surnames for Hispanic surnames, adopting false Hispanic identities and hiding among the flood of illegals coming over our border and disappearing into our country." With the current unrest in the Middle East it is paramount that we as a country remain vigilant on keeping our borders secure. Al-Qaieda has vowed to keep fighting the United States and avenge the death of Osama bin Laden. Intelligence officials are seeing an increase in talks of smaller scale attacks.
The immigration process needs to be slowed down: more thorough background checks need to be conducted and corrupt officials need to be prosecuted. Even though our ports will never be 100% terrorist-proof, we can make it more difficult and costly for the terrorists to the point where they will have to seek some other way to breach our system.
Since we have created this problem it is up to us to fix it. President Obama's plan is to give amnesty for illegal immigrants already in this country under his DREAM Act. This measure has been stalled by Republican lawmakers. The Republicans released a draft composed by the Department of Homeland Security. Their measure provides for benefits but also include enforcement. We need to secure the borders, create jobs and reduce the deficit before granting amnesty to millions of illegal's. The amnesty plan would also include those who have committed up to two misdemeanors - since when do you reward bad behavior? Obama's plan will subsidize education for illegal's, grant them amnesty and encourage more illegal immigrants and take jobs from American workers. We need to enforce the immigration laws not ignore them. The vast majority of illegal immigrants come here because we have all but opened the door and asked them to come through by aÂ lack of law enforcement, the lure of jobs, welfare benefits, and a far better life than in their own countries. Below is a proposed guest worker program and although it may not be perfect it is reasonable to the American people and lenient to illegal immigrants:
We mustÂ first create a guest worker program that registers all existing illegal immigrants, providing those who are currently employed with three year work permits that entitle them to enter into contracts with their current employer and if they can't demonstrate their current employment in writing they won't be accepted. Citizenship will not be offered as a part of this program, and should be a matter taken up separately.
All current employers of illegal immigrants, who have benefited from employing and exploiting low-wage workers, must now sponsor them and provide fair wages and benefits (such as healthcare) to workers so they will not burden taxpayers and will save themselves from being prosecuted. Illegal immigrants would be under the responsibility of their employer.
If you are currently here and do not have written proof of sponsored employment, you will have to return to your country of origin and apply for the guest worker program.
If you are an illegal immigrant converting to the guest worker program, you will be subject to a criminal background check. If you are a criminal, you will be deported to your country of origin.
Once the program begins, all employers that hire illegal immigrants moving forward will be subject to severe criminal penalties.
Guest workers will not be eligible for public benefits, other than educational.
All guest workers must abide by all U.S. laws, and will be deported if convicted of any crime.
If a guest worker loses sponsored employment due to no fault of their own, then they may enter the front of the program line to pursue another contract. If unable to gain employment within three months time, the guest worker must return to their country of origin, but will still retain their place in line for the next contract
If you are a self-employed illegal immigrant, then you will still require a work permit, but will not be working under an employer-sponsored contract. You must register your business and demonstrate that you have a sustainable business that will provide for you and your family with no public benefits. You will be subject to taxes as a foreign national and must provide healthcare for yourself and your employees. You will not be allowed to be a burden on American taxpayers.
The federal government needs to make a serious commitment to undertake enforcement of United States' immigration laws. As long as we allow the open borders and lax enforcement, millions of illegal aliens will continue to enter the U.S. each year, and to obtain driver's licenses and other official identification documents with virtually no fear of the law. This type of mindset will continue to undermine the will of the American people, overburden our communities' financial resources, and imperil our children's future.