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One of the most controversial political issues of today is that of illegal immigration from Mexico. Illegal immigration into the United States is a problem that should be stopped, as it is unfair to both Americans and to the people of the country from which they illegally immigrated. It is thought that the majority of illegal aliens residing in the U.S. are Mexicans. Nearly all of these illegal immigrants from Mexico think of jumping the border and entering the United States as an opportunity to live a better life than they already are. Illegal immigration from Mexico must be stopped by means of different policies and other methods of prevention, because the effects on both Mexico and the United States are unfavorable.
The United States takes on most of the shortfalls, that illegal immigration causes because it has to deal with the abuse of social services by non-citizens, the taking of citizens jobs, and the lowering of their wages and the sinking of the common lifestyles, overall threatening the quality of life in certain communities. The majority of Americans, since the 1950 s, have been predominantly a working middle class, who have been used to an accustomed lifestyle (Beck, 1996: 77). With all of the illegal immigrants, there is a surplus of workers. This means fewer jobs and more competition for the lower pay brought about by the extra workers. Thus, the jobs that help to produce the middle class lifestyles are taken and the middle class decreases. The lowering of wages has brought deteriorating lifestyles along as the size of the middle class decreases. People simply do not have as much money to help sustain their lifestyle and they sometimes have to get additional jobs (Beck, 1996: 76). This leads people to have less of a family life, which causes all sorts of trouble. Illegal aliens are using welfare, education and other state and federal social services, whose costs are increasing taxes for everyone (DeMott, 1994: 28). Illegal immigrants do not pay taxes, so they have no place whatsoever using social services such as welfare, health care, and other services. It is more likely for immigrants to use social services provided by the government than nonimmigrants (DiConsiglio, 1997: 5). A Where I Stand Poll in 1994 said 94% of the U.S. believes all illegal immigrants shouldn t receive welfare and government services and 73% said their children shouldn t attend public schools (DeMott, 1994: 30). Illegal immigration tends to bring down the standard of living in areas where the illegal aliens are concentrated. Cities with higher levels of illegal immigrants tend to show a dramatic difference than lesser-immigrated cities in various different areas of concern. The higher illegally immigrated cites on average have 30% longer commuting time, 40% more people living in poverty, 60% more high school dropouts, twice as many violent crimes, twice as many unemployed, more than twice the welfare dependency, and more than seven times as much crowded housing (Beck, 1996: 77). These statistics are amazing and represent the essence of the impact of illegal immigration on America. Illegal immigration impacts Mexico in many negative ways that include hurting it s economy and leaving Mexico without much needed technically skilled workers. Illegal immigrants cost Mexico heavily in terms of human resources. This decreases the amount of the work force, keeping some Mexican communities in poverty. Overall, illegal immigration usually leads to family discourse and larger social problems in Mexico. Mexico s successful professionals tend not to stay in Mexico; doctors and multiple others are leaving the country to take lower paying jobs in the U.S. (McDonnell,1995: 4).
There are multiple policies and ways to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States. Immigration laws are the cornerstones of illegal immigration prevention. Proposition 187 is a tough immigration law clamping down on illegal aliens, used in California, the state with the most illegal immigrants. It doubled the number of border guards, made it harder for legal immigrants to bring their families over, not permitting as much political asylum and was harder on illegal aliens already here (DiConsiglio, 1997: 3). NAFTA, officially, hasn t reduced as much illegal immigration as had been hoped, but it helped Mexico recover faster from it s economic crisis in 1994 and 1995. This has stopped a larger flood of people, since most immigrants tend to come to the U.S. in times of Mexican economic crisis. Eliminating the chances of illegal immigrants actually getting jobs would be a deterrent, because the major reason Mexicans tend to illegally immigrate is to find work. A bill shown to the House by California would let the employer enter a job applicant s social security number over the phone to receive confirmation, of a person s official citizenship (DeMott, 1994: 31). That would work with the need for proper documentation to be shown to employers for current verification of legal citizenship, limiting their job opportunities and at the same time discouraging them from ever illegally immigrating. The Border Patrol is the most effective and widely used form of prevention. It is an agency of the Department of Immigration and Naturalization that is responsible for detecting and preventing illegal passage to the United States between the Mexican/United States border. U.S. vigilance on the line causes more delays, higher risks and raised costs for the jumpers. More guards are forcing potential illegal aliens to lose money, by causing them to hire coyotes to smuggle them, losing possible wages, and paying for food and lodging (McDonnell, 1995: 1-2).
The United States policy towards illegal immigrants should keep using the successful parts of what they are already doing to control border jumping from Mexico. In addition to this, we should enact tougher standards of dealing with illegal immigrants. Government aid should in no way, shape, or form be allowed to be granted to illegal immigrants. Tougher penalties should be given to border jumpers that are caught. What is there to stop a person from illegally entering the United States from Mexico when all that we do is deport border jumpers and simply tell them not to try it again? (Unless that someone is wanted for or suspected of another crime) With a little persistence, almost anyone can cross into the United States from Mexico. George W. Bush needs to be the tough son of a gun he has always been and push for stricter laws concerning illegal immigration and illegal immigrants. Until he or someone else does, illegal immigration will continue to be a major problem in the United States.
1. Anderson, Lydia. (1989) Immigration. (New York: Franklin Watts).
2. Beck, Roy. (1996) The Case against Immigration. (New York: W.W.
Norton and Company).
3. DeMott, John S. (Dec. 1994) Immigration Policy s Double Impact .
(Nation s Business 28-31).
4. DiConsiglio, John. (5 Aug. 1997) Closing the Golden Door . Scholastic
Update 15 Nov. 1996: 2-15. (Washington Post). Online. 22 Feb.
1998. Available http://www.fairus.org/10-3.htm.
5. McDonnell, Patrick. (June 1995) Fears of a Border Bus Fall Short . (Los
Angeles: Population. Ed. Eleanor Goldstein). Vol. 6 Boca Raton:
SIRS, 1995. Art.12.
The United States/Mexico Border:
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