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Immigration Today Essay, Research Paper
Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants, legal and illegal, from around the world, come to the United States. These immigrants come because they want a chance at a better life; others are refugees, escaping persecution and civil wars in their home country. Many people believe the United States is the best place to go. There is more freedom, protection, and benefits, which seems like a good deal to immigrants. But the large number of immigration is affecting the current citizens of the United States. Taxpayers are forced to pay for the welfare and schooling for many of these immigrants, some who are illegal aliens. Some citizens believe that immigration can be hazardous to the environment. Others blame crime, poverty, and overpopulation on immigration. About sixty-eight million immigrants have been added to the United States since 1970, and it is estimated that 130 million people will be added over the next fifty years. The government has tried somewhat to restrict immigration but the laws are still too lenient. Nearly every other advanced country in the world is moving quickly towards stabilized population or has already achieved it. The United States is moving towards it very slowly. This country would have to reduce immigration down to 255,000 a year to do this (Beck 1). If nothing is done to stabilize the immigration to this country, what will become of population in the next decade? The population will continue to grow even faster – not due to births, but to massive immigration to this country. Immigration can become a serious problem to this country if the government does not produce stricter laws.
The government must restrict immigration laws because of overpopulation of the United States. Immigration has been affecting America’s population for over two hundred years now. Back in the 1800’s, immigration was encouraged so that the New World could become prosperous. Today, some citizens have been worrying about how many more immigrants the United States can take in, while others do not really care because employers would rather pay lower wages to new immigrants or immigration does not seem to be affecting them in any way. It is impossible to stop all immigrants from coming to the United States, but the government can restrict the immigration laws to a certain extent (Kalla 2). Granting United States citizenship to children of illegal aliens is one problem that needs to be solved. Many pregnant illegal immigrant women wait to cross into the United States when they are ready to deliver their child (Roleff). They want to gain citizenship to their child so that the mother also will gain the right to immigrate to this country.
Chain migration is another concern for immigration laws. This is when married sons or daughters, or married sisters or brothers’ permits the spouses’ extended families to immigrate to the country. So, for example, a woman from the United States marries an immigrant, the immigrants’ relatives are allowed to immigrate to this country also. This should not be allowed to take place. Each and every individual immigrant should be required to find his or her own way into the United States. An illegal immigrant mother should not automatically gain rights once her child is born on United States soil as a United States citizen. This should be considered a fraud against the United States government. The Immigration Law of 1996 helped move toward this goal. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act authorized funding to increase the number of border patrol agents (Cozic). It also increased penalties for those who smuggle illegal aliens into the country and those who use fraudulent documentation. Although this has been done, illegal aliens are still finding their way across borders to a find better job and life. There is still awhile to go until the United States reaches a stabilized population
Over one million immigrants come to the United States annually. To add to this, immigrants have shown to have a higher birthrate than native-born Americans do. One-third of annual population growth of the United States now is from immigration. Twenty to twenty-five percent are illegal aliens or about 200,000 (Andryszewski 87). Illegal aliens cause a strain on welfare and health care facilities, not to mention more unwanted population. For example, in California, taxpayers were paying three billion dollars a year to benefit illegal aliens with education, healthcare, and other benefits. Finally, in 1994, California voters approved Proposition 187, which aimed to deny public benefits to illegal immigrants (Huffington 63). Illegal immigration is causing problems to United States citizens. These citizens are forced to pay billions of taxes on people who shouldn’t even be here in the first place. Even legal immigrants, who are of large numbers, are also costing a lot for other citizens so that more schools, stores, and other facilities can be built for these new immigrants. The population is getting out of hand due to excessive immigration and the government needs to do something about it.
Refugees are also becoming serious a problem to the population of the United States. Refugees come to the United States to escape religious, political, and racial persecutions. Another reason is because of wars on in their home country, bringing many of them here to the United States. In 1995, the United Nations recommended that all countries accept a combined total of less than 32,000 refugees. That same year, the United States alone admitted more than 110,000 immigrants as refugees. Some refugees are driven out of their home country due to economic hardships. In the very poor regions of the world, population growth, poverty, and lack of resources often cause these people to flee their home in pursuit of a better life (Squyres). The poor in underdeveloped countries choose to have many children since they are a commodity, providing much-needed labor. Due to these large families who appear to be necessary for survival, it soon leads to lack of resources and more poverty to the region (Squyres). This increases the need for better survival for families and so then these families continue to have more children to help out with providing for the family. In the end, these people are forced to become migrants because their homes can no longer support them. Many of these migrants find themselves immigrating to the United States for hope for a better life. This can produce even more poverty in this country, which can turn out in the end to become a very large problem. Refugees may not be a big problem now, but sooner or later this tolerance by the United States government could backfire in the future. Soon refugees from around the world will begin to think that the United States is the place to go and the already large population of the country will grow even faster and larger than ever. The cost of settling these refugees is very costly also. According to Roger Winter, a refugee rights advocate working for the United States Committee for Refugees, estimated that the cost of settling a refugee in the United States would cover expenses helping 500 refugees abroad (Roleff).
One of the reasons there is so much immigrant population in this country is because of the economy. In the past, immigration was helpful to the economy when people encouraged it so that the United States could become prosperous. Economic needs always forced Americans to seek immigrants for laborers and settlers. Today, it is a different story. Many people are afraid of losing their jobs because of immigration. “Immigration is currently flooding the labor market, primarily in the low-skill, low-wage sectors, and driving down wages and working conditions for many Americans…Because our immigration policies…[do] not take economic conditions into account, we continue to import new workers even when many Americans are losing their jobs.” Reform (Cox 55). Lower-skilled workers, according to studies, are especially harmed by immigration. For example, if an immigrant comes to the United State looking for a better job and they are more educated, who is most likely going to get the job? The higher skilled immigrant of course, especially if the person is willing to work for less pay. Today’s employers are looking for better educated people to work for them and sometimes an immigrant will have what it takes, while the native-born lower skilled worker doesn’t (Cox 60). Immigration is commonly accused of taking jobs away from native-born Americans. They accept lower wages which keeps everyone else’s wages low too (Andryszewski 51). Immigrants do benefit Americans by taking jobs current citizens don’t want, especially those low-paying fields like childcare, housekeeping, and agriculture (51). But many people still worry about the economy. Between 1985 and 1990, ten’s of thousands of low income native-born Americans migrated out of states like New York, Texas, and California where huge numbers of immigrants were moving in (Andryszewski 60). The immigrants were taking away economic opportunity for low income Americans who were forced to move somewhere else that they could make a better living. Sadly, there is not much there can be done to keep this from happening unless there is less immigration.
In 1993, when unemployment was very high, polls showed that two-thirds of Americans wanted immigration reduced and more than one-half thought that government service to immigrants cost taxpayers too much (Andryszewski 51). Immigration currently harms “middle-class taxpayers in high-immigration states who subsidize [fund] the average immigrant by $1,500 to $4,000 each” (Beck 7). This is an astonishing amount for these taxpayers. They should not have to pay so much in taxes for immigration. The government needs to find a better way to fund these new immigrants, or they can just make it easier by saying “no” to more immigration. It is affecting many people from looking at these statistics. The polls even say there needs to be less immigration but it does not seem as though the government is doing anything about it. The people are afraid that immigration will bring the economy down, taking away their jobs and using their tax money to pay for immigration services.
Economic migrants, people who leave home for a more prosperous life, can become a problem to the current people of the United States – not to mention the illegal immigrants. They are also effecting the economy. “Illegal immigration has stripped America of their jobs and the country of its respect for law” (Barrett). These illegal aliens come to the United States, thinking that they will have a better life. They cross borders illegally and go search for a job. If they are qualified for it, they will get the job. This hurts other United States citizens though. This keeps them from having this job because an illegal immigrant will work for less pay. This is not fair to citizens because the only people that benefit are the illegal immigrants. It is hard for a company to know whether or not the illegal alien is able to work in the United States. The government needs to find a way to control this. Maybe it could try to use some type of identification system for all United States citizens and legal immigrants. Right now, the system is just not working. Illegal immigrants are taking perfectly good jobs away from Americans and the more these immigrants find their way into this country, the worse the economy is going to get.
Each year Congress endorses immigration numbers that force the United States to deal with many of the same problems of rampant population growth that plague the world’s poorest countries. This hurts the economy of America. With the already high poverty rate in this country, “why bring more needy people into the country when there already are millions of Americans who are ill-fed and unable to secure decent housing, tens of millions of children growing in poverty and overcrowded schools, and even larger numbers of adults who are illiterate?” (Beck 4). When more immigrants are allowed to come here, some from very poverty-stricken countries, it is not helping the economy. It just makes things worse. Immigration may be helpful in a way when it comes to shaping what America really is – a diverse country of people from everywhere around the world that makes up society. But when too many people are allowed to migrate to this country, the country’s population will not be able to stay stabilized for very long.
Immigrants do better economically as they assimilate into society (Andryszewski 54). The longer they’re here, the better they seem to do. Then there are those immigrants who do not have to worry about trying to assimilate into society because if they happen to migrate from an economic system similar to the United States they have a better advantage in fitting in with society. Though this may be true, not all immigrants are really doing much better than they were in their home country. Maybe politically, but not economically unless they know how to prosper in a new place. If they don’t, it leaves more poverty in the United States for people to deal with. If they do, then other native-born people are left unemployed. This leads to hatred between all kinds of people. This is not what is needed in this country. There would be less hate if there were less immigration in the first place. All people need their space. They need their jobs. This does not mean that immigration is bad, it is just too many people trying to do the same thing at the same time and it is not working when immigrants from around the world are hurting the economy of many Americans.
The enormous population growth is becoming an environmental threat to the United States. Immigrants are affecting the growth of larger cities, which then leads to even more pollution to the environment. People are breathing city air and using the nation’s water supply that no longer meets the clean air standards because of the population growth. Immigration is also reducing the wildlife, national habitat, ecosystems, and bio-diversity of the United States due to pressures from population growth (Beck 7). Outdoor recreation enthusiasts are suffering from extra congestion and traffic weary motorists and residents of small cities, towns, and rural areas are trying to preserve their culture of living. The environment is changing drastically due to the many hundred of thousands of immigrants that are coming to the United States. They are trying to seek a better life, but it is just making things worse for the environment. Forests are being cleared so that more homes can be built because of the many people migrating. Now that the trees are gone, the wildlife has to find a new place to live or otherwise they become extinct. The houses, the factories, and the businesses take the place of the once beautiful forest. A stressed environment is more prone to catastrophe – and overpopulation can push people into devastating situations (Andryszewski 19). Draining wetlands and clearing forests causes a greater chance of floods. These floods lead to homeless, poverty stricken people. Environmental degradation – damage that reduces an ecosystem’s ability to support life – effects many categories of migrants; some are victims to natural disasters because of human damage and others are people who have exhausted a part of land and have to move to another place to survive (Andryszewski, 19). How can this go on? Immigration is effecting the environment of the United States. The government needs to find a better way to control these developments. They can start by making the immigration laws stricter.
Most immigrants from other countries of poverty have very large families to help out with labor to be able to survive. When they come to the United States, do they keep doing this or do they change their lifestyle due to a better life? Some argue immigrants are inclined to adopt a more consumption-oriented lifestyle as their economic lifestyle improves (Squyres). If this is not true, then these larger immigrant families are going to become a problem with the environment – if it has not already. This can bring even more harm to the environment, not just due to the immigration, but the size of families that these immigrants will have soon after they are in the United States.
Crime has also been a large issue with many people and has a physical and social effect on the environment. From 1970 – 1997, there has been a harsh immigration impact on crime. Some immigrants come here illegally, smuggling drugs or other illegal products to make a good living. Legal or not, some immigrants are not exactly “good” citizens. They take advantage of what the United States has to offer them and get into the “bad” crowd, knowing they can make some good money working with the mafia or some other crime group. “The FBI estimates that seventy-five percent of all drugs entering the United States come from Mexico via illegal aliens who carry the drugs in return for assistance in entering” (Gotcher). The Immigration Naturalization Service (INS) has reported that people smuggling is another large crime committed. Asian organized crime gangs bring in around three billion dollars a year by smuggling in ethnic Chinese into the United States (Cox 102). It is hard for the border control to catch all these smugglers, but when they do, what next? “They just turn them around and send them home…if they arrested and prosecuted more people…a substantial number of illegals would be deterred from attempting to enter this country illegally” (Gotcher). If the government’s system were stricter, maybe there wouldn’t be as much crime coming into this country. If they just send these criminals away without punishment, then the criminals will try again until they succeed. To show how much immigrant crime there really is, sixty percent of all the inmates in the county jails of California are illegal. In addition, “eighty percent of all accidents involving uninsured motorists involve illegal aliens” (Gotcher). These immigrants hardly ever carry auto insurance or register their cars.
In 1992, Patrick Buchanan warned, “our great cities are riven with gang wars among Asian, black, and Hispanic youth who grow up to run ethnic crime cartels” (Cox 93). Many of these happen to be immigrants, some criminals from other countries. These criminals probably could be people running away from the government of his or her country because of a murder or some other crime. When they get here, nobody knows that the person is wanted in another country and will get away with more murders here in this country. This is how crime is growing in this country. These criminals establish their own crime gang and then the United States has to deal with more problems. The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act expanded the number of crimes for which an immigrant can be deported. This act became more lenient on immigrants who commit crimes here in this country! The government is not moving any closer to solving crime in the United State by doing this. When this type of thing happens, other immigrants believe that America is the place to come to because it will be easier for them to get away with crime and not be deported. This leads to even more crime. Crime is going to get out of hand someday and the government is not doing anything to help it. Society will not have a safe environment if nothing is done to have stricter laws on immigrant crimes.
Without immigration, the population of the United States would stop growing by the twenty-first century. But the goal is not to get rid of all of it. Immigration keeps the population and also the economy growing. But when massive amounts of people are immigrating to America, it becomes overwhelming to some people. The government must slow down the process of immigration soon. The population is growing fast and massive immigration is to blame. Not only is this a problem, but the economy of the United States is hurting too. Many people become unemployed and others are hit hard by paying high tax dollars to fund immigrants. The environment is also being harmed, due to the overpopulation factor. Immigration can become a serious problem to this country if the United States government does not produce stricter laws. Many hope that soon they will not have to worry about the amount of immigrants coming into this country. The population will reach a stabilized level at some point and the economy and the environment will be in less danger of being harmed. With the governments’ help, the United States will be able to become a safer place.
Andryszewski, Tricia. Immigration. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 1995.
Barrett, Barbara, and Anna Dubrovsky. “Area Residents React: Ship out Illegal Immigrants.” York Daily Record 24 April 1998, Pennsylvania.
Beck, Roy. “Sorting Through Humanitarian Clashes In Immigration”. The Social Contract Fall 1997: Online. Internet. 12 Dec. 1999. Available www.thesocialcontract.com/showarticle.pl?articleID=671&terms=ethics
Cox, Vic. The Challenge of Immigration. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1995.
Cozic, Charles P. Illegal Immigration: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1997.
Gotcher, Ron. Personal Interview. 12 Jan. 2000.
Knickerbacker, Brad. “Immigration as Environmental Issue.” The Christian Science Monitor 4 Dec 1997, Boston.
Liebman, Henry. Personal Interview. 11 Jan. 2000.
Roleff, Tamara L. Immigration: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1997.
Squyres, Suzanne, Cornelia Blair, and Margaret Mitchell. Immigration and Illegal Aliens – Burden or Blessing? Wylie, TX: Information Plus, 1997.
Villa Franca, Armando. “Immigrants Role Being Seen in New Light”. Houston Chronicle 20 April 1998, Texas.
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