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Immigration Is An Issue Of Great Controversy Essay, Research Paper

Immigration is an issue of great controversy

In the19th century, the fundamental of philosophy and policy was free trade. Freedom of movement was generally seen as an essential part of it. It was the best way to insure individuals that labor would be spread evenly among various geographical areas so that it was most useful for private and social prosperity. However, today the philosophy is the same but it is not any more followed by the policy that is the policy of trade and migration restrictions. Through the time as immigration rates raised every year, the life became harder for some Americans and strong opposition of free trade appeared with upcoming problems caused by immigrants, these problems are the main arguments in hands of opposition saying that the uncontrolled immigration harms the United States and individual citizens. Therefore, the US government is trying to stop immigration flow even if breaking their natural rights. These rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence that is the fundamental of all laws that has to be protected by the government. Government was thrown into situation where does not yet exist solution that would satisfy both sides and both sides have their own part of the truth. On one side is the opposition of free immigration. Opponents of immigration see three main problems as the most important arguments against opening borders to immigrants. Immigration opponents argue that immigrants take jobs from Americans and lower wages, consume more in government services than they pay in taxes, harm everyone else through environmental degradation and urban overcrowding, on the other side are immigrants saying that in spite of some problems, there are advantages of free immigration and that their rights are stated in The Declaration.

One of the main arguments of opposition is that immigrants take jobs from Americans and lower wages. This happens because of supply-and-demand economy, the more of something there is, the less value it has therefore the unnatural import of alien workers degrades the value of low skilled natives and earlier immigrants (“Immigration Lowers Wages” , 1998). Consequently, Americans that have higher wage expectations are often displaced by immigrants and if not their wages are lowered to meet the wages of immigrants. This is caused not only by immigrants but also by high-immigration cheerleaders that claim that U.S. economy needs the immigration. Nevertheless, more truthful would be that business people are not interested in hiring Americans because the people who come from outside are cheaper. However, they ignore the detrimental effect that importing workers has on American workers, particularly low-skilled natives, and earlier immigrants. By artificially inflating the number of workers in our country, immigration lowers the value of workers, and wages are depressed. The low-skilled immigration workers could be responsible for about 50 percent of wage-loss, as Government research suggests, and the effect is visible especially in high immigration cities (“Immigration Lowers Wages” , 1998). These cities have about 48 percent lower wage increase as low-immigration cities therefore many poor natives are moving from high-immigration areas to other cities searching for higher earnings. The immigration of foreigners to American cities is therefore triggering a second internal migration, away from high-immigration cities by poor natives who in many cases have trouble competing with them for jobs. Therefore, the antipathy against immigrants grows in cities with high immigration where natives are earning less (“Immigration Lowers Wages” , 1998).

Other key problem of immigration is that opponents argue that the costs of the immigrants to American society are enormous. In the year 1996, the overall immigration costs reached $65 billion and the costs continue to rise steeply, the most recent estimates place the costs of post-1969 immigrants at $65 billion in 1996 alone $40.5 billion from legal immigrants and $24.5 billion from illegal immigrants (‘The Costs of Immigration“, 1996). By the governmental studies in ten years by the year 2006, the annual net costs of immigration would rise to $108 billion that would by 66 percent higher than the costs in 1996. The net national cumulative costs for the decade 1997-2006 for all post-1969 immigrants will be $866 billion, an average of almost $87 billion a year (‘The Costs of Immigration“, 1996). Some estimates are even higher. A 1995 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, based on the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, analyzed the costs of immigrants based on their overall tax contribution, their share of overall government expenditures, and their specific use of means-tested welfare. They found that the total immigrant net deficit in 1996 came to $80.4 billion (‘The Costs of Immigration“, 1996). That annual amount is sure to grow as the population of legal and illegal immigrants, now at 25 million, receives over a million new people every year.

The next issue of concern is that immigrants fills up already overcrowded urban areas. The overpopulation is a complex problem and many people think, especially the opposition of immigration that it is caused by the enormous increase of the immigrant population in large cities since these attract immigrants coming to the United States because these are the best places to start work or live in foreign country. Growth of population ills the U.S. cities as these are becoming violent, overcrowded and with small number of work opportunities for low and middle classes Americans. In big metropolitan areas are living 3 out of 4 immigrants in contrast to 1 out of 2 natives living there. The raising flow of immigrants to the cities influences the life quality of native lower and middle class. Nevertheless, cities with high immigration rates compared to low immigration cities have twice as much violent crimes, welfare dependencies, unemployment, three times the population density and seven times as much crowded housing (“Immigration Harms Urban”, 1997). The problem of overpopulated areas is caused not only by the immigration but also by the natives moving from countryside’s to urban areas. This is a problem waiting for solution, but raising the taxes paid in dense urban areas could solve it.

Pro-immigration speakers argue mostly with the Declaration of Independence. They say that the policy of opened borders meets the test of individual freedom. The Declaration is clear in this question and emphasizes that all men have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Hornberger, 1999). It is an essential human right to choose place to live and work. Immigrants pay for transportation for living quarters and work for a consenting employer or start their own business (Richman). Therefore, when U.S. officials introduced anti-immigration laws they did it in contrast what the Declaration states. Even when they had clear reasons to introduce these restrictions, they did not have the right to do it due to the Declaration. They send immigrants into disadvantageous position where they often don not have opportunity to lead normal life. Without the work permission, immigrants are often pushed to accept worse paid work while they do not have other opportunity. This causes lowering of wages also for Americans and this lowering is criticized by the opposition of immigration as problem caused by immigrants. Pro-immigration leaders argue that the US government itself causes this lowering of wages. The government of USA was called into exercise to protect it and not to break its basic laws. The sign of the Statue of Liberty still the same. ”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” (Ebeling). There is nothing strange if someone wants to live in better conditions and to work where he feels that he is paid well. It is just the fear from economic breakdown by opponents that leads the Government to introduce immigration restrictions.

There are also economic benefits and advantages of free immigration. Free trade and free movement of labor are closely connected and so free movement of workforce should be acknowledged as the basic of democratic society. The transfer of workers would benefit to everyone. The labor shifted from countries that are suffering from low productivity and low wages to other parts of the globe where wages are relatively higher and productive prospects would raise the income positions of those who moved into the higher-wage areas (Ebeling). For workers who immigrated it offers the opportunity to compete for jobs in a different area where their income share could be larger. Free immigration would also bring advantages and benefits to those who remained in the home country. Due to emigration, the work resources would become shorter which will raise domestic wages (Ebeling). The movement of labor services is an essential requirement how to insure prosperity for all individuals around the world.

The solution of the complex immigration problem is not easy and is often discussed within the American Government. At first, the government could revise all anti-immigration laws that are in conflict with the Declaration of Independence. There cannot be laws breaking the Declaration, because when this happened today, tomorrow there could be some laws attacking Americans and breaking their rights. Government could also study the effect of anti-immigration laws on the lowering of wages. Because if there is some connection between these laws and the lowering of wages and with that connected problems of American workers it should be clear if it is caused only by immigrant or Americans became victims of their own laws. One solution that could immediately come into effect is control of total number of aliens reaching the U.S. relying on the latest economic situation and immediate adjustments each year.

Immigration issue is an issue of great controversy and often discussed within US government. Each step that the government would do will be followed and judged by the whole world. There is not any other example that could help the United States to solve this issue. If they find solution that satisfies both sides, they will become example for another countries around the world. The best would be if the sense for liberty that helped to build USA would win in connection with intelligent economic policy that will not restrict citizens of other counties by pursuing their own happiness.


Reference list:

Nb Immigration Harms Urban Quality of Life (1997, March).

The Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR.

[WWW document]. URL


Immigration Lowers Wages for American Workers (1998, January).

The Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR.

[WWW document]. URL


Jacob G. Hornberger (1999, May ). Who Are the Real Immigration Lawbreakers?

by. The Future of Freedom Foundation

[WWW document]. URL


Richard M. Ebeling (date not available). In Defense of Free Migration.

The Case for Free Trade and Open Immigration.

[WWW document]. URL


Sheldon Richman (date not available). Trade and Immigration Controls Assault the Right to Life. The Case for Free Trade and Open Immigration.

[WWW document]. URL


The Costs of Immigration (1996, November).

The Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR.

[WWW document]. URL


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