One of the reasons of implementing the US immigration policy is to control and protect America’s national borders. The US border patrol controls and protects international state lines in the effort to arrest any individuals making attempts to enter the US illegally. Illegal immigration attempts are predominant on the border between the US and Mexico. In the past 20 years, economic recession in Mexico has contributed to increase illegal entries or attempts to the same by the Mexicans.
Consequently, political sensitivity about illegal immigration that has been brought by Mexico’s poor economic performance has made the US government to dramatically improve the efforts aimed at increasing security at the US- Mexico border. Most illegal immigrants are seen to move from Mexican border cities to US Border States as their final destination.
According to Hanson, Robertson and Spilimbergo, border patrol officers have had to spend more hours policing the Mexican border with an increase of up to 5. million hours in 1997 from 1. 8 million hours in 1977 (2002). Border regions are mostly affected by situations caused by illegal immigration. For example, illegal immigration has the likelihood of affecting border markets. Such markets include Southern California, Mexican cities on the US-Mexico borders and South Western Texas (Hanson, Robertson and Spilimbergo, 2002). Illegal immigration has both negative and positive results to the socio-economic status of the US. Effects of Illegal Immigration
Hanson, Robertson and Spilimbergo claim that immigration leads to the reduction of wages of US workers. The rise in immigration cases has resulted in low skilled immigrants and low skilled US workers competing for jobs. Moreover, immigrants are ready to take up any jobs leaving the low skilled US workers to settle for the remaining jobs (Hanson, Robertson and Spilimbergo, 2002). Findings by Hanson, Robertson and Spilimbergo indicate that border enforcement deters illegal immigrants whose entry has impacts on the labor markets in the US border areas.
According to these findings, border regions can minimize illegal immigration without necessarily changing the native wages or even moving the natives from border regions or discouraging them to move to the border areas (Hanson, Robertson and Spilimbergo, 2002). Border economies may also be forced to shift to industries that are dependent on the skills of arriving immigrants so that low skilled labor can be secured for both US natives and immigrants (2002). Illegal immigrants are seen to add to the problem of public health that is already an issue that needs attention and review in the US.
Attention is focused on the recent developments that allow immigrants to use public programs such as heath insurance. As per the 2000 census, 1 in every 5 children is an immigrant family member in the largely dispersed immigrant families in America. The immigration statuses of parents and children may also differ with up to 10% of immigrant children living in families of mixed status hence creating complexity. There are non-citizen parents who live with citizen children as their main caregivers.
The citizen children may be denied health insurance due to their parents’ citizenship and this may affect the health of both parents and children despite them being Americans (Paiti and Danagoulian, 2008). It is important to note that poor health of immigrants’ children will eventually have a significant effect on the socio-economic future of every American. According to Paiti and Danagoulian, foreign born children in the US do not depend on public health insurance schemes compared to those born in the US despite the reverse of the rule on public charge.
The increased likelihood of foreign born children to be uninsured, to live in poverty and to have parents who have less than high school formal education is a contributing factor to the poor living conditions. The parents’ poor economic abilities create future projections of low abilities of immigrant children to be economically productive members of the labor force in America (Paiti & Danagoulian, 2008). Today, USA claims that about 7 million illegal immigrants do not have medical insurance due to legal restrictions. In addition, 366,000 of the immigrants buy insurance policies from private companies.
A publication on USA today named “Everyone Benefits if Illegal Immigrants are insured” claimed that just as in automobile insurance, the US public would benefit from premiums paid by illegal immigrants by collecting the surplus using it to provide better health care to the US citizens (USA Today, 2009). Illegal immigration is wrong and it should be stopped, but in the meantime, the country should benefit from having illegal aliens around before inventing ways of stopping the practice in order to create a win-win in the situation.
In addition to border patrols and the deportation of captured aliens, the introduction of an Immigration and Control Act in 1986 helped in controlling illegal immigration (Pearce and Hill, 1990). According to Pearce & Hill, “immigration law will reduce employment of illegal aliens in some parts of the economy but not in others”. However, limitations in the US budget will force authorities “to focus their enforcement efforts on industries with a large concentration of illegals at an individual business establishment” (1990, pp. 43). Prior to the act, employers hired illegal immigrants knowingly as they would face no penalty.
Since this law, there has been a registered decline in border crossings in most entry points and more illegal immigrants finding it hard to get jobs. Although the reform process is done by high skilled professionals, sanctions will improve the standard of living of low skill laborers even though to a small extent. Pearce and Hill suggest that substantial improvement in the real wages of legal and less skilled laborers will occur if sanctions are fully executed. In addition, legal and illegal low skill labor should be subject to substitution.
The law must also be accurately applied to achieve benefits of sanctions (Pearce & Hill, 1990). The Economist reports that critics fear the influx of Hispanic immigrants, who enter the US illegally, take up jobs and move into different parts of the country, are able to create two nations (2005). The illegal Latino immigrants take up common jobs in construction, distribution and food industry that is well needed for economic growth of the cities they occupy. Immigrants are seen to be assimilated into the US by almost becoming like everyone else in the US.
They now become citizens, pay taxes, enlist in the army, participate in politics and even speak English (The Economist, 2005). Despite fears of critiques of the negative effects of immigration, positive outcomes have also been observed from the same which is an important input to America. Conclusion Immigrants to the US have been seen to continue gaining access illegally despite the introduction of more sophisticated patrols at entry points. The introduction of labor laws that protect legal workforce in the US continues to protect low skilled laborers.
However, better laws ought to be formulated to ensure that workers do not receive wages that are beneath their ability to sustain a comfortable life. In addition, illegal immigrant families should be assisted to take care of their offspring who are American citizens by acquiring medical insurance and other facilities as it has proven to be beneficial to the American populace. Socio-economic benefits accrued from the inclusion of immigrants in the social programs of America should also be observed as a positive contribution to the society.
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