As time has passed and millions of immigrants have come to the country, the United States still maintains a welcoming attitude towards new immigrants. However, with such a vast amount of foreigners who desire access into the country, entry into the United States has become much more complex since the days of Ellis Island. As a result, this new century has with it a new kind of immigrant: the illegal immigrant.
Desperate to become a part of the booming American culture, thousands of immigrants have begun to enter the United States illegally. Ignoring the laws set forth by the American government, these immigrants enter the country and unnoticeably merge themselves into the culture of the United States. With the influence of several factors such as large borders and unruly citizens who refuse to uphold the law, the government essentially allows these individuals to enter the country and actually cause some major damage.
Ultimately, as the United States’ government is unable to fully enforce the policies of immigration, illegal immigration is further enhanced and permitted, thereby creating more problems within the United States’ framework that threatens the well being of the country and its people. In order to get the disadvantages that have developed as a result of illegal immigration, it is crucial to also understand the evolution of immigration policies throughout the history of the United States.
Looking back in the time period of Ellis Island, there were only a handful of policies and restrictions in allowing immigrants into the country. The majority of immigrants in the late nineteenth century arrived in the country on boats. According to most information, the individuals who were denied entry to the United States and immediately sent back to their homeland were those who were seen as criminals, anarchists, or carriers of disease.
These restrictions address one central purpose: to ensure the well being and protection of United States and its citizens. In essence, the goal to protect the country and its people has not changed and still lives on within the current policies. As in the late 1800s, almost any given foreigner has the ability to become a legal resident, or a citizen of the United States. However, the process by which a person can become a legal resident is much more complicated than it has been in years prior.
In order to become a temporary or permanent resident of the United States, individuals must endure the long application process to receive a visa or green card. Any foreigner living within the United States who does not possess such a legal document is considered an illegal immigrant, and, by law, should be deported to their own country. Also, as the United States has no tolerance for illegal immigration, any individual found illegally crossing the borders is also immediately deported.
With a much stricter system of entry and residency, many people argue that today’s government has developed a very efficient and proactive policy of immigration. While this policy is extremely strict on paper, one question arises: Is the government actually enforcing these policies? In order to answer this question, it is important to examine illegal immigration and its presence in the United States. Currently, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States stands at an estimated 12 million and rising.
With such strict policies in place by the government, how so many undocumented immigrants can enter the country each year is unclear. Firstly, it is necessary to understand that there are two different types of illegal immigrants. There are immigrants who actually come to this country legally via visa or green card, but become illegal by over-staying their visas or green cards. The other type of illegal immigrant is an individual who simply illegally crosses the border and enters the country without contacting the United States’ government in any way.
With the current laws and policies regarding immigration, it is fair to say that the government has a much better and easier time tracking and enforcing laws upon immigrants turned illegal, simply due to the fact that the government is aware of their presence in the country. However, the other type of illegal immigrant is more difficult to track because the government is ignorant of their presence in the country. While considering the presence of illegal immigrants within the United States, certain factors that inevitably undermine and inhibit the United States’ immigration policies begin to emerge.
First, considered the third largest country in the world, the United States has many borders and areas of entry into the country. Considering its size and huge expansion of borders, the United States has an immense amount of areas that it needs to protect form illegal entry. Let’s be real, with such large borders, there is no way to fully protect and prevent illegal immigration entirely. Despite major improvements in border control, including armed patrolmen and high-reaching metal fences, the border is just too large, and many immigrants still enter the country illegally.
In fact, according to Wayne Cornelius, the distinguished director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California at San Diego, out of the 1. 5 million immigrants who enter the country each year, 500,000 of them are undocumented. Due to the many illegal immigrants who unnoticeably cross the borders, the United States government is unable to enforce its immigration policies, such as distributing visas or deporting illegal immigrants, and is forced to permit these immigrants to live within the country.