To many, the purpose of life is to make it as enjoyable as possible. This is the principle of immigration. For America, with its extremely high standard of living, immigration is quickly becoming a problem. Illegal immigration to America is causing internal conflict in many areas, but one of the hardest hit is the economy.
The success of the United States is the sole reason for the mass immigration that it receives every year. The average immigrant is in search of a better lifestyle, one where he can work to support his family and earn enough to have feed his children. He hears of “The American Dream” and that America is the land of the free. So, he decides to come to this great country he hears about.
Since opening our borders to anybody and everybody would cost us our national identity, we must limit the number of immigrants accepted each year. This leads to illegal immigration, because those who are not allowed or who do not want to go through the procedure of entering legally decide to come into our country anyway. This uninhibited movement causes great tension and stress to our nation foundation.
The United States economy is the powerhouse of the world, but it is not as strong as it can be. One issue that greatly effects the strength of the economy is immigration. Many uninformed men and women of America believe the opposite, that illegal immigration strengthens the economy because immigrants often fill the lower wage job markets, ones that an average American would detest. But, this is the exact reason that illegal immigration hurts the economy, the low wages they earn. Illegal immigration acts as a subsidy to businesses that employ unskilled workers, holding down labor costs while taxpayers pick up the costs of providing services to a much larger low-income population. Like any subsidy, businesses who receive it want it to continue, but for the nation and economy as a whole, it’s a bad deal.
Because immigrants typically earn far less than the average American, they are unable to pay for necessities, such as insurance and other health care related programs. This causes an unnecessary burden on the tax-paying citizens, who are forced to pay out billions of dollars to cover immigrant costs. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates, hospitals are writing off nearly two billion dollars per year in unpaid medical bills to treat illegal immigrants. Hospitals are required by federal law to care for anyone who walks through their doors. The costs of such care have forced several hospitals, especially those in border communities, to close their doors of scale back their service. This is to the great disadvantage of tax-paying citizens who live near these hospitals, who will be may be unable to receive adequate health care when they are in need of help. Hospitals though, are only a small piece of the economic puzzle.
It is true that some illegal immigrants pay taxes, but the number is extremely low. The reason is in order to pay taxes, one must obtain a social security number. In the case of the illegal immigrant, this social security number must be a forgery. The time and effort to obtain such a fraudulent number is often enough to deter immigrants from paying taxes, regardless of how much want to contribute to the society that has been their salvation. Based on fiscal estimates developed by the National Academy of Sciences for immigrants by age and education at arrival, the lifetime net fiscal drain (all taxes paid minus all services used) for the average adult immigrant is a negative $55,200. Likewise, the same statistic for natural born citizens is a much higher, positive number.
Obviously, legal immigrants and illegal immigrants are different. But contrary to popular belief, legal immigrants are also an economic burden, more so than illegal immigrants in some cases. According to US State Department figures for the year 2000, immigrants as a whole cost taxpayers over $61 billion. But, illegal immigrants only account for $31 billion compared to $35 billion for legal immigrants. This mammoth figure represents costs after immigrants’ tax contributions are factored in.
In conclusion, illegal immigration to the United States poses a severe barrier for the economy of the nation. Immigrants cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year, and effects don’t stop as fiscal burdens. Hospitals have been shut down or forced to degrade health care service and schools have become overcrowded. The ideals of America draw the attention of foreigners in every country, but the number of immigrants to the United States has exceeded its practical limit of functionality.
Cozic, Charles P. Illegal Immigration: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1997
Beck, Roy. “Sorting Through Humanitarian Clashes In Immigration”. The Social Contract Fall 1997: Internet. 12 Dec. 1999. www.thesocialcontract.com/showarticle.pl?articleID=671&terms=ethics
Squyres, Suzanne, Cornelia Blair, and Margaret Mitchell. Immigration and Illegal Aliens – Burden or Blessing? Wylie, TX: Information Plus, 1997