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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Essay on Impact of Illegal Immigration

In essence, there are two reasons why our government tolerated the exodus of immigrants to the United States: a) business interests and b) votes.  These are the reasons why the US government however is hesitant to completely ban immigration to the country.  This is evident in that in 2007, President Bush expressed his intention of helping 12 million illegal aliens within the United States get their US citizenship.  (Michael Bowman 1)

It is common knowledge that one reason why immigrants flock to our country is the abject poverty that they experienced from their own country. (Ramesh Ponnuru 1) Consider the case of US Marine Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, one of the first US servicemen to die in combat in Iraq who lived in the streets in Guatemala.  He was orphaned at the age of 8 and first entered the United States as an undocumented immigrant in 1997 to escape poverty.  When these immigrants successfully enter our country, they are willing to work at low- paying jobs that no other person wants except those who are very desperate.  Illegal immigrants belong to this category of desperate employees.  According to Jack Welch, illegal immigrants actually give more than what they can take insofar as helping the economy is concerned, to wit: “Government estimates say there are around 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Even if only 6 million of them hold jobs, losing these workers would erode the viability of the countless industries that rely on them to fill the least attractive of jobs.”  (p.1) 

This is emphasized by Presidential Candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain, who said that immigration can be an advantage to our country.  "Immigration will help the United States be a more productive, competitive and successful nation in the 21st century," the report says. "As the U.S. economy creates more jobs than can be filled by native-born workers, immigration complements the work force exceptionally well and fills gaps at all skill levels.”  (“EDITORIAL: Immigration reform in '07: fact or fiction?: Our view: With Democrats on Bush's side on this issue, it's time to address problem.” 1)

Consider the hiring and employing illegal immigrants who are willing to work and perform the same job that a United States citizen does at a cheaper price.  It is said that employers cut their overhead cost by a significant amount by hiring illegal immigrants.  Lesser overhead expenditures mean more savings.  More savings translate to more profits.  More profits mean for incentive for businesses and investors to put up their own businesses in the United States.  (Deborah White, 2006, p.3)

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Another advantage of Illegal Immigration is that it attracts votes. The great number of illegal immigrants and undocumented aliens in the United States is enough to get the attention of aspiring politicians.  The support of these illegal immigrants in favor of a particular candidate may spell the difference between winning and losing in the election. 

The benefits however do not come without a price.  While illegal immigrants have helped reduce labor cost for some businesses, the influx of illegal immigrants has caused serious economic problems not only for the US workforce but even for businesses and the entire economy.  One of the most obvious impacts of illegal immigration is its effect on the wages of US citizens.  The principle of supply and demand states that when the supply is more than the demand the price of the commodity decreases.  Also, when the demand is more than the supply then the price of the commodity increases.  The same is true for the supply of labor.  If there are abundant number of undocumented and illegal immigrants seeking for employment, the tendency is for the employers to demand lower wages salaries.  What happens is that the US citizens are forced to compete with the illegal immigrants for the same jobs and at lowered price. 

In addition, in some industries, the US workforce is being forced to compete with the illegal immigrants for the same jobs.  The effect of this is that citizens are slowly being displaced from their jobs.  They are now being replaced by low-skilled workers who are willing to accept lower wages. Research by George Borjas and Robert Scrivener shows thatillegal aliens increasing the supply of low skilled labor had a long-term reduction of wages among American poor citizens during the 1980s and 1990s by 4.8% and, according to an op-ed by him in the New York Times, their wages will reduce much further if border security is reduced. (“Illegal Immigration to the United States”, p. 3) Because of the oversupply of low-skilled and cheap labor in the United States, the wages have been reduced causing greater problems for US citizens who lack university education.  As employers hire more desperate aliens who are willing to work for much less than the Americans, the wages have been driven down making it very difficult for Americans to compete.  As a result, more Americans are receiving substantially lower wages and are unemployed. Accordig to Ignacio Ibarra, “Illegal immigration costs Arizonans $1.3 billion a year, nearly 20 times more than it did just a decade ago, according to a report by an immigration reform group.” (p.1)   

Consequently, the effect is in the reduction of the quality of life among the United States citizens.  It bears stressing that the influx of illegal immigrants has created a chain reaction in the business community.  They are no longer willing to offer better terms and conditions of employment to their employees since there are always illegal aliens who are available and are willing to accept the offer of the employers. 

Illegal immigrants do not have a significant impact in the prices of basic commodities. (Drew DeSilver 1) While others may argue that cheaper cost of labor may help reduce the prices of goods and commodities because of cheaper overhead cost on the part of businesses, the same however is only partially true.  The reality of the matter is that the impact of illegal immigrants on the prices of commodities is very small.  This is because the labor cost represents only a small percentage of the overhead cost for the business owners.  Other factors will have to be taken into account such as warehouse expenses, shipping expenses, rent, and retailer’s markup. 

In view of the failure of the federal government to control the problem of illegal immigration, some states have now passed laws seeking to take this matter into their own hands by enacting anti-illegal immigration laws.  One of these states is Arizona.  The law took effect on January 1, 2008 imposes obligation upon business owners to verify the legal status of all new hired employees otherwise punishment shall be imposed against business owners which will be found to hire illegal aliens whether purposely or inadvertently. (Jane Sasseen 1)  Other states that have similar laws that protect US citizens against illegal immigrants are: Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Missouri.  (Moira Herbst 2)  In addition, some states have even started their crackdown against illegal immigrants by conducting workplace raids and in the process arresting those who are found not to have US citizenships.  Thus, according to Moira Herbst, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has posted record enforcement action in the last 12 months making 863 criminal arrests and 4,077 administrative arrests. (Moira Herbst, Immigration: Enforcement or Politics 1)

Illegal immigration also exposes the United States territory to attacks from terrorists.  Unless we secure our borders and take steps to monitor the aliens that enter our country, we will always be in danger of terrorist attacks.  It was said that Mohamed Atta al-Saved and two of his co-conspirators had expired visas when they executed the 9/11 attacks.  The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States found that the government inadequately tracked those with expired tourist or student visas. 

Crime is also an offshoot of a weak policy on immigration.  Research shows that some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. Despite this, the law enforcement officers fail and neglect to look into the most conspicuous tool to apprehend them – their immigration status. 

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