Pro/Con: Does Illegal Immigration Help or Hurt America?

Immigration is one of the most controversial topics in America today.

Who Benefits From Illegal Immigration?

Today, our country is in crisis. People are seeking to cross our borders illegally in ever increasing numbers. Some of these people are crossing in a desperate way, others are funded by open borders NGOs, and still others are using these circumstances as a way to increase their drug and people trafficking profits.

All Americans care. We are by far the most generous nation in the world, spending more on international aid than any other nation. So how do we resolve this dilemma?

We could choose to open the borders to anyone. This would be the most selfless act, but any reasonable person would understand that it would lead to the destruction of this great country. We simply do not have the resources to take care of the entire world.

Perhaps we should just let the latest “caravan” in? That would resolve our immediate problems, however it would also motivate more people to form caravans and we could soon be overrun. Taking care of new immigrants can be expensive, as we will want to give them a decent living with a home, a job, health insurance, etc. Let us not forget that we are 21 trillion dollars in debt, and that our government runs a yearly deficit of 1 trillion dollars.

Illegal immigration has been a problem in our country for many years. Illegal immigrants make up a large part of the workforce in the most physically difficult professions: we find them as farm workers, construction workers, cleaning rooms in the hospitality industry and in restaurant kitchens. How is it that so many illegal immigrants already live amongst us? Is there no security at the border? The truth is that there are strong political forces at work here, promoting the influx of cheap labor. These unscrupulous businesses will deprive their fellow citizens of a decent wage by giving jobs to illegal immigrants. Other forces promote the influx of illegal immigrants to boost their numbers at the voting booths. But neither of these forces truly care for these illegal immigrants.

These hard-working illegal immigrants are never provided citizenship, because that would force businesses to pay them a decent wage, improving their standard of living and perhaps, with a proper education, enticing them to vote according to their own beliefs and not those of their ‘benefactors’. These people work hard for twenty years until they can no longer compete with the constant influx of healthy young illegal workers. Then these illegal immigrants   are laid off without compensation, and live in the shadows of our society.

If these people were truly respected, they would be held back at the border before entering our country and told to go home and fight for a better living in their country; to overthrow corrupt governments, and fight for a fair justice system. That is the only way they will be able to live a proud and respectable life. Instead we use them for our own purposes and assume in our arrogance that any life in the US is better than what they could hope for at home.   

So what do we do? I am confident that together we can come up with a humane and sustainable solution for everyone. Love will prevail.

by Celeste Pollack–News Editor

Undocumented Immigrants Strengthen our Country

At this moment more than 7,000 immigrants, mostly economic refugees from Honduras are sitting at the Mexican-American border after traveling 2,500 miles from their homeland. This includes families, men, women, and children. Many are seeking asylum from the crime-torn city of San Pedro Sula, honduras where gangs have taken over the lives of those who live there. Others want to reach the US to build a better life for themselves. As a response to the flow of immigrants, Donald Trump has deployed 5,800 troops to fortify the border as oncoming immigrants arrive. He has also claimed that “many gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the caravan heading to our southern border,” even though no such evidence has been found.

MS-13 and other violent Hispanic gangs always seem to be sprinkled into conversations and debates regarding Donald Trump’s immigration agenda. We have drawn a demonized picture of undocumented immigrants, but the hard truth is that these people aren’t the criminals we paint them to be. Americans actually commit more crimes than undocumented immigrants according to a study by Bianca E. Bersani, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. There is a 17% prevalence of crime in undocumented 16 years olds; in contrast, there is a 25% prevalence of crime in native-born 16-year-olds. We also begin seeing the process of assimilation and crime. Second-generation immigrants do commit more crimes than their parents, but commit an almost equal percentage of crime compared to their native-born peers. Several other studies have also refuted the “immigrants commit more crimes than Americans” case. Not only do they commit less crime, but as their population increases, violent crime decreases in the US. As the undocumented population in the US has grown from 7.9% in 1990 to 13.1% in 2013, violent crime decreased by 48% according to FBI data. Much of this data is not surprising at all, considering the fear of deportation undocumented immigrants face. No one wants to throw opportunity in the trash, let alone throw away family and security.       

Another popular argument used against undocumented immigrants involves jobs. Many argue that immigrants are taking jobs from citizens and driving down wages. A study reported by the Partnership for a New American Economy and the Center for Global Development on North Carolinian farms refutes the idea of the “job-stealing immigrant”. In 2011, there were on average 489,000 unemployed people in North Carolina and 6,500 open farm jobs. Only 268 unemployed native-born people in North Carolina applied. 90% of these people were accepted but only 163 people showed up to work on the first day. Only seven American workers made it through the season, 50% quit in the first few months. But 90% of immigrant workers not only made it through the first few months, but made it throughout the whole season. This study emphasizes that no matter how bad the economy is, American workers will simply not prefer working at a physically demanding job. Several other studies have supported this claim. This pattern can be explained by the fact that Americans have become more educated and view these physically demanding jobs as lowly.   

Americans are at an all-time high of 84% when it comes to graduation rates. Because of this immigrants and native-born workers don’t have to compete for the same jobs because they are usually in different job markets due to the increase of highly skilled/educated American workers. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, “[The] immigrant workforce now holds fewer blue-collar jobs and more white-collar ones than it did before the 2007-2009 recession, but a solid majority still works in low-skilled service, construction, and production occupations, much more than U.S born workers.” The only people who need to worry about competing with immigrants are high school dropouts. Even so, they still have advantages over their immigrant counterparts such as language and customer-facing skills that many immigrants cannot reproduce. Instead of competing, they complement each other by increasing productivity and wages. According to a 2010 report from the Economic Policy Institute from 1994 to 2007, immigration increased the wages of native-born workers by 0.4%. The amount of the wage gain varied slightly by the education level of the worker.

When a group of people come into a country they need basic human necessities: clothes, food, a house. In return, when a business experiences new/more consumers they have to respond. This flow of new consumers sustains the jobs of the workers. Not only that, but highly skilled immigrants or immigrants with advanced degrees help create more jobs. A study from the American Enterprise Institute and the Partnership for a New American Economy analyzed employment data from 2000-2007. They found that “every 100 foreign-born workers who worked in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and who had advanced degrees from U.S. universities, were associated with an additional 262 jobs for American born workers.” This includes undocumented immigrants.

Aside from the stats, we need to realize that those people sitting at the border are men, women and children, hoping for a life where they can feel secure. For the most part, many of us aren’t scared of being threatened by gangs on the daily or worrying if we are going to have food on the table. 7,000 of those men, women and children are from the nightmare of a crime-ridden city, San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Boys are forced to join gangs and corrupt police make people scared rather than feel secure. In 2012, an average of 20 people were killed every day in Honduras according to Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. Children who live there have been robbed of their childhood and their right to grow old. An increasing rate of minors as young as 12 have decided to travel to the border alone according to records from US Customs and Border Protection. People, including children, who trek this extremely dangerous trip have decided that it’s worth the risk if they will be saved from the hell they were living in before. You know there must be a problem within a country when their people are fleeing by the thousands. It is not right to deny protection and security to someone when they do no harm to you.Nevertheless, families are being torn apart and forced to return to a country they don’t feel secure in. Reckless fear mongering has pointed the finger at undocumented immigrants, who help. If we were to deport every undocumented immigrant, it could boost U.S. tax revenues IF US citizens fill in jobs left vacant by undocumented immigrants, which studies have shown it’s highly unlikely. The U.S. would lose the spending revenue generated by those undocumented immigrants who had been deported, since the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are working and spending their incomes.

by Nayelli Arellano–Staff Reporter