Legalizing illegal immigrants essay

In , Congress and the Reagan administration tried to stem illegal immigration by making it illegal for employers to knowingly hire workers without citizenship papers, but employers did not have to check whether the papers were authentic. Attempts to create a more rigorous computerized system of checking have been resisted by business lobbies. Employer fines were few in the Clinton years— in —but virtually ceased under George W. Bush, who levied three fines in That has put the emphasis on border control, even though half or less of undocumented immigrants actually come across the border.

Most just overstay tourist or other visas. About one-third to one-half of the immigrants coming legally into the United States are unskilled or lower-skilled. According to a Brookings Institution study, almost one in three don't even have a high school diploma. About half lack proficiency in the English language. Those percentages are considerably higher among undocumented immigrants.

About 70 percent lack proficiency in English. As a result, the greatest percentages of immigrants find unskilled work in agriculture, construction, health care as aides , maids and housekeeping, and food service. Many of the studies of the effects of immigration are financed by business groups and lobbying organizations that have a stake in the outcome. But there are a number of studies that show that while immigration has resulted in a rise in overall wealth, it has been a significant, though not the only, factor in the decline of wages among the low-skilled workers who had to compete with the influx of new immigrants.

In , the same year the Jordan Commission issued its findings, the National Academy of Sciences published a report on immigration. These findings would accord with the simple law of supply and demand. A rapid increase in supply either holds down increases in wages or results in reduced wages. Harvard economist George Borjas, who participated in the NAS study, estimates that within a particular skill group, a 10 percent increase in supply results in at least a 3 percent reduction in wages.

As the NAS study notes, the two groups in the labor force most immediately affected are prior immigrants and high school dropouts. Many of the first-generation immigrants are Hispanic, and many of the high school dropouts, or those with only a high school degree, are African American. And there are studies showing that workers from these two groups have been hit hard by competition from immigrants. In , the U.

Some pundits and political scientists insist that unskilled immigrants don't take jobs from native-born Americans.

Regaining America's Balance

On building crews, for instance, immigrants and non-immigrants work side by side; most construction laborers are native-born. In other sectors, however, as businesses use legal and illegal immigrant labor to drive out unions and drive down wages and working conditions, native-born workers do begin to shun certain jobs.


A good example is the transformation of the meatpacking industry. In , The New York Times described what had happened to the industry over the preceding 20 years:. Today, the processing and packing plants are largely staffed by low-paid non-union workers from places like Mexico and Guatemala. This didn't happen because the people who worked in meatpacking plants decided they wanted to become computer programmers. The companies brought in immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, to undermine the unions and depress wages. Something similar has happened in construction and low-skilled services, where documented and undocumented immigrants were brought in to undermine unionization.

The labor movement lobbied for the restrictions on immigration that Congress adopted in and The leaders of organized labor believed at the time that the huge inflow of immigrants was making it impossible to organize workers to better their conditions. During the prior decades, employers had used immigrants as strike-breakers. The legislation itself was tainted with nativism and anti-Semitism and contributed to the tragic denial of asylum in the s to Jews fleeing Central Europe, but the restrictions imposed on the numbers of low-skilled immigrants were a factor in union successes from the s through the s and in wage increases during that period.

The temporary cessation of mass immigration also, as Borjas argues in his new book We Wanted Workers , facilitated the assimilation of the millions of immigrants who had entered the United States before They were able to work their way up through the new industrial economy that employed them and that, thanks to the growth of unionism, paid middle-class wages in the decades following World War II.

But many of the low-skilled and unskilled immigrants who have come into the United States since and are employed in the lower rungs of a service economy may not find it as easy to attain middle-class incomes and living standards. Well through the s, Democrats and the labor movement worried that this massive immigration was undermining unionization and holding down wages.

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That was reflected in the findings of the Jordan Commission in and in union support for the enforcement of the law prohibiting employers from hiring undocumented immigrants. But that understanding has disappeared. In the face of the government's failure to stem illegal immigration, unions had no choice but to attempt to organize immigrants and push for a path to citizenship for them.

But for Democrats, uncritical backing for immigration was also the result of a political calculation that may turn out to be wrong. And there is, or has been, some truth in that. When Republicans have accompanied arguments against illegal immigration with naked xenophobic appeals, as California Republicans did in promoting Proposition in , they have alienated Hispanic voters.

That dynamic is still with us. But at the same time, pluralities or majorities of Hispanics are leery of illegal immigration, and want it restricted. They look with disfavor on the massive immigration of unskilled workers. The poll found significant support among Hispanics for some of its provisions. In other words, Hispanic voters were favorably inclined toward a proposal that aimed to change the priorities in our immigration policy.

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Hispanic preferences were roughly the same as those of all registered voters. A plurality of the other income groups thought there are too many low-skilled immigrants coming into the country. In sum, the Democratic stance on these issues is not only unpopular with most voters, but with many Hispanics as well. Except as a response to Trump's xenophobia, the Democrats' response makes no political sense, and is not benefiting their own working-class constituents.

There is one more political dimension to the argument about immigration that is voiced by leading Democrats and Republicans.

Illegal Immigrants : An Illegal Immigrant

It is that continuing large-scale immigration of unskilled workers will help the Democrats politically and hurt the Republicans. That calculation lies at the bottom of Democratic hopes and Republican fears of immigration. It encourages Democrats to ignore the downside of mass and illegal immigration and Republicans to seek to cut immigration and to do whatever they can do to discourage immigrants already here from voting.

Nobody has ever heard about an American competing with a legal immigrant for a dishwashing job. Moreover, the sophisticated alien labor helps developing more jobs for Americans Colvin. First, immigrants add directly to the population of the poor. Rubenstein points out that about 16 percent of America's poor are immigrants….

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  • Second, immigration adds to poverty indirectly by driving down the income and employment rates of poorer Americans through economic competition. In , poverty rates for black Americans rose and their median household income fell. Immigrants do add directly and indirectly to the population of the poor. But what difference will it make to recognize the poverty that exists right now in the society!

    It is already there. Immigration accounts directly and indirectly for approximately two- thirds of current U. Believe it or not, legalizing illegal immigrants will actually help stop illegal immigration. As stated before, the main reason for having illegal immigrants coming through the borders is that those people are needed by business owners. There is a demand that needs to be supplied.

    Legalizing them will supply such demands. Once the business owners are satisfied there will be no reason to have weak borders. Even if this may seem like an encouragement to other people abroad to come to the U. It is because of the investors who need cheap labor this borders are still unsecured. If we satisfy the needs of these business owners, we will be able to secure the borders and stop illegal immigration.

    Time to Legalize Our 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants - Center for American Progress

    Immigration is also a major component of the health-care problem. Take merely one statistic from a recent CIS study: Almost half 46 percent of persons in immigrant households either have no insurance or have it provided to them at taxpayer expense. Nor is that the only cost immigration imposes on the health-care system.

    Illegal immigrants are using this law and go to the ER on a regular basis. Throughout his essay, all what Sullivan is doing is stating the problem, which I agree with him in most cases. However, he never proposes a solution for it. Even if he does, it would be deporting all illegal immigrants, which would lead to an enormous number of problems. It may be true that immigrants are causing social problem like crimes and more. But it is also true that this is only a result of the current policy.

    Nobody chooses to be a criminal and live his life in jail. Finding no jobs, being discriminated against, and counted as second class citizens-in case they manage to be legal- are the reasons for these social outcomes. Only through reforming these communities, not through whipping them off, we can solve these problems. There are more benefits besides the above mentioned ones of legalizing undocumented aliens. In an article published in The Wall Street Journal argues the writer, Eduardo Porter, that broad legalization would cut immigration.

    If we supply the demand inside, we will not need to import outside labor porter.