Legal and Illegal Immigration are Interrelated

Because the worst of all worlds is when you pretend like you have an immigration policy, you make coming into the United States without our permission illegal, and then you actually don't enforce it.
-Tom Tancredo

There are many misconceptions about immigrants in the United States.  Abuse of social services and stealing jobs from residents are the main factors for hostility between residents and non-residents—the economic stability of the country is at risk.  Rice University economist Donald Huddle claims that legal and illegal immigration took $51 billion in job displacement and social welfare than what immigrants paid in taxes.   Urban Institute however claims that immigrants contribute $23-30 billion in taxes more than they receive in services. Contrary to popular belief, both legal and illegal migration are interrelated.

 

Here is a creative and straight-forward review on what the immigration debate is all about:

 

 


Another issue lies with the growing influx of immigrants, especially that of the "illegal immigrants." A look at the comic below shows that there is no such things as illegal immigrants since the forefathers of America established themselves in the homelands of the Native Americans without their consent.

 

 

 

 

It is contested that stricter border laws will reduce the number of illegal immigrants: the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (USINS) responded to the pressures of politics by launching campaigns such as its El Paso “Operation Blockade” and “Operation Gatekeeper” in San Diego.  This has, however, only increased the number of illegal immigrants: upon failing to access the main entry points, the immigrants in lieu decide to face the dangers of desert and mountain terrain, where they often are met dangers such as thieves, rapists and harsh weather.  The reason why illegal immigrants are so abundant in the U.S. is because the implementation of immigration policy is poor, unrealistic and extremely inefficient.

 

 

 

 

The graph below indicates the amount of illegal immigration from 1990's to 2000 has indeed increased. Taking a closer look at the graph however shows that the amount of illegal immigrant correlates to the amount of legal immigration. The influx of immigrants is not due to the fact that the country has been overrun by "illegal immigrants": it is mostly legal immigration that is causing the enormous amounts of immigrants into the country. If America is truly against the detrimental effects of the demographic stress caused by the immigrant, whether it is legal or "illegal",movement, then why are the legal immigration numbers soaring through the roof?

Illegal and legal immigrants graph

There are many ways that a non-citizen can apply for residency. A green card (permanent residency) is needed first--this is an individual who has been granted the right to work and live in the U.S. This can be obtained through family sponsorship, a job, refugee or asylum status.. But the process for residency is a long and hard road.

 

Applying for residency via the family sponsorship will take from anywhere from 5-10 years--oftentimes, families apart for more than a decade before they can reunite under this petition.

The job sponsorship is not only difficult but severely expensive: since sponsoring an immigrant worker is more of a burden on the employer side in the long run, it is rare to find an employer who is willing to sponsor their worker for a green card. The result is a worker who will work for several years under an abusive employer, but given the hope that the employer will give them a chance to make it in the U.S., the workers deal with it. To apply for an employment-based visa, an immigrant needs to pay at least $2,320 upfront, as most employers reimburse these fees rather than paying for the applicant 1.  Taking into account that the amount is in dollars and not in the currency of the immigrant, this amount can be a lifetime’s or two lifetime’s worth of work for most immigrants.  Therefore, legal means to get to the U.S. is often disregarded by impoverished immigrants simply because they do not have the means to pay for it.

 

Refugee and asylum sponsorships are complicated because the definition of a refugee is "an individual who is outside their home country and having a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.2The process is outlined in the image below.

Many of the refugees that are taken in however are mostly refugees who are from refugee camps, people who still have reasonable opportunities to return to their homelands and to survive. This gives hope to the other refugees in the camps into thinking that going back to their country is a lost cause. This is again because of the system: government officials and Members of Congress use this immigration as a means of achieving tools to trade with other countries. This not only harms the refugees who truly cannot go back to their country for fear of their lives, but also the U.S. workers, environment, and the refugees.

 

 

1Xie Law Offices H-1B Application Fee Information

2Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services