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American Domestic Policy
American Domestic Policy
Illegal immigration in the United States has become one the topics of greatest concern to the American public in recent years. This has resulted into examination of the costs and benefits of illegal immigration on unskilled works as well as the ultimate impact on the U.S economy in a number of studies. The costs include the effects of the effects of illegal immigration on unskilled workers, the property damage caused by the immigrants sneaking into the United States, the expenditure on the health care for immigrants at emergency clinics and hospitals, which are legally bound not to deny care to anyone or inquire whether someone is a legal resident, expenditures on public education for the children of the immigrants who attend public schools and burglaries and other crimes committed by illegal immigrants (Levy, 2010). Americans affected by the benefits want immigrants to have a way to take a job, whereas those most affected by the costs propose that immigrants should be kept out of the country at whatever cost.
The views on dealing with illegal immigration in United States range from using the military to guard the borders and the construction of a fence along the borders to amnesty for illegal aliens already in the United States. The US governments has taken several steps to curb the problem of illegal immigration including Operation Wetback as the one of the first response to what was perceived as an alarming level of illegal Mexican immigrants as well as enactment of several legislation as such as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) (Boyes & Melvin, 2010). The purpose of IRCA was to decrease the number of illegal immigrants by limiting their flow and the legalization the status of the illegal aliens. However, application of the domestic policy has been affected by the experience with international terrorist attacks being associated with immigration and illegal immigration flows into the country.
This paper will explore illegal immigration as one of the most contested issues in the American politics and recommendation of ways to deal with the issue.
Factors Leading To Illegal Immigration Being Viewed As a Major Problem in America
The skyrocketing number of illegal immigrants in United States has triggered great concern among the American citizens over the last few years. As of 2010, about 11.2 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States and despite this being a reduction the populations in previous, the high number has raised great concerns to the Americans owing to the impact such numbers have on the state well-being (Passel & Cohn, 2011). The increased number of illegal immigrants has been associated with significant negative impacts including job pressure especially in unskilled labor, increased expenditures on health care for immigrants at hospitals and emergency clinics, pressure on public amenities, increased expenditure in the public schools, property damage cause by the immigrants and increased insecurity in the country. The problem of illegal immigrants has been exacerbated by the increased terrorist threats which have been strongly linked with the issue of illegal immigration into United States.
Although migration between Mexico and the United States goes back to the nineteenth century and has ebbed and flowed for more than a century, U.S. citizens and politicians have been entirely comfortable with immigrants in general or Mexicans in particular. There are and always have been people who view illegal immigrants as a thread to the United States, who blame them directly for economic ills as well as presenting a danger to American modern society. Large companies might benefit from cheap, immigrant labor, because of the low wages paid to the immigrants. However, the low wages contribute to driving the general wages offered to the Americans. The issues of job loss associated with immigrants particularly for unskilled labor has contributed immensely to the heated debate against immigrants among the Americans. The competition with illegal immigrants who are ready to work for less money makes Americans unable to compete effectively for the available job opportunities in the American job market. The public has become more united against the issue of illegal immigrants with majority favoring increasing penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants as well as increasing number of border patrol agents.
According to Polyanichko (2010), about two-thirds of Americans support the idea of denying social services to the unauthorized and propose that illegal immigrants should not be eligible for social services provided by the state and local governments. One of the main arguments leveled against illegal immigrants is that they receive government benefits and don’t pay taxes with education and unpaid healthcare being among the highest costs attributed to problem of illegal immigrants.
As result of the increased illegal immigration, the amount of uncompensated care has continued to grow as more and more unauthorized immigrants seek for health services. In addition, increased crime has been associated with increase in the number of illegal immigrants, a factor that undermines the security of Americans as well as costing the government huge budgetary costs at both federal and local government levels in attempts to curb insecurity in the country. The burden of illegal immigrants has become worse with the laws that require children born in America be recognized as American citizens thus increasing the burden as the government is obliged to cater for such children.
Some of the Attempts Made To Arrest the Increase in Illegal Immigrants and Their Failures
In a move to control illegal immigrants in United States, the government introduced employer sanctions prohibiting employers from hiring illegal immigrants. Through this strategy, employers have been expected to verify employees before hiring them to ensure that illegal immigrants do not gain access to employment. However, employer sanction strategy has turnout to be ineffective due to lack of reliable mechanisms for verifying employment eligibility, lack of political will due to some of the benefits accrued from illegal immigrants such as labor, and lack of enough funding towards interior immigration enforcement (Boyes & Melvin, 2010). The governments has also enacted various reforms in its domestic policy on illegal immigration including the Immigration and Control Act (IRCA) whose main purpose was ostensibly to attack the problem of illegal immigration and reign control over the borders.
Among the solutions offered through this reform included a generous amnesty to illegal aliens and creation of a Special Agricultural Workers program (Polyanichko, 2010). However, these strategies emerged to be a flop by further contributing to the influx of immigrant workers into the U.S. labor market. In this case, IRCA was seen as an attempt to reconcile the rising political clamor for border control with continuing demand for cheap immigrant labor rather controlling the increasing of illegal immigrants in the country. Some of these immigration measures have resulted into increased gap between the goals and outcomes of U.S. immigration policy. According to Cornelius, Martin and Hollifield (1994), the greatest challenge in the U.S. immigration policy has been the failure to recognize the key problem facing its implementation as the lack of recognition of illegal immigrants as the main problem.
Another failure in attempts to control illegal immigration emerges from the lack of consensus on policy options, which consequently results into general lack of concern or benign neglect. United States still perceives itself as a nation of immigrants, a tradition that obstructs efforts to restrict or control any type of immigration. Another key factor undermining efforts by the U.S. government to control illegal immigration revolves around the lack of under.............
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