We don’t talk that much about illegal immigration and immigrants on this site as the primary focus is helping foreigners both understand and navigate the US immigration system. We all cover topical issues in US immigration but again more focused to those issues that pertain to legal immigration (eg. H1B visa legislation, Green Card Processing Delays, etc.)
However one point that we strongly believe that one of the top 2 or 3 causes of illegal immigration in the US is the legal immigration system. This is a widely held belief among well versed Americans that really understand the US Immigration system and its major inadequacies and inequities, as well of course a lot of foreigners that have to suffer through it.
The illegal immigration issue is far more widely covered in the media and talk radio due to its ability to garner passions which are too often irrational among the consumers of those providing the media. As ultimately that passion turns into greater numbers of viewers, listeners or readers and thus more advertising dollars for the publication and those engaging the audience.
The main focus of the illegal immigration debate tends to center around some core issues in the US today which includes;
– Terrorism & National Security
– Open Borders & Need for a fence on the US Southern border
– Illegal immigrants who commit felonies
– Paying taxes and receiving social benefits
– Unsafe and illegal workplace conditions for undocumented workers
– Lowering overall wage levels & taking US jobs
– Breaking up families where parties are of different nationalities
As you can see just by the nature of the headers, each of these points on their own has the ability to garner strong views from both side of the political spectrum producing less than cordial debate and thus no practical, long term, workable and overall beneficial solutions.
I would like to approach a couple of these issues from a different perspective that is rarely discussed in the mass media as a solution for all these problems. That being the US immigration system or the legal immigration system and its inequities that help cause many of the above problems.
As it relates to National Security types issues and Border Control, the current US immigration system and processing is not only more than sufficient, it goes way past what is practical. Every person who applies for a US visa has to supply all 10 fingerprints at their US Consulate interview. Additionally all these people as well as those traveling via the Visa Waiver Program and the new ESTA have to give fingerprints at the port of entry. This is in addition to all the background checks against all suspect databases and information.
Given that 99.999% of people are not National Security threats, nor have done anything that would make them even be considered a threat, this is certainly a huge intrusion into people’s privacy for a free society. It is also worth pointing out that almost all illegal immigrants are not national security risks and that many of the people that have committed atrocities within the US were legal immigrants or citizens. Everyone of the people who slipped through the system were as a result of government bureaucracy and federal agencies not talking to each other.
So really by implement ever more intrusive procedures the US is further alienating almost all the foreigners that are law abiding and follow the rules and yet still missing the ones they want to catch because of simple communication issues that a adolescent could see needed to be fixed.
The other issue I will cover relates to the workplace, taxes, social benefits and taking jobs from US citizens. In a healthy proportion, illegal immigrants are performing tasks that Americans would like not to do and at the same time are secretly happy is being performed by illegals at lower wages as it means lower prices at grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores.
Additionally illegal immigrants like their legal immigrant counterparts are also paying taxes like Social Security and Medicare on top of the relevant Federal and State taxes with no acess to any of these social services. So all immigrant types are helping to contribute to the welfare of their US citizens counterparts. Now if the US government even gave some basic access to social services to legal immigrants, then that would be a reason for people to both follow the rules as immigrants and to also pay their taxes.
As we have discussed in numerous other posts, citing studies like those by Duke Professor, Vivek Wadhwa of the huge net benefit job wise of the healthy immigration policy the US has always had. In that the overall benefit is of a mass job creation and innovation and thus more jobs and wealth for the US and its citizens. So making this process more streamlined and equitable in the end will only create more jobs for US citizens as opposed to arbitrary restrictions and protectionist policies.
In the end illegal immigration is a issue that deserves a lot more attention than this one post. However we just wanted to highlight the relationships between illegal and legal immigration and how fixes in one area can only help the other and the US as a whole.