Illegal immigration in the United States has been a topic of much debate and controversy for many years. While some argue that illegal immigrants are taking away jobs from U.S. citizens and contributing to crime and social problems, others believe that they are necessary for the economy and provide essential labor for various industries. Regardless of one’s personal beliefs, understanding the facts about illegal immigration is crucial for an informed and productive discussion on the topic. Here are six important facts to know about illegal immigration in the U.S.
1. The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has been declining in recent years
Contrary to popular belief, the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has been decreasing in recent years. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. dropped from 12.2 million in 2007 to 10.5 million in 2017. This decline is primarily due to a decrease in the number of Mexicans entering the country illegally. In 2017, Mexicans made up 47% of all unauthorized immigrants in the U.S., down from 57% in 2007.
2. Most illegal immigrants have been in the U.S. for a long time
Another common misconception about illegal immigrants is that they are all recent arrivals. However, the majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have been living in the country for many years. According to the Pew Research Center, 66% of undocumented immigrants have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years, while only 14% have been in the country for five years or less. This means that many of these immigrants have established families and roots in the U.S. and have been contributing to their communities for a significant amount of time.
3. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for most public benefits
One of the main arguments against illegal immigration is that these immigrants are burdening the U.S. economy by taking advantage of public benefits. However, the reality is that most undocumented immigrants are not eligible for these benefits. According to the National Immigration Law Center, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid, food stamps, TANF, or most other forms of federal public assistance. Additionally, they are not eligible for Social Security, except in some very limited circumstances.
4. Most illegal immigrants are working and paying taxes
Contrary to the belief that undocumented immigrants are a drain on the U.S. economy, the reality is that they are actually contributing to it. According to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.7 billion in state and local taxes each year. Additionally, many work in low-wage jobs that U.S. citizens are not willing to do, such as farm labor, construction, and hospitality. These jobs are important to the U.S. economy and would be difficult to fill without the labor of undocumented immigrants.
5. Border security has improved in recent years
One of the main ways that the U.S. government has attempted to address illegal immigration is by strengthening border security. In recent years, there have been significant improvements in this area. According to the Department of Homeland Security, border security has been strengthened through the deployment of more personnel, technology, and infrastructure. Additionally, the number of apprehensions at the border has decreased significantly, from a peak of 1.6 million in 2000 to just over 400,000 in 2018.
6. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to address illegal immigration
While border security is an important part of addressing illegal immigration, it is not enough on its own. Comprehensive immigration reform is needed to address the root causes of illegal immigration and provide a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. A comprehensive approach would include measures to strengthen border security, improve the process for legal immigration, and provide a pathway to citizenship for those already living in the U.S. illegally. The U.S. Congress has attempted to tackle this issue in the past, but has been unable to pass comprehensive reform legislation.
In conclusion, understanding the facts about illegal immigration in the U.S. is crucial for informed and productive discussions on the topic. While there are many different opinions on this issue, it is important to base these opinions on accurate and up-to-date information. By doing so, we can work towards solutions that are fair and effective for both U.S. citizens and undocumented immigrants.
1. Due to the resurgence of national security – which many attribute to the terrorist act that took place on September 11th, 2001 – the United States instated increased precautions with regard to immigration into the United States; these precautions exist in the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and increased funding for the Border Patrol, as well as for National Security Advisory (NSA).
2. An illegal immigrant is a term assigned to those individuals who have accessed a country or nation through illegal means, which include smuggling, trafficking, and a general admission devoid of legitimacy; legal immigration can be defined as the processing, application, and completion of the appropriate forms and the satisfaction of the protocol of legal entry.
Although the procedure for illegally entering a country are no excuse for the failure to adhere to the law, there exists a multitude of reasons for immigrants to risk entry into the United States as illegal immigrants.
3. Immigration lobbyists – both detractors, as well as advocates alike – have explained that while some illegal immigrants have entered America for reasons fueled by criminal activity and felonious intent, other illegal immigrants want a lifestyle provided by the American government that will provide a better quality of life for themselves, as well as for their own families.
In certain cases, these lobbyists have illustrated examples where illegal immigrants have unlawfully entered the United States to reunite with family, as well as to escape the corruption and instability rampant within their native governments. As a result, the debate surrounding illegal immigration continues to serve as a polemic seemingly devoid of a solution to all those involved; both for lobbyists and immigrants alike.
4. There exist a number of legal means in which immigrants can utilize in order to legally enter the United States of America in lieu of doing so illegally and running the risk of being branded as illegal immigrants:
Visa: Expressed permission to reside in the United States of America for a finite period of time, which is contingent on a purpose for the residence – examples of ‘purpose’ are marriage, employment, tourism, and study. Although a visa entitles the holder to reside legally within the United States, upon the expiration of that visa – and without a federally-mandated extension, the holder of an expired visa is considered to be an illegal immigrant 2. Refugee.
Permit: This is the granting of legal authority to enter the United States of America as a result of persecution, hardship, or extenuating circumstances endured by the noncitizen in question.
Green Card: Legal documentation that illustrates noncitizen status, albeit the right to reside legally within the United States on a permanent basis
Citizenship: Citizenship is granted subsequent to 5 years spent legally residing within the United States with a minimal amount of time spent outside of the United States; as an American citizen, the foreign-born individual is entitled to all of the rights and freedoms afforded to all American-born citizens – foreign-born American citizens are also responsible for their personal adherence to the laws and regulations set forth within the Constitution of the United States.
5. Illegal Immigrants who currently reside in the United States have done so in a variety of fashions:
Illegal Border Crossing: Despite the checkpoints that occur on the immediate borders between the United States and Canada, as well as between the United States and Mexico, illegal immigrants have devised a multitude of methods to cross the border illegally and without detection.
While some illegal immigrants have opted to sneak across the border, other illegal immigrants have chosen to pay a third-party for safe passage into the United States; these third-party enablers have been given the moniker ‘coyotes’, due to the many accounts of predatory behavior with regard to the noncitizen’s desperation to gain access into the United States.
In the past decade alone, there has been an abundance of reported cases of ‘coyotes’ stealing money from potential illegal-immigrants, refusing service, as well as the exploitation of illegal immigrants with threats of reporting their respective, illegal intentions.
Other illegal immigrants have opted to enter the United States by way of make-shift marine vessels, such as rafts, flotillas, and in certain cases, inner-tubes. Aside from the penalties that are incurred upon arrest, many illegal immigrants have lost their lives as a result of drowning, starvation, and exhaustion due to the perils of this rigorous – and dangerous – endeavor.
6. Immigration fraud is an criminal activity in which illegal immigrants cooperate in order to gain access to the United States; there exist a wide variety of criminal methods that are implemented in order for an illegal alien to penetrate the borders of the United States:
Fraudulent documents, both forged – as well as stolen, have been circulated through communities who utilize these documents as a way to make a profit through their sale or barter. Fraudulent Green Cards, Social Security Cards, Passports, and Visas have been known to circulate through forgery and theft; these documents are sold, bought, and produced in order assist illegal immigrants with illegal entry into the United States in lieu of lawful completion and processing of immigration documentation through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau.
Fraudulent marriage, engagement, and elopement are not uncommon practices that result in a heightened possibility of a noncitizen spouse or fiancée receiving a visa to reside legally in the United States; oftentimes, these marriages are fabricated for the purpose of displaying the appearance of a legitimate and genuine marriage – participants that are citizens of the United States receive payment in exchange for their own contribution.
Violation of Immigration: a violation of immigration is when an individual who was once legally permitted to enter the United States for a finite period of time refuses to return to their own country of origin upon the expiration of that expressed permission for entry. This denial can take place upon a noncitizen’s refusal to report to the USCIS upon the ending of the statute of limitations on their specific immigration documentation.