Immigrationrefers to the migration of people from one country to another. It isan expression of the guaranteed constitutional right enshrined in theuniversal freedom of movement. There are many reasons why people movefrom one nation to another such as looking for better opportunitiesand career, business growth and education (Matthew and Jenny, 36). Oflate, there has been a heated political debate on the battle overimmigration in the United States. Factors stimulating this debateinclude the national budgetary deficit, the war on drug, andincreased terrorism acts. The U.S. Census have said that if the rateat which immigrants are coming into America continues, by the year2050 its population will have grown to four hundred and twentymillion. This will have serious negative effects on thesocio-economic status of America. To prevent this, proposals to dealwith illegal immigration have been passed to the House and thepresident. These proposals include deportation, amnesty for theexisting illegal immigrants, harsh border controls, and payment offines for taxes that have been unpaid. However, very little has beensaid on legal immigration which has also contributed greatly to theincrease in the United States population (Mary, 85). Therefore, thebig question is, is the United States supposed to maintain thecurrent rate of legal immigration? Before deciding what to do aboutthe issue of legal immigrants, America should first consider thebenefits and the limitations of legal immigration. This paperdiscusses the arguments of both the proponents and the opponents oflegal immigration.
Theproponents argue that one of the benefits of immigration is that itexpands the diversity of a country which results to exchange andsharing of cultural ethics and values. It also leads to the exchangeof expertise and knowledge between people of two different countries. They also argue that immigration has a positive impact on economicgrowth. This is because it leads to global market, thus expanding thecapacity for development (Matthew and Jenny, 67). It gives thesociety a global viewpoint to the economic and social growth. Betterstill, is the fact that when immigrants move in America, they providecheap labor and this allows flexibility of production. This in turnleads to production of qualities that are of good quality, higherprofits, and cheaper prices for the goods produced. The decreasedcost of production due to cheap labor and higher profits leads to anoverall growth in the economy. Also, some of the jobless immigrantsin America often take jobs which are low paying. Most Americans donot like giving their labor to jobs which pay low wages such asmopping floors, washing dishes and collecting garbage (Matthew andJenny, 67).
Anotherreason for proponents supporting legal immigrations to America isthat it improves the general image of the United States globally.Immigration makes America to be seen as a welcoming and an opencountry to all. It allows the immigrants to get a clear picture ofAmerica, and not the one which is propagandized in most mediaworldwide. Immigration also offers a chance to the people strugglingaround the world to better their lives. That is, some of the mostambitious and intelligent people unsatisfied by the workingconditions and wages in their own nations, bring their brainpower andskills to the United States. In addition, immigration brings newideas in career and education. This is because it exposes one to theenvironment of another nation which may be totally different from hisor her motherland, thus opening many doors to new fields of careerand education opportunities. Also eliminating or decreasing legalimmigration will without doubt make people to come in Americaillegally and this will result to less taxpaying citizens, andreduced assimilation (Matthew and Jenny, 177).
Onthe other hand, the opponents of legal immigrations have laid theirarguments which make them to be against America having manyimmigrants. One of the main reasons against increasing legalimmigrations is that it will create an opportunity for drug dealers,terrorists and many other criminals to get in America (John andAlberto, 617). Also, immigrants who are less educated are thought toincrease violence and theft, thus putting at stake the nationalsecurity. In addition, immigration may result to spread of diseasesfrom other countries to America. The immigrants may carry diseaseswhich existed in their home countries with them, thus resulting tothe spread of such diseases. However, to prevent the danger of spreadof diseases, most countries screen the immigrants to make sure thatthey are free of contagious disease on their arrival. Another reasonagainst the increase of legal immigrants in America is that theycause a huge financial burden on the government (Matthew and Jenny,168). Some immigrants, particularly the poor ones spend a lot ofgovernment resources on education, healthcare, and welfare. Theopponents claim that the economic growth realized through theimmigrants is invalidated by the expenses that the government incursin providing resources to the immigrants. Immigration to America isalso opposed because it causes brain drain to the motherland of theimmigrants. These poor countries lose their top intellectuals andtalented workers to the United States and this hurts such countriesmaking them even weaker (Borjas, 1093).
Increaseof legal immigrants in America is also opposed because it causesinequitable distribution of the national wealth. It is assumed thatthe nation’s wealth and the job vacancies in that nation are itspossessions and therefore allowing the immigrants to get part of thismeans that the wealth is divided even to the non-natives. Forinstance in America, most of its citizens who are less-educated haveless employment opportunities and earn little income because theycompete in the job market with the immigrants. When there are so manyimmigrants seeking employment, the job opportunities reduce. As aresult, the economics laws of demand and supply reduces the wagesfrom what it would have been if there was no stiff competition.Increased legal immigration will also cause population densityincrease or crowding in America, while deserting the home countriesof the immigrants. Increase in population means that there will bepopulation imbalance and excessive use of the resources in the UnitedStates (Hook and Snyder, 259).
Inconclusion, it is quite evident that legal immigration can be ofgreat benefits to the immigrants, as long as their fundamental rightsare properly protected. It can also be advantageous economically forboth the host countries and the home countries of the immigrants.However, with the current structures of trade and economic situation,it is only the powerful and wealthy nations that profit most from theimmigrants leaving their home countries to suffer from brain drainand its effects. Immigration also results to cultural and socialpressures which require to be taken into consideration when planningfor the future services. Moreover, immigration enables differentcultures to be brought together, but effort to dismiss falsehoodmyths believed by the locals must be made so as to prevent frictionbetween the locals and the immigrants. It is not a good idea toeliminate legal immigration especially here in America. This isbecause immigration to countries where there exists economicpreconditions such as America is inevitable. If legal immigration isprevented in such countries, it will just move underground thuscausing illegal immigrations.
Borjas,George J. "Welfare Reform and Immigrant Participation in WelfarePrograms" InternationalMigration Review36(4), (2002) pp. 1093–1123.
Anincrease in the government burden is one of the reasons some peopleare opposed to both legal and illegal immigration. The paper outlinessome of the alleged effects of immigration on the social services andwelfare programs.
Hook,J. and Snyder, J. (2007). "Immigration, ethnicity, and the lossof white students from California public schools, 1990–2000".PopulationResearch and Policy Review26 (3): 259–277.
Theresearch article provides an important overview of some of the basicissues surrounding immigration debate in the United States. Althoughit mainly concentrates on the role of immigration on racial disparityin schools, it provides an important insight on the role ofimmigration.
JohnHagan and Alberto Palloni. "Sociological Criminology and theMythology of Hispanic Immigration and Crime" SocialProblems,Vol. 46, No. 4 (1999), pp. 617–632.
Therelationship between immigration and hard drugs use and trade,especially among Hispanic immigrants is one of the most debatedissues. This article gives a theoretical perspective of the issue.
MaryE. Williams, Immigration.San Diego: GreenHaven Press, 2004.
Thebook provides one of the most comprehensive scrutinies on immigrationin the United States over the years. It looks at the history, policyreforms and impacts of immigration on the American society.
Matthew,Soerens and Jenny Hwang Yang. Welcomingthe Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the ImmigrationDebate,InterVarsity Press,ISBN 0830878408, 2010.
Immigrationis arguably the most important social, political and economic issuein the modern world. This book outlines the major issues that havecharacterized the immigration debate in the recent past. Theextensive coverage of the book makes it a very important resource.