Till date, the number of illegal immigrants living in the United States is unknown. According to rough estimates, there are about 12-20 million immigrants in the US. In today's time, it is a huge problem not only for the US but for the entire world. Various terms that are used to describe an illegal immigrant are undocumented immigrant, undocumented alien, or undocumented worker. It also includes people that overstay the number of days permitted on their visa, and violate the rules and regulations of that country. In both the cases, one of the most common reasons is the search for a better lifestyle.
Economic and political unrest in the country is also a popular reason. Some people move away to give their family a safe life and their children a better education. Mainly it is found in technologically advanced or developed countries. The United States is no stranger to the impacts of illegal immigration. Every year, many people try to get into the US through the Caribbean and cross the Atlantic ocean. Some fly to Mexico, and then take the help of a smuggler or a coyote to cross the border.
What are the Causes?
Why do so many people come to the US illegally? What can be done to stop such an activity? Here are some of the causes:
- Most immigrants coming to the US come from Mexico. Mexico has a poor economy and a high population. The country still faces problems of drug cartels, which kill more than 80,000 people every year. The US on the other hand has a relatively more powerful economy and a safe environment, which attracts Mexican residents.
- Many people in Mexico live under poverty. It is not a third world country but it's also not a developed economy. The US offers more benefits for the unemployed and for people living on the streets. This is a major bait for many Mexican immigrants.
- There is a high percentage of people coming into the US not for employment or food, but to meet their long lost brothers or family members. It's a common practice for them to cross the border to meet their loved ones.
- Apart from these reasons, another major cause is the people who employ these immigrants. Immigrants are ready to work on lower wages as compared to the native population. Hence, employers are on the lookout for such people, as they can save capital by paying lower wages.
- Another major cause is the problems in the host country. If the host country of immigrants would be better with all the facilities and employment opportunities, they would not immigrate to other region or country.
- According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2008, population of such people stood at 11.9 million.
- The Censor Board of the country declared that their population in total had reached to 38 million, in which one-third were illegal.
- As per 2008 records, there were about 7.7 million illegal immigrants employed in various US jobs.
- It is not just a statistical problem but also a major threat to the legal citizens. More than 80% of them have committed crimes, besides just violating immigration rules and regulations.
- The government is implementing more strict guidelines on Social Security Numbers to curb their rising numbers.
- A startling fact is that, more than 30% of the criminals and gangsters caught in the United States are found to be undocumented immigrants.
- If it continues at this alarming rate, there's a higher chance that the US population will increase from 308 million to 500 million by 2050.
Why is it Bad?
The main reason why it is bad is because, it increases tax load on legal citizens and legal immigrants of the country. Undocumented aliens are entitled to free medical and social services, as they normally don't have money. They can also receive welfare checks and food stamps. This causes a shortage of amenities for actual US citizens, who are going through a tough time.
Their kids are given education, thus increasing the student population in the class. Plus, they also don't pay any taxes, which causes a tax raise. However, some reports state that some of these people pay taxes and those who pay taxes, contribute more than the benefits they claim. Immigration Policy Center has said in its report that, they contribute more than $11.2 billion annually in state and local taxes.
Illegal immigration is a crime and the only way to stop it is to make the land and sea borders more secure, and also encourage development in poorer countries.