Analysis of the Immigration Problem
The world has gone through a revolution and it has changed a
lot. We have cut the death rates around the world with modern medicine
and new farming methods. For example, we sprayed to destroy mosquitoes
in Sri Lanka in the 1950s. In one year, the average life of everyone
in Sri Lanka was extended by eight years because the number of people
dying from malaria suddenly declined.
This was a great human achievement. But we cut the death rate
without cutting the birth rate. Now population is soaring. There were
about one billion people living in the world when the Statue of
Liberty was built. There are 4.5 billion today. World population is
growing at an enormous rate. The world is going to add a billion
people in the next eleven years, that's 224,000 every day! Experts say
there will be at least 1.65 billion more people living in the world in
the next twenty years.
We must understand what these numbers mean for the U.S. Let's
look at the question of jobs. The International Labor organization
projects a twenty-year increase of 600 to 700 million people who will
be seeking jobs. Eighty-eight percent of the world's population growth
takes place in the Third World. More than a billion people today are
paid about 150 dollars a year, which is less than the average American
earns in a week. And growing numbers of these poorly paid Third World
citizens want to come to the United States.
In the 1970s, all other countries that accept immigrants
started controlling the number of people they would allow into their
countries. The United States did not. This means that the huge numbers
of immigrants who are turned down elsewhere will turn to the United
States. The number of immigrants is staggering. The human suffering
they represent is a nightmare. Latin America's population is now 390
million people. It will be 800 million in the year 2025. Mexico's
population has tripled since the Second World War. One third of the
population of Mexico is under ten years of age, as a result, in just
ten years, Mexico's unemployment rate will increase 30 percent, as
these children become young adults, in search of work. There were in
1990 an estimated four million illegal aliens in the United States,
and about 55 percent of them were from Mexico.
These people look to the United States. Human population has
always moved, like waves, to fresh lands. But for the first time in
human history, there are no fresh lands, no new continents. We will
have to think and decide with great care what our policy should be
toward immigration. At this point in history, American immigration
policies are in a mess. Our borders are totally out of control. Our
border patrol arrests 3000 illegal immigrants per day, or 1.2 million
per year, and Two illegal immigrants get in for every one caught. And
those caught just try again!
More than 1 million people are entering the U.S. legally every
year. From 1983 through 1992, 8.7 million of these newcomers
arrived-the highest number in any 10-year period since 1910. A record
1.8 million were granted permanent residence in 1991. Because present
law stresses family unification, these arrivals can bring over their
spouses, sons and daughters: some 3.5 million are now in line to come
in. Once here, they can bring in their direct relatives. As a result,
there exists no visible limit to the number of legal entries.
Until a few years ago, immigrants seeking asylum were rare. In
1975, a total of 200 applications were received in the U.S. Suddenly,
asylum is the plea of choice in the U.S., and around the world, often
as a cover for economic migration. U.S. applications were up to
103,000 last year, and the backlog tops 300,000 cases. Under the
present asylum rules, practically anyone who declares that he or she
is fleeing political oppression has a good chance to enter the U.S.
Chinese are almost always admitted, for example, if they claim that
China's birth-control policies have limited the number of children
they can have.
Right now, once aliens enter the U.S., it is almost impossible
to deport them, even if they have no valid documents. Thousands of
those who enter illegally request asylum only if they are caught. The
review process can take 10 years or more, and applicants often simply
disappear while it is under way. Asylum cases are piling up faster
than they can be cleared, with the Immigration and Naturalization
Service falling farther behind every year. At her confirmation
hearings at the end of September, Doris Meissner, Clinton's nominee as
commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Services, conceded,
'The asylum system is broken, and we need to fix it.'
Adding the numbers of legal and illegal immigrants, 50 percent
of all U.S. population growth comes from immigration. While Americans
try to have smaller families, immigration threatens our nation. If
immigration rates continue to be this high, more than seventy million
people will be added to the United States population in just fifty
years, with no end in sight. We are taking in more people than all of
the rest of the world combined. As have all the other countries of the
word, America needs to control its borders. As every house needs a
door, so every country needs a border. And yet, our borders are full
of holes. We have clearly lost control over our future. Our children
will pay the price of uncontrolled immigration.
The United States is no longer an empty continent. In 1886,
when the Statue of Liberty was built, there were 58 million people in
the United States. In 1984 there were 240 million people, that's four
times the total population in less then a century The U.S. cannot and
should not be the home of last resort for all the world s poor,
huddled masses. We are not doing a good job with our own poor, as we
see more people without jobs.
Supporters of immigration use many arguments to support their
side. Let's look at a few of these arguments: Illegal immigrants take
jobs no Americans want. The fact is that the average illegal immigrant
arrested in Denver, Colorado, made more than seven dollars an hour.
Many were making over 100 dollars per day. Denver identified 43
illegal aliens making 100 dollars per day as roofers, while 438 people
were registered in their employment services who would have loved
those jobs. The average illegal immigrant arrested in Chicago makes
$5.65 an hour. More than thirty million American workers make less
A common belief is that aliens fulfill many of the least
desirable jobs. However, most experts agree that in today's economy,
there is no shortage of Americans competing for many of these same
jobs. Actually, many Americans already work in these low-paying jobs.
For example: the poor black woman, who works as a seamstress, Her boss
asked her to train a new employee, an illegal immigrant. As soon as
she finished training her new charge, she was fired. Her position, of
course, went to the illegal immigrant, who was willing to work for
less pay, and under deplorable working conditions. This is one example
of how illegal workers depress wages, and slow, stall or prevent
unionization or improvements to working conditions.
Another myth cited by supporters of immigration is that
illegal immigrants work hard, pay taxes, and do not go on welfare. The
sad truth is that these folks seem to learn the ropes of the welfare
system with incredible speed. Today's illegal immigrants apply for and
receive benefits from the government that citizens need. According to
Donald L. Huddle, an economist at Rice University in Texas, legal and
illegal immigrants cost the nation a net 42.5 billion dollars in 1992.
The Huddle study also found that in 1992, more than 2 million
Americans were displaced from their jobs by illegal immigrants. This
resulted in an additional 11.9 billion dollars in public assistance.
In California alone, they cost more than 18 billion dollars a
year. California currently has an estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants
now attending grades' 0-12. This will costs the California tax payers
an estimated 1.5 billion dollars. This is 10 percent of the students
currently enrolled in our elementary schools today! California has
49.8 percent of the countries illegal aliens, therefore, California
pays multiple costs for its leaky borders.
Providing health care for illegal immigrants costs California
tax payers 400 million dollars annually. Illegals drain about two
billion dollars a year for incarceration, schooling and Medicaid from
the budgets of such major destination states as Texas, Florida and
California. For California alone, a 1993 study by the California
Legislature estimates criminal justice costs involving illegal
immigrants to be 385 million dollars to the state, with an additional
112 million dollars to local or county government. This is a total
cost of 497 million dollars, paid by the California tax payer, each
and every year!
Illinois did a study showing that it paid 66 million dollars
in unemployment benefits to illegal immigrants in one year, despite a
law that was supposed to stop illegal immigrants from getting
unemployment benefits. Los Angeles estimates that it spends 269
million dollars in social services on illegal immigrants each year.
Every person added to our population drains our natural resources and
contributes to the destruction of our environment.
In a Pulitzer-Prize-winning study, the Des Moines Register
found that for every person added to our population, 1.5 acres of the
richest farm land goes out of production to make way for new houses,
roads, and shopping centers. If this continues, the United States will
stop shipping food to other countries shortly after the year 2000. How
can the United States feed the hungry people of the world?
The national majority now says it favors cutting back on legal
immigration. A TIME/CNN poll determined last week that 77 percent of
those surveyed felt the government was not doing enough to keep out
illegal immigrants. For years now, the battle has raged between the
federal authorities who are supposed to police the borders and the
states who pay the price if they fail.
In an attempt to reduce illegal immigration, Nevada Senator
Harry Reid, has introduced a bill that would establish an annual limit
of 300,000 newcomers, including ''immediate relatives,'' and a
national identification card. Congress passed legislation in 1986 that
stipulates fines and other penalties for employers who knowingly hire
illegal aliens. The bill includes provisions to grant amnesty to
illegal aliens who were in the United States prior to January 1, 1982,
and to aid farmers who have relied on illegal aliens to harvest their
Does anyone benefit from the rising tide of illegal
immigration? Businesses that can profit from employing illegals at low
wages do. And many illegals are better off here than in their own
countries. But many others are exploited by dishonest employers and
are treated like slaves. These immigrants are denied the rights and
privileges we want every person in the United States to enjoy.
In closing, we must all realize this issue will not go away.
Other generations of Americans made great sacrifices so that we today
can enjoy the freedom, the quality of life, and the standard of living
that we have. When I think of what uncontrolled immigration will do to
the dreams of my parents and grandparents, what it will mean to the
future of my children, I realize that we will find a way to control
immigration. Because we must.
Primary And Secondary Sources
(These listings are in order of their importance, in category.)
"Immigration: Identifying Propaganda Techniques"
Bonnie Szumski & JoAnne Buggey, Ph.D.
College of Education, University of ' Minnesota
(Greenhaven Press 1989)
David Bender & Bruno Leone, Series Editors
William Dudley, Book Editor
(Greenhaven Press 1990)
"The Essential Immigrant"
(Hippocrene Books 1990)
Kelly C. Anderson
(Lucent Books 1993)
"Immigration-A pictorial History of"
(Crown Publishers 1972)
"Immigrants, Refugees, and U.S. Policy"
Grant S McClellan
(H. W. Wilson Company 1981)
"Immigration and Illegal Aliens"
Mark A. Siegel, M.A., Ph.D.
Nancy R. Jacobs, B.A., M.A.
Patricia A. Von Brook, B.A., M.S.
(Information Plus 1989)