The Effects of Illegal Immigration on the U.S. Economy

Introduction

Immigrants from all over look to the United States’ as a possible new home in hopes at a chance at a better life. The United States is seen as a chance for economic prosperity and as an escape from a life of many disappointments and fears, so many immigrants will do whatever it takes to get themselves and their families here, even if it does include breaking the law. The United States’ population includes approximately 43.7 million immigrants, which makes up 13.5% of the total population.

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Of this percentage, 3.4% are illegal immigrants (Amadeo). Immigration means more people, which means more needs and more consequences on the economy. There are a number of effects immigration can have on the United State’s economy, but there are three major ones: decreasing wages, increasing tax dollars, and increasing crime.

The first effect of illegal immigration is the negative impact on native-born’s wages. Most of these immigrants have jobs that require little to no skill, so Americans who lack a college degree are the ones who are affected the most. Immigrants provide low cost labor, so there have been countless jobs that have been taken over by immigrants. Sometimes, these immigrants completely take the jobs from American workers, but other times, they are just added on to the payroll. In this case, the surplus of new immigrant workers means there are more employees that must be paid; as the number of employees increases, the amount of wages decreases. Agriculture and construction based jobs are the jobs immigrants are more likely to funnel towards. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2014, 43% of agricultural jobs were held by immigrants, and of that 43%, 23% of the immigrants were undocumented. Immigrants also held 27% of jobs in construction, and 15% of that percentage were undocumented immigrants (Amadeo). Although the decline of wages for Americans is a negative effect, there is also some good that comes out of this. As wages decrease, so does the prices of the products that are being sold. This is, in fact, a huge benefit for the everyday consumer. Immigrants also still pay taxes for Social Security and Medicare, which helps the retired elders who are receiving Social Security checks.

The next effect of illegal immigration is the increase on tax dollars. When immigrants move to the United States to build a life, they tend to bring their children along with them. In this case with illegal immigrants, their children are also considered illegal, even though it is not their fault they are forced by their parents to illegally cross into another country. These children go to school to further their education, which is extremely beneficial to them, but it is not beneficial to American taxpayers. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, it has been reported that …the education of the children of illegal aliens in Pennsylvania’s public schools is costing the state’s taxpayers nearly $230 million

annually (Illegal Immigration). However, education is not the only factor that is causing taxes to skyrocket; many other factors, including medical and incarceration costs, also come into play. This great number of tax dollars could be avoided if there were stricter laws on immigration.

The final effect of illegal immigration is the amount of crime that becomes present in the United States over time. When there is little monitoring on who is entering the country, it is fairly simple for criminals to welcome themselves. The number of illegal criminals has been high over the years: In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security deported a record 434,015 immigrants. Of those, 45 percent had a criminal record? (Amadeo). This means that approximately 195,306 of these immigrants were criminals; that is almost half of the total deported. Today, there are over one million illegal immigrants in the United States, so in proportion, it is possible that nearly 500,000 of them could possibly be criminals. Criminal activity may not seem like it would have a lot of impact of the economy, but it does actually. Crimes result in economics costs towards the victims and even family members of those who have lost a loved one to criminal activities, such has murders or rapes. Crimes can also have a huge impact on communities: Violent crimes also impose large costs on communities through lower property values, higher insurance premiums, and reduced investment in high-crime areas (Shapiro). Immigrants should have strenuous background checks before entering into the United States; this alleviate the dangers of putting U.S. citizens at risk.

Conclusion

The United States has many immigrants living throughout the states, including many who have not obtained legal citizenship. As you can see, there are some severe negative impacts this situation has on the economy of the United States. The economy is experiencing decreasing wages, increasing tax dollars, and increasing criminal activity. Even though these immigrants are just in search of a chance at a better life, it is bringing down the American citizens who live here. The borders should be monitored more closely to ensure that immigrants are not illegally entering the states. They should take the time to obtain legal citizenship. This would in turn be more beneficial to the U.S. economy and its citizens.

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