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Illegal immigration refers to the movement of people into a foreign country without following immigration laws of the country (Kim et al., 2011). Legal immigrants may choose to become illegal immigrants by overstaying their visas. Illegal immigration has been a common social problem in the United States and other countries across the world. Illegal immigration is a source of many social, political, and economic issues in both developing and developed countries. It has been evident that countries with a high socio-economic status experience more illegal immigration than do the countries with a low socio-economic status (Kim et al., 2011). Therefore, people move from developing nations to developed nations with the aim to improve the quality of life. Countries consider illegal immigration as a social problem because it impacts on health care, education, incarceration, and employment opportunities. This discussion will consider the individual and social implications of illegal immigration and efforts to control it.
Individual and Social Implications of Illegal Immigration
Countries consider illegal immigration as a social problem because it leads to various individual and social implications in the contemporary society. Illegal immigration has negative impacts on health care, education, penal facilities, and employment opportunities within the country of destination. In the United States, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) advocated that illegal immigrants should not use a number of public services (Liebert, 2010). However, IIRIRA advocated that illegal immigrants should benefit from emergency health care; infants and pregnant mothers should receive sufficient care. In the United States, a number of health care institutions have closed because of the uncompensated care, which individuals receive. For instance, in the last six years, about ten hospitals have failed to operate due to insufficient funds (Kim et al., 2011). Legal immigrants and the American citizens may suffer negative consequences because of reduced health care facilities. Illegal immigrants may carry diseases and pass them to the American citizens (Kim et al., 2011). Therefore, the American citizens are likely to experience the impacts of illegal immigration on health and health care facilities.
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Education is another social service that experience negative effects of illegal immigration. The American government requires all public schools to provide every student, including illegal immigrants, with free and adequate education (Stodder & Rippeon, 2009). Therefore, free education in public primary and secondary schools has attracted many people, both illegal and legal immigrants, into the United States. Illegal immigration leads to overcrowding in public schools. This poses a significant challenge to teachers because the ratio of students to teachers becomes extremely disproportionate. Research shows that about 65,000 illegal immigrant students graduate from secondary schools each year (Liebert, 2010). Therefore, the quality of education is likely to reduce significantly as a result of the overwhelming population of students at various levels. Most of the undocumented students do not receive quality education at tertiary levels, but few manage to get degrees. Many undocumented students cannot be able to attend higher learning institutions because of failure to afford the cost (Kim et al., 2011). Such students lead stressful lives in America because their educational desires fail to undergo satisfaction. Therefore, illegal immigration has negative implications on individuals and the entire society because of overwhelming population of illegal immigrants.
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In the United States, penal facilities serve the illegal immigrants, who commit criminal offences, because of the stressful life that most of them lead (Kim et al., 2011). The penal facilities have been housing many illegal immigrants, leading to congestion. The large number of inmates exerts pressure on the available social facilities and resources, such as water food, and medication. This has forced the American government to spend a substantial amount of money to take care of inmates, including illegal immigrants. The finances would be useful in other sectors, such as education and agriculture or in the improvement of the lives of American inmates. Congestion of inmates in penal facilities may also lead to the transmission of diseases among the inmates. Illegal immigrants are likely to carry diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and leprosy, which they pass to the American inmates (Kim et al., 2011). Treatment of diseases will also raise the cost of taking care of inmates in the American penal facilities.
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Illegal immigration has raised worries about the shortage of employment opportunities in the destination countries (Kim et al., 2011). Illegal immigrants will compete with the American citizens in the job market upon possessing high educational qualifications, such as Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctoral degree. Many employers acquire illegal immigrants as employees in their companies because undocumented employees serve as cheap labor (Nadadur, 2009). Employers do not think about payroll taxes, minimum wage requirements, and insurance for the illegal immigrants (Nadadur, 2009). The legal migrants and other citizens of America may lack jobs after graduating from universities and other tertiary institutions of learning. Therefore, illegal immigration affects individuals and the entire society negatively because of the pressure that illegal immigrants exert on available employment opportunities.
Efforts to Control Illegal Immigration
The American government has designed and implemented a number of strategies, including Acts for controlling and preventing illegal immigration (Liebert, 2010). Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act are among the strategies that have controlled and prevented illegal immigration into the United States (Stodder & Rippeon, 2009). This Act advocates the presence of enough Border Patrol officers to arrest illegal immigrants as they attempt to cross the border. The Act requires that learning institutions report students from foreign countries attending classes. Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act stipulate that immigrants in the United States should carry Identity Card that bear biometric technology (Stodder & Rippeon, 2009). This Act is significant because it will reduce the incidents of illegal immigration into the United States.
Building a wall at the border is among the strategies for preventing illegal immigration (Kim et al., 2011). This strategy has been costly because of the cost for fence establishment, as well as the cost for paying the United States Border Patrol Officers. As the number of attempted illegal immigration rises, the American government recruits more officers to patrol the borders adequately. In 1992, the American government spent about $326.2 million in preventing the illegal influx of immigrants at the borders (Kim et al., 2011). In 2009, the figure rose to about $2.7 billion due to the increase in the attempts of illegal immigration across the border. The process of preventing illegal immigration at the border involves apprehension of the individuals attempting to cross the border illegally. In 2008, American government apprehended about 791,000 individuals through border patrol, which utilized about $3,000 for every arrest (Kim et al., 2011). However, illegal immigrants may cross the southern border, which is open. Illegal immigrants cross the border from Mexico into the United States because of the open border. Therefore, border security can be an effective strategy for preventing illegal immigration if a country establishes a wall around the entire border, which will be extremely expensive (Kim et al., 2011).
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Enforcement of visa rules is another strategy that governments can use to prevent illegal immigration (Liebert, 2010). Immigration officers track the holders of visa and deport those individuals who overstay their visa. In the United States, immigrants do not continue to benefit from the government once their visas expire. This is significant because immigrants may commit criminal activities upon the expiry of their visa. For instance, the 9/11 terrorists overstayed their visas and chose to cause destructions and loss of lives in America (Palivos, 2009). The negative consequence of enforcement of visa rules is that some immigrants may hide themselves and continue to stay within the foreign country, where they will engage in criminal activities (Palivos, 2009). Therefore, it is necessary for a country to recognize the illegal presence of immigrants and deport them with an immediate effect.
Illegal immigration is among the social problems that people experience in the contemporary society. People move from their home countries to foreign countries with the aim of improving their economic statuses. Legal immigrants may become illegal immigrants upon the expiry of their visas. Some of the problems that foreign countries experience due to illegal immigration include diminished employment opportunities, reduced quality of education, reduced quality of health care, congestion of inmates in penal facilities, and transmission of diseases (Kim et al., 2011). Therefore, the destination countries have the responsibility to control and prevent illegal immigration and the negative impacts of illegal immigration on citizens. Establishment of a wall at the border is among the strategies that the United States has put in place. Many Border Patrol officers guard at the border and arrest any person attempting to cross the border illegally (Kim et al., 2011). This strategy is extremely expensive because of the large number of Border Patrol officers. I consider this strategy as ineffective because the United States has not established a wall on the entire border. Therefore, the Mexican illegal immigrants will get into the United States across the southern border. The United States also uses the strategy of enforcement of visa rules to control and prevent illegal immigration. I consider this strategy to have shortcomings such as failure to identify some individuals who have overstayed their visas. The illegal immigrants, who have overstayed their visas, may engage in criminal activities (Palivos, 2009).
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