Immigration is currently a hot subject in the United Sates. Even though the country has granted residency status to millions of immigrants since time immemorial, the rapid influx of immigrants have created anxiety among the American citizens that immigration could adversely affect their social and economic status.
There is no doubt that immigration has both positive and negative impacts on the American society and culture. Many of us are not aware that the US was built and developed by immigrants seeking a good life. However, many contemporary Americans fear immigration because it threatens their job security.
Most of the immigrants are from diverse cultures and speak little or no English at all. As a result, they may not be willing to integrate into the American way of life. Furthermore, immigrants tend to cluster and live among people who are comparable to them thereby leading to increased incidences of crime and high unemployment rates in these neighborhoods.
In spite of these, we must acknowledge the fact that the American society benefits a lot from immigration. For instance, Americans benefit from the diversity and richness of the immigrants’ cultures. In addition, immigrants are usually willing to work hard and take on odd jobs (such as taking care of the elderly, cooking, cleaning hospitals, etc) that most Native American citizens would reject.
Moreover, immigrants provide cheap labor for those industries which are in dire need of their services. In essence, the cheap labor provided by immigrants reduces the cost of goods and services thereby enabling American consumers to afford them. It is worthy to note that a good number of the immigrants possess exceptional skills.
For example, some of them are teachers, physicians, nurses and scientists. They usually employ their various skills to the benefit of American hospitals, universities and business organizations. Immigrants not only contribute their skills, labor and culture to the benefit of the American society; they also pay taxes just like other US citizens.
As much as immigration benefits the American society, it also has adverse impacts. Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the federal spending on national security and anti-terrorism program has skyrocketed. The justification for these expenditures has been to prevent illegal immigrants (some with terrorist links) from entering the United States.
Drug trafficking is another problem associated with illegal immigration. Usually, immigrants smuggle illegal drugs (such as cocaine) into the country using the US-Mexican border. These drugs are distributed in many urban areas causing havoc in many families.
The main disadvantage associated with illegal immigration is economic. The economic cost of immigrants can be seen in terms of money spent to treat and educate them. The federal government spends millions of dollars to assist immigrants pay for elementary and secondary education. A good number of illegal immigrants have fake social security numbers and use them to access several welfare programs (such as Medicaid) at the expense of American citizens.
Illegal immigrants also threaten job security of Americans because they are willing to be employed at much lower wage rates. This phenomenon undermines economic growth and prolongs unemployment rates in the American society. Furthermore, immigrants (who are employed in the United States) usually remit some of their incomes to their native countries. Since these remittances are not used up in the United States, the domestic spending powers of consumers are reduced.