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Illegal immigration is on the front burner issue in the United States because of twofold attitude to immigrants. On the one hand, they usually select jobs that are neglected by Americans, on the other – they do not pay taxes for the incomes they get for their work. As a result, legalization and improvement of existing immigration laws is widely discussed. The proportions of illegal immigration have reached the level where reforms of regulatory basis are not just needed, but vital.
“Already the United States is host to an illegal population of 7 to 12 million, of whom the vast majority are Mexican or Hispanic in origin. […]. The many whose wages are paid under the table pay little or no taxes. And they are easy prey for unscrupulous employers and politicians” (Hayes 2000). Illegal immigrants are beneficial for employers because they are less paid and more productive and there is no need to pay taxes for them, as in legal terms they do not exist.
One of the first attempts to control illegal immigration in legal terms was The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) that was enacted in 1986. According to it, employers are allowed to hire only persons authorized to work in the United States without discrimination on the basis of citizenship status or national origin (LMD 1992). This law prescribes severe penalties for hiring illegal immigrants.
Still, employers tend to hire undocumented workers, mainly because they don’t have to pay taxes for these workers and it is possible to pay less than minimum wage for them. Economic loss of a country in this case can be measured in billions of dollars.
Another reason for the necessity of documenting illegal workers and reforms that should be done in this sphere is the size of the social costs. No recordings about the background of illegal immigrants and the impossibility to get necessary medical treatment because of lack of health insurance may cause spreading of different diseases. That will lead to increased spending on health care for American citizens. “In an already under funded programs they give these services a more heavy burden to deal with.” (Carney 1996).
On the other hand, it is impossible to ignore the downsides of strict immigration laws. Such restriction of rules will bring less Mexican workers and more South Asian, Arab and African workers. That may cause a lot of issues connected with conflicts in language, culture and religion, because Arab culture is way too different from the culture of the United States so the conflicts are inevitable. (Howell 2006).
Discrimination of the immigrants on the workplace has led to affirmative action. “One has been legal and administrative as courts, legislatures, and executive departments of government have made and applied rules requiring affirmative action.” (Fullinwider 2005).
Immigrants increase the local production of the US and even the fact that they get lower wages than Americans can be considered positive as the prices for the products produced by them go lower, making them more affordable for the citizens.
However, all positive factors that illegal immigrants bring, are leveled out by the problems they cause. That is why it is vital to apply raft of measures on the legislative, juridical and executive levels with a comprehensive approach.
Carney, Dan, (1996). ” Social Policy ” Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 54, (36): 2531.
Fullinwider, Robert, (2005). “Affirmative Action”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2005/entries/affirmative-action/
Hayes, Ted, (September 25, 2000 ). “Illegal Immigration Threatens U.S. Sovereignty, Economy and Culture,” Insight on the News, 16, (36): 46
Howell, Llewellyn d. (July 2006). “Ironies of Illegal Immigration,” USA Today, 135, (2734): 19
LMD, (Summer 1992). “How to Avoid Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination,” Labor Management Decisions, 2, (2)