Illegal Immigration: a Threat to America?

One of the most prevalent issues threatening the well being of the United States is illegal immigration - Illegal Immigration: a Threat to America? introduction. Because illegal immigration is a threat to national security the United States must stop the in-flow of illegal immigrants. The United Sates has tightened its security at airports ever since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Although the increased security at the U. S. borders has been slow to develop. Why increase security at airports and not at the borders? It is much easier to increase security at airports than it is to at the borders.

The money and effort involved to secure the borders is largely different. It is a unique problem that requires an innovative solution. It is taking far longer to even begin to handle the security at the borders, although the United States is finally starting to make some headway. According to a report published on June 17, 2008 by a nonpartisan research group. “Criminal prosecutions of immigrants by federal authorities surged to a record high in March, as immigration cases accounted for the majority — 57 percent — of all new federal criminal cases brought nationwide that month.

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Skip to next paragraphImmigration cases also made up more than half of new federal prosecutions in February, reflecting a major emphasis on immigration by the Bush administration and a policy shift to expand the use of criminal, rather than civil, charges in its efforts to curb illegal immigration. ” (Preston 18) Immigration reform is starting to take shape. Although this recent push to criminally convict illegal immigrants is a start, it does not solve the problem. However, “deportations of illegal immigrants rose from 178,657 in fiscal 2005 to 282,548 in fiscal 2007—up 58 percent.

At the same time, apprehensions are down sharply along the 2,000-mile U. S. -Mexico border—in fiscal 2007, 859,000 illegal immigrants were stopped, compared with 1. 07 million in 2006—an indication that fewer people are attempting to cross. ” (Gross 30-31) The United States is truly starting to see some results, realizing that its efforts are not all futile. Can one be certain that the stricter border patrol and higher deportation rate is the cause of fewer illegal’s attempting to cross the border into the United States? Every year, millions of people around the globe make the essentially economic choice of whether to come to the United States—legally or illegally. But in the past 18 months the calculus behind that decision has changed. Many immigrants are leaving the United States—willingly and unwillingly—and countless others are deciding not to come.

The reasons: tougher enforcement and border control, a slowing U. S. economy and impressive growth in developing countries, where many immigrants hail from. (Gross 30-31) Although increased border patrol and higher deportation rates are factors for the lower apprehension rate of illegal immigrants, they are not key factors. The slowing U. S. economy and crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants is playing a much more significant role in the fight against illegal immigration. Employers in many States are now being slapped with large fines for employing illegal immigrants. (Phillips) How is it that many states have passed laws to deter employers from hiring illegal immigrants well others have not.

This needs to be a federally mandated law for it to work. Otherwise we just end up with a bunch of so called haven-states and sanctuary cities where illegals will flock to for jobs and security. If California passes a law that imposes huge fines on employers for hiring illegal immigrants and Nevada does not, Nevada becomes a haven-state for illegals to flock to, thus placing a burden on Nevada. Recently the Federal Government launched a new plan of attack to help minimize the number of people crossing into the U. S. illegally. “This new program called Operation Streamline has reduced efforts by immigrants to cross the border illegally in the limited sectors where it has been applied. In the sector near Yuma, Ariz. , one of the first places where the program was put into practice, agents detained 447 illegal immigrants crossing the border last month, down from 3,162 in May 2007. ” (Preston 18) It is clear that the number of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States has significantly slowed.

Illegal immigration is not all bad for the United States. “A study on North Carolina’s Hispanic population, published by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, found that in 2006, the Hispanic population imposed a cost of $61 million on the state government but contributed more than $9 billion to the state economy. ”(Illegal) When illegal immigrants buy goods and services, they are paying sales tax. This is the reason for the large economic gain.

The minimal cost imposed by the state is most likely due to the fact that illegal workers do not have employee benefit packages. Thus when a medical emergency arises the American taxpayer is likely to have to pick up the tab for an uninsured hospital visit. Most illegal immigrants are just trying to achieve a better quality of life for themselves. It is the few criminals that ruin it for the many. The real problem of illegal immigration is the security threat it poses to the United States as a whole.

A recent article by Mimi Hall states that “… the Border Patrol arrested 39,215 so-called “OTMs,” other-than-Mexicans, along the Southwest border. ” There is no way of knowing how many of these “OTMs” are terrorists’. “T. J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, says the Border Patrol has “reliable intelligence that there are terrorists living in South America, assimilating the culture and learning the language” in order to blend in with Mexicans crossing the border. (Hall) This means it is virtually impossible to decipher one illegal immigrant from another. This is a complicated issue to correct. The U. S. and Mexico border spans more than 2,000 miles. (Gross) This makes it a very hard border to control. One of the proposed ideas is to build a fence along the border.

Although, “For the U. S. government to finance a fence is not the best use of our resources — especially during a time in which the U. S. economy already is struggling because of high gas prices, a war and home foreclosures. (Illegal)There is currently a fence along the border, however it is very dilapidated and has large gaps due to areas protected by the Environmental Protection Agency also known is the EPA. Thus making the idea of a new fence that much more inconceivable. “… the challenge for national security in an age of terrorism is to prevent the very few people who may pose overwhelming risks from entering or remaining in the United States undetected. ” (Hall)The true problem of illegal immigration is the threat that it poses the national security of the United States. There are larger issues at play.

Works Cited

Gross, Daniel “The New Dream Isn’t American.” Newsweek 26 May. 2008: 30-31. Hall, Mimi. “Despite new technology, Border Patrol overwhelmed.” USA Today 22 Feb. 2005. 26 June 2008 . “Illegal Immigrants Add To States’ Economics” USA Today 23 Apr. 2008. Phillips, Noelle. “S.C. Businesses Face Deadline to Comply With State Law Aimed at Illegal Immigration.” State [Columbia] 07 June 2008. Preston, Julia. “More Illegal Crossings Are Criminal Cases, Group Says.” New York Times 18 June. 2008, natl. ed.: p18.

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