By Tyler Orgera
Edited by Cynthia Swisher
Because Donald Trump has put so much focus on illegal immigration here in the United States, the citizens of the U.S. have been wondering: is it really hurting us or is his toupe a little too tight? Illegal immigration has always been a problem in the United States, but it is one of those issues Congress never seems to talk about. Why, all of the sudden, is there such a great need for a wall at the Mexican border? There are financial aspects to consider with illegal immigration. While it does come with some labor benefits for the U.S, it also comes with baggage associated with the drug war. In order to make a change in our immigration system, it is crucial that people are educated on the topic and can think critically about it.
There are over 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States today. That’s 3.5 percent of the nation’s population. Out of the 11 million illegal immigrants, Mexicans account for more than half at 6.5 million. While that may not seem like many, if we end up giving all the illegal immigrants in the United States legal status, it would cost more than 6 trillion dollars over the next 50 years. Letting them stay here costs the U.S. more than 100 billion dollars per year according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
On the other hand, many people may not always realize that there are benefits to having illegal immigrants in this country. They are willing to work at low wage jobs that Americans and legal immigrants would not take such as janitorial jobs, dishwashers, and outdoor laborers doing landscaping. Even though these jobs are necessary most citizens do not want them. Illegal immigrants are more willing to take these types of positions in order to make a living. Another benefit is that it brings in diversity and expands our knowledge of other countries and their cultures. America is one big melting pot of cultures. People flee their countries all the time due to corrupt governments, religious persecution or a bad economy. We are known as the land of opportunity, and people come to this country to follow the American dream, much the same as people did in the 1800’s. Allowing immigrants to come into our country broadens America’s diversity.
However, a problem with keeping our borders open is the war on drugs. Mexico is currently at war, not a civil war, but a war with the drug cartels. The war on drugs and the cartels has been fought in Central America and on America’s borders for seven years now. There have been over 60,000 deaths attributed to this war, 5,000 in 2013 alone. This is another huge reason many Mexicans are trying to get out of their country and the cartel used this illegal immigration into the United States to bring drugs into our country.
We can stop illegal immigration by making Mexico safer or by building a wall. (Yes Donald Trump’s dream may come true). In order to make Mexico safer we must stop the drug war, fight the cartel, and help our neighbors save lives and stop the corruption of drugs. This would give the Mexican people a reason to stay in their own country.
So whether or not you are against illegal immigration, there is a lot more than meets the eye. U.S. citizens should be properly educated on the benefits and down sides of illegal immigration. It will be interesting to see if congress or any future president will actually strive to make the changes to our immigration system that are long overdue.