As in many countries around the world, Immigration is a big topic in the United States. People on all sides get very worked up about immigration policies. Many in the US think that Trump won the last election and will win the next one as well because of his immigration policies. Those policies are very popular. Millions of Americans support him for that alone.
People from around the world want to come and live in the United States. They have been convinced that this is the best place in the world to live. So they want in.
To compound the problem, for decades people have been getting in to the country illegally and staying. That is a fact. People have been crossing the border between Mexico and the United States without permission. I don’t know how many. The truth is that no one knows how many, but the best estimate, accepted by most people is 11 million people. Of course most of these came in to the country legallyat border crossings. Then once in the country many of them overstay their legal welcome. Not all of these are from Central America. In fact, many of them are—get ready for this–Canadians!
It is true that recently the numbers of people arriving at the southern American border have climbed steeply. Many of them are there as a result of Trump’s policies. I will talk about that later.
To make things even worse, Americans have left those illegals in the country often for decades. Many of them were children brought to the U.S. by their parents without them having any say in the matter. Many of them now know other country as they have lived in the US their entire lives. These are the so-called “Dreamers” that so many Americans are prepared to leave in the country. Sometimes even Trump wants to welcome them, though at others times he is quite willing to dump them–after all he has a very short attention span.
Although Americans fear the damage that will be caused by illegal immigrants (and legal immigrants in some cases) the facts do not support those fears. The border is secure. It is not as porous as many fear mongers claim.
American taxpayers spend roughly $19 billion a year to secure their borders which is about the same that they spend on all other federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined. Obama started “getting tough on illegal immigration, long before Trump made it an issue. He increased Border Patrol Staffing to an all time high of nearly 21,500 in 2011 Even more drastically, during Obama’s administration nearly 2.5 million immigrants were deported. That was 23% morethan during the administration of Republican George W. Bush. In fact, Obama deported about as many illegal immigrants as the previous 17 Presidents combined! That was why he was called by some ‘the deporter-in-chief.’ He was certainly not soft on immigration as some have suggested.
Unauthorized immigration in the US is currently at its lowest level since 1972. The only increase in arrivals has been unaccompanied children fleeing gang violence and drug cartels in Central America whose activities are significantly fuelled by drugs demands in America.According to Ana Gonzales-Barrera, writing for the Pew Research Center, November 19, 2015 In recent years more Mexicans have been leaving the US than arriving at the border.
Many Americans keep saying the illegals should get in line. Why should they be allowed to jump the queue? The fact is that getting in line is not so easy for most undocumented don’t have the required family or employment relationships to get in line at all. Even if they do there are huge barriers. According to Americans for Immigrant Justice,“For example, married children of US citizens from Mexico must wait more than 20 years for a visa to become available.” An exception has been made for Cubans, who can come to the U.S. and get a work permit while waiting for their visas, and to a lesser extent for Haitians since the 2010 earthquake.
Others think that undocumented immigrants make no genuine contribution to the American economy. For example they think they are all paid cash and thus pay no income taxes on their income. The facts again are very different. Most make a significant contribution to the American economy. For example, undocumented immigrants paid roughly $12 billion in state and local taxes in 2013. 2/3 of them pay into the Social Security System even though they are not eligible to collect benefits! It is estimated that they pay $15 billion a year into a system for the benefit of Americans! In fact it has been estimated that if American lawmakers could fix their severely challenged immigration system, the federal deficit could be reduced by about $200 billion.
As I said, many Americans fear immigrants, both legal and illegal. Trump said the day he decided to run for the American Presidency in 2016 that most of them were “rapists and murderers.” Again the facts are different. Most of them are not drug dealers or rapists or any other kind of criminals.
In fact, “A July 2015 report by the American Immigrant Council concluded that undocumented immigrants commit violent crimes at a far lowerrate than native born Americans. Despite high poverty rates, Latino immigrants in border towns and New York City were more law abiding, with lower crime rates, than non-Latino white and black Americans.”
Many Americans don’t want to admit it, but most criminals and rapists and drug dealers (like most terrorists in the country) are home grown. According to the New York Times,
“The Migration Policy Institute has estimated that 820,000 of the 11 million unauthorized have been convicted of a crime. About 300,000, or less than 3 percent of the 11 million undocumented, have committed felonies. (The proportion of felons in the overall population was an estimated 6 percent in 2010, according to a paper presented to the Population Association of America.)”
Maybe, Trump should be offering to trade Americans for Mexicans!