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Should Illegal Immigrants be Granted Amnesty?

Locomotion or movement is one of the fundamental functions in man. People move about and go places just as they please and like. Movement can happen in sundry ways from either one city to another or from one state to another. As such, different reasons and problems give rise to the sweeping migration phenomenon all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of people are considering on migrating to other countries in search of a greener pasture not only for themselves but also for the sake of their family’s future.

And with the continuous influx of migrants from Third World countries to First World countries, some serious problems on the matters of legality and security measures result from this. But there are several reasons behind the migration movement of people. It may be either due to economic, social, political or environmental aspects of a society. More serious problems of human conflict, territorial dispute or poverty continues to force people to risk their lives, family ties, language and culture in search of a better life (Datta, 2004.

2). Desperate people would even go beyond the legal framework of a state just so they could escape their precedent situation. They migrate to other countries without the necessary legal documents at hand, hoping that they could acquire citizenship in the long run. Reasons may vary from why they committed such law-breaking, but the truth remains that such actions leave an implication of undermining the by-laws of the state. Abstract:

The paper largely pertains to the plight of whether or not illegal immigrants must be granted amnesty. The remaining superpower, the United States of America, is a suitably bordered by Canada up north and Mexico down south. Being an economic giant positioned at the middle of two other nations, the US attracts many immigrants who are in search of better life. Due to this, the researcher decided to use the case of the United States as a paradigm for studying the implications of the influx of illegal immigrants.

This paper also took into consideration the “push and pull” factors as to why people immigrate. Through this, one was able to make inferences regarding the necessities and limitations of providing amnesty to illegal immigrants. The researcher also relied on certain important studies and documents regarding the phenomenon of migration. Migration in general is presumed to be an inevitable global phenomenon, but the trend of illegal immigration is simply deemed unacceptable.

This paper aims to contend that illegal immigrants must not be granted amnesty. Literature Review: The Push and Pull Factors of Migration There are several reasons as to why an individual would opt to migrate to another area. Such are classified as the “push and pull” factors for migration. Push factors incite individuals to abscond from their place of origin, whereas pull factors draws individuals to settle wherever is better or wherever their needs could be satisfied.

Major push factors may be due to scarcity of or inadequate access to land and resources, lack of employment opportunities, poverty, high population pressure, environmental degradation, including loss of soil, productivity, natural disasters, civil unrest and conflict and the rites of passage when young; while major pull factors would include the access to land and natural resources, employment opportunities, access to markets, access to facilities and amenities such as social services and transportations, safety and security as well as family reunifications and networks (Oglethorpe et. al, 2007. 11).

It is not easy to condemn people from immigrating to other places on behalf of their wish to improve their current lot. In some countries, notably throughout Latin America and the Philippines, inequitable land distribution and ineffective land reform programs are strong push factors, being closely linked to high rural poverty and income inequality (Pichon 1992). In many countries, the establishment of large commercial land holdings by small numbers of people has displaced local peoples to marginal lands that cannot withstand intensified subsistence livelihood activities, resulting in environmental degradation.

Natural population growth, decreasing the amount of resources available to each individual, also acts as a driver to find new land in many places. A pleasant natural setting or climate may also attract migrants, who may degrade or destroy the very qualities they are seeking. This problem includes retirees moving to attractive areas and people moving to establish tourism ventures. Trade can have very large effects on migration. The root causes of trade-related push and pull factors can originate locally, nationally, regionally and globally and often occur far from the area of migrant origin.

The existence of family and social connections in the destination area can attract migrants, who tend to go there they have family members or community-level connections (Massey et al. 1993, Palloni et al. 2001). From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sanctioned by the United Nations, Section 1 of Article 14 states that “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. Armed conflict can result in large-scale and often sudden movements of people, who migrate when their livelihoods and well-being are threatened.

Implications of Illegal Immigration Illegal immigrants are those who have entered a state without government consent or those who have settled beyond the termination date of a visa. Illegal immigration is a social issue since the term ‘illegal’ of its own accord implies a problem. It is a problem for one since it has something to do with breaking the law. Other than that, there are several other implications that arise from the very problem of illegal immigration. Let us take the United States as concrete example for this problem.

Based on the national census in 2000, the US Census Bureau puts the estimate of illegal immigrants at 8. 7 million. As of 2003, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services put the number at 7 million. Since then, United States immigration officials have said the number has grown by as much as 500,000 a year (Knickerbocker 2006). The arrival of migrants can also greatly change the social institutions that govern an area. Incoming migrants usually result in a diversification in social structure and can weaken the social bonds of reciprocity and trust often required for land and resource management (Curran & Agardy 2002).

Apart from social changes brought about by illegal immigration, it could also lead to the unemployment and displacement of some locals. Displacement is also responsible for an estimated two million American job losses a year and occurs when “established workers, whether natives or immigrants, lose their jobs to new immigrants, often illegal newcomers, who will work for substandard wages” (Dudley, p. 32). Illegal immigrants often do dirty but necessary jobs at a low pay and this is what local Americans can not contend with.

Although competition is favorable in a society, the aforementioned problem creates a highly partial competition between illegal immigrant blue collar job workers from local American blue collar job workers that will leave the American workers out of work. Other than that, the influx of illegal immigrants in a country could also jeopardize the country’s economy through their use of the country’s social services such as health care, education and social security and their non-payment of appropriate taxation. Illegal immigrants also are in the process of gaining the right to draw from Social Security.

Social Security is a positive idea in theory; however, it was not created to aid poor people who are citizens of other countries while breaking the law by illegally immigrating to the US. If this plan to allow illegal immigrants from Mexico access to Social Security is successful, it is estimated to cost $345 billion to the American taxpayer over the next two decades (Schlafly, 2000. ). Illegal immigrants who are not actual members of the society do not participate in the tax system. This means that they are not paying tax and other necessary incurred payments for instance on social services.

One of the most prevalent instances of illegal immigrant costs to taxpayers and harm to the economy is in regard to their children. If an illegal immigrant comes to the US and has a child within the country, that child is considered an automatic US citizen. Therefore, the child is eligible for legal benefits and welfare, which often ends up going to the illegal parent as well as the child. A federally funded program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), reportedly spent “$479 million for citizen children of illegal aliens in 1992” (Landes, 1981.

114). Illegal immigrants make up nearly one-third of the foreign-born population in the U. S. Social services such as Health care is indeed indispensable for people. As such, the longer illegal immi¬grants were to live in an area, the more probable it is for them to avail of such services. For one, education for the illegal immigrants’ children is very important. Since most of the illegal immigrants come from developing countries without ample money to support their children’s educational finances, their children often land at public schools.

Public schools are being supported by the government. With the case of the US as a developed country, the US may have lesser problems when it comes to allocating budget in the different sectors of the government to provide social services, but the unanticipated number of illegal immigrants who would try to acquire of these services could create an imbalance within the society. The CIS study estimated the additional taxes that would be paid and the additional government costs that would occur as a result of amnesty.

It assumed that welfare utilization and tax payments among current illegal immigrants would rise to equal the levels among legally-admitted immigrants of similar national, educational, and demographic back¬grounds. If all illegal immigrants were granted amnesty, federal tax payments would increase by some $3,000 per household, but federal benefits and social services would increase by $8,000 per household. Total federal welfare benefits would reach around $9,500 per household, or $35 billion per year total. The study estimates that the net cost to the federal government of granting amnesty to some 3.

8 million illegal alien households would be around $5,000 per household, for a total federal fiscal cost of $19 billion per year (Camarota 2004). Moreover, with the growing number of population in a country, the number of crime rates will also increase correspondingly. Illegal immigrants have not been inspected by the government for potential risk as a security measure. Hence, the government has not acquired the needed information on these illegal immigrants. They may pose as threats to national security since these illegal people infiltrated the country illicitly without observing the due process of law.

Mental health, criminal background and other information that could be potentially precarious for the locals have not been gathered. As such, this could lead to more serious problems. The increase in illegal immigration in the US contributes to the criminal justice system in the country. The most obvious form of crime that illegal immigrants bring to the US is often the most overlooked: the immigration itself. It is a crime that is committed by millions of immigrants yearly. Implications of Amnesty as a “Double-edge Sword”

Referring to an online law dictionary, amnesty is defined as a blanket abolition of an offense by the government with the legal result that those charged or convicted have the charge or conviction wiped out. As mentioned earlier, illegal immigration is a social issue since the term ‘illegal’ of its own accord implies a problem. In the United States, amnesty to illegal immigrants was not granted until 1986. More than 3 million aliens took advantage of the 1986 amnesty and many more applied for special agricultural worker programs that also provided legal status. Special amnesties have opened the way for hundreds of thousands more.

But massive amnesty programs were rejected in 1999 and 2000. The nature of an amnesty is very much like to a one-sided ‘win-win’ strategy. It is a ‘win-win’ strategy not for the government but for the illegal immigrants per se. What happens with amnesty is that the penalty for breaking the law is removed while the ‘law breaker’ is also rewarded permanent residency or citizenship in the country. On the other hand, the UN Charter on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Section 2 of Article 15 has stated that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

” Furthermore, cases on manipulating amnesty also occur. Illegal immigrants and their backers try to expand the original content and limits of the amnesty provided to them. In the US, it was said that litigation from the 1986 amnesty resulted in congressional action that admitted hundreds of thousands of aliens who didn’t qualify for the earlier pardons. In some cases, illegal immigrants who had arrive in the country unlawfully without the aid of the government are also being sent back to their country of origin with the use of the amnesty program.

Proving amnesty to illegal immigrants renders a highly paradoxical implication on the issue. The law implies that the wrongdoers must be punished and not rewarded. Yet, the act of bestowing amnesty on illegal immigrants is quite illogical. Furthermore, amnesties leave a perpetual cycle of tolerating crimes on illegal immigration. Amnesty may seem as the only rational way to convince the public that such is a calculated and realistic approach for dealing with the issue. Nonetheless, amnesty is not completely pertinent to every state as a solution to the problem of illegal immigrants.

Amnesty only works for a state where a controllable number of people are coming. Amnesty as a political system is not apposite to a massive influx of unmanageable numbers of illegal immigrants. The truth is that amnesty is not a valid remedy for illegal immigration since it is also a source of encouragement for illegal immigrants. Because of this lenient undertaking by some governments, more and more illegal immigrants are encouraged to commit the crime. In the US, an astounding number of 3 millions illegal workers in 1986 had risen to 11 million in 2000 alone.

More and more illegal immigrants are given confidence to immigrate illegally since amnesty is made readily available at their behest. Granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is like handling a double-edge sword. For one, when amnesty is granted to illegal immigrants, chances are there would be an increase in wages and taxes paid by the expanding labor market wherein individuals compete in. Amnesty could also lead to the increase with the conformity on the laws such as the observance of paying proper taxes and insurances.

But the payment of corresponding taxes and insurances would imply a growth on the use of welfare, benefits and social services provided by the government. Since most of the illegal immigrants have a propensity of being under the low-skill and low-wage earners of the society, the cost that the government have to shoulder would be substantial. Recommendations Based from the findings indicated in the first few parts of the paper, the researcher had made certain recommendations on the issue of illegal immigration. The serious influx of immigration mostly occurs in the borders of the states.

Like in the case of the US, the borders of the country are too extensive for a limited number of security patrols to manage. Adding more personnel in the border security as well as enhancing plans on implementing border security is one of the best possible solutions to the problem. Similarly, local employers must be subjective to the proper accordance of law. Collective action is needed to counteract the problem of illegal immigration. If the government would cooperate with local employers on preventing illegal employment, then the lesser the number of illegal immigrants in the country would be.

Likewise, harsh punishments for illegal immigrants and local schemers must be implemented to dissuade people from further attempting to migrate to the country illegally. Although it is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that no one shall be denied the right to change his nationality, those who are guilty of committing illegal immigration must neither be accorded with amnesty nor citizenship, as punishment for their non-observance of the law. Children who are born to illegal immigrant parents must not be granted citizenship as penalty for their parents’ crime.

Granting citizenship for the children could only make the situation worse as it is. The granting of visas and lawful permanent residence to a massive number of people within a state should be given considerable thought and better judgment. The government must also come up with studies on the implications of immigrants to their respective countries in order to learn the pros and cons that immigration has on their countries and of whether or not their policies towards immigration is adequate enough to meet the challenges and demands at hand.

Planning a few steps ahead of the immigration issue could also bring around the dwindling low-skill wage earners for developed countries. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Section 2 of Article 21 states that everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. Nevertheless, it is clearly stated that the right of equal access to public service is within his country. And being illegal immigrants, they are not lawfully part of the country where they have migrated to.

Thus, it is safe to say and recommend that health care and other social welfare services for local citizens and those accorded with citizenship within a country through lawful means must be given priority over those illegal immigrants. Conclusion: Why Amnesty must ‘not’ be granted for Illegal Immigrants Illegal immigrants must not be granted amnesty due to the following reasons: Immigration to some developed countries is treated more of a privilege than a right. Immigrants must be social contributors for the betterment of the government and the society and not become a socio-economic liability for the emigrated society.

There is no problem with immigration per se. The problem lies with the legality of the issue. Everyone has the right to travel to wherever he wishes to go to or the right to go place to seek refuge. However, the bottom line is that everything can and should be done in accordance with the law. There is a good reason why man must follow the law. Laws are made to guide, protect and respect the interests of every individual in this world. Everyone is equal under the law. But then, equality and justice will not prevail if illegal means are pursued in lieu of the due process of law.

Everyone dreams of a ‘greener pasture’ in their life, but to chase down personal dreams without taking notice of other people’s rights and freedom is definitely a big mistake. One can not change the fact that illegal immigration is a crime in the eyes of the law, no matter how compelling reasons behind such act has been committed. Illegal immigration is a social issue since there is visibility of the said problem with a large portion of the society being affected. Furthermore, illegal immigration also has a temporal aspect.

It is an issue that is neither unsolvable nor uncontainable. Measures could be done to resolve this issue of illegal immigration. Again, illegal immigration is a social issue since it is about the violation of the law. Amnesty is not the best option for controlling illegal immigrants in any given country. It is only a temporal approach that brings about undesirable effects such as creating a more favorable and tolerant atmosphere for attracting illegal immigrants. Also, illegal immigration only result to more issues that the government must confront and resolve.

Tax revenues are reduced due to the non-observance of paying taxes by illegal immigrants and also due to the laid off local employees replaced by illegal immigrants who are willing to work for a cheaper wage. The problem of unemployment could in turn result to social conflict from the additional unemployed citizens. Other than that, a higher rate in crime could be expected.


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