There are two different categories of immigrants in law: illegal immigrants and legal immigrants. An illegal immigrant is a person who leaves his/her country to go to another country without acquiring proper documentations that allow an individual to migrate to another country. On the other hand, a legal immigrant is a person who leaves his/her country, after acquiring proper documents, which allow him/her to migrate to another country lawfully. Due to this difference, illegal and legal immigrants have different influences in the countries where they migrate. However, it is important to note that, it is not true to say that all illegal immigrants have negative influences, and to suggest that all legal immigrants have positive influences in their new locations.
Immigrants have positive influences in countries where they immigrate. Most of these positive influences are on the economy of their new countries of residence. According to Porter, immigrants, both legal and illegal, have already joined the economic system of United States and they have already started to play very important roles. Many personal restaurants and factories employ illegal immigrants as their main labor force. The reason why they choose illegal immigrants over the natives is that illegal immigrants just need a very low salary and they are easy to control. Personal restaurants and factories need them to keep their costs low. Low production costs enable factories to sell their products to the consumers at relatively low prices.
When price of commodities are low, consumers’ purchasing power is increased and thus being able to purchase more goods with less amount of money. This result into increased consumption in an economy, which in turn result to increased spending. Increased spending contributes to increased national income, hence improving economic development.
Many companies set their factories in developing countries because they can get cheap labor force in those countries. For instance, many U.S companies have their production units located in China. However, small domestic companies, which cannot afford the resources that are necessary for setting factories in other countries, continue with their operations in the local market. They end-up employing locally available labor: people living within United States. In most cases, such companies make use of illegal immigrants because they can afford to pay them low wages without worrying about other employment incentives such as insurance, pension benefits, or paid leaves/sick days/holidays. Indeed, through providing cheap labor, illegal immigrants assist small companies located in United States to survive in the market and achieve growth overtime.
Notwithstanding the positive aspects of illegal immigrants in development of the economy, they contribute to unemployment of the unskilled natives in United States. According to Malanga, 30 percent of unskilled American is currently unemployed. This is because they have been forced out of employment areas by the cheaply available labor from illegal immigrants.
Nevertheless, availability of cheap labor from illegal immigrants, cause the unskilled Americans to loose their jobs in the informal sectors. This result into improvement of people’s skills in the job market because, most of the unskilled employees will seek further education in order to secure employment in the formal sectors of the economy (Malanga). When immigrants are employed in the factories either as unskilled or semi-skilled laborers, natives Americans tend to drop out of employment, citing that, they cannot accept the same salary that immigrants accept. The economic laws provide that the unemployment rate of a given economy should be kept as low as possible. The lower the unemployment rate, the better the economy and the society. The competition brought by immigrants has contributed to increasing labor competition in the market.
Illegal immigrants make unskilled natives acquire skills necessary for performance of their jobs in the domestic industries, as well other jobs, which require skilled labor (Malanga). This force has contributed to development of the labor market in United States. In my own opinion, if the unemployment rate arising from availability of cheap labor from immigrants is in an acceptable number, then our government should not interfere with the running of the small companies that utilize illegal immigrants for cheap labor.
According to Porter, illegal immigrants are making great contribution into the social security tax system of United States. Many of us think that illegal immigrants do not like paying taxes, maybe because they do not know the meaning of paying tax, or because they want to save money to remit to their relatives back in their home countries (Porter). However, this is not the case. Porter states that, according to the 2002 Census Bureau report on population survey, it was reported that 3.8 million households headed by illegal immigrants generated $6.4 billion in Social Security taxes in 2002 (Porter). Tax contribution by illegal immigrants increases every year as more illegal immigrants continues to gain access to the country. Despite their large tax contribution to the government of United States, most of the illegal immigrants do not know how to utilize public amenities, which are funded and maintained using taxpayers’ money.
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However, since United States started to experience huge influx of illegal immigrants, native American have been unable to fully enjoy the services of social and public amenities such as hospitals, schools, and government-aided programs. This has made Native Americans to receive a share of government services, while illegal immigrants take the other share. An analysis of the opinions from the American natives on the costs of illegal immigrants shows that, the costs of illegal immigrants on the economy overweigh the benefits of the latter on the economy (Porter).
According to Mac Donald, presence of large number of illegal immigrants in the country has contributed to increased crime rate. Mac Donald states most of the violent crimes being experienced in United States are largely committed by illegal immigrants. Efforts by local police to arrest these criminals and deport them back to their home countries have proved futile as many of them find their way back to the country again. The United States lacks proper functioning policies that allow illegal aliens caught in criminal acts to be arrested and prosecuted in American courts (Mac Donald). In fact, one LAPD captain states that the local police officers fear talking publicly about the criminal problems associated with illegal immigrants. They fear that public communication about the problems associated with illegal immigrants may cost them their lives. The issue of illegal immigrants has been politicized to an extent that law enforcers are unable to use their powers to handle the situation (Mac Donald).
Legal immigrants have a number of positive influences to their host countries. According to Jacobson, legal immigrants contribute to enrichment of culture in the host country. Immigrants introduce new values, knowledge, perspectives, and expertise to the locals of the host country. These result into exposure of people to different cultures and languages, hence additional cultural richness of any given society (Jacobson).
Many of the legal immigrants possess skills, expertise, and talents, which many natives in their host countries do not have. Legal immigrants introduce their skills and expertise in the employment sector, resulting into increased economic growth due to increased production. Jacobson also views legal immigrants as potential poverty eradicators in developing and less-developing countries. Legal immigrants save a lot of money, which they use to invest in their home countries. By doing this, they contribute directly to poverty eradication through providing locals in their home countries with employment opportunities in their small businesses/investments.