The US government has dealt with illegal immigration for decades, and today continues to spend more millions of taxpayers dollars to deport immigrants than to take care of our safety here and abroad.
Something needs to be done.
When you think about the cost of getting rid of people who are here merely looking to find a job, but who do not represent a threat to our national security, the money that we have invested in deporting 4 million immigrants is an absolute waste of resources. If these immigrants are getting hired in the US, it must be because their services are required at farms, restaurants, hotels, etc. Otherwise, we would not be facing this problem.
In fact, according to online publications Voice of America and Policymic “US Farmers Depend on Illegal Immigrants”. The argument states that Americans have moved away from agriculture, and so farmers argue that they need to rely on illegal immigrants to harvest their products. Alabama’s and Georgia’s tough new immigration laws have had serious economic consequences to these states. Both are today facing serious worker shortages (Georgia has lost about 40%, at a cost of $140 million). In fact, Georgia has resorted to hiring parolees to replace Mexican immigrants.
A press release issued by the Migration Policy Institute today describes how almost $187 billion have been spent on Federal Immigration Enforcement in the past 26 years. The MPI has prepared a 182-page report that offers a detailed analysis of the current immigration enforcement system set in motion in 1986 through the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was a product of a bill introduced to Congress by Congressman Ron Mazzoli and Senator Alan Simpson.
The Center for American Progress says that it is time to do something to legalize the 11 million undocumented workers that help farmers, restaurants, and hotels to operate in the US. The Center states that legalizing these immigrants “…would generate a $1.5 trillion boost to the nation’s cumulative GDP over 10 years and add close to $5 billion in additional revenue in just the next three years”. Also, most undocumented workers pay taxes (as in the case of Maryland, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Georgia, New Jersey, Arizona, Washington, North Carolina, and California (where they contributed $2.7 billion in 2010). In fact, illegal workers pay 15% of their wages in Social Security and Medicare, but will never be able to benefit from these services.
Sound immigration reform is a matter of common sense.
In a recent interview with Spanish language television network Univision, Michigan Gov. Mitt Romney publicly recognized the fact that “...employers do have a need for immigrant workers”, but then tried to justify existing stringent immigration measures by making fun of immigrants and "dismissing most undocumented immigrants as completely without skills that make them valuable to the American workforce”.
Why then do these undocumented immigrants always get hired?
Back in the late 1970s, President Carter had initiated the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy (SCIRP) to regulate undocumented immigration into the US, but others thought this would encourage further unauthorized workers to come. SCIRP did not get approved, and in spite of sanctions applied to those who employed undocumented workers, illegal immigration continued to soar.
Also, back in the 1980s, the government came up again with a Special Agricultural Worker Program (SAW), that provided permanent residency to aliens, and almost 1.3 million people applied. Still, growers were concerned that those legalized would leave agriculture for more profitable positions in other industries, and a new project called Replenishment Agricultural Worker Program (RAW) was created, supposed to allow temporary residents to work on perishable agriculture for at least three months during three consecutive years to gain permanent residency, plus two more years to gain actual citizenship.
Once again, this program was never put into effect.
Today, for better or for worse, illegal immigration (at least from Mexico, the largest source of workers) is down to 0%.
Figures and polls seem to show that using the funds that currently go to deportation procedures to come up with effective and just immigration reform would benefit everyone in the US.