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Illegal Immigrants: To Hire or Not To Hire

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Immigration in the United States is now becoming a larger problem than it once used to be. Currently roughly 8 million people are living in the U.S. without legal papers and each year approximately 200,000 illegal immigrants successfully cross the border. More than half of the illegal aliens are of Mexican origin. An illegal immigrant is a foreigner who has either illegally crossed an international political border, be it by land, water, or air, or a foreigner who has entered a country legally but then outstays his/her visa. In the United States at least, illegal immigrants traditionally have entered the country in search of wages higher than those achievable in their home countries. It is said that, “demand for low-skilled labor continues to grow in the United States while the domestic supply of suitable workers inexorably declines” (Griswold, 15 October 2002, pg. 1). This brings about the issue of whether or not it is ethical and acceptable for U.S. corporations to hire illegal aliens. Most people have strong feelings on no matter which side of this issue they are on and when asked, are very vocal. Though most have strong opinions, some are not as familiar with nor care about who comes into our country and what jobs they take. The impact that hiring illegal immigrants has on the economy is greater than one would think. Imagine what is actually happening; foreigners make their way across the United States borders and then apply to work at certain jobs. The employers know that most immigrants will take a much lower pay wage than the typical American citizen. This being the case, they choose to hire the alien rather than employing a legal U.S. resident. So is this fair? And if so, who exactly is it fair to? These are the issues in question as to whether or not they should be legalized.

So is it wrong to say “no” to people wanting a better life for themselves and their families? A lot of people feel strongly that immigrants are just people that were born into underdeveloped, poverty-stricken countries, and that they should be given any and all opportunities that any other person has. Most immigrants are just looking for jobs and wages better than those available in their home countries. For example, the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico was associated with widespread poverty and a lower valuation for the peso relative to the dollar. The United States Department of Labor calculates that the Zone A (mostly industrialized) minimum wage in Mexico in 1999 was 34.45 pesos, or about $3.50 U.S. dollars per day. The Zone C (rural/agricultural) minimum wage was 29.70 Pesos a day, or roughly $3.02 U.S. dollars a day. By contrast, the United States’ minimum wage was set at $5.85 per hour under a federal law, and many states required rates higher than the federally mandated minimum at this time. One can only imagine how that increase in pay would look to just about anyone. Some people say “go for it” and some people are more traditional and feel strongly against it. Both sides have multiple reasons as to why one is better than the other.

Many people would be surprised to learn that contrary to common beliefs, evidence does not suggest that a properly designed system of legal Mexican migration will unleash a flood of new immigrants to the United States, hurt low-skilled Americans, burden taxpayers, create an unassimilated underclass, encourage lawbreaking, or compromise border security (Griswold, 15 Oct 2002, pg. 1). Most countries have laws requiring workers to have proper documentation, often intended to prevent or minimize the employment of unauthorized immigrants. However the penalties against employers are often small, the ID requirements vague and ill-defined, as well as being seldom checked or enforced, making it easy for employers to hire unauthorized labor. While in office, George W. Bush and Vicente Fox, president of Mexico got together and now, “…endorse an immigration policy that includes “matching willing workers with willing employers [and] serving the social and economic needs of both countries” (Griswold, 15 Oct 2002, pg. 2). If this were to ever come to be, the United States would rid themselves of excessive money spent on border control and things of the like. When people bring to light the harmful things that come with illegal immigration and what happens when employers settle for illegal, low-skilled workers, it oftentimes makes more sense to just allow it to occur with specific regulations and things of the sort.

Since the mid-1980s, in its effort to stop illegal immigration, the United States’ government has imposed new and taxing regulations on American employers and dramatically increased spending on border control. Despite the stated aggressive efforts, America’s border policy has failed to achieve its principal objective: to stem the flow of undocumented workers into the U.S. labor market (Griswold, 15 Oct 2002, pg. 2). The presence of so many undocumented workers represents a black market in labor, along with all of the negative effects that come with smuggling, using fraudulent documents, attempting wage distortions, having constant inefficiencies, and oftentimes the abuses that come with this issue as well. One outlook on this issue is as follows, “"These [undocumented workers] are wage thieves," said Phil Kent. "In fact, if you could wave a magic wand and all illegal immigrants were to disappear tomorrow, every poor person in America would get a raise in their wages"” (Bowman, 19 March 2006, pg. 1). It seems as though a little over a half of Americans polled are showing their adamancy, “…a recent public opinion survey shows 60 percent of Americans favor constructing a wall spanning the entire U.S.-Mexico borderвЂ¦Ð²Ð‚Ñœ (Bowman, 19 March 2006, pg. 1). Congressman Tancredo is a strong proponent of an immigration reform bill that passed the House of Representatives in December. The "Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act" would extremely expand U.S. border enforcement, force employers to verify workers' citizenship, and make it a federal crime to provide assistance to undocumented aliens. Representative Steven J. Chabot recently issued a column, stating in it that, “Ending illegal immigration should be a top priority



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