The topic of immigration in the United States has sparked heated debate, with both supporters and opponents. The legitimacy of their existence in the country has also been a source of contention for policymakers and politicians in the state (Krogstad, Manuel and Passel). With recent security threats in the world rising, many have called for the implementation of strict immigration laws that would result in millions of people being deported back to their home countries. Some immigrants have been in the United States for a long time, and some may have come as teenagers. To protect such immigrants, programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were developed. However, the current administration is keen on repealing such programs with the aim of discouraging more immigrants from entering the country illegally. It is estimated that there more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States (Krogstad, Manuel and Passel). The presence of illegal immigrants in the country has its advantages and disadvantages, which have been the subject of heated debate in the country. Proponents argue that immigrants comprise source of cheap labor in the country and have contributed immensely to the growth of the economy. On the other hand, critics argue that immigrants are responsible for soaring crime rates and reduced job opportunities for locals, due to unfair competition. In this regard, expelling illegal immigrants in the US would have multiple consequences for the country, both positive and negative. Evidently, illegal immigrants in the US contribute to the American economy through different activities they are engaged in. It is stated that they add to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country through their efforts (Garand, Xu and Davis 146). Relocating illegal immigrants would not only be a costly but long process. the time required to apprehend, detain, process, transport and deport all illegal immigrants is estimated at 20 years. during this period, the government would incur between $400 billion and $600 billion. GDP would drop by approximanately$1.6 trillion, which would be 5.7% of deduction from the economic growth rate (Berman). Having all illegal immigrants leave the country would mean that high level of deficit would be created. With most immigrants doing menial jobs. Such a move would result in an unfavorable employment situation in the country with increasing wage rates that would appear costly for many employers. In addition, expelling illegal immigrants would mean that the government would have to incur great logistical and deportation costs without corresponding returns. Billions of dollars would be required to return each illegal immigrant to the native country. As many parts see such a move as inhumane, the country would also have to deal with the backlash of the international community and lobby groups fighting for immigrant rights (Garand, Xu and Davis 147). This is notwithstanding the legal implications, such as formulation of new legislations to support the move.
A significant number of illegal immigrants in the U.S have since settled and set up families of their own. Some are married to native Americans and have dependants who are typically American citizens. Expelling such individuals would not only result in social crises but would break up many families, affecting innocent dependants who would be destabilized by parting from close family members (Berman). The disruptions would not only negatively impact families but the entire society in general. Schools, businesses, and religious communities would be adversely affected as well. Critics have also warned that it would create a situation of animosity between natives and immigrants, with neighbors turning against each other. The enforcement process would also require significant manpower, with waves of unrest and resistance expected. The social impact of this would be increased poverty and crime rates among illegal immigrants. In addition to this, expulsion of illegal immigrants is only one phase of the issue (Berman). Preventing further illegal immigrants would also require additional infrastructure and safeguards. The cost of this is estimated to be as high as the cost of relocating the 11 million illegal immigrants. Continuous enforcement would involve elements such as securing boarders and entry points and tracking the movements of short term lawful visitors and immigrants.
Instead of having all illegal immigrants leave the country, opposing policy makers have proposed viable alternatives that would avoid the direly negative consequences. Giving legal status to immigrants with no criminal records has been proposed as a solution that would not only give them stability, but would also foster peaceful and productive coexistence with the rest of the American population. This would be equivalent to offering blanket amnesty and would increase cooperation with law enforcement as well. It would also ease the detection, prosecution and deportation of criminals masquerading as immigrants. Recognizing the efforts of hardworking illegal immigrants in the country would go a long way towards reducing further increase in illegal immigrants; and would also have positive economic impacts. However, this would also require enactment and reinforcement of robust legislations that would prevent further illegal immigrants moving forward. Evidently having all illegal immigrants leave the country would have far reaching negative social-economic impacts to the immigrant population and to rest of the country. It would have huge cost implications that would take the country years to recover from. This is in addition to the estimated logistical nightmare and confusion that the move would create. With the international community calling for tolerance on illegal immigrates and refugees, the move would also reflect negatively on the American society, especially on human rights fronts. Instead a more sober and accommodative approach is needed when addressing the issue.
Berman, Russell. “The Conservative Case Against Enforcing Immigration Law.” 2015. The Atalntic. 6 December 2017
Garand, James C., Ping Xu, and Belinda C. Davis. “Immigration attitudes and support for the welfare state in the American mass public.” American Journal of Political Science 61.1 (2017): 146-162.
Krogstad, Jens Manuel, and Jeffrey S. Passel. “5 Facts about Illegal Immigration in the US.” Pew Research Center 19 (2015).