The Price of The Undocumented
Policy Challenge 2
BY RICKARD JEAN-NOEL
2020-0706 SWGS 6702
July 21, 2020
The United States of America was a nation built collectively by immigrants from multiple different countries that came to this land in hopes of change and freedom. Some came to this land to escape violence, while others came here for education. Many came for financial independence and stability, which others came for religious freedoms. Together they built the nation that we have today. Ellis Island and the statue of Liberty both were a symbol of a warm welcome and a sign of freedom. Unfortunately, we see with the change of the times and because of politics, and racism, these ideals have now shifted. That warm welcome from the statue of liberty has now turned into a wall that is now an affirmation that certain individuals are no longer welcomed. In this short essay, we will discuss the article “Immigrants and the Economy” and examine the roles that immigrants do play in our economy, whether it be for a positive or negative reason.
The article starts by referring to President Trumps vows to protect the jobs of Americans by limiting the number of immigrants coming into the country. The president and other politicians believe that immigrants “undercut wages and take jobs from native-born workers”. They also feel that undocumented individuals also place a burden on things such as “welfare, medical and education cost”. The article provides a rebuttal in responding that majority of immigrants often take “low-wage jobs short on workers”. They also take day laboring jobs such as landscaping and home building. The threat that their jobs might be at risk is a very troubling thought for many Americans. This was what made presidential candidate Donald Trump so popular, when he made mention of building a wall at the board of Mexico and America. According to the article, on January 25, an executive order was signed to build the wall at the border, which would stop immigrants from Mexico and Central America from coming into the United States. He later second another executive order on January 27 that temporarily blocked immigrants from seven “predominantly Muslim Middle East Countries”. Later on, February 21, “The Department of Homeland Security detailed a more aggressive approach to arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants, even those who have committed minor offenses”.
Given the executive orders and the actions that were committed toward undocumented individuals, some would say that there was a war in the US against immigrants. Many in America feel that the increase in crime and the decrease in available jobs is because of immigrants. Others concur by stating that “legal immigration of highly educated foreigners is a boom to the economy”. To defend this, the article provides a detailed data chart that displays how Asians are the wealthiest immigrants in the US. According to the chart “almost 1.5 million Asian- American households in the United States had annual incomes of $100,00 or more in 2012, the most of any immigrant group”. The article then turns to the economic benefits of immigrants. The article states that the “35 million people who identify as Hispanic are a significant economic force in the United States, representing a consumer market of $1.3 Trillion. The article goes on to state that the 42 million immigrants in America are also more likely to start businesses when compared to native-born Americans. The articles states that “immigrants represent 18 percent of all small-business owners but only about 1 percent of the population. The article also states that “8 million undocumented immigrates who are working pay about $13 billion a year in state, local and federal taxes” this according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Many have stated that the reason for the change in attitudes towards immigrants is because of 9/11 and the terrorist attacks on American soil. Others stated that it is the cost to US taxpayers that is the main issue. According to the article “Trump has cited a widely quoted figure from the Federation for American Immigration Reform: Illegal immigration costs US taxpayers about $113 billion a year at the federal, state, and local level”. The article goes on to stage that “according to FAIR, includes federal expenses for education, medical treatment and law enforcement, as well as other expenditures covering undocumented immigrants”. Given the facts, we must ask ourselves what is really at risk and if the cost worth it.
In conclusion, we would say that a nation built by immigrants has dramatically changed. Many are stating that it is due to the cost, yet many immigrants do help provide stability to the American economy and the majority that comes to America come to work and provide for themselves and family back home. They also come to provide their children with education, start businesses, and work jobs that nobody else wants. We can not continue to blame them for our short coming, especially if they are willing to do the jobs that Americans are not willing to do themselves. The undocumented are being unfairly treated in America and they are only here because of an even more severe treatment that they received at their home country. I myself am an immigrant who came to America at the age of 2. Since then, I have completed college and I am working on my master’s degree at Fordham. I also own two businesses and I work two jobs. This is the dream of every immigrant and I thank my parents for bringing me to America and America for providing me with the opportunity.
1. ImmigrantsandtheEconomyPublishedbyCQPress,anImprintofSAGEPublications,Inc. 2017.