The great country of America was founded by scores of immigrants fleeing from Europe. The colored hands of immigrants working in America have touched our great railroads, magnificent buildings, and even the food we eat. However, times have changed, and with this change comes a new responsibility for America to control its borders and the people who pass through them. Not only are illegal immigrants invading our land, but they are crying out for employment and federal aid rights. Giving illegal immigrants the rights to driver’s licenses, social security benefits, and employment rights is not only unfair to lawful citizens; it is outright irresponsible. The immigration of illegal peoples, be it from South America, Europe, or Asia, into the United States has quickly become a growing problem.
Illegal immigrants do not, and should not, have the right to obtain driver’s licenses. By even entertaining the idea of giving them driver’s licenses, the public is making it seem as though it is okay to hop our borders and infest our country. Some activists argue that legally giving undocumented residents the right to drive will discourage them from carjacking and other crimes. However, the single most devastating act of terrorism on American soil could have been prevented by the denial of driver’s licenses to illegals. Wodele writes, “19 airline hijackers easily obtained driver’s licenses to board planes that slammed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001” (2). Along with the potential danger, other dilemmas arise with the exponential arrival of unlawful peoples in our country.
One of the biggest problems with illegal immigrants inhabiting our land is the tremendous strain they put on our national budget. According to Human Events, “households headed by illegal aliens used $10 billion more in government services than they paid in taxes in 2002” (22). Among the largest federal costs used by undocumented immigrants are “Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($ 1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion)” (Human Events, 22). With our national debt already rapidly increasing due to the ongoing war on terrorism, any money spent towards illegal immigrants is anything but helpful to our already fragile economy.
However, illegals do help scratch the surface of the problems of the depleting funds of Medicare and Social Security by contributing with the little taxes they do pay. Approximately 43%, or $7 billion, of the federal taxes illegal immigrants pay go to Social Security and Medicare (Human Events, 22). Furthermore, it is reported that “although illegals create a net drain on the federal government, the average illegal household pays more than $4,200 a year in federal taxes, for a total of nearly $16 billion” (Human Events, 22). Nonetheless, the issue at hand is the fact that our national debt is at a greater risk of increasing due to the spending towards aid for unlawful citizens. In addition, it is becoming harder for American citizens of the lower and middle classes to find work due to the alarming rate at which illegal immigrants cross our borders.
As of 1994, immigration accounted for nearly 50 percent of the population growth in the United States. Ling-Ling writes, “Every year, about 1 million immigrants enter the United States legally, while an estimated 300,000 arrive and stay illegally” (73-74). The rate at which working age immigrants come into our country and battle with lawful citizens for available jobs is in high favor of the former. With the national job supply rapidly depleting due to outsourcing and downsizing, this added factor to the workforce makes an already competitive job search even more so for the average American. These were the statistics nearly over a decade ago, and the rates have done anything but decline since then.
Not only do these unlawful settlers make it harder to find work, they are significantly contributing to the problem of overcrowding in America. The United States already has a crisis of homelessness in its own people. It is logical to think that adding nearly half a million undocumented immigrants a year will only escalate the number of homeless on the streets. There simply is not enough room. On average, “1.5 million acres of arable land are lost annually to erosion and development due to rapid population growth. Our underground aquifers are being depleted 25 percent faster than the recharge rates” (Ling-Ling, 74). Numbers show that this unbalanced growth of population to land size will soon reach a critical breaking point.
It is safe to say that the factors against illegal immigration greatly outweigh what positive there might be. Ling-Ling writes, “In opinion polls, the majority of Americans, including 78 percent of Latino Americans, say they support a reduction in immigration, legal as well as legal” (75). Our country is based on factors of equal opportunities and rights for all its citizens. Until the United States can take care of its own people, it must put its foot down in regards to the abounding number of immigrants that daily pass through our borders. Critics argue that the government should continue to provide its resources to illegal immigrants, even though it is hurting our economy. Have these critics ever lived in an area where livable land has simply run out? It is the responsibility of our government, the leaders of the free world, to recognize the inevitable dangers of loose border policies and the looming threat of the United States becoming a country where it can not take care of its own, legal or illegal.
Ling-Ling, Yeh. “The Welcome Mat is Threadbare.” California Dreams and Realities. Ed. Sonia Massik & Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999: 73-75.
Martinez, Ruben. “Refined Immigration Policy to Reflect History and the Moment We Live In.” California Dreams and Realities. Ed. Sonia Massik & Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999: 76-78.
Wodele, Greta. “Driver’s License Issue is Last Holdout in Overhaul Measure.” Congress Daily 19 Nov. 2004: 2.
“The High Costs of Illegal Immigration.” Human Events August 2004: 22.