Someone recently said to me that the US government should send Mexican immigrants back to Mexico because "they already got all our jobs when they got NAFTA." But this simply is not true!!! You see, sending our factories there was actually a lose/ lose situation for everyone but the government and the billionaires who owed the companies, and ironically, it made the problem of illegal immigration much worse. You see, when NAFTA allowed corporations to move to Mexico, those companies needed land to build factories. And so, because of the way NAFTA was designed, about 70 THOUSAND Mexican farmers were displaced from their land. Seventy thousand. Think of it. That's not just seventy thousand people. We are talking WHOLE FAMILIES who were all of a sudden without jobs, and who were usually not compensated for their land. The lucky few who did get jobs in those factories are now paid substandard wages that they can barely live on. As a result of these families being without work, many were forced to do whatever they had to just to survive, and many came here. The Mexican people are as much victims of NAFTA as we are- maybe more so! Compounding the problem is our broken immigration system that makes it nearly impossible for ANYone to come here legally, and voila! You have immigration problems.
But another thing to consider is that without these people, a lot of our companies would go under and it would have a negative effect on our already struggling economy. I know of farms in Michigan who have closed their doors, because they can't find workers. Michigan's unemployment has been running right around the highest in the country for a few years now, and to put it plainly, the immigrants are not coming like they used to and the Americans simply are not willing to do the work!!! And in a state with the highest unemployment, there are plenty of Americans who COULD do the work!!! Also, nationwide, only 5.1 percent of the workforce is here illegally.
Here are some other things to consider: a 2007 report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers found that immigrants INCREASE our nations GDP by $37 BILLION dollars a year. That is money we would NOT have if they were all sent home. A 2010 report from EPI found that immigration between 1994 and 2007 actually RAISED wages for US-born workers by .4%. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, the purchasing power of Latinos totaled $978.4 billion in 2009 and is projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2014. The purchasing power of Asians totaled $508.6 billion in 2009 and is projected to reach $696.5 billion by 2014. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that in 2002, 1.6 million Hispanic-owned firms provided jobs to 1.5 million employees, had receipts of $222 billion, an...d generated payroll of $36.7 billion. The same year, 1.1 million Asian-owned firms provided jobs to 2.2 million employees, had receipts of $326.4 billion, and generated payroll of $56 billion. We are talking BIG benefits to our economy here!!! Imagine sending all of these immigrants home?! Our economy, just based on these few numbers, would COLLAPSE!!!
Some more information to think about: Unauthorized immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefits: This includes income supplements—e.g., Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), health care (Medicaid and Medicare), and food stamps. It doesn't matter what state they are in- they CANNOT get benefits!!! According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, immigrants do not impose a disproportionate financial burden on the U.S. health care system. The per capita total health care expenditures of immigrants are less than half those of U.S.-born persons, and immigrants are significantly less likely to use the emergency room than are citizens. However, immigrants pay taxes into the system that funds public services: Even the majority of unauthorized immigrants pay federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes. And all immigrants pay sales taxes and property taxes. Many studies have found that immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. The National Research Council estimated in 1997 that “the average immigrant pays nearly $1,800 more in taxes than he or she costs in benefits.” Many state-level studies have also found that immigrants contribute more to the economy than they take out. Like the rest of us, unauthorized immigrants pay taxes: Between one-half to three-quarters of unauthorized immigrants pay federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes. All unauthorized immigrants pay sales taxes (when they buy anything at a store, for instance) and property taxes (even if they rent housing).
Unauthorized immigrants pay into Social Security, but do not collect: The Social Security Administration (SSA) has concluded that unauthorized immigrants “account for a major portion” of the billions of dollars paid into the Social Security system under names or Social Security numbers that don’t match SSA records; payments from which immigrants cannot benefit while unauthorized. As of October 2005, the reported earnings on which these payments are based—which are tracked through the SSA’s Earnings Suspense File (ESF)—totaled $520 billion. Another thing most people do not know- those who are undocumented but paying taxes CANNOT get a tax return, so every cent they pay in is kept by the government.
Another misconception about immigrants is that they bring higher crime rates. But take a look at this information: Although the unauthorized immigrant population doubled from 1994 to 2005, the violent crime rate in the United States declined by 34.2 % and the property crime rate fell by 26.4% during the same period. Border cities and other cities with ...large immigrant populations also experienced decreasing crime rates. And according to a 2008 report from the conservative Americas Majority Foundation, crime rates are lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates. From 1999 to 2006, the total crime rate declined 13.6% in the 19 highest-immigration states, compared to a 7.1% decline in the other 32 states. In 2006, the 10 “high influx” states—those with the most dramatic, recent increases in immigration—had the lowest rates of violent crime and total crime. The argument that unauthorized immigrants are “criminals” because they are “illegal” is highly misleading. “Unlawful presence” in the United States (such as overstaying a visa) is a civil violation of immigration law, not a criminal violation. “Entry Without Inspection” (entering the United States without authorization) is a misdemeanor. More importantly, neither of these offenses constitutes a threat to public safety—unlike crimes such as murder, assault, and robbery, all of which immigrants are much less likely to commit than natives.
As to the question of why don't they just come legally, the legal immigration system is grossly out of date and has not kept up with the labor demands of our economy. Our immigration laws have not been updated in 20 years, and there are only limited avenues available for legal immigration. The... overly restrictive legal limits on green cards mean that virtually all unauthorized immigrants have no alternative for legal entry into the U.S. Many Americans think that unauthorized immigrants want to be unauthorized. However, opinion surveys of unauthorized immigrants indicate that, if given a choice, 98% would rather live and work legally in the U.S. and would do so if they could. But most do not have the necessary family relationships to apply for legal entry, do not qualify as refugees unless they come from a handful of countries experiencing political unrest, and do not work in professions that currently qualify for a green card. Many Americans think that unauthorized immigrants want to be unauthorized. However, opinion surveys of unauthorized immigrants indicate that, if given a choice, 98% would rather live and work legally in the U.S. and would do so if they could. But most do not have the necessary family relationships to apply for legal entry, do not qualify as refugees unless they come from a handful of countries experiencing political unrest, and do not work in professions that currently qualify for a green card.
So anyway, I hope this clarifies some of the misconceptions about immigration. You see, I believe passionately in reform, and not because I am married to a wonderful Mexican man. No, I have believed in reform for many, many years, and I have done the studying to back up my beliefs. I'm not simply basing my opinion on what I hear in the news or spouted on election ads. I am basing it on cold hard facts and what I have witnessed first hand. Hope you can understand a little better now!