Illegal immigration is a problem facing many countries in the west, particularly the US, Canada and Great Britain. Hundreds of illegal immigrants are crossing borders every year – some to escape extreme political persecution, many to get jobs and find better opportunities and others just because they can. Last year, US President Barrack Obama issued an executive order granting amnesty to illegal immigrants who enroll in Obamacare.
This was followed by a series of debates and discussions on whether or not amnesty is a smart solution to illegal immigration. Proponents believe that by providing a “path to citizenship” for those who arrived in the country illegally lessens the government’s headache on undocumented immigrants. As Obama put it, it is one way to make illegal immigrants pay penalties, pay taxes, learn the English language, and then go “to the back of the line”. But, is it?
To get a clear picture of what are at stake and what are the possible opportunities amnesty offers, let us take a look at its pros and cons.
List of Pros of Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
1. It Reduce Abuses
Granting amnesty can significantly reduce the abuses against illegal immigrants, who are often afraid to report to authorities the crimes and maltreatment done to them in fear of being deported. In addition, this is the most humanitarian thing to do. Most of the undocumented immigrants are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
2. It Is Good for the Economy
As Obama pointed out, legalizing illegal aliens enables a country to collect tax and penalty fees. Capitalist Pig blog proprietor Jonathan Heonig put it better, “The fact that foreigners are eager to pick crops, clean houses, bus tables and produce allows more of us to afford cheaper food and better services, affording us even more wealth to enjoy and invest. It’s not the immigrants, but the taxes, spending and entitlements (most of which immigrants don’t even receive) that have drained the economy dry.”
3. It Reduces Deportation Cost
Deporting immigrants involve a number of expenses, including housing cost and transportation cost. With only a few people being deported, law enforcement costs are greatly reduced.
4. It May Reduce Crime
Majority of immigrants are law-abiding; they want to stay in the country to work, so they would steer out of trouble if possible. We have history to back this up. In 1986, the last time an amnesty was granted by the US, violent crimes dramatically dropped.
List of Cons of Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants
1. It Encourages Further Illegal Immigration
If immigrants are given the opportunity receive amnesty even they though they are illegal, others will take this opportunity to cross the border for a chance to get an amnesty too. This could result to a massive wave of illegal immigration in the years to come.
2. It Doesn’t Solve the Root Cause of the Problem
The major reason immigrants are crossing borders is because of the local issues that exist in their home country. And if these issues are not addressed, there’s no stopping people from leaving their homeland and risking to live illegally in a foreign nation.
So, what do these arguments tell us? It is obvious, while amnesty is a good short-term solution to the problem of illegal immigration, it does not prove to be the best solution in the long run.