Illegal Immigration in California
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It is estimated that there are currently about 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. In California alone it is estimated to be 3 million illegal immigrants. Those supporting illegal immigration argue that the state of California along with other states has benefited from the arrival of immigrants due to the lower cost of labor and immigrant contributions. The lower labor cost allows businesses to more effectively compete with firms both at the domestic and international level. Illegal immigrants tend to have a reputation for being hard workers and will take on jobs that Americans would not normally take. In addition, it is said that immigrants contribute to the economy through their daily purchases, which usually translates into the creation of new jobs. On the other hand, anti-immigration groups claim that illegal immigrants take jobs from the American people. In addition, they claim that illegal immigrants have lowered wages overall because they increase the labor supply for unskilled work and are generally willing to take less for their labor. Critics of illegal immigration also cite that many illegal immigrants do not pay taxes and are a financial burden to the state. Illegal immigration critics maintain that counties are already struggling to provide services such as healthcare and education. Having a tight budget and also providing services to illegal immigrants has taken a financial toll. Another argument is that the children of illegal immigrants take up resources when it comes to education and make the education system worse than what it already is. A study done by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) found the cost of illegal immigrants in California to amount to $10.5 billion annually. This figure includes the cost of incarceration, health care, and education of illegal immigrants.
As long as the economic and political situations do not improve in the home countries of illegal immigrants, they will continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Immigrants may even pay the thousands of dollars asked by coyotes or human smugglers to improve their odds of successfully crossing the border into the US. In some cases, immigrants may even be able to pay off a corrupt U.S. Customs and Border Protection to guarantee their entrance into the US. Others will find different ways of crossing the border such as sneaking into trucks or hiding amongst cargo. There are also immigrants who enter the U.S. legally but intentionally overstay and violate the terms of their visas. While a significant number of illegal immigrants in California are Mexican, others include Central Americans, Asians, and Europeans. The increased immigration of foreigners has changed the demographics of the United States and will continue to do so. While some argue that the answer to illegal immigration is to deport all illegal immigrants and improve border security, others claim that the answer is not that simple. Many illegal immigrants have made California or another state their home. Some have even started their own families in the United States and have assimilated well into American culture. Part of the assimilation process has been to legalize their status and learn the English language which leads to a greater number of opportunities. For some illegal immigrants residing in the US, their lack of legal resident status may limit opportunities. However, the United States still generally provides more opportunities and an overall better life than their home country. For many undocumented immigrants living in the US, their ultimate goal is to become a U.S. citizen and enjoy all the freedoms of America.