Illegal immigration in America is described as entering the United States without government authorization. It is an intricate issue that elicits a wide range of reactions during any discourse on the matter. “Few subjects are so fraught with misinformation and lack of information, complexity and paradox, political interest and governmental neglect, social concern and human callousness, careful economic analysis and fiscal incertitude.” (Haines & Rosenblum, 1999). A worrying trend for authorities is that the number of illegal immigrants to the United States of America is growing at a faster rate than that of legal immigrants and this fact is evident across all states but the ones that have the highest settlement rates are Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah. An important fact to consider is that more and more of the illegal immigrants getting into America have better education than the those who arrived previously with the following statistics
“A quarter having at least some college education. Nonetheless, undocumented immigrants as a group are less educated than other sections of the U.S. population: 49 percent haven't completed high school, compared with 9 percent of native-born Americans and 25 percent of legal immigrants.” (Khan, 2005)
It is estimated that almost 45% of all the illegal immigrants in America came into the country via legal channels. Most of these immigrants enter the country with visit visas or documents that authorize them to stay for a certain period of time but they never return to their country of origin upon expiry of their visas choosing instead to stay in America unlawfully. The remaining portions of the illegal immigrants are those that enter the country without government authorization.
It seems that there is an increasing consciousness in recent times of the effects of illegal immigration especially in terms of jobs, usage of public services and the prevalence of crime. It is not an easy matter to tackle these issues notwithstanding the fact that they have been the subject of many researches seeking to guide in the formation of appropriate public policies.
How can the effects of illegal immigration be established without bias or unsubstantiated assumptions? The National Research Council (NRC) investigation by Smith and Edmonton posits that the overall effects of immigration are small but there are certain negative impacts in areas with a large number of immigrant population coupled with unfavorable consequences for native workers (Smith and Edmonton, 1997)The illegal immigrant population in America was estimated to be at 10 million in 2009. While it is generally accepted that illegal immigration contributes both positively and negatively to the United States as a country, Most economic experts claim that the American economy is better off as a result of illegal immigration and the impact of roughly 11 million illegal citizen is insignificant. But the American citizen themselves are of the view that illegal immigrants take more in terms of government services than what they contribute yet evidence from factual studies indicate that the American economy actually benefits from investments and consumption by illegal immigrants. “Eighty-five percent of eminent economists surveyed have concluded that illegal immigrants have had a positive (seventy-four percent) or neutral (eleven percent) impact on the U.S. economy." (Simon, 1995).
A substantial percentage of these illegal immigrants do actually hold meaningful and legal jobs with 33% employed in the service industry, 3% holding jobs in the agricultural sector, 16% holding jobs in the construction and related sectors while 17% work in production, installation and repair sectors. (Khan, 2005) In America, it is widely held that with respect to illegal immigration, there is a net negative impact on government expenditure with federal funds being unnecessarily spent on issues arising due to illegal immigration and that this expenditure is continually on the rise on account of increasing cases of illegal immigration. To compound the matter even more, it is also still a widely held idea that federal funds spent on recent immigrants are more than those spent on natives. Both these assertions are false. (Simon, 1995).
An analysis of data from census and administrative records by Rebecca Clark indicate that in 1992, federal funds considered to be welfare that was spent annually per person in America was $404 for immigrants and $260 for natives. This was seen to be an insignificant figure in comparison to the amount of $3800 for natives which was the total government social outlay factored in to the American federal budget and recognized as a full term cost in that year. (Clark, 1994)
It therefore does not seem illogical to say that in real sense, illegal immigration is beneficial to the American economy. “The illegal immigrant population represents a formidable consumer base and is a source of relatively cheap but labor. The total goods and services they consume plus all they produce for their employers is about $800 billion. They're also producing at relatively lower costs because they typically get about 20% less in wages.” (Hinojosa, 2005). As far as these forgoing details are concerned, illegal immigration is seen to have a net positive impact in America.