The Top 5 Biggest Issues with Immigration Reform

by Derek Whitney

There are several important issues to consider when pondering immigration reform.

Many Illegal aliens come to the United States for better jobs, and they are hired by employers who pay them low wages. Other employers accept fake documents and hire illegal workers as if they were legal. If the hiring of illegal aliens is widespread in a given employment field, the willingness of workers to accept lower wages causes lower wages for all workers in that occupation.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the number of illegal aliens in the workforce at 8 million out of 11.2 million illegal aliens, or 71.4 percent. The Federation for American Immigration Reform's estimate of the illegal alien population is slightly higher than that, at 11.9 million. FAIR estimates there are 8.5 million illegal aliens in the workforce.

Social Security

Granting amnesty to illegal aliens would cause huge burdens on American taxpayers as they become eligible for health care and welfare benefits. It would also be costly to current and future workers by straining the Social Security system.

Less than half of illegal aliens have legal jobs and contribute to the Social Security. Most of those use false, stolen, or invalid Social Security numbers. If granted amnesty, they would receive Social Security numbers and become eligible for retirement benefits.

Amnesty would make it possible for the estimated 8 million illegal aliens in the labor force to receive Social Security retirement benefits, and it would allow millions more not yet in the labor force to qualify for benefits.

Medical care

Forty-three percent of aliens under 65 have no health insurance. That means the cost of the medical care is borne by the taxpayer, and strains the financial solidity of America’s health care system.

One problem is the use of hospital and emergency rooms rather than practicing preventative care. Illegal aliens use hospitals and clinics (29 percent) more than twice the often as the overall U.S. population (11 percent).

Another cost to taxpayers is delivery of babies to illegal alien mothers. A California study put the number of these deliveries in the state in 1994 at 74,987, at a cost of $215 million. At that time, those births constituted 36 percent of all Medi-Cal births, and they have grown now to substantially more than half the annual Medi-Cal budget.

Local costs

FAIR estimates the local annual costs of illegal aliens in three program areas - education, medical services, and incarceration - at about $36 billion. If all of the current illegal aliens are allowed to stay and bring their families to join them, the costs will grow. The cost of these programs in 2010 was nearly $61.5billion. The amount would grow to $106.3 billion by 2020.

Criminal aliens

Illegal aliens who commit crimes are a drain on criminal justice resources. In 1980, federal and state prisons had fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens. Today, they account for more than one-fourth of all prisoners in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. There are about 297,000 criminal aliens in state and local prisons. That number represents about 16.4 percent of the state and local prison population compared to the 12.9 percent of illegal aliens in the total population.

The estimated cost of jailing criminal aliens in federal prison is estimated at $1.5 to $1.6 billion per year. That cost includes expenses in the federal prison system and the amount of money paid to state and local detention facilities in the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. It does not include the costs at the state and local level, or the cost of policing and the court system.

This post was provided by Shulman Law Group, an immigration attorney located in northern New Jersey.

About The Author

Derek Whitney is a blogger for Shulman Law Group, an immigration firm located in northern New Jersey. Their practice focuses mainly on deportation and removal defense.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.