Understanding the Border “Crisis”

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Understanding the Border “Crisis”

Madison Reyes, Writer

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Immigration has become a major topic of discussion among both the politicians and the citizens of the United States. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of immigrants entering our country increased by 9 percent, and is still increasing to this day. However, illegal immigration raises this rate, while also posing potential problems, such as infrastructure issues, in the United States.

“Illegal immigration creates huge economic burdens,” Jan C. Ting, Professor of Law at Temple University said. “These burdens have been put on our health care system, our education system, our criminal justice system, our environment, our infrastructure and our public safety.”

Immigration hasn’t always been a bipartisan issue in our country. Legal immigration has been very beneficial to the country in many cases. The United States has historically been fairly receptive to new ideas and new cultures, which makes our country very unique. James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, once said, “America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.”

However, according to the Pew Research Center and the Center of Migration Studies, the illegal immigration population has increased rapidly in the past two decades. In the 1990s, the number of unauthorized immigrants was approximately 3.5 million. As of 2018, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States was around 10.7 million, which is only an estimate of the actual number. The illegal immigrants make up almost 3.7% of the United States population. Some of these illegal immigrants are deported back to their country, but others cross the border and stay in the United States.     

“In recent years our nation has seen a sizable influx in illegal immigration,” former U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL) said. “At best, illegal immigration highlights some alarming inadequacies and at worst indicates a broken system.”

Although these immigrants have entered the country illegally, they are given the benefits of a legal U.S. citizen, such as health care, without having to pay for it. These benefits are largely funded by federal taxpayers; according to a Forbes report, health care for 3.9 million illegal immigrants costs American taxpayers $18.5 billion annually. Of that total, $11.2 billion in federal taxes went to subsidizing care for illegal immigrants in 2016.

“The economic impact of illegal immigration on taxpayers is catastrophic,” Congressman Ric Keller (R-FL) said.

There are many arguments concerning illegal immigration. The main argument centers around  both border security and how the United States should defend its borders.

“The border is way more porous than it should be,” Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said. “I think we’d be open to discussing anything that enhances border security.”

There are many differing opinions among politicians regarding the border. The Republican and Democratic Parties are the main voices of these opinions. Many in the Democratic Party believe that our borders are fine as they are, and that we don’t need to reinforce the border with a wall or any more security than there already is.

“The Border is safe; it’s secure. El Paso is the safest city in America,” former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) said. “Let’s own that. Let’s be proud of that. And then, I think, good policy can follow from that, better outcomes included.”

The Republican Party is on the complete opposite side of this argument. They believe that the border needs more security than there is currently, such as a wall.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support outside of Washington,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said. “We need to finally secure our borders, enforce our laws and stop the problem of illegal immigration.”

Throughout our country’s history, legal immigration has benefited the United States in many ways. Our country can continue to benefit from legal immigration as it has done for many centuries. Statistics show that illegal immigration has a negative effect on both the immigrant and the nation. Discussions about illegal immigration should continue across both party lines in order find the true solution for the situation.