Immigrants Employment in the US

1060 words | 4 page(s)

When examining the criminal justice issue of illegal immigration in the United States, there are a wide range of costs and benefits to consider. There are some ways in which illegal immigrants contribute to the government, especially if they obtain employment, but there are also costs associated with illegal immigration, including both fiscal and social costs. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the nuances of this complex issue when discussing potential problems and possible solutions.

A common way for an illegal immigrant to ‘legally’ work in the United States is to obtain a fraudulent Social Security card. With this false document, an illegal immigrant has the opportunity to make money so that they can support themselves and their families in the United States. While some people condemn this practice as an unfair manipulation of the system, it is important to consider the money that the illegal immigrant pays into the government. When an illegal immigrant works under a false Social Security card, a portion of their regular paycheck is paid into the Social Security system, just as it is for any American worker. While most American workers will reap the benefits of this system after they retire, the illegal immigrant will never see the money again. The amount paid into Social Security by a single illegal immigrant may not seem significant, but it can add up, especially if the immigrant works under a fraudulent Social Security card for many years. Moreover, considering the fact that the Social Security Trust is quickly becoming depleted, regular contributions by millions of illegal immigrants who never draw out of the system can start to make a substantial impact.

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However, illegal immigrants also place a burden on the already-stressed US healthcare system. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and only a small proportion of illegal immigrants obtain insurance coverage through their employers (Castaneda, 2016). As a result, the majority of illegal immigrants in the United States go without health insurance at all (Castaneda, 2016). Nevertheless, under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), healthcare providers must stabilize and treat any person who comes to the emergency room, regardless of whether they have insurance or are able to pay the bill (American College of Emergency Physicians, 2016). As a result, much of the emergency care that illegal immigrants receive goes uncompensated.

Moreover, because illegal immigrants lack health insurance coverage for basic services, they are much less likely than the average American to get preventive care or maintenance care for ongoing conditions. As a result, a health condition that could initially have been prevented or treated in a primary care setting may have escalated to an emergency by the time the illegal immigrant seeks care. By that point, the necessary care is much more expensive, so some illegal immigrants can end up placing excessive strain on the healthcare system, even if they do not get care very often.

Recently, the idea of ‘sanctuary cities’ has become one of the most hotly debated topics related to illegal immigration. There is no clear, legal definition of the term ‘sanctuary city,’ but it can be applied broadly to any city or jurisdiction that has implemented policies that limit the cooperation of city employees with federal immigration enforcement agencies (Kopan, 2017). Essentially, this means that sanctuary cities refuse to help ICE enforce immigration laws within their limits. Right now, there are about three hundred sanctuary cities, and they present both fiscal and social costs.

One of the most important economic challenges faced by sanctuary cities is a loss of federal funding. In January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ‘strip federal grant money from the states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants’ (Spicer, qtd. in Kopan, 2017). Although this order has been blocked by a federal judge, it forces sanctuary cities to consider the looming loss of public safety funding that police departments need to protect the community. Moreover, when the city of Chicago sued the Trump administration over the executive order, it incurred legal fees that had to be drawn from the city budget.

Similarly, in June 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. Among other things, this bill would provide a legal basis for the denial of federal grant moneys to cities that limit cooperation with ICE (Clark, 2017). Although the bill has not yet been taken up by the Senate, it could present a significant threat to the budgets for law enforcement in many cities. This loss of funding could place communities at risk as the regular activities of law enforcement are limited.

Even without the federal funding cuts, sanctuary cities can also have social costs. Some community members may feel less safe, knowing that local law enforcement officers are not willing to cooperate with ICE officials when dealing with potentially dangerous illegal immigrants. At the same time, there may also be social benefits to sanctuary cities. In many cities, local law enforcement officers are already overburdened as they try to meet community needs, without having the added responsibility of enforcing federal immigration laws. Also, in sanctuary cities, illegal immigrants may be more likely to call the police in unsafe situations because they will not fear that it will result in their deportation. This has the social benefit of promoting community safety.

In conclusion, there are both costs and benefits to illegal immigration. Both the immigrant and the government profit, but there are costs for both parties as well. Similarly, sanctuary cities prevent a combination of costs and benefits. These considerations make illegal immigration an increasingly challenging problem for criminal justice professionals to confront in the United States today.

  • Carter, B. (2017). Federal judge blocks Trump from denying funds to sanctuary cities. The Hill. Retrieved from http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/350937-federal-judge-blocks-trump-from-defunding-sanctuary-cities
  • Castaneda, R. (2016). Where can undocumented immigrants go for health care? US News and World Report. Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2016-11-02/where-can-undocumented-immigrants-go-for-health-care
  • Clark, D. (2017). House passes ‘Kate’s Law,’ votes to defund sanctuary cities. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/house-immigration-crackdown-n778141
  • Clark, D. (2017). House passes ‘Kate’s Law,’ votes to defund sanctuary cities. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/house-immigration-crackdown-n778141
  • Kopan, T. (2017). What are sanctuary cities, and can they be defunded? CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/25/politics/sanctuary-cities-explained/index.html

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