America has ever been branded as “a country of immigrants”, and this problem has been compounded further by globalization, which makes terrorism and migration easier (Tim Kane and Kirk A. Johnson). There are various impacts of immigrants in US on both economy and other development parameters.
Percentage Number of Immigrants in the USA
Throughout the American history, it is clear that immigration has played a key role in the vitality of the country’s economy as well as enrichment of culture and demographic dynamism. On an economic perspective, immigrants are job creators, consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs, (CAP Immigration Team). Many pundits, however, argue that immigration system in the US is broken and needs an overall overhaul. They argue further that although the borders of the country are much secure now, there is need to enact laws to provide mechanism for citizenship for many immigrants living in the country and level playing ground for all the Americans.
Latest statistics on the number of immigrants in the country shows a substantial number of immigrants in the country. There has been a general rise in the number of immigrants in the US since 2000-2012. During this span of time, the foreign population grew in the country from 31.1- 40.8 million people and this translates to 31.2% increase in number of immigrants.
Although there has been a steady rise in the number of immigrants in the US, the percentages are yet to hit a record high of 14.8% recorded in the country in 1890. In 1960, the population of foreign immigrants was 5.4% of the entire population in the country. This has since risen and the new numbers recorded in 2012 shows that the number of immigrants in the country constitutes 13% of the entire population of the country. The composition of the immigrants can be broken further. The 40.8 million immigrants consist of 18.6 million naturalized US citizens, and these are the foreign population born in the country. The remaining percentage constituted of 1.9 million of immigrants on temporary visas, 11.3 million unauthorized migrants and 13.3 legal permanent residents.
Impact of the Immigrants in the USA
There are many views that have been put forth regarding the impact that immigrants have on the economy of the country. However, many economists argue that immigrants have more benefits to the country than its negative effects. Although there are some negative impacts of the immigrants in the country’s economy, for instance states and localities spend more in educating them, the cumulative benefits outweigh the negative impacts.
The large number immigrants that are naturalized as citizens owing to their birth, drains a lot of money from the states and localities who have to educate them (Amuedo-Dorantes and Sparber). In addition, many of the illegal immigrants and those who posses temporary visas make use of the educational facilities and these drain a lot from the economy. The ruling of the supreme court of the US, in 1982, in case, Plyler v. Doe, ruled out that the undocumented immigrant children have a right to access to education in the US public schools.
Some of these immigrants go back to their countries of origin after their education and this represents a brain drain for the country. Not only do immigrants come as mature people, there are many Mexican children, who illegally cross the border into the country. The immigrants who are not born in the country do not speak fluent English and this adds more cost to their education.
The impact of immigrants on the economy and education is more compelling on individuals who are educated and possess skills in the fields of Information Technology, Science and Engineering. If such individuals are allowed to work in the country, the likelihood of outsourcing such jobs is eliminated and the same individuals are retained and hired, pay taxes and thus adds to the economy.
Impact on Healthcare Provision
Unauthorized immigrants have a great impact on the healthcare in the US. Most of these illegal immigrants access healthcare yet no one will pay for them in form of insurance and other forms of tax. This forms a great burden to the federal government since these costs will then be absorbed by the healthcare institutions and the government. The rates of “uninsurance” in the country drive costs of healthcare (‘Elderly Immigrants: Emerging Challenge for the U.S. Healthcare System’).
Most of the cases that create a major challenge include pregnancy and the elderly immigrants. These groups of immigrants create a big challenge in terms of costs that such hospitals, healthcare institutions and public entities have to shoulder. The costs of treating and nursing the elderly immigrants are high since most of them do not have any form of repaying for the services. Similarly, maternity and delivery services are more expensive and costly to such institutions. These cause a major cause of concern to the economy of the country. The undocumented immigrants have the right to use emergency services since hospitals are mandated to provide these services regardless of the ability to pay or immigration status (Wolbert). The users of such services include mothers who want to deliver. The long-term impact of the costs of the healthcare services to the state, undocumented by immigrants, has been estimated to be in the regions of $6-$10 billion per year.
The international convention that seeks to protect the rights of the migrants and the universal declaration on human rights, advocates for the rights of the migrants to adequate and good housing, social housing schemes and against exploitation in payment of rents. Although the immigrants have a lower homeownership rates compared to the natives, these rates have improved drastically from 1990’s onwards. The immigrants live in less adequate houses than the native in the US does.
Although homeownership and adequacy is low among the immigrants in the US, recent studies show that the immigrants have had positive impact on the growth of the housing sector in the country. For instance, (Poppe), did extensive research on the home ownership among the immigrants in the US and the results revealed that although the immigrants have poor house adequacy, especially those who live in rural areas, there has been an increase in the demand for housing due to influx of immigrants to the US.
Language of Accommodation
Most of the immigrants that move to the US are from Mexico and neighboring Central American Countries. Most of the immigrants have poor English language skills. The naturalized immigrants have better language skills and speak fluent English. The fact that most of the immigrants have poor English language skills tends to impact negatively on their chances of getting employment and their children accessing education since the language of instruction in public schools is English.
Most of the immigrants are in the US illegally and many are from Mexico. Most of them have difficulties getting necessary licenses to like natives. Even those who were born in the country, especially those who studied disciplines related to medicine, have found difficulties accessing the necessary licenses in order to operate as doctors and nurses and most of them are left operating cabs instead of practicing.
However, many studies have revealed that most immigrants are less likely to commit offences compared to Native Americans. Most of the criminal offences are perpetrated by the natives, who are more likely to be incarcerated than the immigrants are (Das).
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