Illegal Immigrants: Amnesty Essay

1235 words - 5 pages

The United States is known to have one of the most accepting immigration in the world. It has contributed to the country's population growth as well as social change. However, the policy remains to be a controversy because of the topic that is illegal immigration. According to the Department of Homeland security in 2010, there are 10.8 million illegal immigrants residing among the 300+ million Americans. Since then, the number has grown to 11+ million people. The U.S. Congress has always sought to find the solution for illegal immigration, with amnesty being an option. If enacted, an amnesty will give unauthorized immigrants a path to legalization and eventually citizenship. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) is a prime instance of amnesty, with some 2.7 million people gaining legal status during the Reagan office. With the immigration policy being contested in Congress, a solution to illegal immigration via amnesty should be considered as it may benefit the country's labor force and economy, control the influx of immigrants in the country, and provide the opportunity for the currently illegal immigrants to become productive members of America.
By enacting an amnesty act, it may give a boost to the dwindling labor force in this country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate (LFPR) is at 63 percent as of November; the lowest level since 1978. Since 2000, the rate has been declining as the baby boomer generation retires. The pattern will continue as the labor force rate will drop another percentage to 62 percent within seven years. By passing an amnesty bill to provide legal status for the 11 million undocumented people, it will surely offset the loss of participation in the work force. For example, the same Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that from 1986 (the year IRCA was enacted by Congress) to 2000, the LFPR rose from 64.9 percent to 67.3% percent. A different Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that the annual unemployment rate from 1986-2000 significantly fell from seven percent to four percent. These data support the positive effects the IRCA had in the U.S. labor force after it was implemented.
Next, a study by Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda states that using a comprehensive immigration plan that involves giving current undocumented immigrants legal status would benefit the country with 1.5 trillion dollars in additional GDP growth over 10 years while increasing wages for all workers. Additionally, tax revenue would be increased by 4.5+ billion dollars over three years. The same study shows the cost of mass deportation, which is 2.6 trillion dollars in lost GDP over 10 years while increased wages for less-skilled workers. These undocumented immigrants certainly have a heavy influence regarding the economy, and it may be beneficial to incorporate them by granting amnesty as opposed to other solutions such as mass deportation. With legal status, the 11 million undocumented...

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