At this time, the United States has allowed more immigrants to enter the country than at any time in its history. Over a million legal and illegal immigrants take up residence in the United States each year. Immigration at its current magnitude is not fulfilling the interests or demands of this country. With the country struggling to support the huge intake of new comers, life in America has been suffering tremendously. The excessive stress put upon the welfare system, overuse of the family reunification laws, and the exploitation of employment based immigration in the computer industry are reasons for immigration reform.
The United States welfare system has difficulties supporting the huge numbers of immigrants coming into the country each year. A majority of the immigrants are from poor countries and come to the U.S. looking for work. A research organization called Urban Institute revealed that immigrants use more welfare and earn lower incomes than natives, which results in immigrants paying less taxes. The Urban Institute is a non-profit organization that investigates the social and economic problems of this country. Statistics from a Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) newsletter shows, ". . . the share of immigrant households below the poverty line (29 percent) is much higher than the share of native households that are poor (14 percent)--more than twice as high." Due to the large numbers of poverty stricken immigrants, they are more likely to take part in means-tested programs such as AFDC.
Family reunification laws generally do not serve the purpose implied by their name. These laws create a problem that researchers call chain migration. According to the FAIR organization, "because of chain migration--one immigrant sponsors several family members as immigrants, who then sponsor several others themselves, and so on. Since chain migration began in the mid 1960s, annual immigration has tripled." Many sponsors have not met those they have helped, or much less have the desire to be reunited with them. The laws are often used to further economic goals rather than joining families. People migrate to the United States with pipe dreams of financial securities. The high rates of family sponsored immigration from poor countries such as China and the Philippines rival those of richer countries such as Japan.
Immigration reform not only has a strong following but an equally large opposition as well. The opposition argues that immigrants create job and do not take jobs from U.S. citizens. Several studies demonstrate that there is a positive relationship between states who admit immigrants and employment. One study found between 1970-1980 Mexican immigration to Los Angeles County was responsible for 78,000 new jobs. They claim that the U.S. work force, especially the computer industry, will suffer from the withdrawl of highly skilled workers. The current unemployment rates are blamed on the relocation of multinational companies overseas to countries like Ireland and India.
Many big computer companies claim that employment based immigration is vital for the survival of our economy. They feed upon the myth that the U.S. computer industry depends on immigrants for its technological edge. In reality, a majority of advances in the computer field have been made by the U.S. For example:
...of the 56 awards given for American industrial advances in software and hardware by the Association for Computing Machinery, only one recipient has been an immigrant. Similarly, of 115 computer-related awards given to U.S. engineers by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, only nine recipents have been immmigrants.
Employers state that they need to go search other countries to find new talent but the statistics show that their interest lies in finding bargain priced labor. UCLA professor Paul Ong performed a statistical analysis in 1990 which determined that the average salaries for foreign born computer professionals were almost $7,000 lower than American born workers of the level of education.
Immigration is not to blame for the all the country's problems but they are increasing the effects and making them harder to solve. At the present time the numbers are too high, creating difficulties for natives and immigrants a like. With logical policies and better planned numbers, immigration is a good thing. Policy improvements will help this country regain control of its borders and better provide for the people. Modest reductions in our immigration policies are both are fair and ethical. Too much of a good thing does more harm than good.
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