The US was historically the country of immigrants for this country was always the desirable destination for millions of immigrants from all over the world. Today, the US is still a target country for millions of immigrants from different parts of the world, but the contemporary immigration raises a number of important socioeconomic issues in the US, which provoke heat public debates concerning the immigration reform and changes of current immigration policies. As the matter of fact, immigration is a highly controversial issue in the contemporary US because, on the one hand, immigration is necessary to maintain balance in the labor force market of the US, whereas, on the other hand, immigration, especially illegal one, raises such serious social and economic problems as high crime rates, growing state expenditures on health care services and education.
First of all, it is important to understand that immigration is essential for the US today. In fact, the US population is aging and the fertility rate and birth rate remain relatively high mainly due to the immigrant population because the fertility and birth rates are highest among the immigrant population. In addition, immigrants moving to the US are economically active population, i.e. they are able to work and often they move to the US in search of better job opportunities. As a result, the growth of the immigrant population prevents the US population from aging.
In this regard, immigration has a positive impact on the socioeconomic development of the US because it extends the labor force market and creates conditions for the ongoing economic growth in the US. Hence, many specialists (Cooper, 2008) stress that the immigration policy should focus on the stimulation of immigration to the US, but immigration should be regulated. The regulation of immigration is justified by several factors.
First, the lack of regulation and control over immigration raises the problem of illegal immigration. The illegal immigration evokes a number of socioeconomic problems, including unemployment, growing crime rates, increasing state expenses on health care services and education. Illegal immigrants increase the competition in the labor force market that deprives local employees from the possibility of employment (Jeffrey, 2005). As a rule, illegal immigrants receive wages lower than local employees. Consequently, employers are motivated to employ illegal immigrants instead of local employees. Naturally, in the time of the economic recession the negative impact of illegal immigration on the labor force market in the US raises a strong opposition and demands of the immigration reform being implemented. Many specialists (Sandoval and Tambini, 2004) offer to restrict immigration consistently to prevent illegal immigration and, thus, tackle aforementioned problems related to illegal immigration.
On the other hand, it is not only illegal immigration that raises a number of socioeconomic problems. In fact, legal immigration also provokes a number of problems which are similar to those traditionally associated with illegal immigration (Bacon, 2005). At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that immigrant move to the US in search of better job opportunities and higher living standards. This means that they cannot afford health insurance as well as higher education for their children. As a result, the pressure on state budget increases because immigrant population still needs education and health care services. Local budgets as well as federal budget have to increase funding of the public education and develop health care services for the population which cannot afford insurance.
Thus, immigration has a dubious effect on the US. Immigration is essential to maintain balance in the labor force market. However, immigration provokes such problems as increasing state budget expenses on education, health care services, growing crime rates and other socioeconomic problems.
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