Illegal immigration doesn’t hurt the nation

October 17, 2009 — by Girish Swaminath

Statistics from the Department of Immigration show that more than 22 million illegal immigrants have recently found a new life in the United States. Every day, this number goes up as people unlawfully cross the border from Mexico. However, despite the current financial crisis, government officials must provide illegal immigrants with basic necessities, since they are contributors to the prosperity of the economy.

Illegal immigrants are already eligible for emergency health care, as a result of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act enacted in 1986 under the Reagan administration. Nevertheless, they are not receiving adequate coverage and are often discriminated against due to their financial situations. This status quo needs change, so that these immigrants receive further options for their medical attention under President Obama’s proposed healthcare plan.

Not only is it humane to do so, but also, doing so is the wisest economic investment. These immigrants are willing to pursue careers that no legal resident would even consider doing, even if they were paid a hefty sum. This is quite contrary to the trite that “illegal immigrants are stealing jobs from hard working Americans,” because, by seeking jobs that do not have much demand, they open up high-tech jobs for citizens.

Almost all industries and markets need these immigrants to do such jobs: positions in the janitorial, transportational and agricultural industries. These positions of employment are only few of the tasks that illegal aliens are willing to take. Without the government taking into consideration the health-related needs and options of these millions of immigrants, the economy would not be as strong, as labor is a key factor for the production of goods in the economy.

Similarly, illegal immigrants, who may not be as proficient in the English language as citizens of the United States are, must be given an opportunity to pursue a well-rounded education. Although they may have broken laws to become residents of the United States, they still consist of 38 million of the 300 million Americans who inhabit this land. Offering them better educational options would nurture and lay the basic foundation for strong future leadership in this nation, for such people who, after acquiring citizenship, would work in areas such as politics, science and technology.

No longer would citizens’ concerns about the future of America as a result of illegal immigrants’ dearth of the English language apply, if such educational programs were established for them. There are a multitude of citizens who commit crime and remain unpunished and it would only be xenophobic to specifically target illegal immigrants, as opposed to simply addressing law-breakers in general.

Examples of such people include Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, according to various sources, was an illegal immigrant during the 70’s, because he accepted salaries against the terms of his B-1 visa. Overall, illegal immigrants, regardless of whether they end up as the Terminator or find that their ancestors broke the law to seek a new life in the United States, must receive a multifaceted education, in order to achieve economic equity and create a more productive society.

This education provides incentive for immigrants to work hard for the betterment and prosperity of the nation. In addition, America has a reputation of being “a melting pot” and must consequently welcome people of all ethnicities and nationalities to become contributors to this economic and global hegemony. Breaking immigration laws is a primary concern only if the individual immigrant does not make a significant contribution to the economy in the form of labor.

Moreover, immigrants often come to the United States to escape persecution or other issues occurring in their home country. They view America as a land of promise and freedom and desire to seek refuge in such a great land. However, the federal government can only provide the world with a false and impermanent illusion of its diversity and open-mindedness if it limits the opportunities offered to illegal immigrants. America would defy its basic Constitutional principle—that the government is designed to protect the people’s rights to a good quality life, liberty, property and a pursuit of happiness.