Should the United States Grant amnesty to immigrants who came here illegally? By: Chris Myers Should the U. S. grant amnesty to immigrants who came here illegally? The answer to this question is yes, they should. What’s wrong with granting amnesty to hard-working, tax-paying individuals whose only crime is their immigration status? Amnesty is not only the best solution to our immigration problem, it is the only feasible solution. Here are some reasons to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants now. Immigration is good for the economy.
Despite all the fuss about immigrants stealing jobs, immigration actually provides a benefit to the economy, whether those immigrants crossed the border legally or not. Why you ask? Because of what economists call the specialization of labor. As Jonathan Hoenig, proprietor of the Capitalist Pig blog, explains: “The fact that foreigners are eager to pick crops, clean houses, bus tables and produce allows more of us to afford cheaper food and better services, affording us even more wealth to enjoy and invest.
It’s not the immigrants, but the taxes, spending and entitlements (most of which immigrants don’t even receive) that have drained the economy dry. ” Another reason is the immigrants already pay taxes. One of President Obama’s markers on the path to citizenship is “paying taxes,” but most illegal immigrants already do so. As Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia has reported, in 2006 an estimated 8 million illegal immigrants (up to two thirds of the total population) paid taxes, including both income taxes and Medicare and Social Security taxes.
Indeed, revenue from illegal immigrants is estimated at $11 billion a year to Social Security alone, and there’s not even a pretense of those payments leading to eventual benefits. And of course everyone who buys things in the U. S. pays sales taxes, irrespective of their immigration status. Undoubtedly, even more illegal immigrants would pay taxes if they didn’t have to worry about possible deportation as a consequence. One more would be that immigrants are otherwise law-abiding citizens. While llegal immigration is a crime, the act of crossing the border without authorization is a mere misdemeanor. Immigrants, in fact, may help drive crime down. The vast majority want to stay in the country in order to work, so they naturally steer clear of breaking any laws. And as The Future of Freedom Foundation’s Sheldon Richman pointed out a few years ago, all manners of violent crimes dropped dramatically since 1986, the last time an amnesty was granted to illegal immigrants. Yes, 14 percent of federal inmates are illegal immigrants, but they are largely there for immigration violations.
On the state level, Richman notes, less than 5 percent of inmates are illegal immigrants. Not exactly the makings of a crime wave. An important one would be that immigration is a natural right. Judge Andrew Napolitano explained that immigration is a natural right. What does that mean? A natural right is a right inherent to our humanity, and the freedom of movement is such a right. The idea that immigration needs to be “authorized” by the government flies in the face of that freedom.
Immigrants who come to America seeking the opportunity to work and pursue happiness, or those brought here at too young an age to have any say in the matter, ought to be able to stay to pursue those opportunities. Conversely, employers ought to be able to enter into contracts with any would-be employees they please. The government doesn’t own the country and political borders are just lines on maps. Treating law-abiding people like criminals simply because they didn’t meet the bureaucratic requirements of migration violates their natural right to travel and Americans’ natural right to freely associate and make contracts.
And last but certainly not least is that there are simply too many immigrants here already to do anything about it. According to the latest estimates, there are about 11 million illegal immigrants in America. That’s a lot of people. It would be exceedingly difficult to deport them all—if not totally impossible. Indeed, even attempting to do so would require a massive expansion of government bureaucracy, particularly in the form of new government workers to round up illegal immigrants, process them, and deport them.
The inhumanity of this approach goes without saying: Individuals would be ripped away from their families and communities. And there would also be dire economic consequences from removing millions of hard-working residents from the domestic labor pool. It’s time to face the facts: The millions of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States are overwhelmingly law-abiding, tax-paying, and hard-working. Grant them amnesty and let them continue to make America a better place.
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