Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

I don't know much about illegal immigration. Why are some people so upset about it?

Asked by Blackberry (30974points) August 23rd, 2012

Some people are pretty fervent about people from Mexico coming to the United States illegally. Some of these people don’t seem to mention any other people except people from Mexico (or people from below the U.S., it seems) as well.

What are the major problems with illegal immigration? I’m trying to understand why these people are so upset.

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41 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Taking jobs and getting involved with the entitlement programs here.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

If somebody is here illegally, they can be paid for jobs at below market rates, and you can have them in completely crappy work conditions.

This drives down what everybody gets paid, and encourages employers to work these people to death. If you complain about working conditions, the employer can lay you off and hire an illegal for half the cost, and no concerns about safety. In addition, you can do whatever the heck you want as an employer. Illegally dumping hazardous material? Who is going to rat you out? An illegal immigrant?

CWOTUS's avatar

1. It indicates that we don’t have control of our own national borders. It’s one thing to have poor people cross the border undetected to take low-wage jobs. It’s quite another thing when those aren’t just “poor people” but people with guns and an agenda to do harm.

2. Once people are in the country then we tend to treat them in the default ways that we would treat anyone. For example, accident victims are taken to Emergency Rooms at hospitals and treated without regard to whether they have insurance, can pay, or will pay. Children are sent to elementary and secondary schools and educated without regard to who is paying for the education. (Since the parents are here illegally, then it is highly unlikely that they are property owners or taxpayers.)

3. The illegality of employment skews the entire labor market in the area where it occurs. Low-wage illegals tend to drive down wages for others, since the lowest-wage jobs are now taken, generally at less-than-legal wages (since the employers are also complicit in the criminal enterprise), and now there’s a larger pool of ‘legal’ workers competing for fewer jobs.

4. All kinds of industries are affected, including insurance (illegals who drive are probably not insured, so having an accident with one means that your insurance has to cover all of your costs, even if you were not at fault.

5. The practice breeds a general disrespect for law and order, or a too-heavy response in the opposite direction, as witnessed by Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his over-the-top response.

6. People who would otherwise be willing to follow the rules, apply for entry and wait for approval, green cards, etc., may be less and less willing to wait and follow rules. The whole thing becomes a vicious cycle of criminal behavior.

For the record, I believe in much more open borders, and much more open (and legal) opportunity for employment. But it should be done in the framework of legality, and those who are working for wages in this country should be paying taxes like the rest of us. Most illegals are not.

wundayatta's avatar

They are ignorant. People think immigrants take jobs. In fact, they create jobs. We educate most of the elite in the rest of the world, but instead of using their talents here, we make it impossible for them to stay in the country, and they go back and start businesses that are job generators in India and China and Thailand and so on.

In times when we were more open, immigrants stayed here and those became boom times. In times when we are doing badly, we cast about for scapegoats, and immigrants are it. It is “common sense,” isn’t it? And of course, that’s how we make most policy decisions, even democrats (although Republicans do it more). If we actually analyzed the situation, we’d find that immigrants grow the economy and create jobs. Their creativity is crucial to us.

Instead we do everything in our power to keep them out and the only ones who get in are the ones with no education. These are willing to do jobs Americans won’t do. So Republicans don’t really mind if they are here, although they make a fuss about it. The fuss is designed to drive the wages of cheap workers down even further.

The bottom line is that immigration is good for us, but that doesn’t make common sense, so people believe what they want, instead of what is true.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

1) they took our jerbs
2) They are “invading” communities and suburbs with their illegal ways and refusing to conform to the American culture.

For the record, I don’t buy into any of the above and I disagree with constricting ourselves from our fellow humans. Plus Mexicans are awesome.

josie's avatar

Because they put downward pressure on wages, and take government benefits they do not pay for.
HAVING SAID THAT, what the hell does anybody expect them to do?! In most cases, they live in crushing poverty in Mexico, a corrupt democracy on a good day, and can not find work to feed themselves or their families. They see the opportunity to work, and it is just across a shallow river. What would you do? I know what I would do in the same circumstance. I would sneak across the river.
The solution to the “problem” is that it should be ridiculously easy for them to come over legally, and, if they choose, begin becoming citizens. And the ones that are here should be given the opportunity to become legal with a simple affidavit. Look around you. Look on many housing construction sites. Some of the people you see are not here legally. But they work their asses off. So why not make it easy for them to be taxpayers and eventually citizens. I do not get it.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@wundayatta That response seems to be ignoring the topic, which is illegal immigration. Legal immigration does create jobs, and is wonderful.

In times when we were more open, these people would not be illegal.

If these jobs, that you imply Americans would not do, actually had to conform to legal labor laws and minimum wage standards, Americans would do them.

Illegal immigration is awful. I find myself in rare agreement with @josie. It should be ridiculously easy to become legal.

Linda_Owl's avatar

When I was still working (before I retired) I got to know several illegal Mexican immigrants & all of them were very hard-working & dependable. Considering the company for which we worked, they had to be – or they would have been out of a job. I got to know several of them quite well. I never asked them how they had managed to secure the documentation that allowed them to get the jobs that they had – I was simply a friend who was willing to stand up for them if the need arose. I agree with @josie , it should be made much more simple to become a legal resident, with the right to work & to pay taxes. I think it is fear of the unknown that is the biggest hurtle that the illegal immigrants face – people of the United States are scared of/for the economy & they are looking for a scapegoat & people of color are a convenient target.

Nullo's avatar

Different people have different reasons. My main gripe is that they are here illegally.

A related gripe is that the Left uses the issue to buy votes, either indirectly from people who don’t care about the legality, or directly with amnesty. “Hey, Party A just made you a voting citizen! Who ya gonna vote for?” Not that eeeevil guy who is a Mexican-hating racist because he wants you deported, right? You should vote for our guy, ‘cos he’s your friend!”

And then there are the pettier issues of conformity. It’s hard to have a population that refuses to integrate or communicate with anybody else, who have different ideas about important things like public health and sanitation and littering. When you have people who don’t believe that you can safely flush toilet paper, you end up with piles of used toilet paper in the bathrooms. When you have people who don’t care about littering, you end up with streets full of garbage go see Tijuana sometime, you’ll see my point. When you have people people who don’t want to integrate, you have split communities and animosity builds up in the divide. You end up with bunches of people who see themselves retaking the California “stolen” by the U.S.
I like Mexicans. I don’t like violations of social norms.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Nullo seriously. How did you make something even Josie and I agree about a left/right thing?

Nullo's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Super-Cynicism.
This is very much a political issue, and all political issues get capitalized on by the various parties. The Right isn’t going to favor illegal immigration, nor grant amnesty to its practicants, is it? Does that seem like something that they’d go for?
I don’t trust most politicians, nor suspect them of pure motives – their primary concern is re-election. I ask myself, ‘What political motivation would the Left have for granting amnesty to millions of people that are here illegally?’ and I respond, “To stay in power.” “How?” “By stacking the deck with grateful people.”

It’s not exactly a new practice: once in office, a politician must repay his supporters with political favors or not get that support next time. The Right favors corporations. The Left favors social groups.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Nullo I respect you a lot.

But if you are participant in democracy, you should be thinking, lets make sure most of the people involved are voting. And if you want to stay in power, as a democratically elected representative, you want people grateful for your actions.

If you are resentful of a lot of people voting, because the majority might not agree with you, just come out and admit you would prefer some kind of monarchy, or oligarchic system. Then intelligent rulers would be able to make decisions in the best interests of most people and not worry so much that the common folk appreciate it.

Nullo's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought The system here is for people to vote. I get that, and that’s not what I’m griping about.

I am resentful for people trying to change the rules to give themselves an advantage, which is what I am seeing. Taking people who were non-voters before and making them voters to improve your chances on the playing field is wrong, just like voting yourself a pay raise is wrong. It’s wrong in board games, wrong in the courts, and it’s wrong in politics.
I thought that was clear. I’ll have to take greater care next time.

I have elsewhere expressed a preference for a proper theocracy, but I trust that to come about in its own time. I’m in the United States right now, so those are the rules I’m playing by.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Nullo did not catch the theocracy thing. I get you now.

Blackberry's avatar

Thanks for the answers.

I guess it’s one of those things one has to be involved in and see on a regular basis to be passionate about. I also think the process to become legal should be much easier, and until then, you can’t blame a human for trying to improve their living conditions.

Mariah's avatar

Thanks for asking this, @Blackberry, as I’ve always felt pretty ignorant on this topic too.

One thing I still don’t understand – people have done a great job explaining why illegal aliens are bad for the economy, but if that’s the case, why not make it easier for them to become legal? That’d get them to start paying taxes, make it so they have to be paid minimum wage. Would economics problems be caused by having a large amount of new citizens? Or is that not the issue – are many of them purposefully evading becoming official citizens so they don’t have to pay taxes?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Mariah, going back 120 years, if you tell the uneducated that immigrants are stealing their jobs, you build a strong consistency against immigrants.

If you correlate the states which have really drawn a hard line against immigration, you will find a 1 for 1 correlation with education spending per pupil.

augustlan's avatar

Regarding taxes and illegal immigrants… I worked in the lawn/landscape industry for many years. Suffice it to say that I’ve personally known a ton of illegal immigrants, and they all paid income taxes. Every. Single. One. They all had phony papers good enough to get a real job. Even illegal immigrants who don’t pay income taxes still pay taxes of some kind. Sales/gas/tobacco taxes and whatnot.

JLeslie's avatar

I think more accurately some people are bothered by illegal immigration coming across the Mexican Border. People from central and South America come through that border also, but the majority are Mexican. Still, the Americans really pissed off calls all Latin Americans Mexican as a slur. My husband and I just think that is so odd, to use Mexican as a catch all term like that.

Anyway, the liberals I know who actually move over to the right a little when it comes to immigration are pissed when they see a lot of gang activitiy. I also know some liberals who are not happy with giving illegal children in state tuition at universities. There is a bill in MD concerning that now I think? A MD dream act of sorts. Some people have a problem with letting an illegal immigrant get in state prices when an American citizen from another state would be paying out of state fees. I guess one could argue the parents most likely have paid taxes into the state.

Republicans usually talk about illegal immigrants taking jobs and being a burden on social service, which was discussed above. To some extent I think this does happen, but at the same time it seems Americans really don’t want to do some of these jobs. Countries bring in immigrant populations all the time when labor is needed. They bring them in with working visas, but it seems across the MX border they just look the other way and they come in without papers. Companies get to pay lower wages so they like it.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie With the economy the way that it is, a lot more people are willing to be gardeners and janitors. Immigrant labor (even in research!) is cheaper, so there’s more demand.

Part of your analysis that you may have skipped is that a lot of people think that the government of the United States ought to first be looking out for the people of the United States.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Don’t get the impression I am all for hiring illegal immigrants. I don’t like that it is cheaper labor. I think it is unfair to Americans, and unfair to the immigrants. But, business and customers like the cheaper products and more profit.

I heard from several people here in TN that many of the illegals have been leaving or being deported maybe. The guy who put in my irrigations system, he struggles at the beginning of spring because his usual workers had gone back to MX according to him. One of the guys who painted my house said he doesn’t like Obama, because many of the guys who used to work with him were deported. I don’t know if that was Obama or not. From what I understand TN has kind of toughened up on these things. I don’t know for sure the real deal, all I know is there did seem to be some scrambling around for workers.

mazingerz88's avatar

People are upset because they can’t accept some facts. They hide behind and use as their shield of righteousness other facts they could use…like being “illegal”. The reason is it’s easier to do compared to say, building a wall along the border the size of Mt. Everest. Impossible. So people get upset.

@josie already pointed out the obvious. And I will add, only a heartless idiot would not dare cross a river, any river to pursue a dream, a life. If an American knows that and still gets upset about illegals, then he or she is just plain selfish. Being selfish is not illegal fortunately. If Americans really want to stop illegal crossings, close the borders. If we can’t, stop whining.

Jaxk's avatar

You need to understand that we allow a million immigrants a year into the country legally. That no trivial number. It is larger than any other country in the world. The restrictions are to allow the country to assimilate the newcomers. Frankly our economic system could not possibly allow open borders, we’d go bankrupt.

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s a media ploy to confuse people with fake issues, so they won’t pay attention to the real issues facing us.

jrpowell's avatar

People really shouldn’t have a problem with it. We are facing the problem that Japan has been going through for a while. There isn’t enough young people to support the boomers. The easiest fix is to get more people into the system paying taxes. Make them legal, I don’t care if they are brown as long as they pay taxes. Give them a easy to get five year work permit and tax the shit out of them. Exempt them from food stamps and the emergency room if you feel that you must.

Open borders are the free market at work. I should be able to pick a country like I pick my toilette paper.

mazingerz88's avatar

@johnpowell Agree. I heard before an argument that legalizing illegals would drain social security in the near future. I’ve met illegals who are not concerned with social security…yet. They just want to visit families abroad and be able to come back. I heard another argument that legalizing them, ask them to pay taxes without bringing them in to the social security system would create second class citizenry. Why not offer them that option, to those who would want it so they could visit their parents and kids?

I admire Bloomberg for his stance on illegal immigration.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie Then this can be an opportunity to make things more fair by following the rules.

@YARNLADY I dunno, a leaky border seems pretty real. Or are you saying that there aren’t really any illegal immigrants.

@johnpowell There you go, casting this as a race issue.

jrpowell's avatar

@Nullo :: If you think it isn’t for a lot of people you are kidding yourself. I live with a person that hates “the beaners”. Even the legal ones.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Nullo I’m saying it isn’t nearly the bit deal that some are making it out to be. No one is racing to fill the jobs that are going unfilled in the orchards and fields this month because of a crack down on illegal workers. Farmers are losing crops all over the country, even when they offer legal wages.

Nullo's avatar

@johnpowell I know that many people don’t like Mexicans as a whole. But “Mexican” isn’t a race, and anyway not everybody who opposes illegal immigration dislikes them, so it’s unfair to them for you to paint so broadly.

@YARNLADY Eleven million scofflaws live and work here daily, and that’s not an issue? That would be like me sneaking into your house, raiding your fridge, and doing some household chores before napping on the couch. I know a guy who did half of that and got arrested for his troubles.
Have you considered the drought that we’ve been having? Time was recently griping that, agriculturally, things are pretty lousy anyway.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
jca's avatar

In the beginning of this thread, @gailcalled mentioned entitlements. Let me expand on that a bit. If someone comes over the border illegally (or legally for that matter) and if it’s a pregnant female, 9 months pregnant with no pre-natal care, she can go to any hospital and deliver her baby, without paying for medical care, and that baby is now a citizen (i.e. “legal”). That legal citizen and the mom and dad if there’s a dad present can now apply for public assistance, Medicaid, Food Stamps, WIC (vouchers for food for women, infants, children) rental assistance, fundings to help pay energy bills, water, phone (all lumped in with “public assistance”). If the mom lives here for her entire pregnancy or any part of her pregnancy, she gets Medicaid under the “unborn” (not my terminology, that’s Social Service terminology). The “unborn” and the mother get prenatal care, tests, doctor visits, and then birth and follow up, and of course, the baby has Medicaid (I am not sure if the mom continues indefinitely with Medicaid, but I know there are other medical entitlements she can get, if not Medicaid).

The mom and dad technically aren’t eligible, but they all benefit from the assistance given to the baby citizen. To clarify, they benefit because if the baby gets a free apartment or cheaper apartment, the parent(s) of course get to live there. If the baby gets utility bills paid, the parent(s) benefit. If the baby and mom are eligible for WIC, which give vouchers for milk, juice, cheese, formula, whatever, the parents benefit. In the county I work in, not sure if this is everywhere but at least here, the baby is eligible for furniture and clothes and diaper allowance to set up the new apartment and nursery. The mom and dad, on their own, would not be eligible for those things specifically because they’re not citizens, but the baby is, and thus the parents get to enjoy those benefits.

Please don’t ask for links – I work in this field and so I know exactly what they get just from my job. My father is from Mexico and it still bothers me. I can tell you that as someone that has to work full time to keep my and my daughter’s head above water, to see people getting the things I outlined above does burn me up. I am sorry if my personal opinions are not politically correct, but they are what they are.

This is a good part of what people in the United States object to when they object to immigration and open borders. That someone can just walk over a bridge, and then automatically just by having a baby here get all these things. Even without the baby, they can get medical care. Hospitals along the border, for example in San Diego, are going broke from giving out free medical care to people who come here specifically for that reason and then can’t pay or don’t pay, or give false ID or have no ID and are never heard from again. Could any one of us go to another country and get free medical care, get taken care of without paying? I am betting not.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jca If you are interested I can tell you about two family members who have received free medical care in other countries You are correct about the welfare benefits.

Nullo's avatar

@johnpowell That’s the thing where I acknowledge your statement before saying, “But…”
Some people are upset about the Latinoness of it all. But not everybody on the anti-illegal-immigration side can be so classified, which I feel that you were doing.

And there is no call for verbal abuse, either. I’d like to think that we can be more respectful of one another than that.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Nullo There are millions of home burglaries every year, and most of them are committed by citizens. The police don’t even come out unless someone is hurt – they suggest you make a report online for insurance purposes, and the computer assigns a number to your (non)case.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jca – there is a similar problem in Australia. I just read figures, but of course they didn’t stay in my head, but the government was spending almost double keeping illegals than what pensioners receive. Because they have no papers they cannot be allowed into the general population until identity is proven. While they are waiting they are kept confined but confined with 3 squares a day, clean quarters, health care, entertainment, the list is endless, and because they are being made to wait, they do things like threaten suicide, burn down the free housing, meanwhile homeless australians are sleeping on the streets with empty stomachs. Also Australia takes in as many legal immigrants percapita as any other country. It is not a simple problem but for me the bottom line should be, charity begins at home!

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: Yes, I’m sure there are places that give free health care if necessary, but can you have a baby for free that’s automatically a citizen and entitled to all kinds of entitlements in those very same countries?

JLeslie's avatar

What the hell is a beaner?

I never understand the whole brown skin term. Who uses that? I have never heard anyone in my family say it, nor my closest friends. It is derogatory I would guess, it seems that way to me. It is not the same as saying someone is a black person. Not in my mind. Who had brown skin? Just Mexicans? Or, does it include Indians, and Pakestanis, and Arabs? I don’t know exactly what the term means.

@Nullo what I am suggesting is the government looks the other way to help the local businessmen and the local economy. You seem sure jobs are lost to illegal aliens, but in another way they help businessmen keep their business open, make profits, keep their business open, which may employ citizens also, and everyone working there and the owners spend money in the local businesses to eat, cloth, entertainment, etc. So it is technically ilegal, but there is the whole unsaid routine of it all that makes it feel not very ilegal. I wonder how often people call INS to report they know someine is ilegal? I bet not often. Not if the men and women are just working hard and overall good people. The criminals we want caught no matter what their status in the country, illegal, green card, citizen, etc.

Nullo's avatar

@YARNLADY I expect that it would bother you, wouldn’t it? Police often focus on preventing crime. Burglaries are over and done – too late to prevent.
And I’m still in your house. You could say that I’ve moved in.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Nullo—Being a member of a first Nation, I can truly understand the issue.

Nullo's avatar

I’m glad you see my point, then.
Let’s not go into the general lack of immigration policy in the 17th century again.

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