Introduction

Immigration occurs when people from a different area come to settle to another area already inhabited by the natives. People migrate from their home areas to other areas because of many factors which are usually called push factors. Push factors are those factors which motivate a person to move from their country of origin.

Migration can be subdivided into various groups which include economic migration. In this case, people move from their country of origin to the desired country because they are looking for higher wages. Other factors which determine immigration are the accompanying costs. These costs include transportation costs, costs related to work time and loss of family and social bond.

A person cannot migrate to another country if these costs are too high. The increase in technology especially in the transport sector has decreased the travel time across land and seas. This in turn has decreased the cost which makes migration less tedious.

People can also migrate due to employment reasons such as in a contract, or due to religious reasons like missionaries. Diplomatic missions can also cause persons to migrate. These reasons are the ones which cause legal and illegal immigration in which their difference is demystified in this paper.

It is worth noting that many people like to immigrate to America for economic reasons. Due to inhibiting factors, some end up using illegal channels, hence the term illegal immigration. If the correct channel is used the process becomes legal immigration.

Legal immigration in America

Legal immigration occurs when the person who is moving from their country of origin uses the correct bureaucracy to gain entry into the desired country of destination. In the United States of America, legal immigrants are those people who have passed interviews in the American embassies located in their country of origin.

Other ways in which a person can immigrate legally to the U.S are through diplomatic missions, work contracts and religious activities among many others. A native of a particular country can also qualify to immigrate to America if they win a green card in the green card lottery.

In this case the person becomes a U.S citizen automatically. This can make a person gain dual citizenship, although it depends with the constitutionality of the idea in their country of origin. Legal migration is good for America because they are more likely to be law abiding, legal immigration brings the best skills from other countries, pay into the American’s social security system, and so forth.

The federal government has been able to enact policies which give legal immigrants basic rights just as the legal citizens of United States of America. This is because they passed through a tedious process of getting the visas or green cards, a process which is vital for them to get legal documents. The high skills and difference in culture, which are normally brought in by legal immigrants results in scientific and cultural achievements. Thus, the U.S has been able to benefit by tapping into these advantages.

Effects of legal immigration in America

Legal immigrants bring with them new skills which are needed in the American economy. The process of legal immigration is accompanied with competition in the labor market which. They bring with them cultural diversities. The process comes with scientific achievements.

Legal immigrants also participate actively in the labor force[1]. The wages of some of the labor especially in the agricultural sector are usually extremely low. This is often rejected by the Native American because they are unattractive. Legal immigrants can offer such labor with these wages[2].

Illegal immigration in America

Illegal immigration is the illegitimate entry into U.S of individuals who are not citizens of America. An illegal immigrant can also be a person who has an expired visa because he continued living in the host country due to various reasons.

Some of them do not want to go back to their home country because they will be faced with an uncertain economic future, for political asylum[3] or if married to an American spouse would not want to be separated from the their family by being deported. These people are legal immigrants but their illegality comes due to the fact that they overstayed their temporal legality (Haines & Rosenblum 1999, pp2).

Effects of illegal immigration to America

There are several negative effects brought about by illegal immigration in the United States of America. The problems are related to crime, diseases, problems in the education sector, housing and medical expenses. The following are some of the negative effects of illegal immigration

Unemployment: aliens cause unemployment rates to increase. The unemployment directly affects the legal citizens of the U.S. According to available records, it is purported that, if all illegal immigrants would lose the jobs they are currently holding, all legal American citizens would be employed. This problem is brought about because the aliens offer cheap labor.
Cost for tax payers: aliens make up as much as 28% in some parts of the country[4]. They are also found in prisons at high percentage. They take a heavy toll on America’s Education, imprisonment, welfare, food stamps, and health care.
Crime and terrorism; since aliens are not documented citizens of America; they are involved in various criminal activities which also include terrorism.
Dangers to the illegal immigrants; aliens pass through a deadly process so as to gain entry into the U.S. If they survive the trip, they are either held hostage or get paid very little money for the job.

The issue of illegal immigration is compounded when the aliens constitute a major segment of the labor force[5]. Housing standards usually decrease. In the recent past, the federal government has increased the housing standards. This has however led to the closure of work camps by the native out growers. Many growers usually evade legal responsibility for their living conditions thereby ending up hiring illegal immigrants.

Solutions to illegal immigration to America

Due to the large number of illegal immigrants in the U.S, the federal government has been compelled to find solutions that will solve this issue on a long term basis. As a result, there have been several opinions which have bee suggested that if put in place, they will help curb the vice. Most of the illegal immigrants in the United States come from across its borders with the South American countries.

It has been suggested that a fence should be erected along the U.S. Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration of people across this route. Deportation, amnesty, legalization of illegal immigrants and enforcement of existing legislature are also some of the suggestions aimed at stopping illegal immigration. This issue has continued to reverberate on the minds of the congressmen throughout the year 2005 to date. The following are some of the ways in which illegal immigrants can become legal

Asylum applicants can prove their case and be legalized
Workers who are not documented can find an employer who will sponsor them to gain a legal status.
Relatives who reside illegally can also be sponsored when the fully confirm that they have been residing in America illegally.
The federal government may also grant an amnesty which permits those who reside without proper documentations to become legal.

In addition to this, the policies for legislation related to solutions to the problems of illegal immigration are formulated in line with various considerations. Thus family reunification and societal stability forms a strong factor worth consideration before deporting an illegal immigrant[6].

Conclusion

Legal immigration in America is accompanied by introduction of new skills to the country. Other advantages include provision of labor and services which the U.S citizens reject. Legal immigrants do not cause negative economic effects to the country because they also pay taxes and a large percentage does not depend on food stamps. On the other hand illegal immigrants do cause a great harm to the American economy.

This is because they take up jobs which were meant for the American at low wages. They bring with them various diseases which cause the health sector a substantial amount of money. Most of them engage in criminal activities and end up being jailed. This also causes the government to spend a lot of money in the prison department. Illegal immigration in the U.S. should be checked because it causes the taxpayer a lot of money.

Bibliography

Geigenberger, Julia, 2007. The Lasting value of Legal Immigration for the United States

of America. New York, Druck und Bidung.

Haines, David & Rosenblug, Karen, 1999. Illegal Immigration in America. A Reference

Handbook. New York, Greenwood Press.

Loucky, James, Armstrong, Jeanne & Estrada, Larry 2007. Lawrence. Immigration in America Today. West- port, Greenwood Publishing Group.

Rudolph, Christopher, 2006. National Security and immigration; Policy Development in

the United States and Western Europe. Stanford, Stanford University Press

There is an 86% rate of legal immigrants in the labor force.
94% of the foreign born workforce in the agricultural sector are Mexicans
They may be legal but do not have the right documents for where they stay and what they do
They come from Caribbean, South America, Asia and Europe contributing at least 5% each
Haines & Rosenblum, Illegal Immigration in America ,1999, pp2
Rudolph, Christopher, National Security and immigration Pp56