When it comes to immigration reform, one must completely understand that there is no perfect solution, considering so many want to enforce a specific plan, but a means can be met to benefit all sides. The principal ideologies to be considered are productivity and efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and long-term effects.
With media today, immigration reform has become a sensationalized controversial issue that, truthfully, is not very complicated to reform. Of course, it takes intensive research, but many of the proposed ideas by presidential candidates are extreme and most importantly inefficient. Immigration reform can start with avoiding these ideologies and calculating the negative effects they may have and turn to its best alternative solution.
The popular idea of building a wall between the tense U.S.-Mexican border is seen as a physical barrier and therefore a solution to immigration via foot. However, the fact is that most flows of immigration from this neighboring country have decreased, because most undocumented immigrants came time ago, where 40% of them came via air and other legal methods of transportation. Not only is this wall ineffective of being a physical barrier, but the cost would shoot bullets through the United States economy. The border itself is roughly 2000 miles long, where each mile of wall would cost about $16 million, totaling to about $20 billion. The United States would also be obliged to maintain the wall, costing as much as $750 million a year, according to an analysis by Politico. Personnel would likely be required, adding more to the cost of funding this project.
Turning to mass deportation can traumatize the United States in the long run. It’s easy to say “deport 11 million people,” yet people and politicians fail to understand the limited resources of time and money. One must think rationally at the logic of deporting 11 million people. According to a study conducted by think tank American Action Forum (AAF), the estimated cost per person being deported is $10,070. Deportation would be likely to run through busses considering it is the least costly method of transportation. The AAF concluded it would take roughly 20 years to deport this many people; that’s about 650 bus loads every month. The total cost estimated for this massive deportation plan would range between $420 billion to $620 billion. Combining these estimated costs of mass deportation with a wall, that totals to a cost of $520 billion.
Massive deportation can lead to economic losses as well. According to the AAF, approximately 6.4% of the labor force is made up of undocumented immigrants. Though the numbers may seem small, the impact of removing 6% of the labor force is much greater than expected. With all things constant, the prediction is that this deportation would shrink the U.S. economy by nearly 6%, or $1.6 trillion by 2035.
Undocumented immigrants are also often categorized to being of Mexican and Hispanic backgrounds. However, most of the United States fails to recognize that other immigrants come from varying nations. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 125,000 Mexicans migrated to the United States in 2013. That same year however, 147,000 immigrants came to the United States from China.
Now, that’s only one of the popular immigration plans that is being discussed throughout the United States and now at global levels. Recognizing the problems with these plans, however, can lead the United States to constructing an efficient plan that will benefit the well being of Americans and immigrants currently in the United States.
Immigration reform can begin with a series of question, the first one being: should immigrants be deported for being undocumented in the United States? As previously explained, it is inconvenient to do this and therefore should be further questioned with alternatives. Could the legalization of all undocumented immigrants be beneficial? With research and examination, it can be concluded that legalization for law-abiding undocumented immigrants could economically benefit the United States because it would increase wages for immigrants and therefore decrease the poverty rate of the United States. These studies also demonstrate that higher earnings of legalized immigrants can yield more tax revenue, more consumer buying power, and more jobs. The fiscal benefits of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, and Texas could increase dramatically by millions along with jobs. Lacking legal status can lose the population billions of dollars, and the AAF also estimated that immigration reform could “raise GDP per capita by over $1,500 and reduce the cumulative federal deficit by over $2.5 trillion over ten years.” With a growing list of benefits, the humane act of legalizing law-abiding immigrants who wish to continue contributing to the economic and innovative progress of the United States is the most powerful ideology to reforming the immigration system.
With these plans held side by side, one can conclude that the effective way to determine what is best for the nation is the idea of cost and benefits: if the benefits outweigh the cost, it is worth the action; if the costs outweigh the benefits, then it should be reconsidered and alternatives should be analyzed. This is the reason why immigration reform is truly not as complicated to upgrade; today it is made a controversial and complex issue that seems to never find approval. When extremes are taken in immigration, it could cost the success of the nation that was purely founded on immigration itself. It is clear that the cost of relying on division and mass deportation has no comparison to its benefits and would cost the U.S. population billions, leading to an unstable economy and society. The cost of legalizing currently residing immigrants who contribute to our nation does not compare to the outstanding benefits the United States would receive, socially and economically.
With that being thoroughly analyzed, it is up to Americans to decide the future of a thriving nation and what elements are valued more than others. The ultimate hope is that legislators and the population can come as one to agree what is best for their neighbors.