The Immigration Crisis in America

Staff Writer: John Mack

Since the start of the 21st century, illegal immigration to the U.S. has increased exponentially. Many immigrants come for economic reasons and take a dangerous crossing to seek opportunity, but face threats of deportation and limited rights when they arrive.

Most illegal immigrants come through the U.S.-Mexican border to enter the U.S. The trek is dangerous because immigrants must cross the Rio Grande into Texas, or go through the Sonora Desert into Arizona and New Mexico. Last year a crisis of unaccompanied children crossing the border emerged, as U.S. officials did not know what to do with them, knowing they would try to cross the border again.

Some immigrants pay people-smugglers to cross them into the U.S. However, many smugglers charged high fees or sometimes leave immigrants in the Sonora Desert without any support. Even if deported many immigrants will try multiple times to enter the U.S.; many immigrants have been caught and deported five times.

The immigrants come to the U.S. for economic reasons; mainly they search for a livable salary. The World Bank shows that the average salary for workers in Latin America is $9,051 a year, compared to the U.S. and its average salary of $55,200 a year. Even if they don’t find work they can apply for welfare checks to support their families in Mexico or elsewhere in the U.S.

In 2012, it was estimated that 11.4 Million illegal immigrants were living in the U.S., and 54.2 percent of immigrants had come from Mexico. 15.2 percent were estimated to come from Central America and 6.3 percent from South America. Many immigrants have limited rights, for example in Georgia; illegal immigrants cannot get a driver’s license until they go through the Naturalization process.

Since the passing of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, deportations have increased dramatically because of the government’s power to spy on possible immigrants. Since 2008 deportations have increased by 25% under the Obama Administration.

Recently, a migration crisis in Europe has developed which has compared similarities to the U.S. Illegal Immigration crisis. The European migrants however leave the war-torn Middle East and North Africa to seek asylum in Europe. They try to go to Germany, France, or the UK through Austria, Hungary, Serbia, and Greece.

Recently, Hungary has tried to shut down its border leading to migrants being trapped in Hungary with nowhere to go. However, there is hope for improvement as the European Union and Pope Francis have called upon Europe to take in more migrants, but there has been no attempt to improve the crisis on the U.S. border.

Politicians have conflicting views like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who has called illegal immigrants “murderers, rapists, and drug dealers” leading to heavy backlash from the Hispanic community. Trump also supports building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from crossing into the U.S. Democrats, like President Obama support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, improving the situation for lack of rights for immigrants. With the continued fighting in Washington, DC, it is hard to say that the future looks bright for immigrants seeking a better life in America.

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