Time for a Change
With over 12 million illegal immigrants in this country, most Americans can agree that our immigration system is definitely broken. The problem is that we cannot agree on how this system should be fixed. On April 23, 2010, the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, decided that she would attempt a solution to the problem. She signed into law one of the nation’s toughest bills focused on illegal immigration in her state. This law re-ignited the immigration debate all across the United States and brought out many protestors from both sides. Some of the issues at hand are amnesty, healthcare costs, and the increasing crime that illegal immigrants bring into our country. To ...view middle of the document...
In addition, it is disparaging to the immigrants who come to our country through the legal process. In October of 2009, Zogby International took a poll and found that people in Mexico think that granting legal status to illegal immigrants would encourage more illegal immigration to the United States (Auster, 2009). As the top immigrant-sending country for both legal and illegal immigrants, views on immigration in Mexico can provide insight into the likely impact that another amnesty would have on the United States.
Ten years after the 1986 amnesty, the Center for Immigration Studies found that granting the 2.7 million illegal aliens legal status, has cost the United States over $78 billion dollars. Besides the money needed for assistance programs for the newly amnestied aliens, there were also indirect costs for aid to displaced resident workers, and education costs for illegal alien dependents (Simcox, 1997). These figures did not include the toll taken on our healthcare system.
For years now one of the great political debates has been that of healthcare reform in the United States. The American healthcare system is definitely in crisis, but the mass immigration of illegal aliens is straining the system to the breaking point. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, a non-partisan organization, it is estimated that there are currently more than 6.1 million uninsured adult illegal aliens in the U.S. and more than 700,000 uninsured children who are illegal immigrants (Pope, 2009).
Most of the illegal immigrants in this country never pay a dime for the medical treatments that they receive. These services might be “free” to them, but the actual cost of medical treatment for illegal aliens is shocking. The Federation for American Immigration Reform has put together estimated costs of unreimbursed medical care for the year 2004. In California the estimated total was $1.4 billion per year. Texas suffered a cost of about $.85 billion, and in Arizona the cost was $.4 billion per year (Illegal Immigration and Public Health, 2009). “What is unseen is their [illegal aliens’] free medical care that has degraded and closed some of America’s finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies: 84 California hospitals are closing their doors” (Madeleine Peiner Cosman, 2005). Not only does the closing of so many hospitals reduce the level of health care to many communities, but the economy itself is affected by the massive job losses.
Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are among the states that have the highest percentage of “free” medical services provided to those who do not have citizenship in the United States. It has been estimated that up to 40% of “free” medical services that are provided in the United States are given to those who are in this country illegally. This number could actually be much higher, since clinics and hospitals generally do not ask about a person’s citizenship.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Vliet,...