Mexico-US Border: Effects of Illegal Immigration on the U.S.

Immigrants have been flocking from Mexico to the US for centuries. The movement of a multitude of people to a certain land, is bound to affect the people, the economy, and politics of those already living there. Immigration has always been an important part of our American culture. However, when people cross the border illegally in to the US, they create different effects on the US society. These effects whether they are negative or positive, help determine American's views of illegal immigration. There are a few positive effects of illegal immigration but In my opinion, I think that the negatives outweigh the positives.

Benefits of Illegal Immigration

1. Betters The Economy

Illegal immigration benefits the United States in some respects. When immigrants cross the border, they mainly cross to find work. The wage ratio of the two countries is astonishing. In America, the average daily wage is 60 dollars, while in Mexico, the average wage for a day's work is 5 American dollars. (Barry, 200, ¶ 9) Illegal immigrants settle for lower wages than the average American. They are more likely not going to report minimum wage infractions because it might cause them to be deported. So what does this mean in regards to the benefits of the US? "Immigration benefits investors, employers, consumers, and a country's international economic position and does not adversely affect (at least in measurable ways) the job opportunities of domestic workers." (Papademetriou, 2001,¶ 2) Most of the Jobs that immigrant workers fulfill, Americans don't want.

2. Creates A Diverse Economy

In addition to immigrants helping the economy, they also make a more diverse nation. America was founded on the idea that all were welcome to enjoy the freedom that is available here. President George Bush stated in one of his recent speeches: "by tradition and conviction, our country is a welcoming society. America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work and the faith and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants." (Bush, 2004,¶ 6) The American Dream in one in which people from anywhere can come to America and have a better life. If this concept is given enough value, illegal immigration could benefit America's outlook because it is giving thousands that chance to make their dreams come true.

Negative effects of Illegal Immigration

1. Drug trafficking

Tons of drugs travel across the border illegally every year. Many of the immigrants smuggle across drugs. Danna Harman, in an article for the Christian Monitor (2005), she uses statistics that state:

According to the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, as much as 90 percent of the cocaine sold in the US in 2004 was smuggled through Mexican territory. Mexico is also the Number 2 supplier of heroin, the largest foreign source of marijuana and the largest producers of methamphetamine. (¶ 8)

Mexico has taken over Columbia as the top producer of drugs. Thousands of people come across the border everyday. Many that have been caught in crossing have been found with drugs that were meant to sell in the US. "An estimated 400 tons of cocaine, 150 tons of methamphetamines and 15 tons of heroin entered the US across the border last year alone." (Barry, 200, ¶ 9) Clearly, these drugs play a crucial role in affecting the American public. The Mexican government even has been known to support the traffic of drugs into the U.S. "It's been reported that the Mexican military has crossed into the United States more than 200 times since 1996. They are known to support, protect and assist Mexican drug cartels in their illicit activities." (Kennedy, 2006, ¶ 11) If the Mexican Government supports drug trafficking, what's to stop them from supporting illegal immigration to get these drugs across the border? Drug use in America is a huge problem. By allowing drug smugglers into our country, the American societies also suffer because of drug use.

2. Petty crime

Many of America's illegal immigrants have a criminal past. Since they came into the country illegally, there are no documents to show their background. Once in the US, many illegal immigrants continue to engage in criminal activity, including gang-related crimes. "For instance, the 18th Street gang in Southern California is one of the nation's most violent street gangs with a staggering 20,000 members. More appalling is the fact that 60 percent of the 18th Street gang's membership consists of illegal aliens." (Izumi, 1997,¶ 4) Many immigrants join gangs for the support that they receive within them. In return, the gangs create violence. "Nearly 15 percent of California's state prison inmate population is made up of illegal aliens." (¶ 5) Considering our nations Latino population is only 12 percent, fifteen percent in the prisons is quite a lot.

3. Terrorism

Since September 11th, there has been greater concern for terrorists coming across the border illegally. The US border patrol has detained several terrorist threats at the border. Senator John McCain of Arizona said: "We have now hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people cross our southern border who are from countries of interest as opposed to just Latin American [countries]." (Bowers, 2005,¶ 3) Those that senator McCain refers to are those so designated by the US government as known to the house radical, if not terrorist groups. FBI director Robert Mueller said he "was aware that individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda ties had entered the US under false identities." (¶ 7) Terrorism coming across the border is a terrific threat to not only the US's government, but also to the American public. This pressure because of illegal immigration exhausts government funds to execute plans to find these terrorist threats.

4. Cost states money

Illegal immigrants cost the state money. The taxes that legal residences pay for many welfare programs. "Nobody comes here to get on welfare," said Perias Pillay, himself a legal immigrant to the US.(CBS, 2006,¶ 7) But the truth is, that immigrants that come to the US usually do end up on some sort of welfare program. The legal residences have to pay for the people who didn't abide by the laws of entering the country. "The CIS reports also noted that immigrants, on average, are less educated and more likely to live in poverty than people born in the US." (Kennedy, 2006,¶ 14) American legals and state governments pay for the education and the healthcare of those living in poverty. According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, hospitals in 24 Southwest counties in bordering states, reported uncompensated care totaling nearly $832 million in 2000. Another study determined that about 25 percent of those non-reimbursed costs resulted form emergency medical care provided to undocumented immigrants. (Price, 2006,¶ 1) Illegal immigration is costing the states money. In this country, we may say that it is the land of the free, but I don't think that's what "they" meant.

This is only a few of the negative effects that illegal immigration has on the American society and economy. I think that the negative effects outnumber and outweigh the positive effects of illegal immigrants bettering the economy. America is a land where people can come and it is also a nation that prides itself on being diverse, but I think that if immigrants needed to come here, there is a legal way to do that. Perhaps some of the laws for acceptance should be changed to admit not only the rich of every society, but all people. I think that if workers want to come, they can and should be able to get work visas instead of coming here illegally with no regard to the laws. What good is a country where people disregard its laws? A country is only as good as its laws and the people that follow them.


Barry, John. (2000). U.S.- Mexican Border: Can Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors? Retrieved March 27, 2006, fromhttp://speakout.com/activism/issue_briefs/1370b-1.html

Bowers, Faye. (2005). US-Mexican Border as a Terror Risk. Retrieved April 10, 2006, fromhttp://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0322/p01s01-uspo.html

Bush, George W. (2004). New Temporary Worker Program Proposal. Retrieved March 22, 2006, fromhttp://whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/2004017-3/html

CBS. (2006). Many Believe Illegal Immigrants Good For Economy. Retrieved April 7, 2006, fromhttp://cbs11tv.com/topstories/local_story_087170628.html

Harman, Danna. (2005). Mexicans Take Over Drug Trade To US. Retrieved April 5, 2006, fromhttp://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0816/p01s03-woam/htm

Izumi, Lance T. (1997). Illegal Immigration and Crime. Retrieved April 13, 2006, fromhttp://www.pacificresearch.org/pub/cap/1997/97-09-02.html

Kennedy, Sean. (2006). On The Border. Retrieved April 5, 2006, fromhttp://www.gather.com/viewArticlePF.jsp?articleID=281474976728429

Price, Joyce H. (2006). New Diseases and Medical Costs associated with Illegal Immigration. Retrieved April 13, 2006, fromhttp://www.alipac.us/article207.html