Illegal Immigrants Should Receive Social Services
Immigration remains an emotive and a highly debated topic among the American community. While their numbers grow the issue of containment through withholding social services always crops up. There is a general belief among those who seek to deny these services to illegal immigrants that it would deter them from coming into the country. This premise overlooks the issues that revolve around these immigrants motivation to come to America. The illegal immigrants are motivated to secure a piece of the American dream and to them this translates to better work opportunities which would enable them take their children to school, support their families and to pay for better healthcare as compared to what is offered in their country of origin. The illegal immigrants are not seeking for handouts instead they are chasing after opportunities to better the quality of their lives through hard work. The illegal immigrants also bring with them a wealth of culture, traditions and practices which go towards improving the social structures of the American community (Marietta, 61). The business community understands the role of the immigrant especially in terms of the labor they provide. This directly places the illegal immigrant as a driver of economic success of the nation given the hours of work they put in the businesses across the nation. As the debate rages on it is important to understand the reasons why illegal immigrants should have access to social services.
The importance of offering social services to illegal immigrants is that these services will help in ensuring the stability of the country. For instance, when an illegal immigrant is offered adequate medical services they will be able to recuperate and continue to offer their services. Although the example given takes an economic angle there is also a social aspect to it where the immigrant will feel like they belong in a society that is willing to offer them a chance to improve their quality of life. This avoids the issue of creating new dejected sub-classes in the society and instead encourages them to blend in and continue offering their best in services. According to Marietta, “if undocumented immigrants are denied social services the quality of health, education and safety of entire communities will suffer” (61).
When addressing the economic implication of allowing illegal immigrants to live and access social services it is imperative to point out that immigrants contribute to the American economy. This is explained further where illegal immigrants pay some government taxes such as income tax, sales tax, user fees and property tax among others (Prante, n.Pag). According to Lipman “Unauthorized workers are a critical component of our micro and macro economies today and in the projected next several decades as almost 78 million boomers prepare to retire and leave the work force. Unauthorized workers should have access to housing and any other goods and services that they choose to consume. In addition, unauthorized workers who must and do contribute to our tax revenues should benefit from social services to the same extent as similarly situated legal U.S. residents” (n.Pag).
Illegal immigrants should also qualify for tax credits this is because although it encourages work it also ensures that this section of people is able to avoid poverty. In 2011, 9.5 million people were able to get out of poverty due to income tax credits (Baron & Wolgin, n.Pag). Furthermore these credits are used in the economy through purchases. This not only supports local businesses but also helps in maintaining economic security for all. The US economy benefits because the immigrants are able to generate billions of dollars in revenues per year and will utilize less of the social services compared to the amount of taxes they pay (Marietta, 64).
When addressing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or what is commonly known as food stamps. It’s important to point out that this programs helps communities fight hunger, improve nutrition and increase productivity. To refuse illegal immigrants access to these benefits would be detrimental to the American society as a whole. This is because this group will be subjected to poverty and unproductive lives leading to other issues such as increased crime as a resultant effect. Food stamps have a positive net effect on the American society and economy. According to Baron and Wolgin “every $1 billion in SNAP benefits creates 3,000 new farm jobs” (n.Pag) and that’s not all, for every 5 dollars in food stamps use in terms of purchases 9 dollars of economic bustle is generated (Baron and Wolgin, n.Pag). The jobs created by use of food stamps result in an increase of taxes paid by the people working from the farms to the retail stores and this results in the improvement of the economic status of the entire nation.
In health care, illegal immigrants often delay seeking medical attention for fear of being deported. This has caused seemingly treatable ailments becoming extreme or even fatal. This has seen the cost of health care go up for this group because it is much cheaper to treat an ailment when it begins to show symptoms than when it becomes debilitating. This situation has created a burden in the emergency rooms where admission of uninsured illegal immigrants is always on the increase a situation that could be easily avoided through early treatment and prevention. For this same reason illegal immigrants are forced to use stolen identities to access Medicaid which they are precluded from. According to Martin and Ruark who support denial of social services to illegal immigrants, contend that the illegal immigrants’ access to Medicaid has placed unnecessary pressure on the federal financial resources. Although this is true, the line of argument ignores the fact that this is a situation that could have been avoided by offering timely healthcare services to undocumented immigrants.
In conclusion, as the proponents of denying services to illegal immigrants continue to illuminate costs of offering social services they avoid addressing the benefits that the illegal immigrants bring to the American society and economy. The benefits clearly outweigh the costs and instead point to a need for the illegal immigrants’ input in certain areas of the American society to guarantee future prosperity of the nation.
Baron, Sarah and Wolgin, E. Philip. Denying Key Social Services to Immigrants on the Road to Citizenship Hurts Our Entire Nation. Center for American Progress. (2013). Web. 26 June 2014. http://americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2013/06/14/66490/denying-keysocial-services-to-immigrants-on-the-road-to-citizenship-hurts-our-entire-nation/
Lipman, J. Francine. “Re: Unauthorized workers.” Message to Procon. 28 Nov. 2007. Email. http://immigration.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000811
Marietta, Melissa. Undocumented Immigrants Should Receive Social Services. International Social Science Review. 81. 1/2 (2006): 61-66. Web. 26 June 2014. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/41887260?uid=2134&uid=2482683373&uid=2&id=70&uid=3&uid=2482683363&uid=60&sid=21104366707063
Martin jack and Ruark, A. Eric. The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers. Federation for American Immigration reform. (2010). Web. 26 June 2014. http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/USCostStudy_2010.pdf?docID=4921
Prante, Gerald. Immigrants and Taxes. Tax Foundation. (2006). Web. 27 June 2014. http://taxfoundation.org/blog/immigrants-and-taxes