TheProblem of Immigration in Texas
TheUnited States, like other first world countries, is facing a seriousproblem of immigrants who cross its borders in search of better laborpractices and improved standards of living. Although the governmenthas enacted immigration laws to restrict the number of people whoenter the country, there has been a lot of proliferation by illegalforeigners. The states spend billions of dollars every year in lawenforcement and deportation of such people. While the presence ofimmigrants in the country is seen as a major factor that constrainsthe economy, one school of thought believes that the foreigners arecritical in an economy with a receding population growth (Becerra111). Various states in America have enacted legislations toimplement structures that control the presence of immigrants.However, in Texas, the legislature remains divided on the restrictionof entry and deportation, the internal disagreement has seen thenumber of foreigners grow tremendously. Some representatives cite theincreased burden on taxpayer while the business community hails theimmigrants for providing cheap and skilled labor, the key drivers ofthe stats economy. Although Texas can implement a law to control thenumber of immigrants, the desired outcomes can only be reached ifthere is a national guideline that is consistent with the state’sobjectives.
TheCurrent State of Immigrants in Texas
Themigration policy institute indicates that there are more than onemillion immigrants in Texas. As the second largest state in terms ofpopulation, Texas has attracted a big number of immigrants from thedifferent country. Predominantly, most of them hail from Mexico.Since 2005, Texas has recorded the highest growth in populationmainly due to the influx of foreigners (White, Lloyd, Valencia,Jordan and Beverly 3). The Migration Policy Institute indicates thatapproximately one in every six immigrants into the United States endup in Texas. According to the Office of State Demographer, 42% of theforeigners originate from Latin America, 40.4% come from Asia, 9.0%from Europe and 7.8% from Africa and other regions. As at 2013, Texasand California accounted for 48.3% of all the immigrants from Mexico(White, Lloyd, Valencia, Jordan and Beverly 4).
Thereare several reasons that make Texas a hub for foreigners. Accordingto the Office of the State Demographer, Mexico shares the largestborder with Mexico, a major source of immigrants into the country(White, Lloyd, Valencia, Jordan and Beverly 2). The entry point forboth verified and illegal immigrants is, therefore, high. Despite thebuttressed efforts by the government to enhance border control andsurveillance, traffickers continue sneaking individuals into thelocale using security-evasive means. Secondly, the contention thathas existed since 2006 has seen the immigrants take advantage toenter the state. The Congress introduced restrictive regulation forforeigners in the state that set a platform for Republicans andDemocrats to engage in ideological arguments (Kristina 1). Sincethen, there has been no legally defined action for massivedeportation and restricted entry. The existing laws are porous andnon-preclusive. For example, the federal policy of “securecommunities” has not entirely prevented illegal persons fromcrossing the border and entering the state.
Anothermajor reason is that Texas has a booming economy that is spurred byindustrial growth, agriculture and intensified construction. Theenvironment triggers both skilled and non-competent foreigners toseek employment from the industries. Besides, the immigrant’sadvocates backed by the business owners have been against any harshimmigration laws since they benefit from the readily available laborand a growing market for their products and services (Kristina 3).
VariedView Points on the Issue of Immigration
Thepresence of foreigners in the state has sparked debate fromrepresentatives and key stakeholders in the business communityleading to two antagonistic ideologies. While some believe that theimmigrants have introduced unnecessary costs in the state, othersbelieve that they are key in the economic development. According toKristina, a section of the representatives have faulted the thousandslegal and unverified workers for the increased burden on costs (2).They argue that the expenditures incurred by the state could beforegone if there were restrictive practices to control the influx.Every year, the state administration spends close to $1.9 billion inMedicaid (Brannon and Albright 4). Some of the immigrants areeconomically disenfranchised. According to the Federal ImmigrationLaw, foreigners living in the country legally have the right toreceive medical attention provided by the government. The increasedpopulation of poor immigrants has triggered the state government toincrease the enrollment into the program. Additionally, more than$47.8 million are spent in the provisions of social welfare programsand more than $1.1billion incurred in law enforcement (Brannon andAlbright 4). The proximity of the country to Mexico and the expansiveborder demands additional budget allocations.
Accordingto the Federation for American Immigration Reform, another majorcause of dissenting the presence of immigrants in Texas arises fromthe costs incurred in running the community. While it is difficult todetermine the additional costs brought by the foreigners, asignificant number of representatives believe that the sharedfacilities shave been under strain due to the increases population.According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Texanspay about $12.1 billion to cater for foreigners’ services (Brannonand Albright 3). This translates to more than $1,197 per household inthe state. Although there is an effort made by the legal immigrantstowards the tax contribution, the cost outdoes the gains to a greatextent. For example, in 2013, the tax levied from immigrants amountedto $1.2 billion (Brannon and Albright 4).
However,different bodies in the state including the legislature and theOffice of the demographer agree that the burden cannot be eased bydeparting or restricting immigrant workers. It can only be remediedby imposing restrictive laws on illegal immigrants who do notcontribute towards the economy through taxation. Their inflatednumber explains the difference the tax collected and the costincurred by the state to cater for immigrants’ services.
Inaddition to the burden on households, the cost of state and federalburden has been on the increase since 2005. According to FAIR, theimmigrants in Texas experience high poverty incidences than thenatives. About 30% of the foreigners live the states and nationalpoverty threshold while 65% are near disenfranchisement. In addition,more than 58% of illegal and undocumented immigrants exploit thewelfare program (Martin 6). The state also renders Medicaid cover to41% and food assistance to 49% of the population. Statistics alsoindicate that between 125,000 and 150,000 children of illegalimmigrants are enrolled in public schools, and the cost of educatingthem stands at $1 billion every year (Brannon and Albright 7).
Asa result of these detrimental effects on the economy, it is perceivedthat the state would be more stable without the thousands ofimmigrants. These have been used as the basis of driving motions toenact a law, but it has received vehement opposition from theproponents of the influx of immigrants. However, the parties thatoppose the presence of immigrant in the states do not appreciate therole they have played in the transformation of the economy.
Conversely,the business community and a section of the representatives arguethat immigrants have been critical in spurring the economy of thestate. According to Brannon and Albright, close to 40% of theworkforce in the state between 1990 and 2010 was provided byforeigners. Besides, after the great recession in 2007, theparticipation of the natives in the workforce dropped sharply (6).The immigrants have saved the economy from collapsing since therecould be no production without labor. The low births experienced inTexas especially among the natives could have led to a recedingeconomy since 2005. However, the population took a turn andregistered an increase, and this had desirable effects on the labormarket. The business owners also hold that immigrants typicallycommand lower wages than the natives. Consequently, their presencereduces the cost of production and this trickles down ti the finalconsumers. Foreign workers save Texan consumers between $3 and $6billion annually (Brannon and Albright 9).
Thefederal reserve bank of Dallas has also conducted a stud whoseresults credit the presence of immigrants in the state. According tothe institution, the foreigners enjoy favorable labor outcomes thanwhat would be dictated by their level of education. The body pointedout that a growing economy like Texas require an additional workforceand this makes the immigrants a useful supplement to the nativeworkers (Brannon and Albright 10). Most of the immigrants are notconversant with English, and they fit in the manual labor category.They complement the proficient natives who prefer supervisory andmanagerial roles.
However,it is notable that the institution and other proponents avoid theissue of illegal immigrants. The biggest number of foreigners in thestate infiltrates the borders through illegal means. The cost theyheap upon the state is not captured in the studies. For example,although some of them may receive social assistance from the stateagencies, they do not contribute significant taxes. This is thenumber that results in the great disparity between the gains and thecosts.
Fromthe analysis provided by both stances, it is clear that thecontention may continue before a compromise can be reached. However,it is evident that the illegal immigrants in the state increase theburden on the taxpayers since they do not contribute to taxes(Stansfield 673). The amount levied from the documented foreignersexhibits that their existence in the state is an injection into theeconomy. It is also worth noting that the business community is inneed of cheap labor and the baby boomers who are edging towardsretirement may not support the labor market. The study conducted bythe Federal Bank of Dallas demonstrates that the immigrants are keyproviders of manual labor. The state, therefore, cannot prop itsaccelerated economic growth without the input of the foreigners.
Toachieve a positive trend, the state may not benefit entirely from alocally conceived law. This is because the national borders are underthe jurisdiction of the federal government. Sharing the largestborder with Mexico demands strict policies from the federalgovernment that can be implemented at the state level. A lawregulating the number of immigrants entering the state can beeffective in the short-term nut it may later translate to theincreased number of undocumented foreigners.
Summarily,while Texas can implement a law to regulate the number of immigrants,the desired results can only be reached if there is a countrywideguideline that is unswerving with the state’s objectives. Thebusiness community and representatives have had ideologicaldifferences with each group citing the effects of immigrants in thestate. Some representatives cite the increased tax burden andpressure of public benefits as the major reason for a law to regulatethe influx of foreigners. Conversely, the business communityjustifies the presence of immigrants for the continued supply ofcheap labor and market for goods. There is a need to reach asettlement to control the number of immigrants who are the majorsource of constraints exercised by the state.
Becerra,David. "Fear vs. facts: Examining the economic impact ofundocumented immigrants in the US." J.Soc. & Soc. Welfare39 (2012): 111.
Brannon,Ike and Albright, Logan. Immigration’s Impact on Texas’ Economy.TexasPublic Policy Foundation,March, 2016. Print.
KristinaPeterson. Immigration Splits Texas Republicans. TheWallstreet Journal,June 19, 2013. Print.
Martin,Jack. The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration On Texans. Federationfor American Immigration Reform, January 2014. Print.
Stansfield,Richard. "Assessing the Effects of Recent Immigration on SeriousProperty Crime In Austin, Texas." SociologicalPerspectives56.4 (2013): 647-672. Print
White,Steve, Potter, Lloyd, Valencia Lila, Jordan, Jeffrey Pecotte,Beverly. Origins of Immigrants to Texas. Office of the StateDemographer, May, 2015. Print.