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Lexy Nolasco
Eng 101 Petrides 12:00 - 12:50
November 7, 2015

Immigration Laws
Immigration Reform has been a topic of discussion for many years for the United States
government. It has also been a major issue, especially illegal immigration. The leaders in the
Republican party have been against the reform for many years, but immigration reform should be
allowed. We, the citizens of the United States of America, live in a land of opportunity. The
country is a melting pot with people from all over the world. They come here looking for a better
life for themselves and their families. Immigration reform should be passed in order to allow
those searching for a new place to call home a chance to do so.
The definition of immigrant can be translated into many definitions, but it means that it is a
person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country. There are various reasons why
someone would leave their country to live in the United States. Since the 17th century, many
would migrate to the U.S. to find food and resources to survive and also to find political
freedom. For example, the civil war in El Salvador caused many of their citizens to run away and
seek a new beginning in the United States. The war happened during the 1980s when it was
much more easier to cross the border into the U.S. As the number of immigrants rose over the
years, border security increased and the more immigration reform was talked about.
Those who oppose immigration have some reasons as to why the United States should not
allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country. One reason is that illegal immigrants take jobs

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away from Americans. Another reason is that they bring crime into the cities they populate.
Lastly, it is said that illegal immigrants do not pay taxes in the U.S. as regular citizens do.
Many of those who oppose immigration reform only see one side of the situation: people
coming into their country to take away what they have. They do not know the dangerous
journey immigrants take to come to the country that is said to be full of opportunity. Some
come by land, others by water. Most immigrants die on their trip to the boarder from dehydration
or exhaustion, or they are killed by those whom they trusted to get the across.
From Guatemala to the United States, there is a network of freight trains that travel through the
Central American countries. The trains mainly import grain, corn or scrap metal, but theyre also
bringing in undocumented immigrants who have a goal of crossing into the U.S. It is estimated
that up to a half-million migrants ride the train every year. They sit back to back against each
other, locking arms trying not to fall to their deaths. Lis-Marie Alvarado from Al Jazeera
America, who is an American Citizen, decided to take the journey atop The Beast in order to
view first hand the trip many immigrants take. She witnessed how enduring traveling through the
1,450-mile trek is. Migrants are exposed to the sun for long periods of time, the dangers of tree
branches pushing them off the train, and also getting sucked into the wheels when trying to board
the train while its in motion.
Many of The Beast riders are coming from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. El Salvador
is known to have the worlds highest murder rate as of 2015 due to a raging war between the
notorious gangs the Mara Salvatrucha and the 18th Street gang. Families in these countries live
in poverty, and raising violence drives them to make the life changing decision to leave their
homes to travel to the States. Many children also come aboard The Beast, oblivious of the long

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and dangerous journey their parents are taking them on. In 2011, U.S. border patrol detained
around 6,800 undocumented children. Although leaving their homes due to their personal
economic hardship, theyre leaving because of the threats they receive from these gangs. If these
people are fleeing to the United States to run away from the violence in their countries, wouldnt
it be appropriate to call them refugees instead of immigrants?
It is always argued that immigrants bring crime into the United States. Donald Trump, a
candidate for the U.S. 2016 presidential election, has made it known that he does not support
illegal immigrants coming into the country. He once said The Mexican Government is forcing
their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug
dealers, rapists, etc. This sparked outrage throughout the Latino community. But Trump is one
of many Americans who have the same ideas toward the undocumented. From 1990 to 2013, the
number of undocumented immigrated went from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. The violent crime
rate dropped 48% nationwide according to a report released by the American Immigration
Council. Undocumented immigrants have a small percentage in our population, so it is hard to
state a claim as Trump has done with those type of numbers. There is no evidence that
immigrants are either more or less likely to commit crimes than anyone else in the population,
Janice Kephard, a Center for Immigration Studies researcher.
Illegal immigrants are also said to take jobs from Americans. Although they do take jobs, it can
also create more. Immigrants have their own wants and needs as well, and those needs can create
a job for someone else. Those jobs would be able to go to an American who was native born.
There is something called the Lump of Labor Fallacy. Its described as the notion that there is
only so much work to be done and that no one can get a job without taking one from someone

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else. It can seem unreasonable that when there is an increase in the supply of workers the ones
who were already here will make less or lose their jobs. But immigrants not only increase the
supply of labor, they use the wages they earns to rent apartments, eat food, buy clothing, etc.
Thus allowing more apartments to be built, more food to be sold, and an increase in retail stores
being expanded to accommodate the buyers. Immigrants increase the size of population therefore
the size of the economy increases as well. The undocumented are beneficial to the country they
immigrate to. Their destination country has benefits for them and this helps the host country, so
shouldnt immigration be a good thing?
Lastly, immigrants are accused of not having to pay taxes since they do not have papers. They
do not have any form of documentation that tells the United States government that the
immigrant themselves exist. But in a new nationwide study on the fiscal implications concluded
that millions of undocumented immigrants actually do pay billions of dollars in taxes into their
residing state. More would be generated if President Obama succeeds in the executive order that
protects many immigrants from deportation.
The 50-state analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released that roughly
8.1 million of the 11.4 million undocumented immigrants who work paid more than $11.8 billion
in state and local taxes in 2012, even though they are living in the U.S. illegally. The group also
assessed that illegal immigrants combined nationwide state and local tax contributions would
increase by $845 million under the full implementation of Obamas 2012 and 2014 executive
actions and by $2.2 billion under immigration reform. The tax contributions from illegal
immigrants ranged from less than $3.2 million in Montana with around a population of 6,000

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undocumented immigrants to more than $3.2 billion in California, who's illegal immigrant
population reaches over 3.1 million.
The downside to those numbers is that Congress seems to look over them and have no type of
progress over immigration reform and Obamas efforts to protect the millions of illegal
immigrants from deportation. But if the United States were to grant lawful permanent residence
to all 11.4 million undocumented immigrants and allow them to work in the country legally, then
their contributions with increase by around $2.2 billion a year.
Immigration reform should be passed in the United States because we should look at those
seeking a better life here as refugees instead illegal immigrants. These people leave everything
for a 50/50 chance. If there was access to a better understand on how to apply for a work visa,
they would be more interested in coming legally rather than illegally. Those coming on their
journey whether its through land, sea, or air deserve to be treated like any other citizen would be.
The United States is a country built from immigrants. It makes no sense to deny anyone who
was not a natural born citizen to be denied the right to gain the title of being a legal immigrant.
Although President Obama has fought effortlessly to protect those from deportation, it is no
doubt that the inevitable will happen unless Congress changes their mind and passed new
immigration policies. Illegal immigrants have as much of a right to live in the U.S just as a
regular citizen would do. They pay their taxes and do their part to help the economy. A piece of
paper should not define them.

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Sources:
Cotto, Joseph. "The Real Reason so Many Americans Oppose immigration Reform."
Communities Digital News. 12 June 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.
"10 Myths About Immigration." 10 Myths About Immigration. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.
Alcaron, Antonio. "My Immigration Story." FWD.us. 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.
Watts, Jonathan. "One Murder Every Hour: How El Salvador Became the Homicide Capital of
the World." The Guardian. The Guardian, 22 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.