Relationship Between Immigration and Government, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Immigration doesn’t only have social and economic impact on any country but also influences the functioning of the government. The government has to implement new regulations so that it can draw the boundaries between the rights that are accessible to everyone including citizens, legal residents, and undocumented aliens and the rights that are exclusive only to citizens. It also increases government spending on programs such as education and law enforcement because every child in some country including the U.S. is eligible for free education even if their parents are not tax-paying residents. Immigration may also increase tensions between political parties if the political parties may have different opinions on the necessity of immigration, especially the issues concerning undocumented residents.

Immigration may lead to increased regulations activity, especially, in tough economic times. The recent wave of immigration bills in many states including Arizona, Alabama, and Oklahoma etc. demonstrates that immigration issues do shape the political climate at both the state and the federal level. The federal government sued Arizona because it claimed Arizona crossed its legal limits and interfered with federal powers to regulate immigration (Fox News).

Not all aspects of immigration leads to challenges and problems only and in many cases, the benefits of immigration outweigh the potential costs and burden on the government and the economy. Immigration increases the economic competitiveness of a country because it ensures the representation of diverse cultural and ethnic groups who each bring different perspectives and strengths to the organizations at which they work. The generous immigration policy also helps the country attract talent from all around the world and increases the quality of workforce.

Immigration also increases the revenues of the government in numerous ways. First of all, most immigrants pay income and social security taxes even when some of them may never receive social security payments due to their legal status. The government’s revenues also increase because many immigrants work in industries or do jobs that may go unfulfilled otherwise and many businesses won’t be able to survive without labor provided by immigrants. Agriculture is one notable example. A crackdown on illegal immigration in 2004 caused a shortage of workers needed to bring in the lettuce crop in the Western United States and caused a loss of $1 billion. The agricultural producers didn’t hire legal residents as an alternative because higher wages would have made it uneconomical (Isidore). Globalization means factors of production are mobile and it is cheaper to import products. American companies would always strive for lower costs and if they do not find cheap labor at home, they will simply import. But illegal residents keep many businesses afloat at home and also ensure Americans get cheap agricultural products that are homegrown.

Immigration also helps the government increase its political leverage at the international level and improve the country’s goodwill abroad. Immigrants form a bond with their new home and help promote a positive image of the country when they return to or visit their home countries. In addition, immigrants also help the government better understand the international political affairs because they represent local perspectives.

Immigration also helps the government achieve its macroeconomic objectives because the addition of immigrants means the overall demand for products and services goes up and GDP increases. Immigration also helps the government achieve low inflation rates because economies of scale allow companies to offer lower prices on products and services. Immigration may also help the government achieve recovery in housing sector due to higher demand levels (Nell).

There is a possibility that immigration may worsen the unemployment problem. Some studies have found that immigration negatively affects the job prospects of Americans without college degree because it increases competition for low-paying jobs from immigrants many of whom are illegal and themselves have low education levels. In addition, the greater supply of labor also means the wage levels in unskilled jobs may decline (Nell).

Immigration may also force the government to increase expenditure on services required by immigrants such as language interpretation services, schools aimed at teaching local language to immigrants, and different classes at education institutions. The government may also have to introduce policies to ensure fair labor representation of immigrants such as quotas.

Immigration results in both challenges as well as benefits to the government. It increases government spending and regulations but also increase revenue streams. In addition, it also improves the country’s political leverage as well as reputation on the international level. It may also help the economy grow as well as keep inflation level low.

References

Fox News. Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law. 6 July 2010. 29 April 2012 <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/06/justice-department-file-suit-arizona-early-tuesday/>.

Isidore, Chris. Illegal workers: good for U.S. economy. 1 May 2006. 29 April 2012 <http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/01/news/economy/immigration_economy/index.htm>.

Nell, Henderson. Effect of Immigration on Jobs, Wages Is Difficult for Economists to Nail Down. 15 April 2006. 29 April 2012 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401686.html>.

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