“Everybody is scared. Yesterday my business was too slow. Today my business is too slow too because everybody is looking for ICE.” These are the words of Reverend Juan Carlos Ruiz from the Lutheran Church of Good Shepherd in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York. Recently in cities with a high foreign-born population, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents knocked on many residential doors, aiming to capture illegal immigrants and hold mass deportations sending them back to the countries which they came from. The recent ICE raids carried out by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement are unrealistic in both process and ideology, inhumane towards the immigrants affected, and actually detrimental to the US economy by deporting people that do contribute.

 

How Realistic Are ICE Raids?

In 2017, there were 10.5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. ICE’s goal of capturing the undocumented immigrants from states with high foreign-born populations, such as California and New York, is a completely unrealistic goal and a waste of the government’s time and money. 

President Donald Trump is a firm believer in orchestrating these ICE raids since he believes that undocumented immigrants would be more likely to commit crimes than American citizens, and the ICE raids are for the sake of national security. But, various reports show otherwise, demonstrating that many of the country’s lowest crime rates can be found in places with the highest immigration rates, which are places with the highest population of illegal immigrants.

 

Raids and Deportations

In addition to the ICE raids and deportations being completely unrealistic for our country, they are also incredibly inhumane towards illegal immigrants. Deportations have rapidly increased in the United States over the last three decades with 340,056 people being deported from the country in 2017.

There have been countless stories of harassment occurring to immigrants in both ICE custody and in their home countries after being deported, including sexual assault cases, kidnappings, torture, and even murders. Thus, ICE has not only personally terrorized immigrants, but also endangered them by sending them back to the impoverished or war-torn countries they fled from.

In addition, these deportations have significantly harmful psychological effects on by the individuals, families, and communities affected. Nearly 4 in 5 families screened in family detention centers have a “credible fear” of persecution if they returned to their original countries. During deportation, families can be split apart, which can cause severe mental health issues. Not only that, but raising families after being deported is incredibly difficult, especially with the limited resources they have after deportation. 

The terror and panic can set in even before an ICE raid occurs. Many illegal immigrants share a fear of ICE, and the Department of Homeland Security providing them as targets for potential raids makes things even worse on an illegal immigrant’s standpoint.

Lastly, with President Trump in office, no hope is given to illegal immigrants for the ongoing ICE raids to stop any time soon. 

 

Do Illegal Immigrants Benefit America?

Many Americans believe that illegal immigrants hurt our economic security, but research has shown otherwise. Immigrants who are only eligible for legal status, but not citizenship, would contribute about $832 billion to the economy and pay $109 billion in taxes in a ten-year period, as well as adding 121,000 more jobs per year. If they were granted both legal status and citizenship, the US GDP would grow by $1.4 trillion over a ten-year period, creating an additional 203,000 jobs per year, and adding $184 billion in tax revenue. But when illegal immigrants pay taxes, they use IRS tax identification numbers (ITIN), which shows in their estimated $11.6 billion a year in taxes per year.

There are many myths about illegal immigrants that need to be fixed in society. One of them is that they take more from the US government and contribute less. But, this was actually proven incorrect by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which stated that second-generation immigrants contribute $1,700 per person each year, compared to the $1,300 by native-born Americans. 

Another big myth is that they take American job opportunities. But a study by the US Bureau Labor Statistics showed that immigrant workers often take jobs that boost other parts of the economy.

The list of these many myths of illegal immigrants goes on and on. To conclude, illegal immigrants, do in fact enrich our economy and society, benefiting our country. 

 

Fair Process

A fair process for individuals who have come to the United States illegally should mean that they earn their way to citizenship. This ideology can be a common ground for both liberal and conservative viewpoints, as well as the immigrants coming in the country.

“We’ve got to lay out a path– a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line, behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally. That’s only fair, right?… So that means it won’t be a quick process but it will be a fair process. And it will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually to citizenship.” 

This process stated by Barack Obama was widely accepted since it was fair and acceptable for everyone. This removes the act of deportations and gives illegal immigrants a second chance at living in the country safely. Due to the fact that this procedure is beneficial for everyone, the US government has to implement this policy. 

 

A Deeper Understanding

At the end of the day, the only way we can fully accept immigrants as a whole into our country is to understand where they came from and why. Most of the illegal immigrants that came into the country in the first place were desperate considering that they were seeking asylum from situations out of their control, such as violence and poverty, and wished to give themselves and their children a better life filled with opportunity.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and/or student and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of United 4 Social Change Inc., its board members, or officers.
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