September 25, 2021

The Extent of Immigration Violations in the United States

IXTEPEC, MEXICO - AUGUST 06: Central American immigrants arrive on top of a freight train on August 6, 2013 to Ixtepec, Mexico. Thousands of Central American migrants ride the trains, known as 'la bestia', or the beast, during their long and perilous journey north through Mexico to reach the United States border. Some of the immigrants are robbed and assaulted by gangs who control the train tops, while others fall asleep and tumble down, losing limbs or perishing under the wheels of the trains. Only a fraction of the immigrants who start the journey in Central America will traverse Mexico completely unscathed - and all this before illegally entering the United States and facing the considerable U.S. border security apparatus designed to track, detain and deport them. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The United States is still the number one destination for immigrants across the globe. Approximately 1 million people acquire US citizenship and green cards every year. It is estimated that almost 59 million immigrants have entered the United States in the last 50 years.

The immigration rate of a country tends to reflect its migratory policies. In recent years Russia and Germany have implemented more flexible immigration laws in order to attract skilled workers while Japan has very strict immigration laws, and therefore a very low immigration rate.

In the last years, a peculiar phenomenon has emerged in the United States: The number of immigrants who enter and stay illegally has approached the number of immigrants who legalize their immigration status in a given year.

The Center for Immigration Studies reported that from 2009 (when Barack Obama was elected) to 2013, the U.S. reported between 1.5- 1.7 million illegal immigrants in the country (400,000 yearly). This figure is alarming, even more so, only one of seven illegals is ever apprehended after entering the country.

According to a recent study by the Department of Homeland Security, more than half a million foreigners who traveled to the United States in 2015 decided to stay in the country after their visas expired and this number only includes those who arrived by air or sea using visas: B-1, B-2 and the “Visa Waiver Program”.

The report also revealed that in the past 20 years, 6 million people remained in the country illegally despite the fact that their visas had expired.

If we consider both figures from Homeland Security and the Center for immigration studies, it is obvious that the number of illegal immigrants in the United States is much higher than half a million per year. (Keep in mind those which are never apprehended)

It is safe to say the immigration crisis in the United States has gone from bad to worse. These studies have revealed what many Americans have suspected for a long time: illegal immigrants enter the country by land, by sea and by air. Is there even another country with similar statistics?

The data provided by government agencies also hints at the incompetence and inability of Barack Obama to resolve the immigration crisis. For seven years, the administration has softened immigration laws, temporarily suspended deportations and neglected the borders. In addition, the President has been unable to implement an efficient system to control and track foreigner’s visas.

For Barack Obama, the solution is simple: amnesty through executive order. The President has ignored the fact that any coherent immigration reform requires specific measures adopted by Congress. Obama should realize that, to date, no amnesty has been able to prevent additional flow of illegal immigrants.

Immigration in the United States is a serious problem and it’s not only the fault of illegals, but also politicians, who refuse to enforce existing immigration laws. I doubt Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will ever mention the issue during their presidential campaigns. The President and the candidates (Republicans and Democrats) should remember that most American voters oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.

I remember on one occasion viewing a photo of a protester carrying a sign reading: “the land belongs to everyone, no borders.” Exclamations like this make me wonder if such supporters would also say, “my house belongs to everyone, no doors.”

It is hard to believe that any nation faces similar immigration problems and the statistics are clear: the immigration crisis has reached unprecedented levels. What remains to be seen is whether a new administration can change the course.