The problem of illegal immigration is not experienced in the United States' alone. It is a common phenomenon that cuts across the globe, and more prevalent in the developed countries. However, the United States is reported to have the highest number of illegal immigrants in the world. Illegal immigrants impacts, both positively and negatively, on the host country's social, economic and political spheres. In the United States, illegal immigration constitutes the violation, by foreign nationals, of the immigration policies that are established.
It also involves the violation of national laws, by foreign nationals, by entering and residing in the United States without the due legal permission from government. Therefore, illegal immigrants violate the country's immigration laws. The causes of illegal immigration are many and varied. They range from economic considerations to political ones. The consequent influx of large numbers of illegal immigrants has many effects on the country's social, economic and political life. This presentation is going to look into the causes of illegal immigration in the United States and its various implications (Espenshade, 2010).
The main factor behind illegal immigration into the United States is economic in nature. This lies in economic incentives. The persistent hiring of immigrants, by United States' employers, as workers is a major magnet that attracts many foreign nationals to the United States, with the hope of securing well paying jobs. A considerable percentage of employers in the United States are ready to engage the services of illegal immigrants. This is impelled by the fact that the immigrants will receive better pay than they usually earn in their home countries. Therefore, there is adequate motivation for foreign nationals to cross borders, even if it would mean violating United States' immigration laws in order to achieve that end.
Illegal immigration that is engendered by economic incentives is further accelerated by the ineffective immigration structure that has its foundation in the 1960s. This immigration structure allows for very few channels for procedural long-term migration impelled by economic considerations. This is best reflected in the case of low-skilled workers. The shortage of legal channels for economic migration has, therefore, enabled economic incentives to effectively prevail over the legal structures. Consequently, illegal entry has become a popular mechanism by which migrants respond to the allure of well paying jobs. The resulting scenario is a labour market saturated with low-skilled workers who have been effectively embedded in the United States economy.
Chain migration is another major factor that fuels illegal immigration in the United States. In chain migration, a legal immigrant can sponsor other immigrants to enter into the United States. The new immigrants then sponsor others, and this chain continues. The present United States immigration policy lies on a principle that defines family reunification broadly. It allows immigrants to sponsor their family members for admission into the United States. Therefore, there is no consideration on what the immigrants might be in a position to contribute to the United States society (Federation for America Immigration Reforms, 2011).
The family reunification system, which the law created in 1965, facilitated chain migration. This in turn has increased the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States. Immigration categories usually state the limits of the number of people who can be admitted under a particular category. Therefore, immigrant's relatives who they want to sponsor for admission into the United States, often wait for long periods to be admitted. Millions of them have already been told they are qualified for admission but must keep on waiting. Many lose patience with the pace of paperwork processing and seek alternative means of entering into the country. After all, they are eligible for entry. This continues to generate large numbers of illegal immigrants every year.