Living Illegally in the United States


People enter the United States and choose to stay in the country for a variety of reasons. This including escaping violence in their home county and hoping to build a better future for themselves and their families. However, these individuals place a burden on citizens paying taxes.

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In addition, their economic contribution is not sufficient for the state. The issue of undocumented students attending United States schools free of charge is controversial because it involves ethical, social, and economic factors. Due to the fact that these individuals or their families do not contribute to the United States, economic development, one can argue that they should not be allowed to study without paying fees.

Implications of Undocumented Immigrant Education

Each government and its institutions function by using resources collected from its citizens in the form of tax. This aspect applies to individuals and businesses since both provide a portion of their earnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Using this perspective, one can argue that undocumented immigrants living in a country do not contribute to its wellbeing and development. Instead, they use the resources earned by others.

The constrained resources, both human and financial, obstruct schools from providing quality educational services to the United States citizens (Gonzales et al., 318). The additional burden of individuals not contributing economically, only worsens the situation. However, a regulation made by some states that require these undocumented immigrants to pay can improve the state of things.

Some states, for instance, Taxes already enables similar policies according to which a school can either deny admission or request payment (Gonzales et al., 318). In this way, educational institutions can evaluate their capability of providing education to legally registered citizens and if possible, allowing them to attend the undocumented immigrants. One can argue that this policy minimizes the controversial aspect of failing to provide education to the United States population because of a necessity to include immigrants.

The legalization of such individuals will not necessarily result in economic improvement. This issue is connected to the low-skilled jobs of most undocumented immigrants (Monras et al., 18). Thus, even legalization will not significantly contribute to the country’s economic well-being. Therefore, people who did not have a legal right to enter the United States will receive privileges, however, their contribution will not correspond to the spending necessary to provide them with all the required government assistance.

The integration into society, which is a crucial part of living in a country is another controversial element of this discussion. While it is anticipated that the schools can provide a proper environment for adaptation, due to difficulties with funding, it is not always the case (Gonzales et al., 318). Again, resources and financing emerge as the central issue that predefines attitudes towards undocumented children attending United States schools. If the country is unable to provide K-12 education that is of adequate quality to its legally registered kids, the question of educating individuals staying in it illegally should not emerge.

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While the implications described above consider the social and economic impact of undocumented immigrants, it is necessary to review the long-term consequences of such individuals living in the United States. One can argue that although not right away, eventually, students attending K-12 schools will graduate and become a part of the United States workforce, thus, paying taxes similarly to other citizens. Inevitably, people who came to the United States without proper authorization and continued living here perused to find jobs and form families (Waters, 305).

Therefore, they spend money within the country to purchase food or even homes for themselves and by doing so contribute to the state’s economic well-being. While this factor can justify some of the spending’s made to enable K-12 education, one should understand that in most cases illegal immigrants can not work officially, receive healthcare services, or use the help of government agencies (Waters, 305). Lack of these elements can be considered a violation of fundamental human rights. However, the ability to provide education for their children may be an essential reason that encourages individuals to live in these conditions.

Therefore, by illumination a significant cause that enables individuals to violate immigration laws and choose to live in the United States without proper documents, the government may be able to mitigate the issue of taxpayer burden. However, those who want to immigrate illegally regardless of the policies will face severe difficulties. Due to the fact that K-12 schools provide elementary and secondary education, banning individuals in questing will lead to an increase in the number of illiterate people (Gonzales et al., 319). Therefore, they will be unable to obtain further education or have a decent job. Also, the social implications of this issue can be dangerous because it is possible that crime rates will increase.

The ethical implications of the issue in question are the ones that make it particularly complicated. In addition, from a moral perspective, not allowing these individuals to receive an education is a violation of their human rights (Waters, 305). Healthcare and education are crucial for children and are outlined in several international declarations, for instance, the one developed by the United Nations. However, it is unclear which country is responsible for the provision of these essential services, and thus, one can argue that it should be a person’s homeland.

The resolution to the issue can either be in ensuring that all undocumented immigrants of appropriate age attend K-12 schools and pay for the services if necessary or more strict policies of immigration. The question of legalization or deportation has been a part of the United States official’s debate for several years now (Monras et al., 18). Since the country is experiencing some economic difficulties and is unable to provide all the necessary services such as healthcare or free education to its legal citizens, the policies regarding illegal individuals should be reviewed.

Alternatively, special programs of learning can be developed that use fewer resources and allow adequate integration or progressive forms of payment that would enable individuals to pay for their K-12 education after they turn 18 can be useful. This debate remains to be controversial since the ethical implications guide the need to allow children of undocumented immigrants to receive K-12 education. From a different perspective, the economic issues experienced by the country facilitate the need to consider the best interest of its citizens first.

All in all, undocumented immigrants should not have a right to attend K-12 schools free of charge. This is enabled by the inability of educational facilities to provide quality services and lack of resources that can be used by legal citizens. Additionally, the economic contribution and taxpayer burden have to be considered in this debate as well. The government can develop alternative strategies for the fulfillment of fundamental human rights.

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Works Cited

Gonzales, Roberto et al. “Untangling Plyler’s Legacy: Undocumented Students, Schools, and Citizenship.” Harvard Educational Review, vol. 85, no. 3, 2015, pp. 318-341.

Monras et al. “Understanding the Effects of Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants.” Upjohn Institute Working Paper, 2017, pp. 18-283.

Waters, Mary. “Human Rights for Undocumented Students and Their Families.” Harvard Educational Review, vol. 85, no. 3, 2015, pp. 305-309.

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