Immigrants are people who leave their countries so as to live in other countries. They do so for reasons such as higher education, search for job opportunities and medical care. There are various stereotypes associated with immigrants. Some people view them as uneducated and a drain to welfare. The stereotypes are even worse when one is an illegal immigrant. These are people who leave their countries without government permission, and often violate laws of the new countries of residence.
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The people who overstay their visas also signify illegal immigration (James 3). Some people say that illegal immigrants are lazy and go to a country to enjoy taxpayers’ money, which may be false. This paper outlines the reasons as to why immigrants should receive social services and benefits. It focuses on illegal immigrants in the United States of America.
There are several legal instruments governing the rights of illegal immigrants. In the United States, illegal immigrants have few social benefits. However, they have entitlements to food stamps, emergency medical assistance and free meals in public schools, in most of the states. Those who give birth while in the states automatically become parents to United States citizens (their children). This guarantees them access to numerous welfare benefits like food stamps, medical assistance, free meals in school (especially lunch) and childcare credits.
The Permanent Resident Alien Under Color of Law (PRUCOL) Act asserts that illegal immigrants are beneficiaries of welfare benefits such as federal aid (Tanton 8). They have entitlements to welfare unless served with legal deportation orders. This is evident in areas such as California and Arizona where undocumented immigrants receive medical assistance since the year 1984.
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) provide for emergency medical aid of all people. Furthermore, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides for nondiscrimination of people in the states, regardless of their citizenship status (Waters & Vang 22). Moreover, the Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v. Doe case 457 U.S. 202 (1982) that illegal immigrants should be granted aid for education. Thus, illegal immigrants should not be denied these social services.
Illegal immigrants pay taxes and therefore, should enjoy benefits accrued from these taxes. Taxes are the main sources of government revenue in many countries. In the United States, illegal immigrants pay income taxes through Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) and false Social Security numbers. In the year 2006, more than 700,000 illegal immigrants used ITIN to fill in details of taxation (Tanton 8). The immigrants are not eligible for the benefits that arise from the taxation. Since they are undocumented workers, they cannot lay claim for these benefits. However, they should be given these benefits because they do pay taxes (James 6-15).
They account for numerous benefits acquired in economic activities. Many employers look at illegal immigrants as people who are desperate for work. Thus, they offer them low-paying jobs, which are not readily accepted by legal immigrants and citizens. Employment of these immigrants enables employers to cut on spending on welfare contributions. Illegal immigrants work hard and contribute to the wealth of industries and agriculture. However, they hardly enjoy this wealth.
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Most of the illegal immigrants are poor people with meager finances and cannot afford basic meals, leave alone costs of processing visa and travel documents (Waters & Vang 18). Instead of rebuking such people, they should get support from the government. They do not choose to be poor, and as such, they should be given assistance and ways to get out of poverty. Such assistance includes food stamps to improve their nutrition requirements.
Some illegal immigrants get out of their countries as a result of political problems and go out to seek asylum. Under such situations, they may lack adequate time to arrange travel documents. Such people should not be judged as criminals because illegal immigration occurs due to the desire of getting out of problems. They ought to be given welfare benefits such as medical and education support until they rebuild their lives in the new countries.
In conclusion, illegal immigrants are human just like other human beings. They have entitlements to inalienable rights such as the right to life. Furthermore, there are many legal instruments protecting their welfare benefits. As such, they should never be denied their welfare services.
James, Daniel. Illegal Immigration: An Unfolding Crisis. New York: University Press of America, Inc., 1991. Print.
Tanton, John. Welfare Costs for Immigrants. The social contract Journal 3, (1), 1992: pp.6-15
Waters, Mary., & Vang, Zoua. The Challenges of Immigration to Race Based Diversity Policies in the United States. Paper presented at the Conference on the Art of the State III-Diversity and Canada’s Future, Montebello, Quebec, Canada October 14, 2005: pp. 1-34.