Immigration is a hot-button issue in many parts of the world. The United States, especially, has become more divided than ever in the past few years over whether to continue allowing immigrants to remain in the country, legally or illegally, and to enable others to enter.

The current international immigrant population accounts for more than 3% of the world’s population. In 2016, the U.S. immigrant population equaled about 27% of the country’s total population.  

As one of the most important topics affecting the world today, immigration is one that you could benefit from understanding by keeping up-to-date with its latest news.

Why Do People Migrate?

The reasons people immigrate to another country mostly depend on the current situation in their native countries. Those in poverty and war-stricken areas, like Syria, often feel as though they have no choice but to go somewhere that’s likely safer to keep their families protected.

Usually, families decide to move to another country where they believe they’ll have more opportunities for education, work, and quality of life. Sometimes, families escape their native countries also to escape religious or political persecution.

Refugees have significantly driven immigration too. Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their homes due to war, crime, or environmental disasters, seeking refuge in another place that might give them shelter, food, and hope for a better life.

What are the Potential Effects on Immigrants and Countries?

Immigration can affect immigrants, receiving countries, and those countries’ citizens equally. Immigrants have the potential to influence current laws that could affect not just the immigrants, but also natives and citizens of the country.

Benefits

  • Immigration brings diversity to a country, allowing people to learn more about other cultures, religions, and traditions.
  • Immigrants can boost the economy by aiding businesses with inexpensive labor and, usually, more extended work hours for less money than citizens expect.
  • Migrant workers tend to fill up the careers that natives don’t want, which can also help the economy flourish.
  • Inexpensive labor from migrant workers can lower the cost of goods for consumers.
  • Immigrants can, potentially, find better educational, career, and familial opportunities in their host country.

Drawbacks

  • Since many migrant workers accept work for low pay, their efforts can quickly become exploited, never earning what citizens would consider a fair wage for their time.
  • Immigrants can, potentially, drive out native workers from some industries in which they work for lower wages.
  • Crime may increase in receiving countries if migrants are involved in things like organized crime or drug and human trafficking rings.
  • Migrants, even illegal ones, are sometimes eligible for similar services and benefits as natives, which citizens may deem unfair.
  • Some countries suffer a brain drain, losing their educated and skilled professionals when they immigrate to more affluent nations for better opportunities.

Why Does Immigration Have Such a Profound Impact on the United States?

The United States has long been one of the most popular countries for migrants.

Although there are several reasons for people to choose to move to the United States, one of the most visible benefits is the potential for a high quality of life. Those in developing nations seek personal and professional opportunities in the United States that they just can’t find in their native country.

The United States is also known for its freedom of speech and religion, allowing those who might be persecuted because of their religion or other factors a safe haven. Other nations oppress women, for example, but women have the same rights as men in the U.S.

Citizens and political leaders in the U.S., however, have been involved in a long-term debate over immigrants and their place in the country. The issue, perhaps, became even more heated during the 2016 Presidential campaign, when now-President Trump used the threat of a border wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country, dividing the nation on the important issue.

What are the Biggest Issues Surrounding Immigration Today?

Immigration news today certainly covers several of sub-topics within this important issue. The immigration process is a complicated one that not only affects immigrants themselves, but also other citizens in the countries that allow immigrants.

The United States is one of the countries most affected by immigration, which is why much of the current news focuses on it, its immigration laws, and its most important immigration-related issues. Here are some of the most pressing issues in the news today relating to immigrants:

Building “The Wall”

In 2015, Donald Trump proposed a border wall as part of his Presidential campaign. He said that a wall along the southern border of the United States, along the U.S.-Mexico border, would help control illegal immigration and illegal goods, like drugs, from entering the country.

Since the proposal of the wall, the U.S. has remained divided on the issue. Some say that building the wall symbolizes the U.S.’s lack of desire for a cultured nation, the very premise on which the country’s founders built it. Those for the wall say that it’s necessary to control illegals from entering the country, raising crime rates, and taking over much-needed jobs from citizens.

Muslim Immigration

Muslim immigrants have become much of the center of debate in the United States, especially since the 2001 terrorist attacks that rocked the nation. Since the attacks, people across the world have become divided over whether those from primarily Muslim countries should be welcomed with open arms.

The formation and growth of ISIS have also driven the divide. ISIS is a group of extreme militants, mostly comprised of Muslim extremists, that commit terrorist attacks on people and organizations who don’t have the same beliefs. Although most people view ISIS as a Muslim group, true Muslims think of them as an enemy group of violent terrorists who share very different belief systems from the Muslim religion.

Illegal Immigrants and Deportation

Many of those who are against migrants in the U.S. are opposed to illegal immigrants rather than all immigrants. Reluctant citizens feel that illegal immigrants are given easy access to things that only citizens should have access to, such as high-paying jobs, higher education, and healthcare.

Deportation is one of the most significant issues in the center of the debate. Should illegals be deported or forced to become citizens? Many illegals have built families with children born in the United States, technically making the children citizens, yet some political leaders have fought for deporting illegals and their families.  

Sanctuary Cities and Federal Funding

Sanctuary cities and states are those that accept refugees and immigrants while taking most of the control over what laws they put in place for those migrants. In other words, these sanctuary areas give the federal government little control over their immigrants and how much the city or state cooperates in federal investigations involving its immigrants.

Still, the federal government has control over whether to give sanctuary cities and stated funding for those immigrants, which can affect how well the areas can care for their immigrants.

Immigrant Benefits

What, if any, benefits should immigrants be allowed to get from their receiving countries? Should they have the same opportunities as citizens for higher education, healthcare, and welfare benefits? This is a crucial topic that many lawmakers want to tackle, as they feel that immigrants can potentially drain much-needed resources from citizens and immigrants who have worked to obtain citizenship.

Several misconceptions are surrounding this issue, though. For example, most immigrants must wait at least a few years before they can successfully apply for any welfare benefits. Undocumented immigrants also don’t have access to social security benefits until they become legal citizens. There are very few benefit programs, such as emergency Medicaid, for which illegal immigrants can apply.

Who Creates Laws for Immigrants?

A country’s government is responsible for creating laws on immigration. Some countries, like the U.S., pass some of the responsibility to lower tiers, such as provinces or states. Still, the overseeing government has the most control over policies and migrants.

In the United States, the U.S. Congress can create policies, which then must be signed by the President to become law. The executive branch of the government then implements those laws for immigration reform by governing who must abide by them and how.

Creating and passing laws around the world, though, is much more complicated than it seems on the surface. Policymakers must consider how regulations will affect immigrant families, the country’s economy, the opportunities presented to immigrants, how migrants can be employed, and more.  

Conclusion: Important Immigration Issues in the U.S. and World

Immigrants and native citizens alike face a lot of issues surrounding immigration and its place in today’s world. Most immigrants choose to make a home in another country so that they and their families have better opportunities than they did in their home country.

However, the laws that govern immigration policy can significantly impact the present and future of immigrant families and natives of the countries in which they make their new homes. The news today makes it apparent that this hot-button issue is one that continues to influence policymakers and divide nations.

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