Question of this week: What is the Arizona Senate Bill 1070, and why was it enacted?
America has always been a nation of immigrants. Starting with the Europeans, people have been populating the great old United States of America from all over the world. Today, the majority of immigrants to the United States are from Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines. However, currently, there is a problem of illegal immigration, particularly in states near the Mexican border, such as Arizona. In 2009, there were 11.1 million illegal immigrants to the US. This has prompted the Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which makes it a crime to be an alien without official documents. This law gives the police the power to stop anyone and ask for proof of immigration status. However, the controversy occurs when people suggest that this law encourages racial profiling, since race is the primary basis of for investigating someone.
The reason illegal immigrantion is a problem is that it has many effects, whether political, social, or economical, on the other residents of the United States. In the late 1980s, immigration was viewed as positive for the economy as immigrants contribute as much as $10 billion to the US economy annually. However, immigration also has other economic impacts, such as a net loss in terms of taxes paid and social services received and competition for jobs. Nevertheless, immigrants can also help increase efficiency for some businesses because they are usually paid lower wages, allowing the business to then lower their price, which is essentially good for the consumer. A study by the Cato Institute in 2009 showed that the legalization of low-skilled illegal resident workers in the US would result in a net increase of US GDP of $180 billion over ten years.
Thus, this leads me to several thoughts and questions for further research: perhaps we should think towards legalizing more of the illegal immigrants. What is the process to legalize immigrants, and what prevents people from becoming citizens? If illegal immigrants are so detrimental to our society and economy, then how can we work towards legalizing them in a less controversial (and discriminatory) manner?