Illegal immigrants are those people who enter a country without proper documents. According to Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), any one who enters the U.S. by violating the immigration laws is referred to as an illegal alien. The term is considered to be legally accepted and correct (FAIR 1).
Studies by FAIR have estimated that in the year 2007 the population of illegal aliens was more than 13 million people. Other estimates have been given by the government and academic institutions the number of illegal immigrants staying in the United States was between 11 million and 12 million. In 2004, the Center for Immigration Studies established the number of illegal immigrants to be 10 million people (FAIR 1).
FAIR (1) observed that even though the illegal immigrants would work and so get to contribute to the American economy through taxation, studies point out that if the jobs done by these illegal aliens were done by Americans, much more revenue would be collected by the government. The immigration costs are paid mostly by the federal government although the states and the municipalities also contribute. There is a burden of $28.795 billion per year to the federal government (FAIR 1).
Relationship between Crime and the Number of Illegal Immigrants
Fox News (1) has argued that it is very difficult to actually determine how an increase in the number of illegal immigrants gets to affect the rate of crime in the United States. However, statistics have shown that Arizona as well as California and Texas are made to deal with the problem of increased crime that has resulted from the increased number of illegal immigrants (Fox News 1).
Research has shown that in Arizona, illegal immigrants have been known to collaborate with organizations that control smuggling activities to undertake criminal activities (1). According to FAIR (1), illegal immigration is responsible for the increased insecurity at the borders.
Orrenius and Coronado (3) argue that the link between the number of illegal immigrants and criminal activities is very difficult to pin point. They, however, have given reasons to explain why a relationship between a high population of illegal immigrants and crime at the Border States might be possible (Orrenius & Coronado 3).
The first reason has to do with the assumption that illegal immigrants get involved in crime more than the Americans themselves. Secondly, illegal immigrants are easy prey and the most likely target for attackers given that they would anything to hide from the authorities.
Thirdly, illegal immigrants will make use of the services offered by smugglers who eventually commit even more crime. Orrenius and Coronado, however, argue that it is quite difficult to actually prove that immigrants, whether legal or illegal are responsible for a greater number of criminal activities than the natives (3). Claims of the existing link between crime and the number of illegal immigrants in a border state can therefore be supported by the last two assumptions made above.
Orrenius & Coronado have also argued that immigrants are easy target for attackers and due to fact that they are in the United States illegally, they will hesitate to report any criminal activities to the authorities (4).
According to Chapman (1), the increase in the number of illegal immigrants into a state is accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of criminal activities.
Chapman observed that when amnesty was issued against illegal immigrants, murder rate in the United States went down to as low as 37 percent (1). In Chicago, the number of homicide cases decreased substantially from 747 in 1986 to 460 in the year 2009. Forced rape cases also dropped to 23 percent. Deaths resulting from drunkenness also reduced by more than half (Chapman 1).
Judicial Watch (1) observed that criminal gangs are in most cases made up of illegal immigrants responsible for many of the violent crimes taking place in the United States. They are also accused of distributing drugs in (Judicial Watch 1).
Some people have, however, argued that an increase in the number of illegal immigrants does not necessarily lead to a rise in crime rate. A study done by Fox News (1) revealed that some states such as Illinois with a high population of illegal had a very small number of illegal immigrants who were prisoners. As a matter of fact, the population of illegal immigrants in the prisons was found to be far much less than the expected number (Fox News 1).
Kingsbury (1) also pointed out that the increasing number of immigrants in the United States should not be blamed for rising rate of criminal activities. This argument is supported by a recent research that clearly indicated that immigrants in California are less likely to commit crime than the natives and the number of immigrants in California serving prison sentences is small despite the fact the their population is considerably high (Kingsbury 1).
From the above discussion, it is possible to show that even though an increase in the number of immigrants in certain states will lead to the rate of crime going up, some states may not be affected by the rising population of illegal immigrants.
Chapman, Steve. Does Illegal Immigration increase violent crime in the USA? California: Yahoo! Inc. 2010. Web. 24th April, 2011. < http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100226070402AA4w92k>.
FAIR. Immigration Issues. Washington, DC: Federation for American Immigration Reform. n.d. Web. 26th April, 2011. < http://www.fairus.org/site/PageNavigator/issues.html>.
Fox News. Border States Deal With More Illegal Immigrant Crime Than Most, Data Suggest. New York: FOX News Network, LLC. 2011. Web. 24th April, 2011. <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/29/border-states-dealing-illegal-immigrant-crime-data-suggests/>.
Judicial Watch. Illegal Immigrant Gangs Commit Most U.S. Crime. Washington, DC: Judicial Watch. 2010. Web. 24th April, 2011. < http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2009/jan/illegal-immigrant-gangs-commit-most-u-s-crime>.
Kathleen Kingsbury: Immigration: No Correlation With Crime. New York: Time Inc. 2011. Web. 24th April, 2011. <http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1717575,00.html>.
Orrenius, Pia M. & Coronado, Roberto. The Effect of Illegal Immigration and Border Enforcement on Crime Rates along the U.S.-Mexico Border. San Diego: Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. 2005. Web. 24th April, 2011. < http://www.ccis-ucsd.org/PUBLICATIONS/wrkg131.pdf>.