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Illegal Immigration: Europe and the United States

Updated on May 18, 2012
Tunisian refugees off of Lampedusa island, Italy
Tunisian refugees off of Lampedusa island, Italy | Source

This hot topic issue will not be going away soon. Illegal immigration can cause intense debate. Because of the bad economy many illegal Mexicans immigrants in the US have started to move back home, or choose not to try their luck in America anymore. This news has been welcomed by many Americans. However, there are those who say that this will cause a labor shortage as the menial jobs that Mexicans have traditionally held will now go unfilled (farm work, factory work etc.) The usual argument by many liberal minded people is that these jobs will not be done by whites or other "legal" Americans. This is only correct if we look at the low wages that these illegal immigrants have been getting paid for the work. It these employers would pay at least minimum wage then the throngs of currently unemployed Americans would be more willing to do them. The greed of employers and the failure of the government to do much about illegal immigration due to economic reasons have let the situation get out of control. It all comes down to the bottom line of cheap labor=increased profits. Employers who employ illegals are rarely punished. Many Americans cry out against US companies moving manufacturing jobs overseas, but those who employ illegals inside America because they are a source of cheap labor are equally at fault.

In Europe the immigration problem has come mostly from Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. The Arab Spring has caused an illegal immigration crisis in Italy, France and Greece as refugees from those conflicts have inundated European borders. Many North Africans have relatives in France also, which makes that country a popular destination. Germany, the UK, Belgium, and Portugal also have problems with illegal immigrants coming from their former colonies in Asia and Africa and South America, all hoping for the good life. With the present global crisis tensions between locals and illegals are getting tenser and tenser, especially with Muslims in France, UK and Germany. Europe's economy simply cannot handle all of these people seeking to settle down in Europe, especially as many who have lived there for years or decades have no interest in conforming to societal norms. In Europe, where countries have had their own cultures, languages and traditions for centuries, people understandably do not look too kindly on those who come expecting handouts but refuse to learn the language or to adopt at least some aspects of local life. This behavior can cause tensions in the best of times, not to mention presently during such a societal and economic crisis.

Illegal immigration is a trend that does not look like it will stop anytime soon. France has recently said that it has thought about putting restrictions on the Schengen Agreement which allows free passage between European Union internal borders in order to regain some control over who or what is entering their territory. The borders between Schengen and non-Schengen states in Europe are rife with human traffickers bringing in people from places like Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan who want to avoid going back to their home countries at all costs due to political and economic strife and civil wars.

The bottom line is that people are resenting illegal immigration more and more. Just imagine total strangers moving into your house, expecting to be accepted, not bothering to learn how to communicate with you, and doing some menial jobs around the house for a pittance, and perhaps even stealing your belongings. This is how many people see illegal immigrants on a national scale. Of course there are exceptions to everything, but as financial woes grow, tempers and patience lessens.

Another issue is that there are around 12 million illegal Mexicans in the US who live and work with no problems. However, coming to the US as a legal immigrant involves strict conditions, tons of paper work, medical exams, tests, interviews, background checks, documentation, time and at least $1,000 in Embassy fees. This does not seem fair: people who come here legally are put through a grinder of beauracracy, whilst those jumping over the border are basically free to do as they please for free. Those who move here legally have conditions and probation times put on their legal immigrant status, while illegals are free get around the system to roam around, buy cars, use the health system, get an education and enjoy almost more more than legal citizens.

We see more and more ultra right wing parties gaining votes throughout Europe including in traditionally tolerant countries such as Denmark, Norway, Finland and Switzerland, not to mention in those countries on the front line such as Italy and Greece.

Obviously this mass migration of peoples is constantly evolving, and only time will tell what the outcome will be. However, unless there is a marked improvement in the global economy, the tensions and conflicts are likely to get worse between locals and illegal immigrants in the United States and Europe.

US-Mexico border at Nogales, Arizona
US-Mexico border at Nogales, Arizona | Source

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    • profile image

      Old Poolman 5 years ago

      Interesting hub on one of my favorite subjects. I have very mixed feelings about illegal immigration. You are partly correct about the low wages paid for some jobs, but others pay quite well. I personally know several orchard owners who depend on illegals to harvest their crops, or they would not get harvested and rot of the trees. They all pay piece work, so much per box or basket, rather than hourly wages. It is true that few Americans would take one of these jobs as it is horribly hard work out in the hot sun all day. We used to have a "guest worker" program that worked fairly well, but they did away with that.

      All I can tell you is if my family was starving, and there was work available in Mexico, I would be looking for a hole in the fence myself.

    • frantisek78 profile image
      Author

      frantisek78 5 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Old Poolman.

    • Nick Hanlon profile image

      Nick Hanlon 4 years ago from Chiang Mai

      Good hub.We all know that the government will not round up 12 million people and send them back.So now what?Answer...I have no idea.Let them pay a fine,deregulate immigration procedure,amnesty....someone please come up with an idea.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Nick - Illegal immigration is so out of control, I think our leaders have given up on a plan. We really don't know exactly how many are living here illegally, and to round them up and send them back would cost billions. The cost plus the fact many would just come back, illegally of course, makes it very difficult. I just don't think it would be that difficult to come up with a workable guest worker program. If this guest worker program was in effect, it would greatly reduce the problem. Farmers and ranchers would be legally able to hire the needed labor, and the workers would get paid decent wages. Any employers who were discovered hiring illegals outside the guest worker program would face serious penalties, and perhaps the license to do business in their state. We had it once and it worked, so why it was stopped I have no idea.

    • immigrationhelp profile image

      immigrationhelp 4 years ago

      Great hub. There are no easy solutions to this age old problem. We also need to take some responsibility for creating an evironment that encourages illegal immigrants to come.

    • pocono foothills profile image

      John Fisher 3 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

      I say, take them to the borders and let them walk, swim, paddle, pedal. ANYTHING except stay in America or get back to where they came from at the cost of American taxpayers.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Greathub, woyld find it easier to read if you had break into more paragraphs though

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