Discuss the issue of illegal immigration from a (rule) utilitarian perspective.
Consider whose happiness or welfare is affected by the fact of illegal immigration.
Illegal immigration affects the happiness and welfare of the illegal immigrants themselves. In addition, the welfare of the United States government is also affected by illegal immigration. The government is affected both economically and politically. The people of the United States are also affected by the fact of illegal immigration. For instance, the welfare and happiness of the workers, entrepreneurs, and politicians are affected by illegal immigration. Finally, the home country is affected by illegal immigration. By losing a portion of its population, the home country is affected in relation to its welfare.
How are those who are affected by illegal immigration actually or potentially affected (i.e., are they actually or potentially benefitted or harmed?)?
The United States generally accepts immigrants that are the most accomplished in their fields. However, these people are less likely to emigrate from their home country because they are already successful. On the other hand, there are people who wish to immigrate into the United States to better their status, whether it is financially, educationally, or culturally. These types of immigrants are often denied and thus they resort to illegal immigration. The United States consists of two types of illegal immigrants: there are those who enter the country illegally and there are those that enter legally, but overstay illegally. Although both types of immigrants are illegal people still continue to immigrate into the United States. This is due to the fact that illegal immigration potentially benefits the illegal immigrants.
As aforementioned the people that do immigrate illegally into the United States are doing so to better their status. These immigrants are usually poor and undereducated. Thus, moving into the United States gives them an opportunity for better employment. Although they acquire low wage jobs in the United States, these immigrants are most likely leaving even lower wage jobs within their home country. From a utilitarian perspective it would be best for illegal immigrants to move into the United States because they would reap the most benefits from the United States.
Also affected by illegal immigration is the United States Government, both economically and politically. Economically, the United States government could potentially be harmed, but also it could potentially benefit from illegal immigration. On the surface it appears that the United States is harmed economically by illegal immigrants due to all the costs they incur and the money they do not pay to the government. However, illegal immigrants actually play a significant role in the economy and potentially benefits said economy. Most people dissent illegal immigration because they believe that illegal immigrants take jobs away from American citizens by presenting themselves as cheap labor and illegal immigrants affect the education and welfare system negatively. In contrast, the cheap labor that enters the market actually manages to fuel the economy. Cheap labor creates more jobs and requires less money, therefore it would be in the best interest of the United States and its citizens to have cheap labor. It can be even argued that these cheap labor jobs that illegal immigrants are supposedly stealing from Americans may not even be filled without the immigrants. Therefore, from the utilitarian aspect it would be unreasonable to deny illegal immigrants into the United States when they manage to stimulate the economy.
Most of the illegal immigrants that enter the United States do not come to live off the welfare programs available to American citizens. Conversely, they enter to work hard and increase their standard of living. In addition, the children and elderly immigrants that enter the United States actually benefit the economy positively. Although, they do not directly affect the economy, they have affect because of their need for welfare and education services. Thus, the economy would be stimulated because the welfare and education needs would create more jobs and stimulate the economy. Furthermore, the children could work to become model citizens that stimulate the economy.
Politically, the United States government is potentially harmed. The politicians that wish to be reelected, for instance, could lose votes if they support updating immigration laws due to the increase in illegal immigrants. Additionally, illegal immigration has a way of undermining national security. These illegal immigrants are essentially under the radar, thus people that harmful to the country could learn to be under the radar in a similar manner. Thus, better immigration control as well as naturalization is needed.
Illegal immigration affects the citizens of the United States. Pertaining to the low income workers that the illegal immigrants take jobs from, illegal immigration potentially harms them. These citizens have to compete with illegal immigrants who are willing to work for a lower wage. Even though these citizens are losing their source of income, society as a whole could benefit because illegal immigrants are able to provide a service at a lower cost which in turn allows consumers to have more money to allocate elsewhere. Human production would actually increase. Similar to the consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States could also benefit. Moreover, illegal immigration also affects the citizens of the United States because it is thought to be harmful towards the overall culture of the United States, however, American culture is founded on its diversity. It is an eclectic source of people and thus, illegal immigration actually further enriches the diversity of the United States.
Finally, illegal immigration potentially benefits and harms the home country of the illegal immigrants. For instance, the home countries of illegal immigrants are getting rid of a portion of their population that is poor and undereducated. This could then benefit the home country. At the same time the country is losing a portion of their working class which is harmful to their economy.
What is the best utilitarian ethical solution to the “problem” of illegal immigration?
The best utilitarian ethical solution to the “problem” of illegal immigration involves the United States creating change in its current immigration policies. The current policies are discriminatory and infringe utilitarian standards. Updated immigration policies will need to a society with the most benefits for both the current and future citizens.
To change policies there are a few key things that must be taken into account. Firstly, the process for immigrants to acquire citizenship should be more reasonable. In is more beneficial to accept immigrants into the United States than the opposite because they provide benefits for both the United States (from an economic standpoint) and themselves (by increasing their standard of living). Although the benefits will not be seen immediately, in the long run they are more useful. For instance, the children of illegal immigrants could become legal upstanding and contributing citizens through the education they acquire in the United States.
Secondly, the United States should consider bestowing citizenship onto immigrants who enter from education purposes. One of the main contributors of illegal immigration is people that enter the country legally and then overstay illegally. Rather than force these newly educated members of society, the United States should grant them easier methods to become citizens. It is especially illogical from utilitarian perspective to educate immigrants with American resources and then send them back to their home countries because these immigrants could better society and benefit themselves from the opportunities the Unites States presents.
Thirdly, the United States should update the method in which they retain information on illegal immigrants. Currently, the collection and use of information is weak. For instance, there is no penalty for illegal immigrants that cross borders multiple times because of the lack of documentation. If the United States handled this better, they could have stronger border control as well as stronger national security.
Finally, the United States should look into methods of integrating immigrants. Simply entering the United States will not suffice for immigrants; they will need to successfully participate in society to create a better society. Ultimately, a combination of the solutions mentioned above could create a society in which most of the players could benefit. For example, the economy and the status of the immigrants improve. Although certain blue collar workers may possible lose their jobs, the overall benefits updating immigration policies outweigh the negatives of the workers losing their jobs. The greatest good for the greatest number can be achieved if illegal immigration is seen in a different light because there is certainly a usefulness to these immigrants.