Ethics and Undocumented Immigrants
Undocumented immigration is a controversial topic these days. There are many factors that make it so. There are many ethical issues involved with undocumented immigration, and they stem from the fact that undocumented immigrants are not officially recorded as being in the country. Undocumented immigration is also commonly termed as “illegal” immigration, and what makes it illegal is when a person flees their native country into another country while violating the immigration laws of the destination country.
Before getting into the ethical issues surrounding undocumented immigrants, it is important to understand both what causes people to become undocumented immigrants, and what effects undocumented immigrants have on their destination country. There are many factors which may lead a person to illegally cross a border into the United States. The most common reason is economic, but other reasons include persecution in the home country, genocide, or a desire to escape a war-torn country. The majority of illegal immigrants in the United States come from Central America, and in particular Mexico. In many of these cases, one family member (usually a man) will cross the border into the United States in order to make
more money and send it home to his family. The minimum wage for a day of work in Mexico is roughly $4. (Daily Minimum Wages 2008) In contrast, a Mexican who comes to work in the United States will make about double that amount, but on an hourly basis. As one can tell, this is a drastic increase in income that would be very appealing to someone struggling through poverty in a foreign country.
Another important factor which forces people to immigrate to the United States is persecution from a hostile government. One example of this is people fleeing from Cuba to the U.S. Citizens of Cuba are not permitted to leave the country, however many do so unlawfully in hopes of finding a better life in the U.S. Because Cuba is a smaller country and may not have the resources of the United States, people risk everything and leave in hopes of realizing opportunities not available to them in Cuba.
There are also many dangers that exist for undocumented immigrants. Crossing a border illegally can be an extremely dangerous process for someone hoping to enter the United States. The U.S. - Mexico border is one of the most busy and heavily guarded borders in the world. The border is patrolled by 17,399 border control agents, who are all hoping to stop the crossing of undocumented immigrants. (Jeffrey) Because the border is so heavily guarded, many people go to extreme measures to try to get across. There are many deaths in the process. Because of the nature of undocumented immigration, an exact count of the deaths along the border cannot be known, but it is estimated that 1,954 people have died while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border
since 1998. (NY Times) Illegal immigrants cross over in the backs of trucks or in shipping containers, and die from suffocation. They also may encounter dehydration during a long walk exposed in sunlight across the border.
Many illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border are the victims of human smuggling. This is the process by which someone will sneak an immigrant across the border for a fee. In the instance of the U.S.-Mexico border, these smugglers are commonly known as “coyotes.” They have been known to treat the immigrants terribly, often abusing, raping, or even killing them. One 21 year old immigrant woman was found dead in San Diego, believed to be killed because she could not pay her smuggler. These types of deaths are common, and if the immigrant is not killed he may be abandoned in the middle of the journey due to complications and die shortly afterward. (Sherman)
In the United States many businesses target illegal immigrants as employees. Illegal immigrants are always looking for work and will work at a cheaper price then the average...
Cited: Armour, Stephanie. "USATODAY.com - Crackdown on hiring of illegal workers shifts to employers." News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World - USATODAY.com. 5 May 2006. Web. 23 Oct. 2009. .
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