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The United States of America has suffered a lot due to the problem of illegal aliens. They have directly affected criminal justice system due to the expenses involved when they commit crime. This paper discusses the issue of illegal aliens in USA and how they have impacted the country's criminal justice system and policies developed to deal with it.
Anderson &Clark (2010), define an Illegal alien an individual residing in a particular country or nation unlawfully. There are other names that are used to refer to illegal aliens such as undocumented aliens, undocumented immigrants, illegal immigrants, and unauthorized migrants. There are various categories of illegal aliens including those who entered the foreign country illegally. The other category is made up of those who legally entered the country but due to some reasons, dishonored their refugee permit's or permanent resident card's terms, overstayed the days allowed on their visa.
Illegal Aliens in the USA
Even though the issue of illegal aliens is persistently a divisive and controversial topic throughout the whole world, the United States of America is among the worst affected countries. It is estimated that more than twelve million illegal aliens are in the USA today. Statistics indicate that out their total, their largest percentage, approximately 57% are from Mexico, those from Latin American nations make up of approximately 24% majorly from Central American countries. Those from Asia are estimated to be 9%, from Europe 6% and lastly 4% makes up those from other parts of the world. Studies carried out in 2009 established California as the state with the most number of illegal aliens (2, 930,000) followed by Texas (1,640,000) and thirdly Florida (980, 000).
Even though there are scores of individuals who have cited the positive sides of illegal aliens, there are those who equally feel that the issue is hurting the American society and economy and living standards. Truly there are many negative sides of illegal immigration than the act helps American people. First of all they have taken low-skilled jobs away from citizens of America. Due to stiff completion they have created in the job market, the wages of low educated Americans have greatly fallen. Secondly, a high number of illegal immigrants have criminal records (Anderson &Clark, 2010). They continuously violate the laws of the federal state. There are many cases involving robbery with violence, child molestation/sexual assault, and rape among other all attributed to illegal aliens. It is estimated that more than 100 illegal aliens commit one or other forms of crimes.
From all these criminal issues that illegal aliens engage in, the issue does only affect the American public negatively but also directly affects the criminal justice system directly. At both local and state levels, the costs incurred to arrest, prosecute, sentence, and supervise illegal aliens committing crimes has become a major concern. For instance many states are today engaged in an unending practice of claiming for reimbursement of criminal justice costs incurred in handling illegal aliens, from the federal government through filing suits to compel it to do so (Schuck & Williams, 2009). Their argument is that, it is the responsibility of the federal government to keep them out of USA. Consequently the states argue that the government should drive them away and compensate any fiscal effects the illegal immigrants bring to lower government's levels. However none of these cases have succeeded.
Weissinger (2007) observes that another area in which the issue of illegal immigrants directly affects the criminal justice system is increasing pressure on the already stressed prison and other related facilities. The bed spaces are inadequate in some state and federal prison facilities; the number of prisoners sometimes is very high for the warders to effectively manage them. Additionally, the cost of maintaining the illegal aliens in prisons and in criminal justice systems in general inflates their budgetary allocations.
Because of the underlying issues related to illegal aliens, the federal and state governments have sought for various ways of dealing with the problem through adopting various policies. The most recent and notable policy was the "supplemental spending bill that was initiated and passed by the House" (Anderson &Clark, 2010). The bill was meant to appropriate a total amount of $701 million aimed at enhancing measures of border security to help in preventing illegal aliens from entering the USA. The bill was passed by the House/senators after going through some motions and amendments. This policy is constitutional due to the fact that it went through the hands of the House
Other immigration laws that seek expelling of all illegal immigrants having been enacted in the constriction of the United States of America, there are some states who feel that this is not enough and have ended up developing their own policies to avert the situation. A good example of the state that has done this is Arizona. The state has put in place a new law to enforce immigration. The law that seeks to seriously deal with all illegal aliens in the state was initiated by Jan Brewer, the Arizona Governor and unanimously voted for by the city council members (Anderson & Clark, 2010). Some of the demands of the new Arizona Immigration Law are: law enforcement officers within the state must establish immigration status of persons legally stopped, arrested or detained if there is a sound suspicion that they are illegal immigrants, all aliens must apply and carry registration documents, making it a crime for any illegal immigrant to seek for, apply or carry out work among other requirements. This policy is regulatory because its being in place was decided by ordinary citizen, additionally is being challenged in court.
The above policies will ensure that the community stays peacefully without the problems brought about by illegal aliens. The illegal aliens will as a result suffer in many ways like being arrested, being deported and also lacking employment. Lastly the victims will feel relieved and further offenses against them will be prevented (Weissinger, 2007).
Illegal aliens has affected USA negatively more than any other country in the world. Consequently, the criminal justice system has been a direct recipient of all the havoc brought about by this problem. Due to this, the federal state and some states have developed policies to curb the situation by keeping them away.