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The issue of illegal immigration has been the primary concern of public officials, legislators, and policymakers of both developed and developing countries. Despite numerous efforts to successfully eradicate the issue, illegal immigrants continue to cross the borders of foreign countries, ignoring the laws, official prohibition, and the potential punishment. Most of the desperate individuals are aware that the developed countries provide numerous job and education opportunities, and they try to take advantage of that, using all possible means. Illegal immigration negatively affects the development of modern society. Millions of people cross borders for employment, education, recreation, and communication with relatives.
The persecution and emergencies may also force individuals to leave their homeland. The analysis of migration processes highlights social and political conditions in a particular country, the economic development of it, and the level of security in a particular region of the world. Migration movements serve as a response to differences in living standards, adverse environmental factors, and the global economy needs. However, the fundamental feature of contemporary international migration is the high level of illegal immigration.
Migration is an integral part of modern society’s life. The nature of migration processes is extremely contradictory from the perspective of the world economy. The inadequate dominant model of international migration boosts illegal migration all over the world. The employers widely use cheap and disenfranchised labor force, ignoring the laws and not paying taxes. These illegitimate, but large-scale migration flows involve millions of trafficking in persons victims. They are a part of global migration process, which to a large extent ensures the functioning of the prevailing economic order in the world. In recent decades, the illegal immigration has become an integral feature of the national development, despite the adoption of laws prohibiting the illegal stay in the country and the employment of foreigners. The rapid growth and expansion of illegal immigration from the geographical perspective can be explained by examining various political and economic factors. Increased immigration affects various categories of workers. Limited opportunities for legal entry lead to the increased use of illegal channels. The paper seeks to examine the illegal immigration, its causes, issues, and global efforts that aim to eliminate the issue entirely.
Causes of Illegal Immigration
From the perspective of human development, the migration is a positive process through which individuals seek to enjoy decent living standards, to satisfy their vital needs, to reach spiritual enrichment and to receive the experience of social and cultural exchange. In recent years, there has been a gradual transformation of the nature of migration from the specific, short-term cases, military or ethnic conflicts into the evolutionary, long-term, and complex situations. The main causes include the economic factors, lack of employment prospects, impoverishment of the population, the discriminatory nature of the law in relation to certain categories of persons, and non-observance of human rights. The huge flow of migrants, including undocumented ones, take advantage of legislation weaknesses, transparency of the national borders, and the incompetence of law enforcement. However, many countries have formed a working industry by employing mostly migrant workers. This is due to the shortage of specific professions and specialties, as well as because of the reluctance of the local population to accept the obligations of the proposed work. This situation is common to almost all industries, but most often to the extractive industry, to construction, and to agriculture. The establishment of new interstate relations with neighbor and distant foreign countries, national conflicts based on ethnic, political and economic issues, the alleviation of border and immigration control have made the entries into the developed countries almost free to various categories of immigrants, including illegal ones. Internal ethnic conflicts have also resulted in increased migration. The demand for cheap labor, the poverty, unemployment, crises, and low standards of living also enhance the flows of immigrants.
The issue of illegal immigration has been regularly raised by the political parties seeking to get additional support from immigrants. Currently, the USA, like other developed countries, desperately lacks staff, and the official authorities have to fill up the shortage of labor force with overseas forces. The attractive location of countries, including their higher wages, employment opportunities, and security may also force the whole families to immigrate. Unfortunately, the existing framework and mechanisms for legal migration can not solve the problem of labor shortages in the developed and emerging economies. In many countries, labor markets can hire a large number of illegal migrant workers. Therefore, the availability of the employment opportunities and the willingness of employers to hire illegal immigrants are the most important factors contributing to the growth of such migration. In addition, no one can ignore the activities of criminal groups involved in the smuggling of migrants and making huge profits. The disadvantages of legislation and law enforcement practice are other evident causes of illegal immigration. Currently, the developed countries have a favorable situation that attracts the illegal immigrants. Not only economic, but also the political reasons and internal situation in the country boost the illegal immigration. Only after the elimination of these causes, the government can control the migration flows.
Issues Caused by Illegal Immigration
The increasing flow of immigrants into the country enhances anti-immigrant attitudes. The majority of the population favors tougher laws and more effective policy that would deal with this pressing issue. However, it is obvious that without immigrants, the developed countries may experience some difficulties in economic development as a significant portion of workers occupy lower-prestige jobs that residents may not want to engage in. An elimination of market overloaded with cheap labor due to the competition between the immigrants willing to work for low salaries may enhance the rate of unemployment in various spheres. However, the crime rate among the illegal immigrants has increased in recent years. The overpopulation of illegals and poor, unsanitary conditions they live under lead to the significant dissatisfaction among the law-abiding citizens and indigenous population that is forced to live in the close proximity to the immigrant communities. The families of migrant workers are often destroyed due to migration as individuals are forced to spend long years away from their loved ones.
Nowadays, many illegal immigrants are living in dormitories under conditions of poverty and inadequate facilities. These aspects have negative impact on their health as well. The illegal immigrants are more likely to have a higher incidence of various infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and AIDS. Poor working conditions lead to mental overload and overstrain of the nervous system. Illegal workers are also under the constant fear of being detained, losing their jobs, and being exiled from the country. The economic burden for the taxpayers is tangible as they have to spend money on the medical care for immigrants and other related issues. At the same time, illegal immigrants and their employers do not pay taxes and do not supplement the budget. Moreover, illegal immigrants pose a significant threat to the national security of the host and transit countries, as they do not engage in state registration. They are also excluded from the formal employment system, taxation, and the state’s social protection. Illegal immigration feeds the underground economy, provokes aggravation of social conflicts on ethnic grounds. The criminal and epidemiological conditions deteriorate as well. Illegal immigrants form a breeding ground for xenophobia and radical nationalism. The growing scale of illegal immigrants in the various countries profits the criminal business significantly.
Global Efforts to Combat Illegal Immigration
Nowadays, the main task set by the global community is to create the area of freedom, security, and justice. In order to strengthen the criminogenic nature of illegal immigration, the developed and developing countries should create a common policy and work on uniting their efforts. The frequent terrorist attacks in many countries have delayed resolving the issue of illegal migration. Illegal immigration is often regarded as one of the main factors boosting international terrorism. Moreover, the tragic events of past years have forced governments and the global community to choose between the national freedom and people’s safety.
It is important to note that the public consciousness in some countries is deeply assimilated with the tradition of freedom and security. The development of political consciousness regarding security issues has become one of the most important cultural values in the light of recent tragic events. In the early 1990s, the public made their choice in favor of freedom, while nowadays, the communities start paying more attention to the national and personal security. Therefore, illegal immigration seriously affects the scope of both national and personal security. Measures to put a stop to illegal immigration include the combination of effective migration legislation, prevention, and enforcement activities. These processes are carried out domestically and globally. Conventions, regulations, and guidelines developed by various countries provide the international legal basis for countering illegal immigration. In resolving this pressing issue of the day, the governments set two aims: the first one is to limit the number of illegal immigrants, and the second one is to suppress the activities of criminal organizations involved in smuggling.
Nowadays, developed and developing countries use various measures to fight against illegal immigration. They seek to strengthen the accountability measures for organizing the smuggling of migrants, to improve the work of border services, and to limit cases of illegal employment by monitoring the labor market and by applying the administrative, criminal and civil penalties against employers. The application of sanctions to carriers and transport companies that import illegal immigrants by land, water or air have become widely spread in the light of recent events. Foreign citizens should bear the responsibility for their illegal stay in the country and get penalized in the case of violations. The government, in turn, controls the number of persons who have illegal status by sending an immigration amnesty services to track them. The authorities also supervise channels of illegal immigration, strengthen international cooperation, and provide the provision of financial and economic assistance to the countries of illegal immigrants’ origins.
The wide scope of illegal immigration requires immediate and professional actions from law enforcement both at the national and international levels. Joint actions will be much more effective than actions undertaken by individual states. Developed and developing countries have to reach a compromise and to design a plan in order to eliminate the illegal immigration, which includes taking a number of measures to detect and prevent intrusion of illegal immigrants including transit. The new, improved legislation seeks to limit the influx of foreigners and provide for tougher actions against international criminal groups involved in smuggling and trafficking in persons. Moreover, the involved parties should exert pressure on countries that do not cooperate in regard to the issue of eliminating the flow of illegal immigrants and returning the newcomers to their homeland. In accordance with the state programs, governments should try to exile the illegal immigrants more actively, and the priority of voluntary return should be taken into account. The competent authorities seek to integrate the proposed measures into a single foreign policy, and above all, the national security policy. Western European and American officials are increasingly aware of the threat posed by illegal immigration into their countries.
The migration is an essential feature of the modern society’s lifestyle. The problem of illegal immigration is acute in many developed countries of the world. Western Europe, USA, and Canada impose immigration barriers, screening out those individuals who wish to settle in their territory. Despite obstacles and illegality of the process itself, the growth of illegal immigrants is significant. The U.S. immigration authorities, in particular, are well-known for their picky selection of candidates for entry. Currently, worldwide migration development is highly controversial.
The ineffective dominant model of international migration reflects the fact that the illegal migration, consisting of cheap and disenfranchised labor force, is increasing at an alarming rate. Human trafficking involves millions of people who are a part of today’s global migration regime. The economic order in the world is undermined due to the lack of effective immigration policy and joint efforts of all concerned parties. The coordinated approach developed by law enforcement officials and government agencies, the close cooperation of the competent authorities with international organizations and neighboring countries can provide positive results in matters of migration management, including the adequate and weighted legal actions against illegal immigration throughout the world.