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The high rate of immigration in Texas enrages the natives who view them as competitors in terms of employment opportunities, government services and alter their mode of life (West, 427). Illegal immigrants move to Texas in search for different reasons but are unable to integrate with the political social life thereby threatening to erase the native’s culture. Texas population has increased in the past few decades, with more than 4 million immigrants (Brannon and Logan, 1). Because Texas was part of Mexico, the two countries share strong cultural links. Since Texas became part of The United States, a large proportion of its immigrants originate from Mexico. During the Great depression, Texas experience a dramatic decrease in immigrants due to scarcity of employment, but after the Second World War, people started moving into the country. Although Texas is experiencing rapid immigration, the resident’s population born out of the country has declined in the 20th century.
Surprisingly, close to half of the immigrants are undocumented and have lived in the State for more than a decade, bearing US-born children. For instance, asylum seekers from Central America are protected by law and make up a larger share of the people crossing the US-Mexico border in Texas. The growth in numbers of Central Americans moving to Texas is straining the immigration system, and more than a million cases are pending in courts. Though there are policies for reducing unlawful immigration, the country is focusing on border enforcement for people coming into the State illegally. There is also a population of immigrants that have overstayed their visas and make up and a large population of undocumented immigrants.
Inclusive policies for illegal immigration is a controversial political issue in Texas, and this research is meant to understand the issues surrounding immigration in Texas and to draw a conclusion on whether inclusive policies should be adopted or not.
Immigrants come to Texas in different ways, including marriage, political refugees, special skills, or extended family ties. Besides, people moving to the country using green card visas can gain permanent residence and employment in the country. After five years, individuals entering the country using green cards can apply for citizenship and are naturalized to citizens with full rights for voting and access to social service benefits. The most controversial method for entering the State is through illegal immigration, and most people under this category are Mexicans. In some residential estates, the locals are not comfortable with the immigrants since they are not used to living with people from diverse backgrounds. People find it difficult to adjust to the new demographic mix and are worried about public resources strain (Brannon and Logan, 5). Such attitudes bring in complications to immigration policy reforms, and lawmakers are unable to make consistent public policies. Political and social conflict is experienced among immigrants and local communities. Some cities in Texas have currently adopted restrictive efforts, while others are fighting to gain inclusive policies.
Although native Americans are not comfortable with illegal immigrants, it is surprising that they are potent engines boosting the State economy. Although they only make up 21%of the Texas workforce, they contribute to a larger share of economic growth. US natives’ contribution to the workforce is declining due to a reduction in labour participation, among other factors. Their contribution to the workforce benefits the economy in that they work in labour-intensive jobs and have a high productivity level. Labour productivity raises economic output as portrayed by gross domestic product (GDP) (Hollifield, Philip & Pia, 5). Although the more significant GDP gains benefit immigrants in the form of earnings, the natives benefit from low priced products and services produced by foreigners. As a result of low prices for goods and services, business owners, landowners, and investors gain higher returns on lands and capital. There are cases where immigrants and Texas natives complement one another. For example, immigrants have contributed to a decline in housekeeping and child care costs.
Consequently, the labour supply of educated US native women has increased. Texas natives are concerned about whether foreigners have come to take away their employment opportunities. Available data shows that immigrants account for about half of employment growth. The wages for less-skilled workers have not been depressed by immigrant’s influx, but rather, the lowers-skilled workers in Texas are high, and the federal government determines the minimum wage rate. In some cities, the minimum wage rate is higher than the national standard.
Texas illegal immigrants are driving economic transformation due to their contribution to the labour force. Nevertheless, they lag in some socioeconomic dimensions such as welfare participation, high poverty rates, and low health care coverage rates (Brannon and Logan, 6). The Texas government is burdened by offering services to the illegal immigrant population due to low-service and low-tax model of the government. Poverty levels for immigrants are higher compared to other American states, and the native-immigrant gap is large than anywhere else. Immigrants in Texas are poor because of their low education attainment and little English skills (West, 442). Most illegal immigrants are from countries where English is not taught in school, yet the ability to speak the language plays a crucial part of economic success in Texas. The local and State government bear the largest share of financial costs associated with immigrants (Brannon and Logan, 7). For instance, funding of public education becomes a burden to the government due to the growing number of immigrant children. However, high-skilled legal immigrants earning higher salaries pay more taxes than the public services they receive even in a low-tax economy like Texas (West, 443). Immigrants living in Texas are less likely to have health insurance. This means the federal government will spend more on healthcare provision.
In conclusion, the debate on the costs and benefits illegal immigrants and whether or not to have inclusive policies in Texas attract political discussion and public opinion. While Texas natives feel that immigrants fill up employment positions that would be taken by Americans in their absence. The government argues that workers contribute to state revenue. The worker has opportunities for earning high wages and paying more taxes. On the other hand, they increase population growth through fertility and migration, burdening the government on the provision of social services and education. Judging both sides of the argument, it is advisable to allow immigrants to a country due to the different skills they have and the diversity they offer to the labour market. Besides, immigrants have a significant effect on driving the economy through the creation of businesses that provide employment opportunities to the natives and paying taxes to the government. Their contribution to Texas has increased in the past few decades. For instance, they offer affordable housekeeping and child care services allowing native women to participate in the labour market. Inclusive policies should, therefore, be formulated to ensure that immigrants have equal access to health care, education, insurance, and social security benefits. Lastly, people who have moved to Texas illegally should consider acquiring the necessary documents to avoid more controversies from arising.
Brannon, Ike, and Logan Albright. “Immigration’s impact on the Texas economy.” Texas Public Policy Institute (2016).
Hollifield, James, Philip L. Martin, and Pia Orrenius, eds. Controlling immigration: A global perspective. Stanford University Press, 2014.
West, Darrell M. “The costs and benefits of immigration.” Political Science Quarterly 126.3 (2011): 427-443.