Knowledge is Power Series On Immigration: Why is Illegal Immigration Sometimes Worth the Risk?
We have discussed what is meant by immigration and why you should not be afraid of immigrants. We've also discussed illegal immigration. However, those are only terms used to describe an action. The more important question is, "WHY".
Why do people risk jail, deportation (sending a foreigner back to their original country), separation from family and friends, and in some cases, their lives to enter a country illegally? There are as many answers to this question as there are people willing to take the risk. Yet, there are a few common factors, and they include the same things that your parents, your future self, and I feel are the necessities to life.
Work. Thousands of illegal immigrants enter the United States to find work--any work. They pick vegetables and fruits, clean houses and businesses, do construction, mow yards, take care of someone else's children, become maids, work in the clothing industry, and willingly do any job that will pay them a meager wage and not ask about their immigration status. It might surprise you to know that a large number of these workers don't want to stay here, they just want to make money to send home to support their families. They would probably like to be legal, but our system of immigration does not allow this except under certain circumstances.
Shelter. No one wants to be homeless, but millions in this world are homeless. In areas suffering economically, people can't either work to support themselves, or work for so little money they can't afford housing. They live on the street, in houses build with cardboard boxes, tin houses, tents, or whatever they can find to keep the rain out. They cross the border illegally on the hope that they can find a place to live for them and their families. Wouldn't you?
Family. In many instances, a family member has already immigrated legally. His/her foot is in the door so to speak. The family can apply to join him/her. However, it can still take anywhere between one to 10 years. However, if the family member immigrated illegally, there is no foot in the door. There is no one to sponsor a legal immigration, and if the family wants to be together, they take the risk and cross the border illegally.
Safety. We hear a lot about our safety and the threat illegal immigration poses, but what about the immigrant's safety. In some countries, safety is an issue. War, crime, and violence tear families apart. Parents want their children to be safe, so they leave their country for a another one that looks safer than where they live.
As I said, there are many reasons for crossing another country's border illegally. The ones listed are just a few. But there are other reasons people illegally enter another country, and those reasons do not include work, shelter, family, or safety. What are these reasons? Next week we'll discuss drugs, human trafficking, and terrorism.
Remember: Knowledge is the Power that Conquers Fear!