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Illegal Immigration

December 14, 2003

What is the economic impact? What should be done about it?
There are estimates of eight million undocumented immigrants in the United States, most of them from Mexico. Many of them take the worst jobs that Americans don’t want. They are often paid substandard wages and work in substandard conditions.
Employers hire them – and not US citizens – precisely because they will work under such appalling conditions.

Our borders are not policed well. Our immigration laws are extremely complicated, if not illogical. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was so dysfunctional that Congress broke it up into several pieces under the Homeland Security Act.
Do immigrants – particularly illegal ones – help our economy or harm it? Do they receive too many public benefits or too few? Should they have drivers’ licenses? Should they be deported? Should they receive amnesty for breaking our immigration laws? Are they that different from the ancestors of virtually all Americans that are not native and were not brought here in slave ships? Are they a terrorist threat?
These are difficult questions. Fortunately we have two experts: Steven Camarota, Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies, and Ben Johnson, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. Mr. Camarota advocates a crackdown on illegal immigrants. Mr. Johnson advocates integrating them into the US economy.
Hear the inside scoop from both sides.

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