Refugees and illegal immigrants have long had a presence in many countries. While there are legal ways to settle down in foreign countries, many illegal immigrants choose to do so without documentation because it is cheaper, faster and less of a hassle, especially if the family is desperate to find a home, jobs or a safe refuge. Some immigrants bring their entire families, while in other cases, only one or two family members migrate so that they can send the money they earn back to their family at home. Most of these refugees and illegal immigrants have good intentions, but simply go about the situation the wrong way. However, what is the big deal with deporting refugees and illegal immigrants? What is so bad about allowing them to stay?
For one, some would say that it is unfair for refugees and illegal immigrants to be granted residence in their new country when they have been discovered. Countries have immigration laws and policies in place for a purpose – to regulate their intake of new residents, as having too many immigrants can tax the financial resources of any country. The legal population contributes to the national finances by paying their fees and taxes, and this money is then used to fund welfare and education for the people. When illegal immigrants come into the mix, they also benefit from these welfare programs despite not having contributed to the taxes. For instance, they can live in a built-up neighborhood that was collectively funded by the legal residents of the area. If illegal immigrants have children that are born in the country they migrated to, these children are often considered legal citizens of the country despite having illegal immigrant parents. As such, the children are eligible for the same welfare services and education programs as the children of legal citizens, and it can be argued that it would not be fair to deny a child the same rights as their peers simply because their parents are illegal immigrants. Furthermore, this situation is not as easy to resolve as simply deporting all of the illegal immigrants, as it would leave the children without their parents.
In some places, crime is also a concern especially when illegal immigrants are involved. It would be presumptuous to say that illegal immigrants will never commit crimes on the street. When they do, apprehending them may not be easy because their particulars are not documented in the official records, and it can be difficult for them to be convicted or punished. Some illegal immigrants obtain vehicles and drive without a proper license, making it difficult to trace them if they get into a road accident. Even if illegal immigrants who have committed a crime are thrown into jail, the law enforcement system will have to deal with the increased expenses of feeding extra mouths – ones that have not contributed to the country’s economy.
As with most issues concerning immigration, there are two sides to the argument as to whether refugees and illegal immigrants should be deported. In all fairness to the law and to legal immigrants, refugees and illegal immigrants should be deported. After all, some people do make the effort to migrate legally, and these efforts often involve hours of learning, months of waiting for applications to be processed, large amounts of money paid in fees and the hassle of obtaining all necessary paperwork to complete a legal migration. In most countries, people applying for legal migration also have to prove that they are able to contribute to the host country’s economy and society. If illegal immigrants are allowed to stay in the country just like any other legal immigrant, they are taking advantage of the resources that all legal residents worked hard to build up. It nullifies the efforts that legal immigrants took to uphold the law, and may convince other potential immigrants that they do not need to go through the arduous process of legal migration and can instead just live without documentation in the country. Immigration policies are in place for a reason, and with illegal immigrants flouting the rules, the government of a country would be sending out a strong message and discouraging further illegal immigration by handling the lawbreakers.
On the other hand, some would argue that not all refugees and illegal immigrants have ill intentions. Some simply go to another country to escape war, poverty or feuds and it can often be the only way out for them. Others may have been the victims of human trafficking incidents and stranded in a foreign country without any documents or a means to go back home. Yet others may have been separated from their families and are simply attempting to be reunited with them. In these cases, it can be heartless for a country to reject immigrants on the basis of having no documentation. These are sometimes life and death situations, and telling refugees that they need to complete all necessary paperwork to be granted residence in the country can seem ridiculous. One recent example was the civil war in Syria. Although the refugees had nowhere to go, some countries refused to accept them, leaving them homeless and in grave danger if they were found. At the same time, accepting every request for residence may not be the solution either, as being too flexible with the immigration policies could result in people abusing the system and the country being unable to keep up with demands on its resources. Making exceptions for one or two refugees could well bring others to the doorstep as well, asking for asylum since it would be only fair for a country to treat all the refugees equally.
Thus, while it is important for the authorities to put their foot down on refugees and illegal immigrants, deporting all of them is a complicated matter. Illegal immigration continues to be a serious problem in today’s society, but it is clearly not an easy one to solve. Some illegal immigrants have resided in societies for a long time, while others have even migrated generations ago and now have descendants that have successfully integrated into society. Complications arise even further when it comes to the children of illegal immigrants: should they be considered legal citizens of the country they were born in, even if their parents arrived by illegal means?
While it may be a tough matter dealing with illegal immigrants who have been there for some time, what the world can do, however, is to reduce the number of future illegal immigrants by increasing local education and job opportunities. This can be learned from the example of Egypt, which successfully cracked down on all illegal immigrants going out of the country on its own. The country has not had any cases of undocumented transportation of immigrants since its last incident in 2016. Although this will not solve all the intricacies of the situation, such as refugees from war, it will at least reduce the incentive for people to migrate illegally and hopefully cut down on the potential number of illegal immigrants in the future.