The American Dream

The Impact of Trump’s Immigration Policy


Sanford James

Giyun Hong ’21 believes that religious persecution and gang violence are the main causes of illegal immigration.

All Americans share a common belief, a belief in the American dream.  It is in the pursuit of the American Dream that has caused people across the globe to leave their homelands behind to immigrate to the United States, and some have done so illegally.  “Some major factors which lead to illegal immigration are religious persecution and gang violence,” said Giyun Hong ’21. President Trump has taken a strong stance against illegal immigration, which some find to be hypocritical given America’s origins.  Those who advocate for stronger border security argue that illegal immigrants have caused harm within the United States, citing the MS-13 gang and drug cartels. Another argument they make are the hefty federal expenditures associated with social welfare programs provided to illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants have a major disadvantage to their counterparts who immigrate legally, as they are paid eleven percent less on average than legal immigrants, due to the lack of legal working papers.  As a result of this wage disparity, illegal immigrants have resorted to using social welfare funded by federal and state governments, a cost that should be footed by the employers of these immigrants.  Providing social welfare to illegal immigrants costs the federal government 46 billion dollars annually, and another 7 billion dollars in New York state. These costs limit the government from solving existing issues. “There is a shocking amount of homeless people in New York alone, and shelters are often lacking enough resources to adequately take care of them,” said Hong, reflecting a social issue in our nation that could be alleviated with increased federal funds.

“There is a shocking amount of homeless people in New York alone, and shelters are often lacking enough resources to adequately take care of them,” said Giyun Hong ’21.

In the midst of rhetoric on the unfounded statements about certain immigrant groups President Trump has made, certain facets of his immigration policy hold merit.  Trump’s deal with the incoming Mexican government requires that asylum seekers wait in Mexico as their requests are processed. Making legal immigration the preeminent option of immigration to the United States yields a number of benefits.  By ensuring that immigrants have legal working papers, employers must pay them wages above, or at the established minimum wage. This will prevent the cost of social welfare programs from increasing, and a method to reduce the existing wage disparity between legal and illegal immigrants.  A government with a national debt load of over 20 trillion dollars must properly manage its funds to solve social issues, and a viable option is ensuring that the cost of welfare programs do not increase.

Throughout America, high schoolers aspire to attend college, regarded as a prerequisite step in their path to achieve their dream career, and the American dream.  However, an impediment that prevents students from accomplishing this step is the imposing cost of college. The federal government has attempted to mitigate the cost burden of college through federal aid programs that grant student loans.  While this system has been effective in enabling students to attend college, limited federal funds have failed to provide sufficient aid to students from low income families, some finding themselves homeless on campus. The federal government spends 2,746 dollars annually for every illegal immigrant, funds that could be used towards college aid programs.  The answer to solving social issues in America is through increased federal funds, and a prerequisite step in securing these funds is through the reduction of costs associated with illegal immigration.

President Trump stated that he intends to increase the amount of legal immigration in his State of the Union address, a promise that should be kept on the premise that no prospective immigrant is denied entry based upon their ethnicity.  The culmination of this promise and legislation to curb illegal immigration are the key factors to ensure that America will continue to be the destination for “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It is imperative that our nation ensures that anyone can achieve the American dream, from high school students to immigrants across the globe.  Our government should look past partisan divides and come to a consensus on a proper makeover of America’s immigration laws to ensure the success of immigrants, while increasing the availability of federal funds to solve social issues in the status quo.