Recent events in Arizona have pushed the issue of illegal immigration back to the forefront of American politics. Both the left and the right are correct that it is an issue of the utmost importance; however, neither looks at the problem realistically nor is prepared to find an appropriate middle ground. Like most issues, the debate over illegal immigration will cease to quiet down until a middle ground is agreed upon.
All too often from conservatives there is talk that America’s southern border must be better protected and illegal immigrants forced immediately from the country. It is a prominent theme among the Republicans, but also the smaller parties and movements of the right as well such as the Tea Party, Constitution Party, etc. What these individuals fail to accept is that a large a portion of the United States economy relies on the work that these illegal immigrants produce. While it is true that their cheap labor undercuts the American workforce to some extent, that same cheap labor also allows many companies to stay in business in an increasingly hostile market. If illegal immigrants were to magically vanish, the U.S. economy would collapse over night.
Liberals are keen to point out this truth, however, like the right, the left is often too extreme. Many in the Democratic Party, as well as smaller liberal organizations, feel that it is our humanitarian duty to provide for illegal immigrants with the resources of the American citizens. Though it is a noble sentiment, such a thing is entirely impractical. The American middle class (and the country as a whole) is suffering far too much during these dark economic times to support the millions of illegal immigrants who have crossed the border. Humanitarian or otherwise, it is unfair to force them to do so.
Thus, a middle ground is needed. Expanding the number of migrant workers permitted to cross the border legally is a start. Why not set aside an independent fund generated from the tax money of migrant workers for paying for their health insurance and have this fund cover the benefits of any existing illegals as well? This would maintain our economy and ethics while taking the pressure of the illegal immigration issue off the American citizen and placing it instead on the immigrants themselves. Perhaps if legal immigrants feel they are being cheated by having to foot the bill for illegal immigrants then they will work to solve the problem for us.