Whether or not you were in favor of allowing unaccompanied illegal immigrant children and adults to enter the U.S. earlier this summer, primarily from South American countries, they are here to stay, at least temporarily.
Americans have been told that these illegal immigrants will remain in the U.S. while awaiting deportation hearings. Eventually, they will have their day in court in front of a judge who will decide whether to return them to their country of origin or allow them to remain in the U.S.
The implications to the American taxpayer for permitting illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. will produce a significant financial burden in terms of housing costs, educational expenditures, and medical care.
In this undated photo, immigrants walk to hearings at the Stewart Detention Center in Lupmkin, Ga. Credit: AP
According to a newly released Federation for American Immigration Reform report, the estimated cost of providing education for approximately 37,000 of the unaccompanied illegal immigrant children that came to our country over the summer, will total $761 million for just one year.
The largest impact will be felt in California, Texas, New York, and Florida. New York will have the highest price tag of all the states, with a bill totaling $147 million.
This is a hard pill to swallow in an economy that finds many American families struggling with high grocery bills, ever increasing gas prices, and loss of employment.
Americans have become all too familiar with the financial burdens that President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has placed on the backs of the American public. The financial obligation will likely continue to impact Americans for quite some time.
What Americans are not as familiar with, are the hardships that Obama’s program has also caused for illegal immigrants who are encouraged to come to America for a better life. One of the main adversities they face is that of becoming victimized.
Statistics regarding the plight of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are hard to obtain. Predictably, illegal immigrants do not report crimes against themselves for fear of deportation.
An undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, chained for being charged as a criminal, prepares to board a deportation flight to Guatemala City, Guatemala at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on June 24, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
However, some of the information that has been gathered indicates that illegal immigrants are at a higher risk of becoming victims because of the language barrier and the areas in which they reside. They typically live in low-income areas, which often report higher crime rates.
Illegal immigrants, according to statistics, also often live with other illegal immigrants. While it would seem that these living arrangements would assist in protecting those living together from becoming victims of crime, all too often, the opposite is true.
Illegal immigrants tend to move around a lot and can be from different families. As such, they may not be as likely to watch out for each other.
Additionally, it would appear that there are many predators in the U.S. waiting for the opportunity to prey on illegal immigrants because of their vulnerabilities.
Earlier this year in San Francisco, Jeffrey Bugai, 35, was arrested after allegedly posing as a police officer. He was charged with forcing illegal immigrants to perform sexual acts under threat of being deported.
There have also been instances in Texas in 2012, in which illegal immigrants placed on a hold by federal immigration authorities while awaiting deportation, were duped by dishonest bondsmen into paying money for their release, even though the bondsmen knew they were not going to release the immigrants.
There was also another case this year involving a Honduran girl who came to the U.S. during the recent influx of immigrants. The authorities in charge of her safety placed her in the care of an illegal immigrant who then allegedly sexually abused her.
This photo provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in New Jersey, shows agents taking a person into custody during operation Cross Check III. The Obama administration said it arrested more than 3,100 immigrants who were illegally in the country and who were convicted of serious crimes or otherwise considered fugitives or threats to national security. It was part of a six-day nationwide sweep that the government described as the largest of its kind. Credit: AP
Some Americans would argue, however, that they are just as victimized by the illegal immigrants who commit crimes against them.
A woman claimed, earlier this year, that an illegal immigrant male held her prisoner and repeatedly raped and beat her for 18 months.
In another instance in 2009, an illegal immigrant was accused of sexually molesting a 6-year-old in California. He was awarded $4 million after other inmates severely beat him while he was awaiting trial for his alleged crime.
A public study, however, conducted in 2012 and published by Professor Xia Wang of Arizona State University, claims that illegal immigrants commit less crimes than Americans.
Wang claims, in essence, that people perceive undocumented immigrants as being a large segment of the population. He believes that the larger the population is perceived, the higher the crime rate is also perceived. Many would vehemently disagree with Wang’s conclusion as being meritless.
The debate over illegal immigration and the costs associated with it, may continue for quite some time.
In the interim, however, there are several charities that seek to provide illegal immigrants with assistance while they are here.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, have joined forces to provide a foster care program for eligible immigrants until age 20 or 23, depending upon the circumstances.
This charitable program is funded by the state in which services are provided and is monitored and licensed by the state welfare program, which typically receives federal funding.
This August 15, 2012 file photo shows young people waiting in line to enter the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) office in California, on the first day of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
The program operates in approximately 22 locations throughout the U.S.
The refugees are provided indirect financial support through the provision of housing, food, clothing and other necessities, educational support, health, mental health and recreation activities, legal services, life skills training and other valuable services.
There are other private charities, not federally funded, which may also become involved in assisting illegal immigrants should they fall prey to the sex trafficking industry.
Sex traffickers target those that appear vulnerable, are easily tricked, or may be afraid to seek help in a new country. Illegal immigrant children may easily become the focus of pimps looking to cash-in.
Some illegal immigrant children, who came to the U.S. this summer, were dropped off at bus stops and given tickets to locate relatives. Sex traffickers often frequent bus stops looking for a new inventory of human flesh.
An organization such as Operation Underground Railroad, that typically rescues children in other countries, may eventually be involved in rescuing those illegal immigrants who have fallen victim to sex traffickers while in the U.S.
Finally, Still Creek Ranch is another private organization that houses those who may have been victims of sex traffickers.
Both of these organizations exist because of donations from generous Americans.
The issue surrounding illegal immigration is far from over and the costs to both Americans and illegal immigrants keep rising.
What seems clear, however, is that those here illegally, especially the children, must be protected, at all costs, from those that seek to do them harm.
Americans, as always, have stepped up through various charities and other means, to lend a hand. They are proving, once again, that they are here to help, despite the costs.
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