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THE ILLEGAL ALIEN
SENIOR SEMINAR IN FOREIGN POLICY
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
WR4-. Q, ^OSraO
THiS IS AN EDUCATIONAL EXERCISE AND DOES NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE VIEWPOINT OF THE SENIOR SEMINAR IN FOREIGN POLICY OR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
THE ILLEGAL ALIEN
Case Study by JOHN E. KARKASHIAN
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE .......................................................... 1
HOW MANY ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE THERE? ............................. 4
PROFILE OF THE ILLEGAL ALIEN ...........................******* 6
THE MEXICAN FACTOR ............ ................................... 9
ECONOMIC IMPACT : JOBS .......... ..... ..................... 11
ECONOMIC IMPACT : WAGES ........ .................... ............ *** ..** 12
ECONOMIC IMPACT : UNION MEMBERSHIP ......................****** 13
ECONOMIC IMPACT : WELFARE ........................ ....******* 14
ECONOMIC IMPACT : TAXES ............... ......... .. .... .........* 18
ECONOMIC IMPACT : BALANCE OF PAYMENTS ......................... 19
SOCIAL SECURITY .......................... ................ ...... 20
CONTROLS ...................... ............................... 22
LEGISLATION ...................... ............................ 25
THE OTHER SIDE ....... ........... .. .............................. 27
THE BRITISH EXPERIENCE .............. ... ....................... 29
THE GERMAN EXPERIENCE ........... .... ........................... 3
CONCLUSIONS ..................... .............................. 35
CHRONOLOGY OF U.S. IMMIGRATION LAWS ....................******* 40
BIBLIOGRAPHY ................. ...............- *...............** 42
The United States is a nation of immigrants. No other country has
been as generous in its policy toward immigrants nor experienced the
waves of migration which have characterized our growth. We are, almost
all of us, immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Since 1820,
some 50 million immigrants, mostly European in origin, have settled in
the U.S. More recently, there has been a vast movement of Mexican
citizens across our Southwest border.
Over the years, we have enacted legislation to restrict and control
the entry of immigrants and foreign visitors. That legislation was last
revised in 1965 and there is now an urgent need to review its adequacy.
For several years, we have experienced the consequences of a migratory
wave impelled by an unprecedented population explosion in the under-
developed world. Motivated by the increasing lack of economic opportunity
at home, literally millions of people seek admittance to the U.S. in any
way they can. We presently lack the means to adequately control that
Control of immigration by quota was first adopted in 1921 although
racial exclusion was legislated as early as 1882 by the Chinese Exclusion
Act and in 1917 by the "Asiatic Barred Zone." From 1921 to 1924,
immigration was limited to 350,000 (non Western Hemisphere) aliens a
year. During the period 1924 to 1929, the annual quota was reduced to
164,667 (Western Hemisphere aliens were still unrestricted by quota).
The 1929 Act further reduced the quota to 153,714 immigrants. Current
legislation, enacted in 1965, amended the 1952 Immigration Act and
established an annual non-Western Hemisphere, numerical limitation of
170,000 and a Western Hemisphere limitation of 120,000 immigrant visas.
Because of other provisions of law,.the actual number of immigrants
admitted in recent years is about 400,000 a year.
While the numbers of immigrants admitted to the U.S. under present
legislation declined slightly in FY 1974 and FY 1975 from the FY 1973
peak of 400,063, the total number of aliens of all categories seeking
admission has increased sharply. There has also been a notable geographic
shift in the origin of both immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants
to the developing nations and particularly to those experiencing rapid
population growth. Economic and social conditions in these countries
exert enormous pressures for emigration and the U.S. is still regarded as
the land of opportunity.
The problem of dealing with aliens seeking to enter the U.S. is not
only complex and sensitive, it is overpowering in the sheer magnitude
of the numbers of people involved. In FY 1975, more than 152 million
legal entries were made by aliens (includes multiple entries by the same
person). Of this total, 386,194 were immigrants; 2.6 million were
crewmen; 5.1 million were tourists; 43.6 million were Canadians crossing
the border; 97.5 million were Mexicans crossing the border; and 3.2
million represented various other categories. During the same fiscal
year, 1975, a total of 766,600 aliens were apprehended (includes
multiple detentions of the same person) for violating the immigration laws.
Of the latter total, 655,814 were required to depart and 23,438 were
Although it is not a new phenomenon, the problem of illegal aliens
did not achieve major proportions in the U.S. until a few years ago.
The population explosion in various developing countries, the end of the
Bracero program with Mexico, our 6,000 miles of land frontier with
Mexico and Canada and the lure of job opportunities are factors which
have exacerbated the problem. Besides the millions of aliens who obtain
visas to enter the U.S. under various provisions of the law, there are
many others whose applications are refused. These are largely persons who
have failed to convince consular officers of their bona fides, i.e. a
purported tourist who is likely to remain in the U.S. and seek employment.
Thousands of others who can qualify for a resident visa must wait for
two years or more because of the annual numerical limitations.. The net
result, is enormous pressure to enter the U.S. by any means possible.
There are various categories of illegal aliens. Those who "Enter
Without Inspection" (EWI) are either smuggled into the country
clandestinely or simply walk across an unguarded area of the Mexican or
Canadian border. Others utilize counterfeit or fraudulent documents to
gain entry. Some aliens enter into sham marriages to obtain permanent
residence as the spouse of an American citizen. Crewmen jump ship at
U.S. ports. Many thousands obtain visas under false pretenses or change
their mind after arriving in the U.S.as tourists, stay on and find
employment. By definition, all are illegal aliens and in practical terms
they are illegal immigrants since their purpose is to remain in the U.S.
The full dimensions of the illegal alien problem can only be
estimated. No one knows how many illegals are in the U.S. today. It
is believed, however, that the number is growing rapidly and may have
exceeded the capability of the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) to carry out its responsibilities.
The alien seeking entry to the U.S. must first make a visa applica-
tion at an American consular facility abroad. If the consular officer
is convinced of the bona fides of the application, it is processed
and in due time, depending on the type of visa requested, is granted.
On arrival at the port of entry, the alien must pass inspection by an
Immigration Officer. However, as a matter of convenience to
travelers and air carrAers, the port of entry inspection usually is a
cursory one. Once the alien enters the U.S., there are no controls
over'his movement or activities. Thus aliens who enter the U.S.
illegally or who violate the terms of their visas after entry are free
to move about the country as they please, the possibility of their
apprehension is slim and largely a matter of chance. To guard against
the illegal crossing of 6,000 miles of land borders, the INS disposes
fewer than 2,000 members of the Border Patrol. To investigate and
apprehend illegal aliens throughout the entire U.S., the INS has some
900 Investigators who have a variety of duties to perform.
The foregoing is intended to set the stage for a review of the
illegal alien problem in the U.S. focused on its impact on the economy
and measures to control the problem after the alien enters the U.S.
The changing trends in illegal alien migration patterns, i.e. countries
of origin, were.reviewed in detail by Mr. Loren E. Lawrence in a 1973-74
Senior Seminar Case Study titled "The Illegal Immigrant To the United
States" and will not be covered here. The special problem of Mexico
will be covered, albeit briefly, and reference will be made to various
visa practices and problems. In the area of controls, the experiences
and views of responsible authorities in Britain and West Germany obtained
through first hand observation are presented.
There is little firm data of a comprehensive nature on the subject
of illegal aliens. Serious studies 'by interested agencies of the
Federal Government directly or through contract researchers have only
just begun. A few limited studgis have been made by local governments
concerned primarily about the increasing welfare and social overhead
costs imposed by illegals in their jurisdiction. A comprehensive,
national review of the problem is currently underway under the direction
of the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens chaired by the Attorney
General. Hopefully the Committee's work will focus national attention on
and give direction to effective methods for resolving various aspects of
the problem which will be equitable to both citizens and aliens alike,
It should be borne in mind in reading this study that the data base
is very limited and subject to all the shortcomings of uncoordinated
partial samplings. For example, the Linton study referred to below
was designed to obtain data on the impact of illegals on the labor
market. Other studies referred to below had other purposes. Thus the
data often is not comparable statistically and therefore subject to
some reservation. However, lacking anything better, comparisons have
been attempted in order to gain at least some perceptions of the nature
and magnitude of the problem. If nothing else, this demonstrates the
need for a coordinated, overall study of the problem which would be
statistically sound and nationwide in scope.
How Many Illegal Aliens Are There?
No one knows with any degree of certainty the actual number of illegal
aliens in the U.S. Estimates based largely on INS apprehension data and
figures on the movement of foreign visitors to the U.S. place the number
at somewhere between 4 and 12 million. Where the illegals reside in the
U.S., what kind of work they do, at what wage levels, etc. is also largely
unknown. Only partial and sparse data is available based again largely
on INS apprehensions and limited samplings by researchers, Federal agencies
and local governments.
In order to reconcile the wide range of existing estimates of illegals,
the INS contracted Lesko Associates of Washington, D.C., to study the
problem. The latter's report in October 1975 inter alia estimated the number
of illegal Mexicans in the U.S. at 5.2 million and the total illegal alien
population of the U.S. at 8,180,000. The latter figure is now widely used
as the best available estimate of the overall number of illegals. However,
the Lesko estimates are not universally accepted.
At the request of Congressman Badillo of New York, the U.S. Census
Bureau and the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress
reviewed and challenged the validity of the Lesko findings. Their critiques
focused on the methodology and assumptions used. Both agencies pointed
out that the estimated Mexican segment of the illegal population was
largely based on a graduate research paper which essentially examined U.S.
Census data and Mexico's population growth between 1960 and 1970 and
concluded that otherwise unaccountable differences represented illegal
Mexican migration to the U.S. These assumptions and findings were charac-
terized by the cited agencies as "weak and untenable."
The Congressional Research Service critique also noted that in utili-
zing INS apprehension data no allowance was made in the Lesko study for
repeat offenders. It pointed out that a 1973 GAO study indicated a
repeater incidence of as much as 31 percent among illegal Mexicans
apprehended by the INS. It also was noted that some repeaters
entered the U.S. as many as ten times. This point highlights the fact,
acknowledged in the Lesko study, that apprehension data is biased by
the level and location of INS enforcement activities.
The Congressional Research Service concluded that proper use had
not been made by the Lesko researchers of the "Delphi" methodology to
narrow the wide variance in the existing estimates of the total illegal
population and in any case had only succeeded in refining the difference
down to a range of from 4.2 to 11 million. It was from the latter range
that the Lesko study derived the estimate of 8,180,000 illegals. In
fairness to the Lesko findings, while the study asserts the estimate of
5.2 million illegal Mexicans to be "analytically defensible", it
acknowledges that the overall figure of 8,180,000 is not; rather it
represents the average estimate derived from a "logical process of
consensus among professionals."
While we do not know the total number of illegals in the U.S., we
do have some information on those illegals who have been apprehended.
In the 83 years from 1892 to 1975, a total of 9.9 million aliens were
required to depart the U.S. and nearly 700,000 were actually deported.
Apprehension figures have fluctuated over the years but have been on a
generally upward trend, particularly since 1965. The peak apprehension
year was 1954 when the total reached 1.1 million, following which it fell
off to some 45,000 in 1959. Since 1965, when current immigration legisla-
tion was enacted, apprehension figures have climbed steadily to a high of
788,145 in FY 1974; they fell off slightly in FY 1975 to 766,600.
Predictably, the overwhelming majority of aliens apprehended by the
INS are EWI's or "Entry Without Inspection". These are largely illegal
border crossers, the so-called wetbackss." From 1970 to 1975, the total
number of apprehensions increased by 213 percent; the number of EWI's,
however, increased by 273 percent during the same period. It must be
remembered that the INS concentrates its enforcement efforts against EWI
illegals along the Southwest border, therefore it's not surprising that
this category represents a high proportion of total apprehensions.
The table below represents the total deportable aliens apprehended
in FY 1975 by category of entrance and the principal offenders by
nationality for each category.
FY 1975: Total Deportable Aliens
Number of % of Principal Number of % of
Category Aliens Total Offenders Aliens Total
EWI 667,689 87.1 Mexico 654,836 98.1
Visitors 55,294 7.2 Mexico 16,124 29.2
Crewmen 15,127 2.0 Greece 3,876 25.6
Student 8,869 1.2 China 630 7.1
Immigrant 3,502 0.5 Mexico 2,591 74.0
Agricultural Brit. West
Workers ---- 814 0.12 Indies/Belize 184 22.6
Stowaways 385 0.05 Dominican Rep. 78 20.3
Others 14,920 1.9
The table clearly depicts EWI's as representing the vast majority of
illegals apprehended followed by the Visitors category. The latter are
largely visa abusers who have entered legally or with fraudulent intent
and subsequently have violated their entry conditions by overstaying and
Illegals in the Visitors and Student categories are more difficult
to apprehend than the typical EWI. The former usually can blend into the
local community and establish themselves with greater ease. They generally
obtain better paying positions and are less likely to come to the attention
of the INS. In FY 1975, 7.1 million non-immigrant aliens (excluding border
crossers and crewmen) were admitted to the U.S., the majority, 5.06
million, were tourists. Of the total 7.1 million who entered, 5.13
million departed the U.S. in the same period. The INS believes that as many
as 10 percent of the tourists who legally enter the U.S. remain illegally
and enter the work force, i.e. 500,000 foreign tourists convert themselves
into illegal immigrants each year.
Mexicans clearly dominate the EWI and Immigrant categories and also
represent nearly a third of the illegal Visitors. It must be kept in
mind that the 654,836 illegal Mexican EWI's include a number of repeaters.
Although far behind, Canadian EWI's placed second with some 3,960 in FY
1975. In the Visitors category, Mexican illegals were followed in second
place again by Canadians with 4,075 and West Indians with 3,712. Inter-
estingly, the British led all European countries in Visitor illegals with
1,366, ranking 5th in the world just behind the Dominican Republic. It's
also worth noting that after Western Hemisphere nationals, there were more
deportable aliens from European countries in FY 1975 than any other geo-
graphic area of the world, followed closely by Asian nationals.
Profile of the Illegal Alien
We lack reliable information not only on the total number of illegal
aliens in the U.S. but also on their geographic dispersement, what they
do, and how they impact on our society and economy. What information we
have is incomplete and usually unrelated to other aspects of the problem.
For the most part it is obtained from illegals who have been apprehended
and therefore is subject to all the errors of random sampling, particularly
with regard to qualitative responses which cannot be substantiated.
A recent magazine article by Orde Coombs offers a powerful account from
personal observation and interview of life among West Indian illegals in the
New York City area. INS officials estimate that there are 1.5 million
illegals, mostly from the Caribbean Islands and Latin America, in New York
City and the surrounding counties. The Coomb's article entitled "Illegal
Immigrants in New York: The Invisible Subculture", appeared in the March 15,
1976 issue of New York Magazine; the same story with minor differences could
be written about most of our major cities. The article offers a humane and
dramatic insight into the life style of the illegal in addition to describ-
ing the methods used to deceive consular officials issuing visas, the sham
marriages to acquire legal status, the social security card dodges and so
on. Most compelling is author Coomb's observation that "the illegal alien
learns that to lie is to survive, that laws are made to be broken, that
deviousness is the passport to success."
In order to obtain more exact data on the characteristics of illegal
aliens in the U.S. labor market, Linton and Company under contract from the
U.S. Labor Department conducted a survey of 793 apprehended illegal
aliens. The bilingual interviews were conducted at 19 different cities
including San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, New York,
Washington, D.C., Miami and Seattle. The interviewees included 481
Mexican nationals, 237 from other Western Hemisphere (WH) countries and 75
from Eastern Hemisphere (EH) countries (Eastern Hemisphere includes every-
thing outside the Wester Hemisphere). Obviously the selection of inter-
viewees determines the results of the survey. For example, the Linton
sampling included 481 Mexicans or 61 percent of the total sampling base
whereas in FY 1974 (when the study was made) Mexican illegals represented
90 percent of all illegals apprehended. Both points of reference are
subject to a bias of unknown degree and the results of the study which was
submitted in summary form in November 1975 are at best only a guide to a
tentative profile of the illegal alien in the U.S.
Some of the broader findings of the Linton study include the following:
INS apprehension data tend to understate the numbers of non-Mexican
illegals; illegals generally come from developing nations; although Mexico
is considered to be economically more developed than most other WH
countries, the illegals from other WH countries are more advantaged and
better skilled than Mexican illegals; Mexican illegals tend to come to the
U.S. with the preconception of working whereas other WH illegals tend to
come with the initial purpose of visiting relatives or seeing the U.S.
It is commonly believed that most illegals are farm laborers from
Mexico and largely remain in the rural areas of California and the South-
western States. The conclusion drawn is that illegals are not a serious
problem in other parts of the country. These assumptions are no longer
valid as the geographic pattern of illegal alien distribution in the U.S.
is changing rapidly. The problem today is country-wide and an increasingly
urban phenomenon with all the obvious fiscal and social overhead implica-
tions for hard-pressed municipal and county governments.
While Mexican illegals still tend to concentrate in California ana the
Southwest they are increasingly moving to Mid-and Northwest urban centers.
Even in California and the Southwest States illegals congregate increasingly
in urban rather than rural areas. INS checks at East Coast and Midwest
airports are resulting in a large number of apprehensions of illegals
proceeding from Los Angeles. On one recent Los Angeles to Chicago flight,
INS apprehended 74 illegal aliens, or more than half the passenger list.
WH illegals other than Mexicans in the Linton survey tended to concen-
trate along the East Coast while EH illegals were largely found on the
East Coast followed by Mid- and Northwestern urban centers. The Mexicans
were largely EWI's whereas the EH, followed by other WH illegals, were
mostly visa abusers. Because of their generally superior education and
training, visa abusers integrate more easily, get better jobs and therefore
are more difficult to apprehend. Among the Linton sampling, the average
duration of stay in the U.S. was 2.5 years; only 23 percent had been here
less than 6 months, 53 percent had been here 2 years or more, and 10 percent
had been here 6 years or more.
The average age of the Linton sampling was 28.5 years compared to 35
years for the U.S.work force average. This coincides with a 1971 Illinois
State Assembly investigation of 190 Mexican illegals which indicated a
majority fell in the 20 35 year bracket. Thus illegals tend to be
relatively young and therefore more job competitive. The Linton sampling
also indicated a lower propensity to marriage than for American men in the
same age bracket, 25-34 years; nearly 40 percent were single compared to
nearly 16 percent for American men.
The illegals in the Linton group were mostly males, 90.8 percent. This
may be due in part to the fact that INS is generally reluctant to appre-
hend female illegals because of inadequate detention facilities and
possible adverse publicity for the apprehension program. As indicated
above, the educational levels of the Linton sampling relate directly to
the EWI and visa abuser categories. The education level of the Mexicans
was 4.9 years; for the other WH illegals, 8.7 years; and 11.9 years for
the EH group. The latter compares favorably with the 12.3 years level
for the U.S. population over the age of 25.
The changes in occupational status while in the U.S. for the Linton
group indicate some interesting shifts. At entry, the EH illegals were
occupationally distributed much like the U.S. worker force, particularly
with regard to the white collar and crafts categories. The other than
Mexican WH illegals were less white collar than the U.S. worker and more
semi-skilled with service/laborer categories about the same but with a
much greater emphasis on the agricultural laborer in the latter category.
The Mexican was much less white collar than his American counterpart and
far more service/laborer, again with heavy emphasis on farm laborer.
Overall, the Linton group entered the U.S. as 18 percent white collar and
dropped to 6 percent when apprehended. The craft group held steady in the
15-16 percent range. The semi-skilled group entered the U.S. at 18
percent and climbed to 28 percent at apprehension. The service/laborer
group maintained at 50 percent but the farm labor portion dropped from
38 percent on entry to 16 percent by the time of apprehension, thus
indicating marked upward mobility among those who entered as farm
The above suggests that the EH and other WH workers shifted "downward"
from white collar to service jobs in the U.S. while the Mexicans shifted
"upward" from unskilled or farm labor to semi-skilled jobs. The EH and
other WH shifts raise the question of why someone would become an illegal
alien if they were going to lose occupational status. There are
several possible answers, alien white collar and professional workers may
not be able to qualify for the educational and other requirements needed to
practice their professions in the U.S. or, some white collar aliens may find
that service and semi-skilled work in the U.S. pays more than white collar
work in the illegal's home country. Other aspects of the Linton study such
as wage levels, union membership, taxes paid or evaded, and the welfare
burden imposed are reviewed below.
The principal conclusion of the Linton study is that the impact of the
illegal alien is primarily on the U.S. labor market and specifically in the
secondary sector where they compete successfully with the most disadvantaged
of the American labor force, the low-skilled and low-paid young, old,
minorities, women and the handicapped. Their presence increases the supply
of cheap labor and tends to keep low level wages depressed and poor working
conditions from being improved.
The Mexican Factor
For decades, Mexico has been the source of cheap farm labor for the
U.S. agricultural Southwest and also the principal source of illegal aliens.
The labor exchange between Mexico and the U.S. is the largest between any
two countries. It has served to alleviate Mexico's unemployment problem
and to meet the cyclical needs of U.S. employers for low cost farm labor.
In the past, various bilateral agreements have been negotiated to control
the movement of Mexican laborers into the U.S. and to insure their
equitable treatment by American employers. There have been advantages and
disadvantages for both sides.
Following the Mexican War, 1846-48, former Mexican citizens were
given the right to travel freely across the new border. There were few
controls on migrants in either direction. Along with other Western
Hemisphere nationals, Mexicans were exempt from the quota restrictions of
the 1921 Act which curtailed European migration. In the 1909-1930 period
some 750,000 Mexicans emigrated to the U.S. because of domestic political
violence. The labor shortage in the U.S. during World War I also exerted
a strong attraction for Mexican workers.
In the 1930's, thousands of Mexican residents who had not filed
immigration papers were repatriated because of U.S. concern over widespread
unemployment resulting from the depression. By 1940, the cycle had changed
again and Southwest farmers were pressuring for the admission of Mexican
laborers. U.S. involvement in World War II created a new demand for
labor and the stage was set for the first bilateral agreement regulating
the entry of Mexican farm labor.
In August 1942, the U.S. and Mexico negotiated the Mexican Farm Labor
Agreement, subsequently called the "Bracero" program. The agreement was
formalized in 1951 as Public Law 78 and continued in effect until December
1964. At various times since then, the Mexican Government expressed
interest in negotiating a new farm labor program but no agreement was
reached. More recently, Presidents Ford and Echeverria met in October 1974
to discuss bilateral problems including what Mexico describes as "undocu-
mented migrant workers", i.e. illegal Mexican EWI's.
At the October 1974 meeting, the Mexicans did not request the
negotiation of another Bracero program. Rather they took the position that
providing employment for Mexican citizens was a domestic problem and would
be resolved through that country's own economic development. The two sides
agreed to establish national committees to study various aspects of the
problem and to meet periodically to exchange views. Meanwhile, hundreds of
thousands of Mexican citizens continue to cross the border illegally each
year, many or most of them find jobs and remit hundreds of millions of
dollars annually to Mexico. -
The sheer numbers involved and the sensitivity of the issue gives the
Mexican factor a special significance. Even if the Lesko estimate of 5.2
million illegal Mexican aliens is grossly inflated, the actual number most
still be impressive. In the ten year period 1965-75, 3,269,900 Mexican
EWI's were apprehended by INS (excluding other categories of Mexican
illegals). Assuming that the total figure is increased by multiple appre-
hensions of the same person, the margin for "getaways" who elude apprehen-
sion is still great.
The absence of a bilateral agreement regulating Mexican farm labor may
or may not have exacerbated the illegal problem. In any case, the easily
crossed common border, the lure of the U.S. labor market and the complete
lack cf disincentives to the violation of U.S. immigration laws are a
combination that hundreds of thousands of Mexicans find irresistable. What
is more disturbing are the implications of Mexico's population explosion
impelled by an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent. At the current rate of
growth, Mexico's population is expected to reach 85 million by 1985.
Nearly 50 percent of Mexico's population is under 15 years of age.
Unemployment, or under-employment, reportedly affects 50 percent or more
of the work force. In 1970, Mexico's labor force totaled 16 million, by
1985 it is expected to reach 28 million. It will require a phenomenal rate
of economic growth to keep pace and provide the jobs for Mexico's booming
labor force. The alternative for many unemployed Mexican workers is
obvious. In the final analysis the U.S. may well be forced to strain its
relations with Mexico or face an inundation of Mexican labor with serious
domestic social and economic consequences. There is no conceivable situation
in which the U.S. labor market could absorb Mexico's current unemployed much
less the likely levels it will reach in the future. The same is true of
other developing countries, particularly those of the Western Hemisphere
who also pose a special problem because of their proximity.
Economic Impact: Jobs
As in other aspects of the problem, no one knows just how many
illegals have jobs, much less what kind of jobs or at what wages. What
information is available comes from apprehension data. In calendar year
1975, approximately 770,000 illegals were apprehended nation-wide, of these
226,318 were employed when apprehended.
A 1971 investigation for the Illinois State Assembly estimated there
were 16,000 jobs in the State held by illegals. One professional smuggler
of illegals told the Illinois investigators he had personally found jobs
for 15,000 illegals in Chicago area in the period 1954-1971. San Diego
County officials have estimated that in FY 1974 there were 1.35 million
illegals in California of which 251,000 were employed. It is believed that
the number of illegal aliens working in New York State has increased from
110,000 in 1974 to 855,000 at present.
In 1975, the INS projected the availability of one million well-paying
jobs held nation-wide by illegal aliens which could be opened up to
Americans and resident aliens by improving enforcement programs. The INS
breakdown projected 150,000 such jobs in heavy industry, 214,000 in light
industry, 301,000 in the service area, and 335,000 jobs in agriculture.
A more useful correlation between illegals apprehended and those found
working is seen in calendar 1975 figures for apprehensions in 10 major U.S.
urban centers. Of 87,886 illegals apprehended in those cities (42.2
percent in Los Angeles), 55,391 or 63.0 percent were working (the data
does not indicate whether the balance were unemployed, on welfare, or
unemployable dependents). Of the 55,391 employed illegals in the 10 cities,
36,413 or 65.7 percent were working in light and heavy industry and 51.7
percent were making more than $2.50 an hour.
Another perspective on jobs held by illegal aliens is seen from the
calendar 1975 statistics for all aliens apprehended nation-wide of which
226,318 were employed as noted earlier. Of the total employed, 59,749 or
26.4 percent held jobs in light or heavy industry (compared with 65.7
percent for employed detainees in the 10 major cities); while 128,227 or 56.7
percent were employed in agriculture; 27,184 or 12 percent were employed in
services; and 11,158 or 4.9 percent were employed in construction work.
Thus more than half of the illegal aliens nation-wide who were employed when
apprehended work in agriculture whereas a substantially higher proportion
(65.7 percent) of those apprehended in urban centers are engaged in light
and heavy industry rather than services. The latter would tend to indicate
that most urban illegals do not work as domestics or as restaurant and hotel
help. Here again, however, the sampling is limited and heavily biased by
INS enforcement practices, i.e. concentration on sites where multiple appre-
hensions can be made.
In the Linton study cited above, the 793 illegals interviewed were
examined in terms of occupation both at time of entry in the U.S. and when
apprehended. The Linton sampling for last U.S. job held before apprehension
is 50 percent service/laborer (16 percent farm); 28 percent operative or
semi-skilled; 16 percent crafts; and 6 percent white collar. Since the work
categories of the Linton study do not correspond to the INS work categories
cited above no meaningful comparisons can be made.
Economic Impact: Wages
The AFL/CIO has estimated that the annual wage loss to U.S. workers
because of illegal aliens is $10 billion; at an average annual wage of
$5,000 the estimate would represent 2 million working illegals. Whatever
their displacement factor, it is generally believed that as a group,
illegals earn less than U.S. workers in similar positions, they work longer
hours under less favorable working conditions, and they receive fewer
fringe benefits. None of this is surprising since employers who knowingly
hire illegals presumably do so precisely because of their willingness to
work harder for lower wages.
The Linton sampling showed that the average hourly wage in the South-
west border counties was $1.74; in the Southwest area generally it was
somewhat higher, $1.98 but still below the minimum wage. Only in the Mid/
Northwest at $3.18 an hour and on the East Coast at $3.29, did wage levels
approach U.S. worker levels. Given the other data available, it is not
surprising that the EH group in the Linton sampling was the highest paid
earning an average of $4.08 an hour; the WH group averaged $3.04; and the
Mexican group trailed with $2.33.
The Linton study comparisons between illegals and U.S. workers in the
same industry shows illegals in contract construction earning $2.98 an
hour compared with $7.15 for U.S. workers; $2.92 compared with $4.73 in
manufacturing; $2.57 compared to $3.71 in sales; and $2.79 compared with
$3.98 in services. The same pattern is evident in average hours worked
per week. In contract construction, illegals worked 42.8 hours compared
with 37.1 for their U.S. counterparts; in manufacturing, 41.2 hours
compared with 39.0 hours; in sales, 43.4 hours compared with 33.6; and
in services, 45.0 hours compared with 33.7.
INS data for calendar year 1975 indicates that of the total 226,318
illegals nation-wide who were working when apprehended, 44.9 percent
were earning more than $2.50 an hour while 55.1 percent earned less.
The INS data for the same period on apprehensions made in 10 major cities
indicates urban illegals did substantially better as a group with 51.7
percent earning more than $2.50 an hour while 48.3 percent earned less.
Cities where illegals earned higher wages included Philadelphia, Detroit,
Newark and Chicago; illegals as a group earned less in Los Angeles,
San Francisco, New York and Houston-Dallas. The Linton sampling of 793
illegals showed 51 percent as earning less than $2.50 an hour. It seems
clear that by any standard, illegals as a group earn substantially less
than the average hourly wage for U.S. production and non-supervisory
workers which in 1975 was $4.47.
A point of interest is the incidence of wages received by illegals in
cash; presumably cash wages are intended in many cases as a means of evading
social security and other legal responsibilities, including tax liability.
The Linton sampling showed that 22 percent of the illegals received their
pay in cash, ranging from 17 percent for WH illegals to 24 percent for
Mexicans to a high of 26 percent for the EH group. These findings are
contrary to expectations as one would expect the range would go from a low
for the EH group to a high for the Mexicans. That expectation is supported
by the findings that farm workers received more cash wages, 29 percent,
than non-farm workers, 21 percent; also, cash wages were more prevalent
in Southwest border counties, 63 percent, than in the Mid/Northwest, 11 per-
cent, or on the East Coast, 21 percent. The anomaly regarding EH illegals,
who are largely non-farm labor and East Coast-Mid/Northwest located, is
explained in the Linton study as reflecting employment in eating-drinking
places, which are often run on a cash basis.
Economic Impact: Union Membership
There is no apparent consensus among the major elements of organized
labor regarding the problem of illegal aliens. Strong support has been
evidenced by the AFL/CIO for legislation that would penalize those who
employ illegal aliens but other major labor organizations and individual
unions have either failed to take a public position or give lip service to
the concept of legislation which would bar hiring of illegals. Some
unions apparently are more concerned that such controls would have their
heaviest impact on aliens of a particular racial or cultural origin.
Latino organizations with strong labor influence are particularly con-
cerned that racial discrimination may be involved in the enforcement of
immigration laws. Some unions take the practical approach of organizing
illegals and thus make sure that their wages are up to union scale; in the
process, illegals become dues paying union members.
There is very little information available on union membership by
illegals. As one union official said, "how would you identify them, you
can't go around asking people, it's too sensitive a question." The
Linton sampling showed 17 percent of the 793 apprehendees were union members.
Broken down by groups, less than one percent of the farm workers were
unionized compared with 20 percent of the non-farm workers. Predictably,
union membership was lowest in the border counties and the Southwest
generally, 0.7 and 1.5 percent respectively, and highest in the East Coast
and Mid/Northwest, 29 and 24 percent respectively. The highest urban
incidence of unionization was in New York, 37 percent. Predictably, the
Mexican segment of the Linton group had the lowest union membership, 10
percent, while the WH illegals with 30 percent outdid the EH illegals with
Economic Impact: Welfare
It is very difficult to identify that portion of welfare costs that
can be directly attributable to illegal aliens. Most relevant State,
local, and Federal laws were written without aliens in mind. There is
either a lack of reference to or ambiguity between legislation on the
eligibility of aliens for most public assistance programs. In most cases,
the legal requirement for eligibility is simple need and local residence.
In a 1971 decision, Graham vs. Richardson, the Supreme Court ruled that a
permanent resident alien could not be denied such benefits because of non-
citizenship; unfortunately, the Court did not distinguish between legal
resident aliens and illegals.
Various Court decisions, constitutional guarantees of due process and
the Privacy Act work to the advantage of illegal aliens enabling them not
only to remain in the U.S. but to participate in many jurisdictions almost
at will in tax supported educational and public assistance programs. In
the December 1974 case of Varela vs. Swoap, the California Superior Court
ruled that public assistance could not be denied to an alien who could
not prove his legal status in the U.S. Rather, the burden of proof was
placed on the INS. Further, the Court ruled that public assistance
could not be cut off to the alien merely on the basis of an INS certifica-
tion of his illegal status, rather such cut off could not be effected
until after an official INS deportation order had been issued.
Efforts to obtain data directly from local governments on welfare
participation by illegals were largely unsuccessful. The Welfare Depart-
ment of New York City purported to be unaware of any "major problems"
regarding illegals despite a reported illegal alien population of some
1.5 million. A welfare official stated that until recently they did not
attempt to ascertain the citizenship or alien status of applicants. The
recent change is the result of new HEW guidelines concerning the use of
matching funds for the Supplemental Security Income Program.
In the absence of official data, the New York Times estimated that the
annual educational and welfare costs placed on the city in 1973 by illegal
aliens totaled $180 million. During hearings conducted by Congressman
Biaggi in New York in 1975, the former Director of the City's Welfare
department, James Dunston, testified that a survey of 370 illegals who had
been apprehended revealed they had received over $500,000 in welfare and
related benefits while possessing some $1.4 million in personal assets.
In one reported case, an illegal earning $259. a week and paying no taxes
had remitted more than $40,000 abroad over a six year period.
The lack of comprehensive data makes it difficult to draw any
meaningful conclusions regarding the welfare burdens occasioned by illegals.
In New York City, illegals reportedly have made heavy use of the aid to
dependent children program among others. Welfare cheating is also practiced
by resident aliens. One area is the use of fraudulent affidavits of support
and financial worth to obtain visas for elderly parents who on arrival in
the U.S. are promptly put on supplementary welfare and medicare. Any
welfare cheating by illegals can have serious consequences since many large
U.S. cities already have over 10 percent of their populations on welfare
and are going bankrupt because of escalating costs.
An attempt to obtain welfare data on illegals residing in the Baltimore
area also proved unrewarding. State and municipal officials stated that wel-
fare levels were too low to induce illegals to participate in any numbers.
In August 1974, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved an inves-
tigation to determine the social-economic impact of illegals aliens in the
County. The County is unique in that over 25 percent of all INS apprehen-
sions are made there. Moreover, some 10,000 Mexican citizens commute daily
from Tijuana, Mexico to work in the County as do an additional 5,500
Mexican seasonal farm laborers.
During FY 1974, San Diego County authorities denied only 18 out of
65,361 applications for aid to dependent children and general relief on
the grounds of illegal alien status. This figure does not include an
unknown number of applicants who withdrew voluntarily for various reasons.
The County's review of the problem revealed little or no incidence of ille-
gals receiving food stamps or general relief. Some minor expenditures
were made in children' services for illegals. Only $24,305 could be
attributed to direct usage annually of Welfare Department funds by illegals,
whereas the total cost of County welfare programs in FY 1974 was $144 million.
Though the two studies are not comparable, the San Diego experience with
welfare usage is not dissimilar from the Linton study sampling. Of the 793
Linton study apprehendees, only 0.5 percent admitted to having used welfare,
only 1.3 percent said they had ever received food stamps and only 3.9 percent
acknowledged having collected unemployment insurance. The data tends to
indicate that illegals are reluctant to resort to welfare or unemployment
insurance as it means face to face meetings with local government officials
and may result in requests for identification. Illegals are understandably
inclined to be fearful of discovery. Perhaps more controlling is the fact
that illegals are here precisely because they want to work, so much so that
many hold down more than one job at a time. A more accurate guide to the
use of public services by illegals might be found in medical assistance
sought, particularly of an emergency nature, since the California Health
Code, and presumably those of other States, requires hospitals to provide
emergency treatment to any person in need without reference to residency or
The San Diego study revealed that two County hospitals provided some
$1.9 million in free or subsidized medical care to illegal aliens in
FY 1974. Unfortunately, County wide data on health care costs is not
available. Data available at the University Hospital revealed that health
care for illegal aliens increased from $321,617 in FY 1971 to $513,063 in
FY 1974; these figures are exclusive of emergency room treatment which
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also has expressed concern
over the cost of County welfare and medical services used by illegal aliens.
County authorities believe that some 3,180 "ineligible" aliens including
illegals, student visa holders, visitors and 3 day border pass holders,
annually use tax supported, hospital inpatient facilities. The total cost
in FY 1973 of County inpatient facilities, outpatient services, community
health clinics and mental health centers used by illegal aliens is believed
to be $8.2 million. Last year, the County unsuccessfully sought compensa-
tion from the INS for that amount. A special survey made in July-August
1973 covering 2,189 families using the community health clinics revealed that
14.5 percent of the patients were acknowledged or presumed illegals. A
review of maternity cases at a Los Angeles hospital facility supported by
the County revealed that a monthly average of 445 to 450 cases out of a
thousand were known or presumed to be illegals. The lack of consistency in
these samplings as well as the scarcity of data underscores the need for
a professional research effort in this area.
It has been estimated that the annual cost of tax supported medical
care to illegals in California is over $20 million. In testimony before
Congressional hearings in 1973, officials of the California State Social
Welfare Board estimated total state-wide welfare and related costs from
illegal aliens at $100 million. While California obviously is an exceptional
case because of its geographic proximity to the Mexican border, the Linton
sampling, which was country-wide, also shows a substantial use, 27 percent,
of hospitals and clinics as compared with the low reported usage of welfare
and food stamp programs.
There are other tax supported public programs to which illegal aliens
have ready access. Most States require the education of all children in a
school district between the ages of 6 and 18 regardless of their citizenship
or alien status. In California, school districts can, if they choose, report
the enrollment of non-immigrant aliens in order to receive reimbursement
from County and State funds. A 1971-72 study of all California counties
indicated 9,818 such claims at a cost of $4.4 million. County authorities,
however, believe that the actual number of non-immigrant aliens enrolled at
the time was closer to 43,000. In 1974, the cost of educating illegal alien
students in the Santa Ana school district was nearly $1 million and the
total cost for Orange County was $2.6 million.
California's problems with the education of illegal aliens were com-
pounded by a November 1975 Superior Court ruling which prohibits State
education officials from revealing to the INS the names of illegal alien
students enrolled in the school system. Further, the Court ordered local
schools not to give the names of illegal alien students to State authorities
without a written guarantee that the names will not be revealed to the INS.
Faced with the same basic problem, school authorities in some Northern
Virginia jurisdictions insist on seeing birth certificates or other valid
documentation for children of foreign nationals before accepting enrollments
in their school system. In fairness to the illegal alien, it must be noted
that a portion of rent payments, if not direct real estate taxes in the case
of home owners, helps support the educational system used by the illegal
aliens' children. Of course, overcrowding and the need to build additional
plant is another factor to be considered.
INS apprehensions reveal access by illegal aliens to all sorts of other
tax supported programs including scarce public housing facilities, unemploy-
ment insurance, medicaid, medicare, manpower training programs, and Small
Business Administration loans, among others. Referring back to the legal
anomalies which abound in this field, although illegal aliens by definition
are not supposed to be in the country, if they are employed in the State
of Illinois they are entitled under State law to unemployment benefits.
The same is believed true in some other States. Similar anomalies exist
under various other State and Federal laws. As another example, the
Department of Labor has determined that experience gained by an illegal
alien will be accepted as part of the labor certification process in a
subsequent visa application. Further, Federal Government agencies have no
control over the hiring of illegal aliens by private recipients of government
contracts; illegal aliens have been found working on atomic submarine
projects, painting the Statue of Liberty and on the cleaning force of the INS
headquarters building in the District of Columbia.
It is contended that the real welfare and related costs to the nation
from illegal aliens are indirect rather than direct and result from the
displacement of American or resident alien workers. In a 1975 study for the
INS, ICF Incorporated of Washington, D.C., estimated the annual unemployment
and welfare related cost per displaced and employable American or resident
alien at $2,000. The ICF study estimated that for every 250,000 legal
residents displaced from jobs by illegals, $1.5 billion in earnings were
lost to the workers and a good part of it to the economy through remittances
The other side of this argument contends that many, perhaps most,
illegals earn less than $2.50 an hour or about $5,000 a year which is
close to the U.S. income poverty level (except for Hawaii and Alaska) of
$5,290 for a non-farm family of five. It is argued that since a welfare
recipient for a family of five can receive approximately $4,800 a year, an
American or resident alien eligible for welfare is not likely to compete
for a job which would net less than welfare. The argument then is that
most illegals are not depriving anyone of a job but rather they are filling
jobs which no one else wants. On the other hand, it can be said that
wages stay low in certain types of jobs because illegals are available who
will accept such wages; otherwise, wages would have to be raised and
American or legal resident workers could be induced to take them and leave
the welfare rolls. The latter point broaches the complex issue of what
welfare levels should be in the first instance.
Economic Impact: Taxes
To the extent that illegal aliens use tax supported public services
for which they pay no taxes or less than their fair share, there is a net
tax loss which must be borne by the U.S. taxpayer. It is widely believed
there is such a loss but no one knows its' full extent. The Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) has no estimate of the Federal income tax either evaded or
underpaid by illegal aliens. The same is true of most State and local govern-
ments. Like everyone else, illegal aliens do pay such levies as excise and
sales taxes, gasoline taxes, and to some extent Federal and State income and
local property taxes.
The IRS believes that most illegals pay some Federal income tax in the
form of withholding from wages; there is a question, however, as to whether
the withholding is at the proper rate. The IRS view is supported by the
Linton study which showed that 73 percent of the sampling had Federal income
taxes withheld from their wages. The sampling also showed, however,
that only 32 percent of the same illegals actually filed a Federal income
tax return. Presumably the 22 percent who received their wages in cash
also evaded paying any income tax. Additionally, as regards withholding,
it is often evaded by illegal aliens who list as many as 10 to 12 dependents
on their W-4 form. By claiming multiple dependents, usually non-existent,
withholding is reduced or eliminated and take home pay is maximized. In
many cases, the illegal knows he will not file a return at the end of the
year or if he does he can hope to escape auditing.
The IRS normally does not inquire regarding the citizenship or alien
status of the taxpayer and the 1040 income tax form requires no statement
on the subject. Non-resident aliens are required to use a separate income
tax form. 1040NR, since their tax liability is computed differently from
those of U.S. citizens or resident aliens. Non-residents, for example,
cannot claim deductions for a spouse or children. However, the illegal
alien is not likely to use the non-resident return because of the higher
tax liability and out of concern that he might come to the attention of the
INS. Actually, the IRS cannot turn over such information to the INS
because of confidentiality.
As it is so often the case with government agencies, the IRS has a
large backlog of fraud cases to investiage and cannot go after the illegal
alien problem per se although it will take information on fraud by illegals
and follow up whenever possible. In any case, IRS believes that evasion of
Federal income tax liability by most illegals represents a low level of
fraud commensurate with the generally lower wage levels involved. It
should be noted that anyone with an adjusted gross income of $5,000 who
claims six exemptions has no Federal income tax liability; anyone claiming
12 or more exemptions has no tax due if their adjusted gross income is under
The situation with respect to State income taxes is much the same, there
is little firm data available. A sampling of 190 Mexican illegals by Illinois
State Assembly investigators showed that 60 percent failed to file a State
income tax return and of those who did, many claimed a dozen or so non-
existent dependents to increase take home pay. A February 7, 1975 article in
the New York Daily News quoted the New York State Tax Commissioner as
estimating the annual tax loss to the State from working illegal aliens at
$26 million. The article also estimated New York City's annual tax loss
because of illegals at $9.6 million.
Economic Impact: Balance of Payments
It is believed there is a substantial balance of payments loss associated
with illegal aliens, because of a propensity to remit a significant
portion of earnings; this loss has been variously estimated at from $3 to
$10 billion a year. During the latter years of the program, Bracero
remittances were said to represent Mexico's fourth largest earner of foreign
There is fairly good evidence that illegals do remit a significant
portion of their earnings. Many come to the U.S. with the goal of building
a nest egg to take home or to support relatives in their home country. The
Linton study indicated that even unmarried illegals have heavy family respon-
sibilities in their country of origin: 88 percent of the Mexican illegals
were supporting an average of 5.4 dependents; 71 percent of the WH illegals
were supporting 3.6 dependents; and 41 percent of the EH illegals were suppor-
ting 1.8 dependents in their home country.
The Linton sampling also showed that the Mexican illegals earning an
average weekly wage of $106 were sending home about $30 a week or 28.4 per-
cent of their earnings; WH illegals earning an average weekly wage of
$127 were sending home about $17.75 a week or 14 percent; and EH illegals
earning an average weekly wage of $195 were sending home an average of some
$8.65 or 4.4 percent.
Some further extrapolations could be made from INS apprehension data.
For example, there were 654,836 Mexican EWI's apprehended in FY 1975.
Assuming each had the opportunity to work for one year in the U.S. and earned
$5,000, and using the average of 25 percent for estimating remittances, the
Mexican apprehendees would have remitted some $818 million a year.
Alternatively, if the estimated total of 4 to 12 million illegal aliens earned
a minimum of $5,000 a year and remitted just 10 percent of their earnings,
it would result in balance of payments loss ranging from $2 billion to $6
Since the overriding incentive for aliens to enter or remain in the
U.S. illegally is their desire to work, Social Security has been an important
element in the problem. Historically, the INS has sought to preclude access
to a Social Security number by illegals, while the Social Security
Administration (SSA) has resisted becoming part of a control system over
aliens. The SS number originally was designed to provide a reference to
which wages could be reported in order to establish and record eligibility
for benefits. Over the years, use of the SS number has expanded well beyond
the original intent; its principal other use is the basis for Internal
Revenue Service controls for the income tax liability of wage earners and
as such is the most comprehensive, nation-wide identification number we have.
The SSA's traditional view has been that citizenship is not an issue in
determining eligibility for SS benefits; rather, the purpose of SS legisla-
tion is to insure that with certain specified exceptions, all remunerative
work is covered by the appropriate provisions of law. Further, since there
was no specific exclusion in the law for aliens working illegally they were
considered to be covered. This basic approach was applied even in the case
of U.S. citizens engaged in otherwise illicit activity, i.e., gambling and
prostitution. In short, persons employed or self-employed in such activities
but who make their contributions are entitled to SS benefits.
The Social Security Act provides that any alien who leaves the U.S.
voluntarily for more than 6 months shall have any benefits due suspended
until the alien returns to the U.S. However, Congress has added so many
loopholes that for all practical purposes the cited provision is inoperative.
Thus, most aliens who have worked in the U.S. legally or illegally and have
made their SS contributions and who return to their home country are eligible
for any benefits due. Benefits are cut off only in the event the alien is
deported (does not apply to voluntary departure); even here, in 4 of 18
causes for deportation (medical, etc.) the alien's SS benefits can be
continued. At present, there are approximately 300,000 overseas beneficiaries
of U.S. Federal benefits (90 percent Social Security) receiving over
$500 million annually. About 130,000 beneficiaries are known to be U.S.
citizens, the remainder are either known to be aliens or their citizenship
is unknown. How many might have been illegal aliens is not known.
Prior to the amendment of the Social Security Act in 1974, applicants
for a SS number could obtain one on the spot in SS district offices. Few
questions were asked, and none about citizenship or alien status. Some
older applicants were questioned as a safeguard against multiple applications
but there was no barrier to acquisition of a SS number and card by an illegal
alien. This was well known by illegal aliens and it would probably be accurate
to guess that the great majority of illegals today have valid SS cards
despite recent changes in the application procedure.
As a consequence of amendments to the SS Regulations which were imple-
mented in March 1974, all applicants now must satisfy age, identity and
citizenship or alien status requirements. Each applicant must provide proof
of age, by birth or baptismal certificate, and some form of current identifica-
tion such as a driver's license or passport. Unfortunately, fraud is still
possible because of the ease of acquiring false birth certificates or driver's
licenses. If an applicant claims U.S. citizenship but fails to provide proof,
the SS application is referred to INS for a check. In the absence of a
negative response from the INS within one week, the SSA will process the
application; the SSA takes the view that applicants urgently need their
cards and a delay beyond one week for an INS check cannot be justified.
During the initial months of the new SSA application procedure, an
average of 500 applications a day were referred to INS for checking; in all,
a total of some 40,000 applications were referred in the period March 1974
to February 1975. Following the implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974,
these referrals fell off sharply; today they average about 15 a week.
At present, whenever an applicant is hesitant or reluctant to provide proof
of citizenship or legal alien status he is informed that the information
could be referred to INS for an illegal alien check. If the individual
withdraws the application all data already submitted by the alien is
returned and no referral is made to the INS. Only after complying with the
provisions of the Privacy Act and the individuals' express desire to pursue
the application are doubtful cases referred to INS and even then the SSA
will wait just one week before processing the application.
Following the March 1974 amendments to the Social Security Regulations
and before the Privacy Act became effective, data on all SS applications
abandoned following a request for proof of status were routinely passed to
INS. Some 39,000 applications were abandoned under these conditions in the
period March 1974 to February 1975. Apart from whatever difficulties
illegal aliens may now experience in attempting to acquire a valid SS card,
lack of a card is not a serious obstacle to employment. Counterfeit cards
are readily available for a price or the illegal alien can simply borrow a
valid card from a friend. Employers rarely ask to see the SS card when
hiring and normally only ask for the number. An illegal who has used a
counterfeit card or an imaginary number can easily avoid apprehension since
the SSA inquiry or one by the IRS is normally made by mail and to the
employer who then asks and thus alerts the illegal who promptly changes
The SSA control system is not geared to detect the use of someone
else's valid SS number by an illegal alien or anyone else for that matter.
Because of the mobility of U.S. workers it is not unusual for a single
number to receive diverse payments from different parts of the country.
However, the IRS presumably would look to the card holder of record for
payment of taxes due on the total amount of earnings reported. SSA records
are essentially confidential and more so now under the Privacy Act; they
are available to the IRS but not to the FBI or police except in cases
involving national security. While illegal aliens are not covered by the
Privacy Act, a prudent bureaucrat would be careful to avoid a mistake
involving a U.S. citizen or a legal alien resident; a basic problem which
pervades nearly all aspects of the illegal alien issue is how to distinguish
a U.S. citizen from the alien who claims to be one.
In addition to issuing SS numbers to U.S. citizens and legally eligible
aliens for work purposes, the SSA also issues numbers for non-work purposes,
i.e. to alien students for registering in schools and to aliens earning
interest from bank, etc. accounts. During the period March 1974 to
February 1975, the SSA issued approximately 23,000 cards to aliens ineligible
to work, i.e. students, etc. However, these cards are annotated to detect
non-interest earnings; there were about 1,500 such cases recorded and
referred to the INS during the above period.
Under current procedures, the application form for an SS number inter
alia asks for date and place of birth, including country. The card does not
require a statement of citizenship or alien status. It does, however, carry
a notice that whoever intentionally falsifies his or someone else's true
identity or willfully furnishes false information in applying for a SS number
is subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment for up to 1 year
or both. Notwithstanding the warning, the SSA does not prosecute illegal
aliens offering false data to obtain a SS number; prosecution normally is
pursued only when there is intent to defraud the system of benefits. SSA
officials note they would be prepared to prosecute fraudulent applications
but doubt that U.S. Attorneys would be willing to add them to their over-
burdened case loads.
In 1964, the INS spent 59 man hours and $800 to apprehend one illegal
alien. Today, that cost has been reduced to 5 man hours and $225 per alien.
In the same period, INS enforcement personnel increased by only 12.5 percent
but apprehensions increased by 700 percent. These figures reflect improved
INS efficiency but even more they reflect the increasing numbers of illegals.
INS District Offices have thousands of leads that can't be followed up for
lack of personnel; in Washington, D.C., the backlog of leads numbers 6,000,
in New York it is well over 20,000. Out of necessity, District Offices
screen their leads for the highest yield investigations such as factories,
hotels, and restaurants where multiple apprehensions are possible. One
result is that illegals in some sectors of the economy, usually in
higher paying jobs, for all practical purposes have been immune from appre-
hension. Recently, however, INS has implemented a new policy of seeking out
illegals in higher paying jobs through a selective screening of various leads
and tips received by District Offices.
Most of the violations of the immigration law by the illegal alien, as
distinct from the smuggler of aliens, are misdemeanors rather than criminal
or felony offenses. The statutory penalties for these violations call for
fines and jail sentences ranging from $100 to $1,000 and from up to 30 days
to 6 months imprisonment. These violations include illegal entry, jumping
ship by crewmen, failure to carry a registration card, failure to register
with the INS, etc. The cited sentences are seldom imposed. To prosecute a
violator, the INS would have to submit evidence to a U.S. Attorney who would
have to decide whether he wanted to add an immigration violation to a case
load already crowded with major felonies. Needless to add, prosecution is
normally waived; thus, in effect there are few penalties and no practical
disincentives to violating the law.
Illegals who enter the U.S. without inspection obviously have no visa or
other documents to be screened; the only means to prevent their entry is the
Border Patrol. Aliens who apply for visas with fraudulent intent are
initially screened by consular officers abroad. Since no one can read
fraudulent intent in someone's mind when the other conditions required
of bona fide visitors, etc. are present, a certain number of aliens will
continue to deceive consular officers abroad and immigration officers at
ports of entry.
Both the visa issuance procedures and the port of entry inspection have
been refined in recent years, but further improvements can still be made. A
recent INS study conducted at various ports of entry indicates a much higher
frequency of fraudulent entries than was heretofore suspected. In this study,
a team of experienced INS Inspectors checked major land and air ports of entry
over a four month period in late 1975 for fraudulent entries. Of a total
243,360 entries checked, 894 attempted frauds were discovered including use
of altered or counterfeit documents, stolen or borrowed documents, false
claims to U.S. citizenship, and visas and border crossing cards obtained
under false pretenses. The ratio of one fraud for every 270 persons was
approximately 12 times as high as the current discovery rate under normal
operations at ports of entry. In short, the study rate of fraud would
represent 550,000 fraudulent entries in FY 1975 whereas INS Inspectors
actually discovered only 42,000 attempts. Obviously the screening process
can be improved and steps are being taken to that end. It is significant
that the personnel conducting the study did not use any special equipment
and only took an average of one minute per person inspected.
The foregoing underscores the urgent need for the development of
tamper proof and machine readable documents tied in to a computerized
A new, tamper proof, machine readable 1-151 card used for immigrants
and border crossers is close at hand. At present, 17 slightly different
but equally valid versions of the 1-151 card are issued by as many
different INS regional offices. The new, tamper proof card will be tested
shortly in the field and should be ready for general use in January 1977.
It will carry the alien's photo, fingerprint information, signature and
certain biographic data. Hopefully the next step toward more secure
entry documents will be an improved visa form. The development of a
new 1-94 card used for non-immigrant aliens is a more difficult and
distant objective, particularly as it would require effective departure
Next to EWI's, the largest source of illegals are alien visitors who
find jobs and fail to leave when their visa period is up. Non-immigrant
aliens including tourists, businessmen and students are issued the appro-
priate visa abroad and on arrival at the U.S. port of entry are given an
1-94 card by an INS Inspector. The card is stapled in the alien's passport
and serves to identify him while in the U.S. as a legal entrant. At
present, there is no effective procedure on the alien's scheduled departure
which would permit a rapid and accurate match-up between the entry and
exit data on the individual alien. Under existing procedure, the
departing alien merely drops off his half of the 1-94 card at the airline
ticket counter before boarding his plane; the card is supposed to be turned
in by the air carrier to the INS. Clearly, the opportunities for error or
deliberate fraud are many and the result is an unreliable index of how many
non-immigrant aliens actually leave the U.S.
The 1-94 records of the INS are now being computerized which should
greatly improve control procedures. What is needed, however, is an effective
departure control system. Such controls can only be imposed during a state
of emergency. However, the U.S. is presently in a declared state of
emergency and has been continuously since 1950. Nevertheless, there has
been no practical implementation of such controls despite the statutory
authority (Section 215 of the Act) primarily because of manpower needs and
travel facilitation considerations. At present, the only follow-up on
actual departures is made on Iron Curtain country visitors.
Immigration investigators have the authority to question and detain
persons believed to be illegal aliens. The apprehended alien is detained
under a warrant of arrest for being in the U.S. illegally, he is informed
of his rights and then questioned concerning the details of his case. The
alien is given a show cause order as to why he should not be deported; an
alien cannot be deported involuntarily without a hearing before an
Immigration Judge. In the great majority of cases, the alien is offered
the opportunity to depart voluntarily within a specified time period at
his own expense. Most non-EWI's choose this alternative and thus avoid
formal deportation. Mexican EWI's in the Southwest area are normally
transported by bus back to the Mexican border. Aliens who are deported
cannot re-enter the U.S. within a 12 month period without the Attorney
General's approval; after a year, the normal immigration procedures apply.
The "Voluntary Departure" procedure is a necessary short cut used by
the INS because of the lack of detention facilities and the high cost of
placing detainees in local jails. In the District of Columbia jail,
detention costs $30 a day per male and $50 per female. The Voluntary
Departure procedure is used for aliens judged to be responsible and
thus less likely to abscond. If considered a poor risk, an alien is
given the opportunity to depart voluntarily but "under safeguards", i.e.,
he is escorted to the airport and put on an outgoing flight. The obvious
disadvantage of the Voluntary Departure procedure is a high rate of
abscondees who don't leave the country as promised and simply change jobs
and residence after being released.
All aliens have the right to a hearing before an Immigration Judge.
Normally,after a date for the hearing is set, the illegal, unless judged to
be a poor risk or an abscondee from a previous apprehension, is released.
Release is normally made on the alien's own recognizance although bond can
be set in more doubtful cases or when the alien has the means to meet it.
Again, lack of detention facilities and funds dictate such releases in the
great majority of cases. There are, of course, valid humanitarian
reasons for such release as well.
In some areas, illegals are well versed on INS limitations and know
there are no local detention facilities available. When apprehended,
these aliens will insist on a hearing and hope for interim release on their
own recognizance or at worst on a low bond. Once released, they simply
disappear; the loss of a bond is a small price to pay for being able to
remain in the country. In some metropolitan areas with a high concentra-
tion of illegals and a heavy case load, as many as 40 to 50 percent of the
Voluntary Departures abscond. Without adequate funds or facilities, INS
cannot detain every apprehended alien pending a hearing or deportation,
not to mention meeting the transportation costs out of the country. Even if
the alien appears for his hearing and is found deportable, he normally will
be offered the opportunity to leave voluntarily. If the alien doesn't
have the necessary funds, INS will pay the fare.
A variety of organizations give free and expert advice to aliens on
how to establish a U.S. identity, obtain Social Security cards, find jobs,
avoid apprehension and fight deportation. INS Inspectors in the Pacific
Northwest recently encountered the "mute" technique in checking suspected
illegals who obviously had received legal counseling. The reaction of
the illegals on being checked was to stand still and remain silent. Unable
to judge any response and thus lacking any basis for preceding, the INS
Inspectors are forced to abandon the effort since mere appearance or
suspicion is not adequate basis for detention.
A basic flaw in any effort to enforce the Immigration Act inside the
U.S. is the absence of a uniform method for identifying U.S. citizens.
Since we have no national ID card, there is no effective way of distinguish-
ing the illegal alien from the U.S. citizen. An illegal can with relative
ease bluff his way though a check (not at the port of entry) by simply
insisting he is a native-born citizen. There is no immediate way an
Immigration Investigator can challenge a Spanish speaking illegal's
claim to being a Mexican American or a Puerto Rican. If push comes to
shove, the Investigator is likely to back off rather than risk making a
mistake. In real terms, it is the meek and ignorant illegal who is appre-
hended, the better situated illegal has learned how to avoid apprehension.
The idea of a national identification card is objectionable to many
Americans who regard it as a step toward authoritarian government. Yet,
most other countries have some form of a national identity document which
contain little if any more information than the ordinary driver's license
carried by most Americans. The need for some form of tamper proof
identification exists because false birth certificates and drivers licenses
are readily available in the U.S. A simple mailed request to most Town
Clerks or City Registrars will obtain a copy of someone else's legitimate
birth certificate; other false documents as easily obtained.
Effective enforcement programs are essential but by themselves cannot
solve the illegal alien problem. There is an urgent need for legislation
which would penalize those who employ illegal aliens; this would be the
most effective way to counteract the principal incentive which attracts
illegals to the U.S. job opportunity. A number of bills have been sub-
mitted to the Congress with that intent. The best known is HR 8713 intro-
duced by Congressman Peter W. Rodino, Jr., of New Jersey; the Rodino bill
would on the first violation impose a warning, on the second violation a
civil penalty, and on the third a criminal penalty of up to $1,000 on
employers who "knowingly" hire illegal aliens. The Rodino bill was
approved by the House in both the 92nd and 93rd Congresses but has failed
to obtain consideration from Senator Eastland's Immigration Subcommittee
of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Congressman Mario Biaggi of New York also has introduced an illegal
alien bill, HR 5987, which would impose a 6 month prison sentence or a
fine equal to the cost of deportation for those who "knowingly" employ an
illegal alien; a penalty also would be imposed on those who refer for
employment aliens who are in the U.S. illegally. On the Senate side,
Senator Kennedy has proposed S 561 which inter alia would impose civil
penalties on employers of illegal aliens. To date, neither the Kennedy
nor the Biaggi bills have been acted on.
A major consideration in legislation to control illegal aliens or to
penalize those who employ them is the question of amnesty. Even the
strongest advocates of stringent controls are concerned over the possible
deportation of several million illegal aliens suddenly deprived of the
opportunity to work, assuming of course that effective legislation is
enacted and the majority of the illegals affected do not choose to leave
voluntarily. The Rodino bill contains an amnesty clause permitting
illegals who have been here since June 1968 to remain as legal residents.
The Kennedy bill would reduce the time period for amnesty to 3 years.
Some observers believe the Rodino amnesty provision would involve some
250,000 illegals while the Kennedy provision could encompass several
A number of other countries have enacted laws penalizing those who
employ illegal aliens, the most notable being West Germany; reportedly,
Canada, Switzerland and several Scandinavian countries have similar
legislation. The prospects for such legislation in the U.S. are not
promising at the moment. There is no indication that the Senate will
consider the Rodino bill in the foreseeable future. However, in the
absence of action by the Congress, a recent Supreme Court decision may
open the path for action by the individual states.
On February 25, 1976 the Supreme Court, by an 8 0 vote, upheld the
power of the State of California and other states to prohibit the employ-
ment of illegal aliens. The Court noted that the failure of Congress to
act in this area did not preclude the individual states from doing so.
Previously, California Courts had ruled that State law unconstitutional
for encroaching on Federal legislation regulating the status of immigrants
and aliens. The Supreme Court decision called on the California Courts
to review the law to insure no conflict with Federal legislation. Both
Connecticut and New Mexico earlier had enacted such legislation only to
have them struck down by their State courts as unconstitutional. Similar
legislation on illegals is now pending in the Illinois, New Hampshire,
Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey legislatures.
The California law is held by some experts as being unenforceable.
Additionally, there is a possible conflict with Federal legislation in that
it refers to U.S. citizens and "legal immigrants" in terms of eligibility
for work whereas there are several categories of non-immigrant aliens who
are permitted under Federal law to work under prescribed conditions. These
differences, of course, can be corrected in the event they are conflictive.
The INS General Counsel's Office has prepared model legislation which
would be compatible with Federal law and could serve to insure uniform
legislation by interested States pending possible action by Congress.
Congressional interest also has been expressed in Federal reimbursement
to local governments for medical and other social costs incurred on
behalf of illegal aliens. Los Angeles and San Diego County authorities
have strongly contended that the socio-economic burdens imposed by the
presence of illegal aliens is a Federal and not a local responsibility. In
response to this concern, Congressman B. F. Sisk of California has intro-
duced HR 2159 which would reimburse local authorities for emergency
medical treatment to indigent illegal aliens. The kind of case which gives
impetus to the Sisk bill is that of an illegal alien injured in a
California auto accident whose medical treatment at taxpayer expense
exceeded $75,000. Prospects for HR 2159 are not bright; a similar bill died
in Committee in the last Congress.
Another bill introduced by Congressman Sisk is HR 3737 which would up-
grade the Social Security card to a tamper proof form of identification
in addition to its present uses. Critics of the proposal, much the same as
those who oppose the Rodino et al bills, allege it would represent a step
toward totalitarianism, others assert it would be too costly pointing
out that some 200 million Social Security cards have already been issued.
In response, Congressman Sisk has suggested that the new card be issued
only to new applicants plus those presently covered who choose to exchange
their old card for a new one.
As suggested in other parts of this paper, most Federal legislation
omit any reference to illegal aliens, thus making it difficult legally to
preclude their participation in publicly supported programs and services.
However, some remedial steps are being taken. One example is the Farm
Labor Contractor Registration Act of 1963. The Act regulates contractors
hired by farmers to recruit and supply seasonal labor. In December 1974,
the Act was amended to prevent contractors from hiring illegal aliens
and requiring the contractor to request documentation of citizenship or
alien status. Violations of the new provision are punishable by fines not
to exceed $500 or 1 year in jail for the first offense and up to $10,000
or up to 3 years in jail for subsequent offenses, plus the loss of the con-
tractors certification to operate. The Department of Labor is presently
prosecuting such a case in Florida.
Another instance of change are certain programs administered by HEW
which limit eligibility to U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens: these
include supplemental security income, aid to dependent children, medicare
and medicaid. The provisions covering this, however, are subject to legal
challenge on constitutional grounds since the equal protection clause
refers to "every person" and not to "citizens," or "lawful resident
aliens." Perhaps reflecting a changing mood, Congress is now considering
the drafting of legislation which would amend various existing laws in
such a way as to restrict eligibility for benefits to U.S. citizens and
legal resident aliens.
The Other Side
The other side of the illegal alien issue is the plight of the
individual alien who for the most part is simply seeking to improve his own
economic situation. In a real sense, the illegal is a victim of a combina-
tion of circumstances he can neither control nor resist, the attainment
of his economic dreams in a society that does not enforce its laws on the
subject and imposes no penalties on violators. Our failure to enforce
effective measures not just against the illegal alien but those who
facilitate his entry and those who offer him employment has created a sub-
culture in our country of people who must conspire and lie in order to
survive; these are hardly the qualities to be cultivated in a democratic
Organizations which are concerned about the welfare and future of the
illegal alien contend that the only rational solution is a general amnesty.
If stiffer legislation or enforcement measures are to be applied, they
should be applied to new illegals and not to those already in the country.
Some groups also favor larger quotas on legal admissions of Mexican and other
Western Hemisphere nationals. In general, these groups contend that the
illegal aliens in the country already have made their impact on and have
been absorbed by the economy and therefore they should be legalized.
Those who advocate amnesty point with good reason to the highly
sensitive issues that would be raised if any attempt were made to deport
large numbers of illegals the anguish of broken families and disrupted life
patterns established over a period of years. Thus the amnesty approach
has considerable appeal and support, particularly among interested labor
and church organizations. It is unlikely that any Federal legislation along
the lines of the Rodino bill could be approved without some kind of amnesty
provision; at issue is what kind of amnesty. One New York based organization
representing the West Indian community is proposing that all illegals in
the U.S. be pardoned as a Bicentennial gesture by the President to the
nation's heritage of immigrants.
Job categories and wage levels of illegals have already been reviewed;
they represent a key argument in the present context. In defense of the
illegal alien it is said that most illegals take menial, low paying jobs
that threaten no one and which few legal aliens or American workers will
accept. The fact that the illegals find these jobs proves they serve a
necessary function. Without the illegal, some businesses would fail,
others would be forced to raise their prices to the public, and so on.
Further, it is argued, there is no law at present against the employer for
hiring an illegal, therefore there should be no onus on the illegal for taking
the job. Illegals also are said to pay most of their tax liability through
withholding from wages, to be responsible and hard-working people who are
far less prone to use welfare services than citizens, and finally that they
help keep the prices of many goods and services for the American consumer
lower than they otherwise would be.
If some or many disadvantaged American workers are displaced by cheap
illegal labor, many illegals themselves are exploited and victimized almost
before they enter the U.S. Alien smugglers, known as "Coyotes", are
believed to be responsible for more deaths than all other Federal crimes
combined. Charging anywhere from several hundred to $1,000 a head or more
to smuggle an alien into the U.S., the smugglers often resort to throwing
illegals out of speeding vehicles to avoid apprehension. Aliens are fre-
quently robbed, beaten, raped, suffocated in hidden compartments, the
list of crimes and abuses is extensive; yet, they keep coming.
Nor does the exploitation stop once the alien reaches his destination
in the U.S. Unscrupulous middle-men, employers, immigration "consultants",
landlords, etc. take their toll. Sometimes, other aliens extort money from
their own people by threatening to denounce them to the INS. Interviews
by interested community and civic organizations have documented a wide
variety of illegal and unsavory practices going well beyond sub-standard
wages and poor working conditions. These abuses include unpaid back wages,
denunciation by employers to the INS just before payday, false deductions
for medical care and other benefits, wage penalties for alleged poor work,
sexual exploitation of female aliens, excessive work hours, salary kickbacks,
excessive charges for inadequate housing, and so on. Many of these abuses,
but not all, are peculiar to agricultural labor.
The most active groups defending the interests of illegals are the
Spanish-speaking, community organizations. These groups bridge a wide
spectrum of views and attitudes but in general express a growing concern
that enforcement measures employed by the INS are concentrated against
people who look "Spanish" or "Latin American". The problem, of course,
lies in the fact that so many native-born or naturalized Americans, particu-
larly in the West and Southwest, are of Hispanic origin, not to mention
millions of Puerto Rican Americans. How can INS Investigators or the
Border Patrol distinguish and legitimately question suspected illegal aliens
without appearing to "harass" American citizens or legal residents of
The growing concerns of Spanish-speaking organizations over the enforce-
ment of immigration laws has serious racial overtones as well as political
clout in many parts of the U.S. In the case of the United Farm Workers,
UFW leader Ceasar Chavez had long opposed the presence of illegal aliens
on the ground that they were used by employers as strike breakers. More
recently, however, the UFW position has been modified, reportedly
under pressure from Hispanic organizations concerned about the "broader
interests" of their people.
Most Hispanic activist groups strongly oppose the Rodino bill and
similar legislation asserting they would divide families and "promote
a climate of fear and oppression." The more extreme of these groups
highlight in their publications, articles on "shootings by police" and
editorially condemn the "racist, gestapo tactics used by the INS in Latin
American communities." According to these groups, INS methods are
"creating the atmosphere and acceptance of fascism." The Hispanic community
view is not all pro-illegal and anti-INS. Many legal resident aliens who
have entered the U.S. in full compliance with immigration regulations are
equally concerned about their own economic opportunities and the
possibility of growing hostility from the general public against all Spanish-
The concerns of legal aliens of Hispanic origin are not without founda-
tion. One effect of Rodino type legislation could be that employers
would be reluctant to hire anyone who looks "Spanish". A more immediate
and practical concern is that many legal resident aliens compete for the same
jobs taken by illegals. The Hispanic tie, of course, bridges several groups
in the U.S., not the least of which are American citizens of Puerto Rican
origin. Recently a class action suit was made against the Secretary of Labor
and the INS Commissioner for proposing to issue labor certification to
6,700 foreign laborers to help harvest the 1975 apple crop in the U.S. when
6,000 Puerto Rican workers reportedly were available to do the work.
In essence the other side to the issue is the concern we traditionally
have felt for the world's struggling masses to whom the Statue of Liberty
has reached out over the years. A harsh policy of enforcement is not in
the U.S. image and would be abhorrent to most Americans. Unfortunately,
the economic and population conditions which enabled us to pursue, in fact
necessitated, a open immigration policy no longer exist and we are facing
a time of hard decisions.
The British Experience
Each year, some 8 million non-British visitors enter the U.K. By
far, the U.S. is the greatest single source of these visitors with 1.5
million; EEC country nationals represent another 3.4 million entrants.
To screen and control this movement of aliens, the Immigration and
Nationality Department (IND) of the Home Office disposes some 1,300
employees stationed at 50 ports of entry.
By definition, British authorities only regard clandestine entrants,
our EWI's, as being illegal aliens; overstays and other abuses by alien
visitors who have entered legally are regarded as lesser offenses but
are nonetheless prosecuted under the law. The IND does not know how many
aliens have entered the country illegally or the number of overstays and
other violators of the Immigration Act.
Only 4 percent of the aliens entering the country require visas; these
are principally aliens from East Europe and the Middle East. Therefore, the
principal British vehicle for control of alien entrants is the Immigration
Officer (IO) at the port of entry. IO's have broad powers to refuse entry
or to condition the visitor's stay. Their decisions are not subject to
any appeal other than review at the time by an IND supervisor.
Alien arrivals are selectively questioned concerning the nature of
their visit and planned length of stay. Common Market country nationals
may enter almost as freely as British citizens; Commonwealth citizens
are less priviledged. Most arrivals are expedited through the entry
procedure; however, nationals of certain countries, and individuals,
considered more likely to become violators are closely questioned and
may have more stringent limitations placed on their stay. Some 12,000
persons are turned back annually at ports of entry. In 1974, the refused
entry category was headed by nationals of Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Spain
British authorities are also concerned about the increasing clandestine
introduction of aliens into the country from West Germany, Holland and
France by professional smugglers. The exact number of these illegals is
not known but in 1975 some 200 were apprehended; a much larger number is
believed to have succeeded in evading the authorities. There are severe
criminal penalties for alien smuggling, up to 7 years imprisonment, but
the traffic is increasing as entry controls are tightened.
The Immigration Act of 1971 gives the IND the power to arrest and
prosecute aliens who have violated the law. However, this authority is
seldom used, rather it is exercised by the uniformed police. While the
IND actively pursues clandestine entrants, it does not make a major effort
to seek out overstays or other violators. The IND will pass information to
the police on overstays, but the apprehension of aliens by the police is
largely a matter of chance. If arrested, aliens who have violated the
Immigration Act are prosecuted in the regular courts. Illegal entry and
overstaying are punishable with a fine not to exceed 200 Pounds, imprison-
ment for not more than 6 months or both. Judges may also reccomend
deportation, but only the Home Secretary can authorize deportation. There
are about 500 deportations a year, but a much larger number of aliens are
asked to leave the country voluntarily.
Aliens who have been in country for 6 months must register with the
local police. They must provide biographic and other data, photos,
and fingerprints if they are unable to sign their name in English. Only
EEC nationals are exempt from the registry fee of 2.50 Pounds. All police
departments have Alien Registration offices and police follow-up is
routinely made on any change of address by the alien who must register again
in the new location.
Legislation enacted in January 1973, requires all persons over 16
years of age staying at hotels, inns, etc. to register with their full name
and nationality; if aliens, they must show their passports or other
identity papers. Moreover, before leaving the hotel, etc., aliens must
indicate their forwarding address. This requirement is part of the Immigra-
tion Act and the data is available to both the police and the IND.
Except for special cases, aliens are admitted to the U.K. for employ-
ment only if they possess a prior, valid work permit issued by the Department
of Employment. The permit is issued only for a specific job with a particu-
lar employer who must apply for the permit. The permit is valid for one year
and may be renewed for one year periods. Nationals of EEC countries do
not need a permit to work in the U.K.; Commonwealth nationals do. There are
no penalties on employers who hire aliens without a work permit. Neither
is there any legal impediment to an alien obtaining a National Insurance
(broader than Social Security) number even though they are not entitled to
work. The latter circumstance has occasioned considerable public and
It is reported that well over half the employees of London hotels and
restaurants are aliens, many of whom are believed to lack work permits.
Reportedly, the same sort of foreign recruiting of service help by middle-
men as occurs in the U.S. is widely practiced. Unemployment in the London
area, however, is not a major problem and wages for service help are low
enough to remain unattractive for British workers. Reportedly, there is
growing concern in the industrial North over unemployment; there, aliens
employed in industry usually occupy the least desirable jobs. It is
estimated that most of the night shift workers in the textile industry are
Asians and over half the brick workers are aliens.
The alien issue is not a major public concern in the U.K. at least
in economic terms. There does appear to be greater sensitivity, however,
to the racial aspect of the problem and charges of government "harassment"
or "racial discrimination" are raised by groups defending the interests of
Asian, African and West Indian residents or would be entrants. The issue
of illegals and overstays is often debated in Parliament as it was on
March 11, 1976. On that occasion, a Conservative member of Commons asked
the Secretary of State if everything possible were being done by the
Government in response to "the fears of many people that substantial numbers
of students and visitors are overstaying and are disappearing" into local
Aliens leaving the U.K. must fill out a departure card, like the card
made out on entry, for inspection by an Immigration officer prior to
embarkation. The IND places primary emphasis on matching up the entry and
exit cards of aliens granted work permits, students and individuals who
aroused the IO's interest on entry. A follow-up procedure on these aliens
is activated when the time period granted on entry has lapsed without an
extension or recorded departure.
While British immigration problems obviously differ from those of the
U.S., they offer some useful lessons. Closer scrutiny of higher risk aliens
is obtained without undue delays in processing other entrants at ports of
entry. U.K. and EEC citizens use a separate immigration line at the airport
since they can be handled more expeditiously. Police facilities and regis-
tration are used to keep track of aliens in country and to apprehend illegals
and overstays. Hotel registration of aliens (and citizens) is required.
Exit controls are an important aid in closing the gap on overstays. Immigra-
tion Officers at the ports of entry are the mainstay of the British system;
they are young, bright civil servants in a prestigious position with a very
favorable pay scale. Perhaps most significant is the fact that the measures
described above are carried out in a completely democratic society without
any loss of freedom, privacy or due process for citizens or aliens.
The German Experience
A review of the German experience is somewhat more complex than for
the U.K. because of the federal nature of the FRG. The Government in Bonn
has the responsibility for enforcing laws enacted by the Parliament and
establishing broad guidelines to be followed by the 10 States or Laender.
The Laender implement the laws and the municipalities or Stadt enforce
them. In real terms, it is the different Ministries of Interior for each
Land and the civil and uniformed police authorities in each Stadt who make
the system work but with notable differences in practice between different
Stadt and different Laender. The following review is based on discussions
with officials of the Federal Ministry of Interior at Bonn, with Ministry
of Interior officials for Land Hesse at Weisbaden and with Stadt Alien
Office officials (responsible to their respective Land Interior Ministry)
in Bonn, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt. The review, therefore, is only partial
and is without major reference to practices in other Laender and Stadt not
The Federal Republic of Germany has a population of 62.5 million,
including West Berlin. The total number of registered aliens in 1975 was
4.09 million (compared with 2.98 million in 1970 and 1.66 million in 1967).
Of this total, 2,120,000 aliens are "Guest Workers", exclusive of families,
who were recruited abroad to work in Germany. The number of Guest Workers
rose from 279,400 in 1960 to 1,949,000 in 1970 and 2,120,000 in 1975. The
present Guest Worker and total registered alien population is decreasing
from the 1975 high due to the halting of Guest Worker recruitment. FRG
officials estimate the current illegal alien population to be about 200,000.
However, Stadt officials in Dusseldorf and Frankfurt believe that the
illegal population in their cities is equal to about 10 percent of their
legal alien population; extrapolating on a country-wide basis this would
represent some 400,000 illegals.
Because of expanding industrial demands and a declining population
growth rate, the FRG embarked on a program of recruiting Guest Workers in
the late 1960's under treaty agreements with such countries as Turkey,
Yugoslavia, Greece, Morocco, Spain, and Portugal among others. The
economic recession and rising unemployment caused the recruitment of
these workers to be halted. Thus the alien population is gradually
declining although the rate of decline is slowed down by alien births in
Germany and the fact that Guest Workers are still allowed to bring in
their families from abroad. Due to economic uncertainties, some Guest
Workers are beginning to return home voluntarily.
The Federal Government hopes to maintain the moratorium on the
recruitment of Guest Workers until 1985 because of the heavy overhead
costs of schools and welfare programs and out of concern over rising
unemployment which is about 5.2 percent nation-wide (April 1, 1976).
Labor unions in heavy industry support the Government's position while
industry wants renewed recruitment of Guest Workers. At present, the
unions have the stronger voice.
All German citizens are registered at birth with their local or
Stadt Residence Registration Office. When a German, or a registered alien,
moves to another Stadt he must first inform the authorities of his intention
and on arrival in the new Stadt register with local authorities there.
At age 16, all citizens are given a personal identification card with the
bearers' photo, place and date of birth, etc. Though not required by law,
most Germans carry their ID with them. For the alien, the basic identity
document is the passport, unless they are working or plan to reside in
Germany for more than 3 months.
Any alien who plans to stay more than one week in Germany with private
parties must register with the local police; the same is true of aliens who
plan to stay in hotels or inns for more than 2 months. Any alien who is in
Germany over 3 months must obtain a residence permit from the local police.
Because of concern over the increasing concentration of aliens in certain
cities, a Federal law passed in April 1975 prohibits the issuance of
residence permits to aliens in cities where the alien population already
exceeds 10 percent of the total; this is the case in such cities as Berlin,
Munich, Stuttgart and several others.
Another form of alien control is the requirement that all persons,
including German citizens, lodging at hotels, inns, etc., must register;
the data obtained is forwarded to the Stadt Residence Registration Office.
A central, computerized file on all registered aliens is maintained in
Cologne. Local authorities send their information to Cologne and refer to it
if identification of an alien is required; each alien has a registration
number and cross checking is rapid and efficient.
Any alien who wishes to work must have a work permit issued by the
local branch of the Land Ministry of Labor; only EEC nationals are exempt
from this requirement. Guest Workers were given their permits before
arrival. Normally, aliens seeking to work cannot obtain their visas without
a prior work and residence permit. Nationals of several countries, including
the U.S., are given preferential treatment, they may enter Germany without
a visa and if they wish to work or remain as residents they can obtain the
corresponding permits after they a-rive. Work and residence permits are
issued for specific periods of time and must be renewed well in advance
of expiration. An alien arriving in Germany with work and residence permits
is required to proceed without delay to the Stadt from which the permits
were obtained and notify the local Alien Office of his arrival.
Despite the internal controls, illegal aliens manage to survive and
find work. Illegals include visitors who simply overstay and find employment
without a permit or they are Guest Workers whose permit to remain has
expired. Entry and exit from Germany via the West European land frontiers
is quite easy for anyone posing as a tourist. Neither is it difficult for
tourists arriving by air. Once in Germany, illegals can evade the internal
controls by living with relatives or friends; there are always some employers
who will risk the penalties for hiring an illegal in order to obtain cheap
labor. In larger establishments or factories, concealment is quite difficult
as shop stewards have a voice in hiring and firing and can usually detect
illegals. While the great bulk of the Guest Workers do not integrate with
the population and easily stand out, Germans are quite used to the presence
of foreign workers and for the average citizen the distinction between a
legal and illegal alien is blurred or non-existent.
The different Stadt deal with their local illegal aliens in somewhat
different ways. In addition to the uniformed police, Stadt Dusseldorf has
a small civil enforcement branch in the Alien Office which actively seeks
out illegals in likely places of employment and also investigates tips
received on illegals. Reportedly, Stadt Cologne and authorities in Bavaria
pursue a similar policy. In the case of Bonn, Weisbaden, and Frankfurt,
there is no enforcement branch in the local Alien Office and apprehension
is left entirely to the uniformed police. From all accounts, the majority
of the Stadt rely heavily on the police acting on tips and routine duties
to uncover and apprehend illegals.
The various Stadt Alien offices in North Rhine-Westphalia periodically
gather illegal aliens to be deported at Dusseldorf where they are placed on
commercial flights bound for their home countries. The illegals are
accompanied on the flights by either civilian or police personnel to insure
their arrival. In 1975 some 2,000 aliens were deported from North Rhine-
Westphalia by air and another 500 were put across adjacent West European
land frontiers. Land Hesse deported some 600 illegal aliens in 1975, of
which half were from Frankfurt.
The German authorities consulted did not regard illegal aliens to be a
major problem at present but did express concern over the future. All were
agreed that the legislation penalizing employers who hire illegals was
necessary and has been effective in controlling the situation. The
legislation, which is in the Labor Promotion Law (not the Immigration Law),
was first enacted in 1969. However, because the original provisions
were too liberal and ineffective in controlling the employment of illegals,
the law was amended and strengthened in 1975. The consensus among Alien
Office officials was that the strengthening of the law, strongly opposed by
business interests, was long overdue. There was also agreement that some
judges are still too lenient on aliens and employers alike, allowing the
former to delay deportation proceedings while not being severe enough in
assessing penalties on employers.
Under the cited law, German employers are required to ensure that
all aliens who are employed possess a valid work permit. Those found guilty
of employing illegal aliens or aliens without a valid work permit can be
fined up to 50,000 DM (approximately $20,000) and could be liable to a jail
sentence of up to 3 years. The employer also can be held responsible for all
detention and deportation costs. In addition, further penalties may be
levied if other laws have been violated. For example, other interested
government agencies such as Social Welfare, Labor, Finance (tax), etc., are
informed of the case, to insure that all legal obligations have been met
and to levy additional penalties if they have not. In Stadt Dusseldorf, some
100 employers have been tried and penalized by the Courts since the law was
strengthened in 1975.
For his part, the illegal alien may be held for 24 hours without a
warrant and then held in detention for several weeks once the case is pre-
sented to the Courts for disposition. Illegals may be fined, sentenced to
imprisonment for up to one year, required to leave the country or deported
depending on the circumstances of the case and the prevailing attitudes in
the Stadt and Laender involved. In Land Bavaria, the Courts reportedly
are very strict and customarily fine illegals whereas other Laender and
Stadt may only require the departure of the alien. An illegal can appeal
his detention or deportation order and thus delay the process for as long
as a year. Reportedly, most aliens (90 percent) do not appeal as it can
prolong their detention. As in other countries, illegals are exploited
by unscrupulous employers who evade paying legal benefits, provide
inadequate housing and offer sub-standard wages. The illegal will accept
these abuses to avoid detection and deportation. Additionally, there are
serious moral qualms which plague German officials given the fact that
when the economy was booming the alien worker was eagerly sought. These
workers, many of whom have been in Germany for 10 years or more, worked
hard, earned good wages, and served the national interest. With the
economy slowing down, they are finding it more difficult to keep their
jobs; many are caught up in rotating unemployment, going from job to job.
Unemployment among the alien population is well above the level for German
Aliens who lose their jobs can draw unemployment benefits for up to
one year depending on their eligibility. Benefits are 68 percent of former
wages plus an exemption from taxes. Some workers with a 25 percent tax
liability find it more profitable to draw unemployment and moonlight at
part time jobs. After exhausting unemployment, the alien might be able to
go on welfare for a short period but this is risky as it could result in
cancellation of the work permit and deportation. Illegals cannot participate
in unemployment benefits or welfare as they are carefully restricted to
citizens and registered aliens with valid work permits.
In certain ways, the German problem is not dissimilar to our own with
the ending of our Bracero programs. In the German case, of course, most
of the Guest Workers do not come from adjacent countries and cannot readily
blend in with large domestic ethnic groups who are citizens. The
German control system does not depend in any significant degree on visas
or screening procedures at ports of entry, rather it is internal. It is
based on three principal factors, the work permit, residence registration
and the fact that all German citizens have a personal ID document.
Like the British and other European countries, the Germany system
also utilizes a hotel, etc. registration requirement which is helpful to
authorities; it also relies largely on the uniformed police to apprehend
illegals. The Germans have the additional advantage of stiff penalties
on those who employ illegal aliens thereby shifting to the employer the
burden not only of policing the employment aspect but also paying for all
the costs involved in detaining, processing and deporting the illegal
alien who has been hired. One is particularly struck by the advantages
of using local police to make the controls work. It should be noted that
neither the British nor German police are a national force, there being
less dissimilarity with the U.S. situation than one might imagine.
INS Commissioner Leonard F. Chapman, Jr., has said that our immigration
laws "are for all practical purposes unenforceable." At the very least
they are outdated and inadequate. Despite high unemployment levels, particu-
larly among the least advantaged American workers, there is no consensus
in the Congress, in organized labor or in the business sector, on what, if
anything, should be done about the growing number of illegal aliens in
the country. The general public is uninformed and apparently disinterested
about an issue which appears unrelated to such basic economic interests as
unemployment levels, wages, and welfare costs. The INS could carry out
its statutory responsibilities if it were not forced to operate in a
legislative vacuum while lacking the material and human resources to do
the job. This does not argue for an army of INS investigators or harsh
control measures, nor does the INS advocate a massive or onerous enforcement
program. What is needed is a balanced mix of improved control procedures,
reasonable disincentives for those who give employment to illegal aliens
and a humane but firm application of the law.
It is simple enough to review various aspects of the problem and to
list obvious areas for improvement in the form of controls or new procedures
which would make illegal entry more difficult and illegal residence less
attractive and a number of thoughts in that vein are presented below.
More basic to the issue, however, is the need for an overall re-assessment
of our immigration policies in the light of our current and future economic
and demographic realities. Can we, for example, afford to continue a
policy of admitting some 400,000 legal immigrants annually when a like or
perhaps larger number of illegal immigrants also find their way into our
society each year? Have world economic and social conditions so changed
that no advanced society can afford the luxury of sustaining a liberal
There are few, if any, industrialized nations today which accept
aliens as immigrants. At most, aliens who possess desired skills are per-
mitted to enter as temporary residents. Their presence is controlled by
work and residence permits, registration with local police, and other
requirements. These are not procedures utilized by totalitarian regimes,
they are the carefully considered and realistic controls applied by the
most democratic governments of Western Euorpe, among others. The
naturalization of an alien in these countries as a citizen is a long
and carefully reviewed process wherein the alien must prove himself to be
a responsible and useful member of the society to which he aspires.
Many will argue that we cannot abandon our historic role as an
immigrant nation without seriously compromising our principles as well
as our image. The advocates of a continuing, liberal policy of immigration
contend that immigrants make a vital contribution to the nation's economy
since native born Americans will increasingly seek better paying and more
socially acceptable jobs. Others see the historic role of the immigrant
in the U.S. as having ended. They would contend that immigration should be
halted, except for humanitarian or special cases, and more stringent
controls adopted to prevent illegal entry or visa abuses by visitors.
The issue then is whether current and future economic trends can
sustain existing immigration policies. This judgement must be made within
the framework of the population explosion already underway in Latin America,
the Caribbean and elsewhere in the underdeveloped world, the desperate
plight of our inner cities and the burgeoning costs of our welfare and
education programs. We must decide what is in our best interests, make
that policy clear to all concerned, and devise the necessary controls to
This writer believes that the Immigration Act should be completely
reviewed and serious consideration given to limiting immigration to those
individuals who will have registered their applications as of a specific
date, family members of citizens or resident aliens already in the U.S., and
to humanitarian or exceptional cases. The humanitarian and exceptional
cases could be reviewed and approved by Congressional committee or by some
entity established for that purpose.
In more specific terms, existing legislation should at least be
revised to prevent widespread abuses in various areas, not the least of which
are provisions which permit the entry and rapid acquisition of citizenship
by marriage to a U.S. citizen. Though obviously an extreme example, the INS
cites the case of one American woman, her common-law husband, and her two
daughters, who managed an aggregate of 14 marriages between them to as many
aliens for cash payments of $1,000 each. This enterprising group also
collected welfare payments under 12 separate names, plus aid to dependent
children for two of the children of the aliens involved. The central
figure in this fraud was also collecting rent on a free public housing
apartment which had been assigned to her by welfare authorities. Such
cases may represent unique examples of how the letter and intent of the law
are violated but they underline the fact that this provision of the law is
being violated. Certainly statutory revisions can be made to prevent major
abuses in this area which reportedly are common.
Abuses also exist with respect to fiancee visas and the procedure
for adjustment of status while in the U.S. There are other abuses by
aliens in the acquisition of status by virtue of being the parents of
children born in the U.S., which in too many cases are deliberately
planned for just that purpose. Children born in the U.S. of non-immigrant
alien parents should have the right to elect U.S. citizenship when they
become of age; there is a question, however, whether the alien parent should
be granted status before that time. -The question is even more relevent
when the alien parents are in the U.S. illegally.
Except for those with legal resident status, permission for an alien
to work in the U.S.should be limited to a specific employer; any change
in jobs should invalidate the work permit unless renewed for another
specific employer. Work permits should be valid for only one year but
renewable on application. The present labor certification procedure is
widely regarded as ineffective and should be changed or abandoned. Only
aliens with legal resident status or in possession of a valid work permit
should be allowed to work and those who employ illegal or ineligible
aliens would be penalized, at the very least with the full costs of detention
and deportation of the alien in question. Given the unlikely prospects for
early action by the Congress in this field, hopefully individual States
will adopt uniform laws concerning the employment of aliens which are
compatible with Federal legislation.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) should allow the INS
adequate time (more than one week) to check on applications by suspected
illegal aliens for a SS number. SS numbers should not be issued for any
purpose other than work for those legally eligible or for recording earnings
income from banks and other institutions. In the latter case, the accounts
should continue to be annotated to check against work earnings so that
INS can be informed of violations. The SSA should find the means to penalize
beneficiaries who use fraudulent documents or statements in applying for
SS participation. If prosecution is presently impractical due to crowded
case loads for U.S. Attorneys, the SSA might consider levying administrative
fines against accrued benefits for the individual involved.
Lacking the climate for a national ID card for U.S. citizens, an
effort should be made to obtain Congressional and public support for up-
grading the SS card to a tamper-proof document with a photo of the card
holder along the lines of HR 3737 introduced by Congressman Sisk of
California. The card would contain no more information than is presently
required on many, if not most, State driver's licenses. Despite the likely
reaction of some civil liberties advocates, the practical advantages would
be multiple; i.e., prevent abuse of the card for SS purposes, assure the bona
fides of applicants for driver's licenses and school registration,
facilitate the validity of credit ratings and check cashing, to mention a
State and Federal laws concerning welfare and related programs and
educational benefits should be reviewed and amended as necessary to
preclude participation or abuse by illegal or ineligible aliens. Emergency
medical care should continue to be available to all persons in need but
illegal or indigent aliens lacking resident status who require such
services should be repatriated and the cost of treatment presented to their
respective diplomatic or consular representatives. Concerned State and
local governments should develop adequate procedures for identifying public
services rendered to illegal or ineligible aliens, including education,
medical, welfare, and related services, unemployment compensation, public
housing, etc. The INS should be in a position to respond promptly to
inquiries from local and State governments concerning the status of aliens
seeking participation in such programs.
The Internal Revenue Service should incorporate on both the income tax
return form and the withholding from wages form a question regarding the
citizenship or alien status of the taxpayer. The accuracy of that informa-
tion as with the other data now required should be subject to the same
penalties currently prescribed by law. While it would appear that most
illegals are in the lower income brackets, a specific effort should be made
to close existing gaps in the income tax liability of illegals. For
example, individual cases, such as a recent Mexican illegal apprehended
with $18,000 after having worked on the Alaska pipeline, could be carefully
reviewed for tax liability and publicized to encourage greater tax
responsibility by other illegals.
All U.S.G. agencies, particularly the GSA, should have the statutory
authority to require private employers under government contract to hire
only U.S. citizens or eligible aliens for work on those contracts. It seems
absurd that the Department of Labor has the authority to prosecute a farm
labor contractor for recruiting an illegal alien but does not have the same
power with respect to a private firm under contract to the Department of
Serious consideration should be given to the possible designation of
State and local police authorities to act on behalf of the INS as regards
the apprehension of illegal aliens. This practice, common in countries
like Great Britain and West Germany, could greatly enhance the INS
capability with minimal additional expense to the local jurisdictions
involved. Indeed, if illegal aliens were removed from local welfare and
other public service rolls the additional cost in police functions would
be more than offset by savings in local welfare costs, etc. At present,
the Immigration Act permits delegation of such authority only to Federal
The INS should be given the necessary resources to eliminate or
greatly reduce the Voluntary Departure (without safeguards) procedure.
It makes little sense to expend scarce resources to apprehend illegal
aliens only to rely on their promise to leave the country. For many
illegals, apprehension and Voluntary Departure is a revolving door. Any
illegal required to leave the country should be barred from re-entry for
a specified period, say 3-5 years. Any deported alien should be barred
for an indefinite period unless a contrary ruling is made by the Attorney
General because of extenuating circumstances. Without effective disin-
centives, it is unrealistic to expect aliens or anyone else to obey the
The INS should seek to prosecute to the full extent of the law all
aliens who violate the provisions of the Immigration Act, not in terms of
imprisonment but in the prescribed monetary fines. Statutory authority
should be sought, if necessary, to use Immigration Judges for this purpose
in order to bypass the present bottleneck in the case loads of U.S. Attorneys
and the regular courts. If Immigration Judges can be given the authority
to determine whether an alien is deportable for having violated the Immigra-
tion Act he can just as easily assess a fine for the same violation. Such a
change would require more Immigration Judges, the number of which is already
woefully short. However, the expeditious handling of hearings and assess-
ment of fines on aliens who are found guilty of offenses would both justify
and compensate for the additional cost of more judges.
The INS is making good progress in various fields of its responsibility,
i.e., improving electronic detection methods against illegal border crossers,
computerizing its files, developing tamper-proof documents and raising the
level of effectiveness of port of entry screening. These efforts should be
encouraged and facilitated in every reasonable way. New and better methods
undoubtedly can be developed to further improve port of entry detection of
fraud without causing undue inconvenience to legitimate travelers both U.S.
and alien. For example, different inspection lines might be used for
U.S. and diplomatic passport holders. Immigrants also could be dealt with
separately since they normally require more time to process. Expanded
secondary inspection should be available for difficult cases to avoid delay-
ing others. Incoming international flights could inform INS personnel before
landing on the numbers of U.S. and alien passengers aboard to facilitate
inspection procedures. A U.S. passport might be developed with a machine
readable key page. Undoubtedly some or all of these thoughts already
have been considered by the experts; if not, they may be worthy of further
Some form of departure control is urgently needed as the present
system is woefully inadequate. Ideally, following the air security check
and just before boarding, the departing alien should turn in or produce
a machine readable identity card to an Immigration Officer. Lacking such
a procedure and machine readable documents for the present, the existing
1-94 card might be submitted to air security personnel rather than to the
air carriers' ticket counter.
An overall review of existing visa policies is also in order. Should
we, for example, adopt the practice of other countries in selectively and
reciprocally eliminating the use of visas and relying to a greater extent
on closer scrutiny at ports of entry as in the British case? Alternatively,
should we simplify our present system to one all purpose visa with the
duration and conditions of stay determined by the nature of the visit?
At the very least, more rational visa procedures can certainly be devised
and short cuts such as issuing visas by mail eliminated. However, to
properly carry out all of our consular responsibilities adequate resources
must be made available by the Congress.
Finally, existing practices for the adjustment of status for aliens
while in the U.S. tends to encourage aliens to use any means available to
enter the country and then seek to change their status by any means
available, including sham marriages. Abuse of the adjustment of status
procedure is being increasingly used by alien students, particularly with
regard to labor certification. Students who are permitted to work for
up to 18 months after completing their studies often are reluctant to then
return to their native country and many continue to work and reside here
indefinitely as illegal immigrants. The greater the possibility of
adjustment the greater the likelihood of abuse.
Much of the foregoing obviously would require consideration by the
Congress. However, the problems touched on above are in their broadest
terms here to stay and will become increasingly evident to both the
general public and the Congress as the repercussions of the social and
economic forces at play continue to be felt. Thus the current work of the
Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens is vital to the resolution of
this problem. Hopefully the additional and more comprehensive facts that
will be developed on just what burdens are being imposed on our society
by illegal aliens will make the necessary decisions both easier and more
Chronology of U.S. Immigration Laws
1798 Alien Act empowered the President to order deportation of any
alien dangerous to the nation (lapsed in 1800).
1864-68 Immigration Bureau established in the State Department. Various
States passed their own immigration laws, mostly to exclude
1875 Congress denied entry to persons suffering certain physical and
1882 First general immigration statute levied a head tax of 10 cents
and barred entry to convicts, mental incompetents and indigents.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act (in response to labor pressure objecting to
large Chinese immigration which began in 1850).
1885 Contract Labor Law to protect U.S. workers against cheap alien
1891 Immigration and Naturalization Service created as part of the
Department of Justice. General immigration law enacted requiring
medical inspection of all incoming aliens, barring paupers,
polygamists and persons with certain diseases. Also authorized
deportation of all aliens who had entered illegally.
1893 Boards of special inquiry created to hear cases of aliens
believed to be inadmissible. Shipping companies required to
furnish government with passenger lists.
1903 Exclusion of beggars, insane and anarchists.
1907 Exclusion of feeble minded, work disabled, criminals and
children under 16 who are unaccompanied by parents.
1917 Act incorporated all previous grounds for barring certain aliens
and also enacted Asiatic Barred Zone, including most of Asia and
the Pacific Islands. Required immigrants to be able to read and
write. Provided for deportation of aliens who had entered
illegally or committed certain crimes.
1921 First quota law. Based on 1910 census, permitted entry of
350,000 aliens annually. (During period 1905-1914, over 10
million immigrants entered the U.S.)
1924 Permanent quota established. Quotas for 1924-1929 based on 2
percent of foreign born residents of the U.S. as of 1890. This
reduced yearly quota to 164,667. Non-quota immigrants included
Western Hemisphere country nationals, wives, husbands and
children of U.S. citizens and clergymen and their families. For
the first time, aliens were required to obtain visas from U.S.
consular officers abroad.
1929 National origins provision of 1924 law became effective.
Immigration now based on quota for each nationality set at per-
centage of that nationality resident (foreign-born) in U.S. in
1920. This further reduced annual quota to 153,714.
1943 Congress repealed Chinese exclusion and established annual quota
of 105 persons. Chinese immigrants became eligible for naturaliza-
1946 Presidential Proclamation increased Philippine quota from 50 to
100, also made them eligible for naturalization. Naturalization
also extended to Indian quota of 100.
1948 Displaced Persons Act authorized admission of 400,000 displaced
persons; the admissions were charged against future quotas. (In
1957, mortgaged quotas were reinstated.) The 1953 Refugee Relief
Act replaced 1948 legislation. Additional legislation between
1957 and 1961 dealt with refugee problems such as Hungarian revolt
1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (McCarran-Walter Act) repealed
most prior legislation, codified principal excluded categories,
added exclusion for drug addiciton, conviction of criminal
offenses totaling 5 or more years confinement and certain classes
of immorality. Retained quota system based on national origin
formula which became effective in 1929, plus Western Hemisphere
provision enacted in 1924. Act also set priorities within
quotas for highly skilled etc. persons.
1965 Public Law 89 236 amended the Immigration and Nationality Act
of 1952, abolished national origins system and after a 3 year
transition period established a new basis beginning in 1968 for
admitting aliens to U.S. as legal immigrants. Non-Western
Hemisphere countries received a numerical limitation of 170,000
immigrants annually with no more than 20,000 from any one
country, with priority of preferences; a) adult unmarried
children of U.S. citizens, b) relatives of U.S. citizens or
legal alien residents, c) special skills, d) refugees or
displaced persons. Western Hemisphere aliens received an
overall annual limitation of 120,000 immigrants on first come,
first served basis. Job competition provisions to protect
American workers were also strengthened.
Selected public addresses by INS Commissioner Leonard F. Chapman, Jr.,
between September 24, 1975 and February 24, 1976.
Case Study: The Illegal Immigrant to the United States; Loren E. Lawrence,
Sixteenth Session Senior Seminar in Foreign Policy 1973-74, Foreign Service
Institute, Department of State; April 1974.
"Illegal Aliens; Their Characteristics and Role in the U.S. Labor Market",
by David S. North and Marion F. Houstoun. Under contract to Department of
Labor by Linton and Co. Inc., November 17, 1975.
"A Secure Border: An Analysis of Issues Affecting The United States
Department of Justice"; U.S. Department of Justice, March 4, 1974.
FY 1975 Budget Amendment Request For the Immigration and Naturalization
Service; U.S. Department of Justice, June 1974.
Study of the Impact of Illegal Aliens on the County of San Diego on
Specific Socio-economic Areas; San Diego County, Human Resources Agency,
San Diego, California 92101, November 5, 1975.
Basic data and Guidance Required to Implement a Major Illegal Alien Study
During Fiscal Year 1976; Lesko Associates, prepared for Immigration and
Naturalization Service, October 15, 1975.
Report on Presence of Illegal Mexican Aliens in the State of Illinois,
submitted to General Assembly by Legislative Investigation Commission,
"Illegal Immigrants in New York: The Invisible Subculture; Orde Coombs,
New York Magazine, March 15, 1976.
ICF Incorporated letter of December 4, 1975 to INS Commissioner Chapman on
preliminary illegal aliens policy analysis.
Immigration and Naturalization Service Release 202-376-8353, February 20,
1976; "Completion of one of seven phases of a $1 million legal alien