Special Report

Coming to America: The Migrant Crisis of the Americas

January 19, 2017 by Mikel Rastegar in Special Report   Leave a Comment
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“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

– the words written at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Lining Up by the Thousands

Latin America has always been a popular vector for gaining entry to the United States, but over the past couple of years numbers have surged due to the migration of people not only from Mexico and other Latin American countries, but migrants from across the globe.

Some of these migrants are brought over by smugglers in small wooden boats called yolos from the Caribbean islands, primarily Haiti. Each boat can be packed with 100’s of people. After a treacherous journey through South and Central America they end up in groups by the 1000’s in Mexican, US border towns like Tijuana.

Should They Be Allowed Entry?

There are numerous studies debating whether or not immigration is good for the American economy, but what it actually boils down to is basic supply and demand. When looking at the influx of migrants, there are certain questions that need to be asked: Are they criminal? Are they skilled or unskilled? How well do they speak English? Do they have a place to go, or enough money to afford rent?

Clearly there needs to be an accurate and thorough screening process, as well as a method to track the migrants once they enter the United States. Many of them are fitted with electronic ankle bracelets in order to track their whereabouts once inside US borders. [1]

Demand for Workers

America does not have a vast labor shortage that can accommodate for waves of low-wage immigrants. In fact, job growth is slowing and unemployment is on the rise. [3]

There is some speculation that there is a demand for skilled workers. However, the prospect of very many migrants coming through the Mexican border being skilled is unlikely. In this instance they would at very least require training of some sort. Would companies be willing to provide this to fill the needed positions?

Seeking Asylum

Currently, many of the migrants allowed entry are seeking asylum from their home countries. That is, they fear prosecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. Many of them fear for their lives and have no where else to go. The ones that have families with a residence are being allowed in under close observation. There are specific rules and conditions they must adhere to in order remain in the United States.


Regardless of the number of migrants legally gaining entry, or their particular skill-sets, or circumstances, we wish them the best and hope that their addition results in many positive benefits for them, their families and our society as a whole.

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert in Criminal Law who has over 16 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.

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[1] http://www.kpbs.org/news/2016/aug/02/haitian-migrants-find-shelter-san-diego/

[2] http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/unemployment/

[3] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/youth.nr0.htm

[4] http://immigration.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000852

[5] http://www.city-journal.org/html/how-unskilled-immigrants-hurt-our-economy-12946.html

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