In recent years, the United States and the United Kingdom have undergone increases in immigration, both legal and illegal. About 500,000 immigrated to the UK in 2012, down from a peak in 2010, but still quite substantial. Prime Minister David Cameron wants to get UK net migration below 100,000 before the 2015 election.
Each year, more than one million legal immigrants come to the U.S. If S.744 passes, net migration to the U.S. would, according to the Census Bureau and the Congressional Budget Office, increase by 36 million over the next two decades.
Both the U.S. and the UK have significant illegal immigration, a reality that has frustrated citizens who demand that their governments take action.
Here are how the U.S. and the UK deal with illegal immigration.
During the last two years, the Department of Homeland Security has 1) authorized prosecutorial discretion which limits the possibility of deportation for many aliens, 2) established deferred action for childhood arrivals, a program that guarantees non-deportation for two years for certain young adults and grants work authorization to those deferred, 3) released, in the name of sequestration, jailed criminal aliens, 4) asked that immigration agents not deport parents of U.S. citizen minor children and 5) mandated that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS component, make the online E-Verify program inaccessible to employers during the government shut down (E-Verify checks whether a newly hired employee is legally authorized to work in the U.S.).
On the other hand, in the UK, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced proposals as part of a new immigration bill that she supports. They include: 1) temporary legal immigrants, such as students, would be required to put down a deposit toward their health care costs, 2) before anyone can open an account, banks would have to check a database of known immigration offenders, 3) driver’s license applicants would be subjected to an immigration status check, and visa overstayers would have their existing licenses revoked, 4) a “deport first, appeal later” policy would be established for those facing deportation assuming they face “no risk of serious irreversible harm” and 5) grounds for appealing deportation would be reduced from 17 to four. [Immigration Bill Would Require Identity Checks for All, by Alan Travis, The Guardian, October 9, 2013]
My conclusions: the UK is finally willing to address serious, ongoing problems through what represents at least a first step toward reducing illegal immigration. The U.S., however, continues to make illegal immigration appealing and risk-free to any foreign national who’s entertaining the idea of coming to America.