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Immigration Facts

Immigration reform has been a political hot topic for quite some time. Both the Conservative and Liberal parties have been mudslinging each other about how the other party's solution simply won't fix the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the American border. We all know what both sides are presenting; it's time to get the facts.
Just How Many Illegal Immigrants Are There?
In order to determine the gravity of this issue, it is important to know how many illegal immigrants are actually living in the United States.
According to Pew Research, the number sits at 11.7 million immigrants:
However, the Department of Homeland Security's most recent estimate states that there are 11.4 million immigrants:

How Do They Get Here
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, illegal immigrants cross the border by both land and sea. However, most of them cross by land. In 2013, 414,397 illegal immigrants were apprehended at the southwest border sectors of the United States. Meanwhile, only 3,162 illegal immigrants were apprehended on the coastal border sectors in that same year.
What Is being Done
Currently, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection patrols the borders of the United States for illegal immigrants. They have over 60,000 employees. Also, the Department of Homeland Security deports immigrants deemed illegal by US immigration laws. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also detains illegal immigrants.
Are Illegal Immigrants Receiving Welfare
Legally, no, but technically yes. A natural born US citizen that is born to illegal immigrants can receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). The illegal immigrants may also apply for TANF on their natural born US citizen's behalf. Also, illegal immigrants can legally receive free health care and some non-cash benefits (like soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.) at the discretion of the State. However, they are not allowed to receive any government funded health care. They are allowed to receive Supplemental Security Income, though, if they are deemed a "Qualified Alien."

Can Illegal Immigrants Get Driver's Licenses
Yes. At least 6 states allow illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses. Also, an illegal immigrant may apply for a driver's license if they are under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program in states that accept DACA as documentation for licensing. 
What Are the Laws Regarding Illegal Immigration Deportation
The full Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 is available free of charge here. In short, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states that, once an illegal alien is found removable, the deportation must be authorized by an immigration judge. No punishment is allowed. Also, the deportation is handled by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
What Bills Are Being Presented For Immigration Reform
To get a full list of bills (151 of them, to be exact), either passed or in Congress, pertaining to immigration and immigration reform, visit the webpage. Hhere a few of the major bills that are specifically targeted toward immigration reform.
The first bill is H.R. 4279, or the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act. The bill itself is closer to an amendment to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 than a stand-alone bill. It states that there will be a Director of the ICE, who will be chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Also, there will be an Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations which will identify, detain, and remove illegal immigrants. 
The second bill is S. 744, or the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The bill will provide a path of citizenship to most illegal immigrants currently living in the United States, and will allocate billions of dollars for militarization of the southern border of the United States. There will also be hardened deportation and enforcement measures, along with the requirement that companies use E.Verify, which is an Internet program that compares an employee's I-9 and Employment Eligibility Verification to Department of Homeland Security data.
The third bill is H.R. 1417, or the Border Security Results Act of 2013. Basically, the bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress on the current status of border security. Also, the Department of Homeland Security must submit a strategy (to Congress) for creating situational awareness and control of the busiest border sections within 2 years, and control of the southwest border in 5 years. Also, the Department of Homeland Security must submit another strategy (to Congress) to implement biometric scanners for exits at ports of entry under US-VISIT. The biometric scanners must be compliant to the Enhanced Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.
These are the major facts about illegal immigration. For further reading, I would suggest checking out the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

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