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Liberal Arts Capstone

In: English and Literature

Submitted By medic1
Words 2163
Pages 9
Mame Fall
Prof: Dr Taylor
LA 298
October 17th 2013

America’s immigration dilemma

Illegal immigration has always been at the forefront when it comes to the domestic policy issues that this country faces and it has divided the nation from deep patriotic Americans to those that have emigrated to the U.S and call it home; all the way to the halls of Capitol Hill along the political lines. The question that is on everyone’s mind is what to do with the millions of undocumented immigrants already settled here for years, mass deportation that would result in breaking up families or do we grant them amnesty and a path to legalization? Many presidents have come along and were not able to bring the lawmakers to the table and draft up a comprehensive immigration reform bill, a bill that would fix the broken immigration system, secure the borders to keep criminals and drugs out of the country and to help all the undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows towards legalization and be able to pay taxes and work and contribute to the economy. Many in Capitol Hill say they do not support any bill that does not address securing the borders first as a priority before any path to legalization that some equate to amnesty. The U.S is a country of immigrants many people say yet its current immigration system is broken and it is nowhere near to being fixed, the state of Arizona has taken it upon itself and moved ahead of the federal government and passed what is called an extremely strict and very controversial immigration law that has some people asking what is next. A key supporter to the Senate bill are the people in the agriculture industry who say that a path to legalization would bring stability to the industry and allow them to hire workers and keep the industry alive as opposed to the dire consequences of eliminating the immigrant labor force which in itself would cost millions of dollars in short term production losses.(Smith,2013).Many experts have various views on the economic benefits of immigration reform especially when it comes to tighter border control versus a looser and less restrictive work visa program, Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer estimate that annually U.S households lose about 80 billion dollars due to the effects of tighter border control as compared to an annual gain of 180 billion dollars as a result of a good visa entry program. (Matthews, R. B., Robertson, T. J., & Griffin, M, 2013).
For most of its history, the United States had the loosest sorts of border control (Alden,2008) and it wasn’t until the 1980’s with the rise of illegal immigration from Mexico that a slow change began to take effect when it came to border control.(Alden,2008). Immigration reform in the United States has always been a source of heavy division amongst the population and amongst the politicians in Capitol Hill and numerous Presidents. In July 1998, the U.S. Senate approved on a 68-31 vote the Agricultural Job Opportunity Benefits and Security Act of 1998, or AgJOBS program, which would have created a new guest worker program for farm workers. The House did not act (Martin, 2000). In 2001, US President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox wanted immigration reform but were unable to get it through Congress. The events of 11 September 2001 halted this effort, and it could not be revived in Bush’s second term. In 2006 the House of Representatives passed that Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, and the Senate passed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, but the two houses were unable to reconcile their differences. In 2008 President Barack Obama promised immigration reform but has yet to deliver. Meanwhile, certain states have taken action to strengthen enforcement of existing immigration laws, triggering litigation o The Arizona law has been upheld in part and denied in part. The U.S Supreme court has decided to uphold one of four provisions of the controversial and what some describe as anti-immigration bill as constitutional and has deemed the other three provisions to be unconstitutional. The “show me papers” provision allows local authorities the power to ask for the immigration status of those that they stop, something that only federal authorities had the power to do previously (National Journal Daily, 2012).Some scholars and experts have condemned the Arizona immigration bill as racist, unconstitutional, backwards and unhelpful towards true progress in immigration reform, whereas in contrast, supporters of the bill see it as a response to the federal government’s inaction over the years on drafting a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would tackle the growing illegal immigration problem in this country and specifically in the border States such as Arizona, Texas and California, States that are crippled with crime and drug trafficking that many see as a result of weak border security, the very reason for the Arizona immigration bill.
Many people fear that immigration reform will come disguised as an amnesty for illegal immigrants. There is a stark division in congress amongst democrats and republicans when it comes to immigration reform as one party believe that a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country and hiding in the shadows and working illegally would free up the backlog in the system, open up the job market and increase wages and release the heavy burden on the healthcare system. Others believe that a path to legalization would only reward those that entered illegally and that it isn’t setting a good precedence for the future and further encourages illegal border crossings.
The U.S senate has passed its version of an immigration reform bill that many people all over the country tout as a wonderful first step especially for the fact that it passed with bi partisan support and through the leadership of a small unit of bi partisan senators known as “the gang of eight”. Now it is up to the house of representatives to pass the bill in their chambers, something that is highly unlikely to happen, simply because many in the House believe that the senate version of the bill does not address border security in its true form and makes a path to legalization its priority instead of what republicans in the house say is a crisis at the border that poses a threat to national security. The catchphrase "comprehensive immigration reform" has come to mean proposals that, among other goals, confront the status of undocumented immigrants presently in the United States, authorize additional temporary visas to address any labor needs that may arise, and better enforce our borders. (Bender, 2010). Blind adherence to the supposed rule of law leads some to call for border enforcement at any cost, even through use of lethal force to defend borders against weaponless immigrants. (Bender, 2010).
President Obama, having won reelection through a majority vote from Hispanics/ Latinos has promised to have a comprehensive immigration reform bill in his second term and has vowed to make the top domestic policy priority of his second term. President Obama has been met with a lot of resistance by hardcore republicans that are bent on derailing any immigration reform bill that make legalization a priority over border security that they view as a national security issue, but amongst all the resistance there has also been a lot of promising progress in congress especially with the senate passing its version of immigration reform that many see as a huge step in the right direction. Mr. Obama, has always maintained that border security is of the upmost importance in any immigration reform and that the senate bill adequately addresses it and that is why he urges the House to pass the senate’s bill and he will swiftly sign it into law. Many presidents in the past 2 decades have tried to pass immigration reform in congress and they have all come up short, but President Obama seem to have made immigration reform a huge deal amongst the population, a weary and tired population that is more and more through protest and rallies and town halls, pushing for the complete and systematic overhaul of the immigration system. Immigration and illegal immigration has such a big impact on multiple sectors of this country but most importantly tied to its history of past and will shape its history of the future. The need for immigration reform has many benefits tied to it, economic benefits, job growth, and unburdening of the healthcare system. Some say that because illegal immigration makes the border between the U.S and Mexico a huge issue of national security especially with the rise of crime and drugs funneling through from across the border and that is mainly why border security and building a fence and having tougher work visa entry program must be at the forefront of any reform bill. The problem of illegal entry at the border must be strongly addressed first before anything path to legalization is explored for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families, some who are born in this country to migrants who have come here for work and a better life and whether they entered illegally or overstayed their visa, the fact remains that they are here and have been for many years and have thus established strong roots. There is a great dilemma facing the lawmakers in Capitol Hill as many have to wrestle with what to do about what some see as a socioeconomic and near humanitarian crisis: the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country who are hiding in the shadows.
The U.S has throughout its history always been known as a country of, by and for immigrants and the prosperity of this country has always depended on the strength of its workforce and its willingness to open its borders to people that come here to contribute to its workforce, seek education or simply seek a better life and establish strong roots here. For over a century, the U.S has maintained that notion of the American dream, that anyone could come here and contribute and live here freely, but in the past 3 or 4 decades the issue of illegal immigration has resulted in an great increase of crime and of drug trafficking and has placed a heavy burden on the healthcare system as well as negatively impacted the economy and growth of jobs in the form of wages.
No matter what happens to immigration reform bill pending in congress, there must be an understanding when it comes to illegal immigration, it is a huge issue in this country an issue of security but also a social issue, what can be done about the undocumented migrants in this country, some have children, some are true criminals, some are innocent children, some are simply wanting a chance at a better life and are waiting in the shadows, working illegally, not being able to afford healthcare so the become a burden while others are migrant workers are paid illegal or low wages and have no choice but to accept it and keep going.
There needs to be a compromise here, help the innocent undocumented immigrants out of the shadows but also secure the borders the prosperity and spirit of this great country depends on it for immigration reform will shape the future of this country and bring it back to its former glory and reestablish it as a welcoming country of immigrants with safe and secured borders.

References
Alden, E. (2012). IMMIGRATION AND BORDER CONTROL. CATO Journal, 32(1), 107-124.
Allen, R. (2010). ARIZONA'S 2010 IMMIGRATION LAW: THEORETICAL, POLITICAL, AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES. Journal of Global Intelligence & Policy, 3(3), 18-29.
Anderson, S. (2012). AMERICA'S INCOHERENT IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. CATO Journal, 32(1), 71-84.
Boyd, H. (2013, May 30). Immigration bill passes Senate Judiciary Committee. New York Amsterdam News. pp. 4-34.
Bender, S. W. (2010). COMPASSIONATE IMMIGRATION REFORM. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 38(1), 107-128.
Cohen, R. E., Smallen, J., & Mitchell, C. (2006). Border Bill Approved in House. National Journal, 38(37), 51.s
Fisher, D. (2012). Supreme Court Rejects Most Of Arizona Immigration Law. Forbes.Com, 47.
Johnson, F. (2013). How Immigration Reform Could Create a New Underclass. National Journal, 1.
Matthews, R. B., Robertson, T. J., & Griffin, M. (2013). Illegal Immigration: A World-Class Solution. Journal of Diversity Management, 8(1), 31-37.
Smith, G. (2006, April 19). The Immigration Payoff. BusinessWeek Online. p. 1.
Smith, R. (2013). Senate immigration bill offers commonsense reform. Southwest Farm Press, 40(17), 14-31.
Stephen, Dinan, T. (2013). Partisan divide remains on fixing 'our broken immigration system'. Washington Times, The (DC), 6.
Woellert, L. (2013). Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants Has Economic Benefits. Businessweek.Com, 3.
(2012, June 25). Experts Weigh In on Arizona's Immigration Law. National Journal Daily. p. 5.…...

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