The foundation of America is made up of immigrants and most people would say that immigrants have robbed many citizens of jobs and do not pay taxes due to this. The United States has always been known to be the home of the free and of big dreams. America is known to give hope for many who want to come to this country for prosperity and a fresh start, for themselves and their families from all over the world. The United States opened their arms to many and has never required a preset language nor a skilled requirement to enter the country into the sectors to work for agriculture, manufacturing business, construction, mechanical, etc. Many of the immigrants that take these menial tasks, are jobs that most U.S. citizens would not necessarily work for low cost or minimal wages. After 9/11, the terrorist attack against the United States in 2001, had a profound effect in our country. It became evident that immigration was more than just letting people come to work and build a life, but about living a secured life for our country. Illegal immigration must not only be addressed by vigilantism and border patrol but addressed the nation’s current immigrant employment as well as its current economic state.
In 2011, President George W. Bush said, “To defend this country, we have to enforce our borders”, this was due to the horrible terrorist attacks against America coming from foreigners. It was the quickest and easiest answer to the attacks from hijackers that had violated immigration laws and entered the United States under false pretenses in order to obtain a visa. (Haerens) Since this event, immigration policies have been stricter. To protect our country, the preceding presidents, have added stronger laws within homeland security and immigration reforms, as well as put into place some efforts to minimizing the entry of terrorists into the U.S. However, many do feel that many immigrants are treated like criminals. Some immigrants are simply interested in coming to the U.S. to come and earn a decent living in hopes for the American dream, the land of the free. The controversy stands that due to the events of 9/11, we should no longer show any empathy for illegal immigrants of any kinds. Most believe that it poses dangers for our homeland, our families and our civil rights that we so hard have worked for many years to obtain.
Illegal immigrants have always been welcomed by American businesses and most importantly they are people who have crossed the border to work for minimum wages. The businesses that hire these workers usually save money because they do not pay taxes or pay them off the books, do not pay expensive job benefits or expensive health benefits. The jobs that these workers usually do are jobs that most Americans would not want to work for minimal wages, such as the agriculture industry. The dispute then stands, that illegal immigrants are not really a threat but an advantage to the United States because they are benefiting the economy and working the jobs that not many would want to do in any case. When President Trump ran for office, one of the things he said he would focus on was on putting into place, would be a stronger wall in the south to prevent the entry from the south of the border, he would phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows young undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States”. (Karaim)
However, young people were not even given the opportunity to show ID’s if found on the streets without an identification, they would be taken by ICE and then would be deported immediately without an opportunity to show their identifications as promised by President Trump during his presidential campaign. Apprehensions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents reached a three-year high in 2017. The 143,470 arrests were a 30 percent increase from 2016, the last year of the Obama administration. (Karaim) The other part of Trump’s campaign during his running for presidency was the need to fund for the building of the extension of a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border. He repeatedly expressed how our nation would benefit from having a secure border, minimizing the entrance of these illegal bad people into the southern states of our country and “Make America Great Again”, which was the main slogan for his election campaign. He felt that securing the wall more aggressively would deter immigrants from entering the country illegally. Having Federal immigration agents under Trump, appear to have taken a more aggressive stance against illegal immigrants and they are being treated like criminals even if they do not have a criminal record on file. Some who get caught are treated inhumanely just because they do not have current visas on them or have overstayed their welcome in the U.S.
These immigrants would then be caught, detained for days or weeks and then deported back to their birth country. The sad part about some of these stories is that some of the people that are deported, are people that had been in the U.S. for long periods of time and no longer had ties with their birth country. Most people that were deported, either came to the U.S. at a very young age or they had been in this country for so many years that they no longer have any family in their country, so they no longer had anywhere to go in their country of origin anymore. Being from immigrant parents, I can totally understand where these families are coming from; my parents came to the United States at the age of 17 and 18 from Guatemala and Honduras with a visa to the United States. While it is not the same circumstance as many, they too had to endure the language barriers, the culture shock and many more challenges as immigrant young people. Their stories in the United States as immigrants trying to get a job and not be citizens was very challenging and they had to work in factories with very minimal pay just to survive in America.
Building a wall in the south of the border is not going to avoid terrorist attacks as a national security to the country. In order to address the threat on the nations security, the U.S. must address other systems of security that not only targets the south of our nation. Homeland Security could continue to focus their reinforcement in security measures on the number of immigrants that enter the United states. Our nation needs to work on the immigrants that overstay their welcome in our country and take our job and resources. The country is dismissing the north of the border as well as over sea immigrants that travel to the U.S. with visas and overstay their welcome as well. It appears that building a wall and putting patrols on the south of the border is much tougher than it appears to be. According to the Secure Fence Act, it requires that reinforced fencing and related infrastructure be installed along the most dangerous and problematic smuggling corridors along our Southern land border, which continue providing illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and potential terrorists access into the United States. (Haugen and Musser, P.101)
All this fencing in the south of the border is great but how do we know that it is even working? Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, May 13,2018 shows a report that the apprehension of illegal immigrants has declined from when the construction of the fence that began in 1996 of about 297,423 immigrants to 119,293 immigrants in 2004, due to the homeland border security. In 2005, it was reported that 155,000 foreign nationals from countries other than Mexico were apprehended attempting to cross our land border with Mexico. (Haugen and Musser) This argues my point that we are so focused on trying to only protect the south from Mexico, but many have found a loophole to try to enter the country by any means possible just to get through. The downside to all of this, our southern states are in deep trouble having to house these illegal immigrants, employ them and try to be a sanctuary place for them. Keeping up with a system that will allow these states to stay afloat with the influx coming in and not feel the economic impact.
As most Americans can probably think that what makes our nation one of the greatest in the world is our great diversity. Over the years we have opened our arms freely and have been a welcoming society. However, we are finding ourselves now seeking ways for safer technology to address cost effectiveness in a comprehensive immigration reform law that would allow non-criminals to be employed. Border patrols with a pre-clearance program and pre-inspection program that allow U.S. officials to check passengers for admission before those passenger’s board a flight to the United States while including safeguards to allow asylum protection for those who truly deserve it. The effect it causes on the southern states such as Texas, California and Florida in poverty levels when it comes to workforce and poverty levels are higher in these states because they are not paying enough taxes. Many U.S. citizens, while we must agree that there are indeed many talented dreamers from many nations out there, we must also think about maintaining our resources within our nation at some point or another.
Coming to America has always been the key goal for most third world countries that lack the resources to uphold family’s financial status and food security. We hear it in the news such as the country of Venezuela where they are currently going through a state of emergency for lack of resources in their country. Targeting immigrants and avoiding them to work in our nation is really a challenge. Looking into applying for an immigrant visa is quite a challenge, according to Margaret Jasper in the book “The Law of Immigration”, under the Employment Visa Categories: The immigration and Nationality Act, a yearly minimum of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories; these immigrants must have extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Applicants must also have extensive documentation showing sustained national and international acclaim recognition in their field of expertise in order to be considered. (Jasper, P.85) The classifications just to obtain a working visa is extensive and there cannot be any former or previous delinquency in their records or it will be immediately denied.
Let’s be clear in one matter about our nation, we worry about the safety of our nation, our homes, our families, our children, our future, we care! Our immigration reforms should be guided by the simplicity of putting America first, that is clear. We became aware of this since the terrorist’s attacks on September 11, 2001, where this became an urgent matter at that. We put into place advanced technologies in airports, better border patrols in the south and Canada. It is harder to travel without being checked extensively. A proposal for immigrant employment to meet America’s economic needs is to pass a new law such as a temporary worker program. (Haerens) This temporary worker program will allow foreign workers willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. These temporary workers would participate in this program and be offered employment for up to a specific period and then the employer would potentially make an offer for amnesty. It will still allow an opportunity for those who want to come to our country to pursue a dream for a better life and are willing to work hard the right way and not accused to be a criminal, as some assumed. The United States should continue to be that safe-haven that everyone looks to. America the great, America land of the free, of friendships and diversity; that is why we were given the statue of liberty by the French. Lady Liberty stands tall in New York to represent diversity because that is what France thought of us. We continue to represent a multi-cultural environment even if we try to erase it, many nations will always look to us as the country that receives immigrants with open arms.
Issues in the Economics of Immigration, edited by George J. Borjas, University of Chicago Press, 2000. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/desalesebooks/detail.action?docID=408342.
Haerens, Margaret. Opposing Viewpoints: Illegal Immigration. Greenhaven Press, 2006.
Haugen, David M., and Susan Musser. Illegal Immigration. Greenhaven Press, 2011.
Jasper, Margaret C. The Law of Immigration. Thomson Reuters, 2011.
Karaim, R. (2018, June 4). Immigration policy. CQ researcher. Retrieved from https://library.cqpress.com.libprox