We come into contact with texts every day; it is everything we see and experience. A thesis is what we are attracted to and an antithesis is what we are opposed to. These texts make up the self, who we are as individuals/people. This essay will examine how the perspective of individuals attempts to comprehend the perspective of those who are opposed to illegal immigration and those who are illegal immigrants. This will inform our own outlook in life, particularly in the ways this text establishes its main argument of freedom/opportunities and righteousness as a value of the self. In this essay, the two opposing perspectives will collide on the ideas of legality, morality, and economic views. The two perspectives can be seen as the antithesis of one another, in the specific text both of these parts will have conflicting relations with illegal immigration. Both illegal immigrants and those opposed to illegal immigration have an internal conflict with the idea of freedom/opportunities and what is right. The clash between the antithesis and thesis makes the antithesis internally vulnerable to one another through the idea of either freedom or righteousness.
Illegal immigration is one of the most disputed topics regarding its legality and morality. The reality behind the reason why immigrants move to the U.S. illegally has a great amount to do with the long and expensive process needed to become a U.S. resident and even longer to become a citizen. According to Visa Guide (2019), “it takes roughly 7 to 33 months to process a Green Card application but that it ultimately depends on the many other outside factors.” For example, processing for a Family Preference Green Card takes from 1 to 10 years depending on wait time and yearly caps (“Visa Guide,” 2019). Another example, the process for Employment-Based Green Cards can take up to 1 year for low demand and 4 or 6 years for those that are high demand (“Visa Guide,” 2019). After receiving a green card the resident can either continue renewing their residency or apply to be a citizen. Becoming a U.S. citizen is easier said than done. There are so many immigrants who feel they do not have the time to complete these steps. In the first step, you have to be a green card holder/permanent resident for approximately 5 years. The amount of time a person has to wait in order to get their residency and then the additional 5 years of being a resident is irrational to some immigrants. According to Boundless (n.a.), in order for a person to apply for citizenship, they must be 18 or older. They must also be physically present in the U.S. through the whole process which for some is a complicated idea. A person must also have some basic knowledge of the English language which is harder to learn as an older person. The legal process of becoming a citizen of the U.S. is long and extensive. The naturalization process takes about 10 months (“Boundless,”n/a). Besides the long process, it can be expensive and perhaps even not affordable to these immigrants. One of the main reason’s for immigrants to illegally cross into the United States is for a chance at a better life. Hoping to get a better paying job to either support themselves and or their family. For the citizenship application, there is an approximately $725 naturalization fee that people are required to pay (“Boundless,” n/a). Crossing the border to them is a lot less expensive and more effective in their eyes. The process required for an immigrant to come to the U.S. legally makes it almost impossible for some to enter the U.S. If the United States wants fewer people to enter illegally, the process for residency and citizenship needs to be reformed to make it more attainable by people. According to Boundless, “the Trump administration on Nov. 8, 2019, proposed increasing the cost of applying for citizenship. Under the new proposal, application fees for naturalization would increase by more than 80%, from $640 to $1,170. The government is also seeking to remove fee waivers on the naturalization application form.” This only develops a bigger case of illegal immigration. This process is making it nearly impossible for immigrants to obtain legal documentation. This proposal is not going to limit the amount of illegal immigration but in fact, create a bigger problem.
On the other hand, there is a proper way of entering a country. There are laws and a proper legal process that everyone needs to follow. There is no point in having laws if everyone is planning on breaking them and not respecting the law. By crossing the country illegally they already don’t respect the American laws which is a big part of the country’s structure. A person wanting to enter the U.S. must respect the federal/state laws and abide by their future country. The legal process of becoming a U.S. resident and citizen is long and expensive because it limits the number of people that can enter the country. If it was simple and cheap the number of people entering the United States would be high, limiting resources for others. As reported on the White House (2018), President Trump has previously made a comment about how the United States has issued “40 million green cards since 1970” and continued to say that he will not allow those who enter this country illegally “…break our laws, defy our rules, violate our borders, break into our country illegally.” President Trump continued to say that it is unfair for those who entered the country legally and waited for their turn. He seemed to praise law-abiding immigrants that have already been living here and that they are welcome to the U.S. The idea of someone waiting for years to be able to legally enter the country and then see someone who has not been working as hard enter sooner does seem unfair. Law-abiding immigrants want to enter the proper way and it doesn’t seem fair that those who enter illegally enter the U.S. sooner. It is also risking the chances of those who want to enter the U.S. legally. The possible repercussions of illegal immigration are not allowing any form of legal immigration or a harder process.
A motivational factor for undocumented immigrants to enter illegally is to be able to offer themselves or their families more opportunities to have a better life. If we take a look at the multiple documentaries about “La Bestia” and its unknown passengers it shows us the hard journey that many immigrants have to take to attempt to cross the border. It is surprising to see many young people especially boys leave their homes in search of a better life. One method of traveling towards the border between Mexico and the United States is by a train called “La Bestia”. This train is also called the train of death and the train of the unknown because of how dangerous it is. The trip is horrible and some don’t even make it to the train. In the short documentary, Mexico: La Bestia, a person, for example, did not even make it on the train and was left behind. La Bestia is responsible for many deaths but sadly those are not the only risks that these immigrants face. They also risk their lives to thieves who would kill for anything. As stated in Mexico: “La Bestia”, to Mexican drug cartels, the migrants are easy prey. If they can’t pay the traffickers they are killed and buried in mass graves. Migrants also have to face relentless weather conditions, dehydration, and starvation for several days. In this documentary, the conductor of the train said he has seen pregnant women fall and lose their legs. One specific migrant began his journey in Honduras and left his newborn child behind in order to make a living for her. He said that it was a sacrifice that will hopefully make a difference one day. At a certain point, La Bestia (in this documentary) will no longer take them anywhere and the worst is yet to come: crossing the desert. In the desert, although no official numbers are reported many people lose their lives. At the end of the clip, we see those who were followed in the documentary happily (and who made it to the U.S.) working hard jobs making money. This may seem like the end but they still live in fear of being deported. The journey that these people make is beyond frightening and dangerous but many continue to make it regardless. Illegal immigrants are willing to risk their lives to try to better themselves and or their families.
Although illegal immigrants are risking their lives to be in the U.S. there still continues to be the issue that there is a proper way of entering the United States. Why risk their lives when they can go through the correct process? One of the biggest concerns that people in the United States have about immigration is the fear that they bring crime and terror with them into the country. They already entered the country illegally already breaking the law so what is stopping them from continuing to break the law? There is a fear that if illegal immigrants are willing to do anything to make it in the U.S. then they will have that same mentality towards other laws. Meixler (2019) noticed that for example, if we take the United States’ neighboring country, Mexico, into consideration in 2018 Mexican authorities reported 33,341 murder investigations and in 2017 25,000 murder investigations (para. 2). During former president Enrique Pena Nieto’s tenure there was a 40% increase in murder investigations (Meixler, 2019, para. 4). These incredibly high numbers give Americans panic regarding the type of people that are entering the country without permission. They are afraid that those acts are being brought into the U.S. and that an epidemic will occur.
When we consider the deciding factors that undocumented immigrants take, pay is one of the biggest deciding points. According to Palma (n.d.), the daily minimum wage in Mexico increased on January 1, 2019, from approximately $4.39 to $5.10 U.S. dollars (para. 2). While in the United States the minimum wage is approximately $7.25/hr that is almost a $2 increase from Mexico’s minimum wage. That is a great enough motivation for some to take the risky trip to achieve the “American Dream”. In 2016, 30.7% (186 million people) of the Latin America region’s population was in situations of poverty. These locations of the world are always struggling to find a place to work and support their families. While in the United States the poverty percentage is 12.3% the rate is quite different. Based on Unidos US (n.d.) immigrants are big contributors to job creation in the United States accounting for approx. 3.7 million and 5.2 jobs in the formal economy. Immigrants are paying taxes on average about $11.64 billion in state and local taxes a year. Another statistics is that undocumented individuals paid $13 billion into retirement accounts with them only receiving $1 billion in return. It is obvious that instead of harming the economy undocumented immigrants are helping it. There is more money going to the government than they are receiving. Illegal immigrants are not harming the economy but instead helping it grow.
Those who oppose illegal immigration point out that with the more unauthorized crossing of the border the U.S. suffers from the consequences. In particular, the way in which undocumented workers begin to fill up jobs that otherwise documented people could be working. This is a problem because undocumented workers are willing to work for less pay than those who do. The demand for new jobs would also become high and the pay could be less. According to White House (2018), President Trump remarked that:
Illegal immigration affects the lives of all Americans. Illegal immigration hurts American workers; burdens American taxpayers and undermines public safety and places enormous strain on local schools hospitals, and communities in general, taking precious resources away from the poorest Americans who need them most. Illegal immigration costs our country billions and billions of dollars each year.
In the quote stated by the President of the United States of America, we see the viewpoint of many U.S. voting citizens. President Trump made it very clear what his motives wherein his campaign he expressed his thoughts on illegal immigration. This may or may have not been a deciding factor for citizens in the United States but nonetheless, Donald Trump won the presidency. President Trump becoming the President shows the support for those who are against illegal immigration and the need to “build a wall”. When he stated that undocumented immigrants affect the lives of all Americans the effect may come indirectly or directly to some. The effects are not easy to point out but people believe that illegal immigrants affect Americans in many parts of their lives.
In this essay, we established the controversial topics between the two colliding perspectives. These two colliding perspectives become the antithesis to one another as their point of view are against one another. It is difficult for these contradicting perspectives to “cross the border” with their thoughts to see beyond their views and come to understand the antithesis. There are limits that an individual is willing or capable to view and understand. This topic makes it extremely difficult for these antithetical views to cross over and take into each others perspectives.