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Immigration Reform is a political attempt to change a country’s immigration laws. The Trump administration has had one goal clear from the beginning: stopping illegal immigration. Trump has made numerous questionable decisions such as vowing to his supporters that he will build a wall along the Mexican-American border and initiating a “travel ban” from predominantly Muslim countries. While illegal immigration is against the law, the efforts of the Trump administration to stop illegal immigration are harmful to America. The first downfall to the actions of the Trump Administration is the cost to the American taxpayer. According to Liberty Vitrett’s article, ”Trump’s Border Wall”, a border wall would cost, “from as little as $8 billion to as much as $70 billion [to build], with anywhere from $150 million per year to $750 million per year in maintenance.” This would be an alarmingly large amount of money to spend on a wall that would not solve the problems Trump claims it would solve and would actually hurt the economy. If the wall is built, that means Americans will have to spend upwards of $750 million dollars a year in just maintenance. Trump claims building a border wall will save Americans money in the long run, but for most Americans who have not been as fortunate as Trump, $750 million per year is a lot to take out of the taxpayer’s budget. In contrast, a tweet by Donald Trump himself claims, “Illegal immigration costs the United States more than 200 Billion Dollars a year.” Trump’s tweet is completely wrong according to research done by NBC news. In Jane Timm’s article, “Fact check: How much does illegal immigration cost”, she points out that research done by the Heritage Foundation indicates that illegal immigrants cost the U.S. around 54 billion dollars per year. The true number 54 billion dollars per year is a far cry from Trump’s staggering claims of “$200 billion” per year spent by undocumented immigrants. The $70 billion dollar wall, not including the yearly maintenance, is also much more expensive than illegal immigrants. Considering the wall will not stop the majority of illegal immigration, trying to argue that “the wall” would save Americans money is simply not true. In his article, “Ramos: 40% of undocumented immigrants come by air”, Joe Greenberg discusses how undocumented immigrants enter the US and he reports that, “27 and 40 percent of all undocumented immigrants came here on planes”. Obviously, a border wall would have no effect on those who simply travel in commercial flights and overstay their visa.
This is important to consider because most illegal immigrants are not coming into America in the ways the media portrays them. It is also important to understand this because it shows just how ineffective a border wall would be on the majority of illegal immigration. In the past, American mass racist deportations have ended in catastrophe. Starting with America attacking Mexico for no reason and taking over 500,000 square miles of land just because they could (Griswold del Castillo). Ever since this the American government has made illegal immigration illegal and legal whenever convenient for them. During the ’30s and ’40s, local and state officials deported up to 2 million Mexicans (Florido). Soon after the deportations, World War II began! The United States changed their mind, and decided they do need Mexicans after all! Congress enacted the Bracero Program and welcomed Mexicans to the U.S. to fill jobs left behind by soldiers (The Bracero Program). This cycle has happened for years and does not seem to be coming to an end. Even if someone is a legal immigrant, they still face hardships brought by the Trump administration. As of 2019, there are only 58 immigration courts in the entire United States. There are almost 30 times more Radio Shacks than there are immigration courts (Brustein). This is a big problem for families who do not live near an immigration court, some even having to Skype for their case. Immigration courts currently have a very large backlog of 489,000 cases (Immigration Court Backlog Tool). This system is so underfunded, there are only 250 judges in the entire country! Each judge handles 1,500 cases a year. That’s over three times as many as regular judges. This is a terrible problem because often judges are rushed to make a decision or they face being fired for not working fast enough. Immigration courts do not provide lawyers, even to unaccompanied minors. Many illegal immigrants come to work during specific seasons for farming reasons. If the border wall is built then smuggling illegal immigrants across the border will become much more expensive. Therefore, illegal immigrants are much more likely to just stay in the United States.
Many of these illegal immigrants would love to become legal immigrants, but even with a family member who is a U.S. citizen, it is almost impossible to obtain citizenship. Many are too scared to even begin the process of becoming a citizen out of fear of deportation. “The only ways to get permanent residency in the U.S. are to have an immediate family member sponsor you, to get an employment-based visa requiring high levels of education, to have a case of the prosecution in your homeland that is recognized by the U.S. government, or to be a genius, extremely rich, or a star athlete or artist”(NFWM). If the Trump administration is so against illegal immigration, they should make the path to legal citizenship less scary and impossible. Overall, the current system of immigration provided by the Trump administration is unacceptable and the “solutions” being presented by Trump are frankly, disgusting.
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