Political Issue: Illegal Immigration In America

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When asked what I considered the most critical political issue in America, immediately I thought: immigration, specifically illegal immigration. It’s been a hot topic for a while, but more so recently because President Trump has been pushing for immigration reform, deportation, and the building of a wall that will divide the border between the United States and Mexico. Our Commander in Chief has ruffled quite a few feathers and is not swayed by people’s negative connotation when he mentions such things as the wall and deportation.

The conservatives argue that illegal immigration is bringing crime, drugs, decreased job availability, the possibility of letting terrorists into our country and that they’re causing our hospitals and schools to be overwhelmed. They also say that it’s hurting our economy because of the cost we incur. According to an article written by the Immigration Reform Law Institute: “Illegal immigration to the U.S. costs federal, state and local taxpayers a staggering net cost of $116 billion a year - an increase of some $16 billion compared to previous estimates” (IRLI Staff 2017). The liberals argue that many immigrants are just trying to get away from a bad life and make more money to provide for families. Arguments are furthered by the fact that they think it’s unfair to deport people who have been here long enough to make a life here, especially children who had no say in the matter and have known nothing but life in America. People are enraged that families are being torn apart at the border when they become detained. Liberals also say that we need immigrants to keep our economy going. So many different arguments, and honestly, all are valid concerns.

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It really is a tricky situation and I honestly have a hard time taking a side with this one. I’m not savvy enough when it comes to political matters to say how I think things should go. I have ideas but I’m well aware there may be a flaw in my logic due to details or sides I’m ignorant to. However, I do think that people should come here legally, no question. But, I understand that a lot of those that do come here illegally are doing it out of desperate measures. It isn’t easy, nor is it a quick process to go through, not to mention the cost would be more than some could afford. I’m actually friends with a handful of people who did go through the process, so I was able to pick their brains on what they thought. It was unanimous that they thought it was an arduous process that was confusing at times. They all agreed it could get pricey but were lucky enough to be able to afford it, and one even hired a lawyer to ensure that they were doing everything correctly. But after hearing them talk about the process they had to go through I can see how it would be daunting. So, is it the process that needs to be fixed? It might be worth redoing some things and basically just simplifying it. There are so many different avenues people can do right now, from the immigration process to dozens of visa categories, lotteries, etc. It’s all too much and it’s no wonder people get confused and overwhelmed with it all. They should just cut it down to a few channels, a lot fewer visa options, and make it a merit-based system. I also think there should be a lot more emphasis on letting people in who will bring something to help our economy, mainly in the form of skillset. Oddly enough, Canada seems to have a handle on its immigration. It might behoove us to take note and try to implement some of what they do. In regards to the Canadian system: “As soon as they demonstrate their benefit to this country and pass whatever background checks are needed, they would be admitted. This would not exclude other types of immigrants but would prioritize those most beneficial. Given the xenophobia now sweeping the rest of the West, Canadians’ openness might seem bizarrely magnanimous. In fact, it’s a reasonable attitude rooted in the national interest. Canada’s foreign-born population is more educated than that any other country on earth. Immigrants to Canada work harder, create more businesses, and typically use fewer welfare dollars than do their native-born compatriots” (Tepperman, 2017, as cited in Berlin, 2018). All these ideas take out the difficulty of the process but it still doesn’t really help the issue of those still coming here illegally (mainly from South America). I’m not going to lie, I think building a wall might help with a big chunk of it, though not entirely as people will always find a way. But it might help cut down on crime, drugs, and human trafficking in the meantime till a better solution is found.

As I mentioned previously, it seems like most that come here illegally are doing so out of desperation. Some think that the dangers of crossing the border illegally outweigh the dangers they face if they stay. Maybe we should be looking at Mexico from a humanitarian standpoint and try to help them figure out how to deal with their own corruption problems. Here’s where my ignorance makes me hesitant to even say things like this as I really don’t know how foreign politics work. We’re technically allies with our southern neighbors so why not focus on lending a hand to get their country in a state where people can flourish economically? Maybe if we work together to get rid of the crime that comes from there it would eliminate a big chunk of the problem. As for the undocumented immigrants who are already here: they could give all of them automatic citizenship if they can pass all the background checks and citizenship tests. Of course, they should have to pay any back taxes should they owe any. Anyone who doesn’t pass the background checks or tests will have to be deported. If they had children while in the United States they can decide if they should stay or go back with them. If they had them prior to coming here, but the children resided in the United States for a certain amount of time, let’s say 7 years or more, then they should also have the option of whether they want them to stay or not. If they don’t have family or friends willing to take care of them then they just go back with the member being deported. It may be harsh, but these people know the risks, that what they’re doing is illegal, and that it’s a gamble on their family's lives. If they didn’t want to suffer the consequences then they shouldn’t have played the game. After granting automatic citizenship to those currently here, the new immigration process, strict border security, humanitarian efforts to South America, etc., will start to go into effect. Anyone that is caught trying to sneak through the border will have to be detained and sent back the other way. For those being detained at the border: I do not agree with tearing the families apart and separating the children from their parents. If the children did happen to be unaccompanied when they were found that is one thing, but they should not force families apart. Another article stated that: “If they truly want to stop illegal immigration, some good places to start would be: expanding the number of ICE officers, pushing back on sanctuary cities, expediting deportations, and increasing the efficiency and number of immigration courts. These measures, coupled with improved and cost-effective border security, would go a long way to solving our illegal immigration problem (Inserra 2018).

It isn’t just one thing that we can change and it will magically make it all better. It’s going to take collaboration with different departments, working with those who hire employees to discourage the use of illegals in their workplace, border security, humanitarian efforts to try and fix the problems in South America, changing the current immigration process, figuring out a better way to find those who have overstayed their visa’s, etc., if we expect to have any sort of impact. However, it’s apparent that many things need to change. Immigrants in America can have an extremely positive effect on our economy. “Immigrants are also entrepreneurs who create jobs. Given that the average immigrant-owned business hires 11 employees, these businesses would account for between 3.7 million and 5.2 million jobs in the formal economy” (UnidosUS, year unknown). We just need to figure out how to make all of them legal.

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Political Issue: Illegal Immigration In America. (2021, September 07). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/political-issue-illegal-immigration-in-america/
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