Almost all of us can say we are children of immigrants. Either our great grandparents or grandparents came to America for a better life. We know that the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are the symbols of that great dream that so many sought so many years ago. During a visit to Ellis Island last summer I learned that during the early 1900’s we encouraged immigration because it was a time when our country’s territory had grown and we needed more people to help with the continued development of our country.
Today, however, we find that immigration is not seen as a positive for our country, but rather it is unquestionably considered a problem today in America. Immigration law is in the news a lot and immigration policy is a big topic discussed in congress; it is even a major issue for Obama’s administration. Some people in government believe that we should “close the door” and reduce the amount of people coming into our country; especially as it relates to the problems we have had with terrorist activities.
But, I believe that the main problem with immigration is not the legal immigrants who come here following the rules, but rather it’s the illegal immigrants who sneak into our country over borders and then put a burden on our social services and do harm to our country. So, what is the solution? Currently there are almost 12 million illegal immigrants in America and that makes it just too expensive and a big project to just deport all of them at one time, so we need a better plan; something must be done. Illegal immigration inflicts a great threat to America.
Aside from the belief that illegal immigrants are stealing jobs from our own citizens and the legal immigrants, but some illegal immigrants are causing crimes. In a 2006 study from January 1999 to April 2006 about 260,000 illegal immigrants committed almost 1 million sex offenses in America. Also illegal immigrants today make up 30% prison population in America. A topic that has been on the news often in other states where there is a lot of illegal immigrant crime is overcrowding of prisons. Many illegal immigrants are coming over and cause crimes and endangering the American citizens.
But not all illegal immigrants are bad some illegal immigrants are here because they are trying to make a better live for themselves. Illegal immigration also has a great cost as well. Illegal immigrant households imposed, in total, costs exceeding $26 billion for the federal government, while these immigrants paid only 16 billion dollars in federal taxes, therefore creating a fiscal deficit of $10. 4 billion per year at the federal level. The largest contributors to this deficit were Medicaid with $2. 5 billion, medical treatment for the uninsured with $2. 2 billion, food-assistance programs with $1. billion, the federal prison and court systems with $1. 6 billion, and federal aid to schools with $1. 4 billion.
While I believe there are too many illegal immigrants to have them all deported, I do think that those illegal immigrants who are taking up criminal activities are the ones that should be deported; rather than put in our already overcrowded jails. I think the other illegal immigrants who actually want to become a citizen and make a life for themselves should be able to come forward, and if they pass criminal background checks and pay fees and penalties, they can then be eligible for a provisional legal status.
Agricultural workers and those who entered as children should also be eligible for the same program. This would provide a process and a way to control the amount of people coming to the country. These individuals would wait until existing legal immigrations become citizens, then they can get in line to become a legal immigrant. I think another thing that could be done is have a startup visa for immigrants who want to come here and start a business. If their business does grow further and is successfu, they should then have the option to stay permanently.
This would create more jobs and strengthen the community. I think we should also have programs set up that would help new immigrants coming over find jobs or a list of people to call for work. I also think we should have programs to verify the eligibility of a worker to help employers find people who are available to work. In the president’s plan he had a program called E-verify . I agree with his plan to expand the use of this program. One of the last things I think we should have in our immigration policy is something that encourages education.
For example, immigrant children who attend college could also earn credit toward citizenship. I also believe that all immigrants filing for permanent status should also be required to learn English within 5 years of their arrival. It’s crazy that our country spends all that money and time with “English as second language” classes in schools and in communities. If I decided to go live in Italy, that government would not start to translate all their signs and advertising so that I could understand it. Nor would they pay for me to attend special classes to learn their language.
If I decided to live and work in Italy, it would be my responsibility to learn the Italian language before I go there or attempt to become a citizen there. Unfortunately, immigration continues to be a problem mainly because our country can’t handle the huge influx of people wanting to come here. Although our country was founded by “immigrants”, we no longer are capable of dealing with all the other issues like education, jobs, healthcare and housing, that come with allowing more people to come to our country, I understand there is no easy answer, but I do think we need to make sure we are protecting our country and our citizens first.