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Immigration Legislation Essay

In general, there has been much debate about the first settlers in the United States; one theory is that the original settlers were from Northeast Asia who eventually were the ancestors of the Native Americans (Rapid Immigration web site, n. d. ). The second theory is that settlers were from “Polynesia, South Asia or even Europe” (Rapid Immigration web site, n. d. ). The first recorded discovery was of Florida by Spain through Ponce de Leon in 1513 (Danilov, 2003).

Spain discovered and explored other parts such as “Texas, New Mexico and Arizona” and Colorado and Mississippi Rivers through de Vaca, Coronado, and De Soto, respectively (Danilov, 2003). The Spaniards settled in Florida, California and the south-west area of America. The Spaniards engaged primarily in mining of precious metals. The 16th century marked the arrival of English explorers for the purpose of establishing government in overseas colonies and for economic purposes as well (Danilov, 2003). They settled in Virginia in 1607.

The Dutch established trading posts and were the ascendants of three Presidents of the U. S. The English people arrived steadily and established settlement in different areas (Danilov, 2003). The French arrived in 1700. There was a war that ensued between the English and French and the former won until the French was defeated at Quebec. The term ‘immigrant’ came about in 1787 with an issue as to the distinction between those who merely colonized and settled in America vis-a-vis those who arrived when laws, customs and language have been established and set (Danilov, 2003).

There was agriculture depression in Europe, thus, 15,000 people sailed to North America in 1830. A large number of Irish and Italians engaged in agriculture while in Massachusetts, mill towns were established. Germans also immigrated to America due to the failed German revolution. Most of the German Jews were engaged in business. Russians moved to America in the last part of the 19th century (Danilov, 2003). Italians on the other hand, settled in America in the early 20th century.

In fine, the immigrants from Europe and Asia settled in America “to seek their fortune” because they thought that the country had unlimited resources and opportunities. The Africans on the other hand, did not settle in America voluntarily, they were brought to serve as slaves (Rapid Immigration web site, n. d. ). Historical Perspective of Immigration of Latinos Many believed that the Latinos or Hispanics arrived in America between the years 1496-1542 when Hernando de Soto who led the Spanish expedition to the southeastern region of the U. S.

(Leidermann, 2007). Latinos settled in other areas like Arkansas in early 1890s. They lacked “education, skills and knowledge of the English language” (Leidermann, 2007). Most of them were employed in the agricultural businesses. When there was construction boom in the early part of 1980, demand for labor increased and they were the ones who filled the job need. The unskilled Latino workers filled also the jobs related to the poultry industry (Leidermann, 2007). The Cubans passed through the port of Mariel such that the refugees were named ‘Marielitos.

’ Some established residence in Florida, Fort Chafee near the Sebastian County (Leidermann, 2007). In bigger cities, “, Latinos are moving up the economic scale and hold better jobs, own homes, and are business entrepreneurs and managers” (Leidermann, 2007). According to Suarez-Orozco & Sommer, the Latin Americans comprise the largest percentage of immigrant group category (Suarez-Orozco & Sommer, 2000). The total figure of people from Europe who emigrated in the U. S. is equivalent to the figure of those from Latin America. Based on the U. S.

Census Bureau, there are approximately 31 million Latinos which comprise 11. 2% of the total population (Suarez-Orozco & Sommer, 2000). In 2003, they are the largest number of minority in the U. S. (Saenz, 2005). “Of the top ten “sender” countries in the last decade, four are Latin American and Caribbean: Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Jamaica; in the next ten are Haiti, El Salvador, Colombia and Peru” (Suarez-Orozco & Sommer, 2000). Border Fence Act The Border Security Act (H. R. 6061) was just recently passed in 2006 and sponsored by Representative King (Thomas Library of Congress web site, n.

d. ). The law was signed by President Bush on October 26, 2006 (Fletcher & Weisman, 2006). According to him, illegal immigration is on the rise and it is necessary to enforce the laws and provide for a comprehensive immigration system (Fletcher & Weisman, 2006). This law provides the establishment of a 700-mile fence “between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico” (Robbins, 2008). The law seeks to achieve reform in the immigration system and policies of the country and its enforcement through apprehension of those who may illegally cross the fence (Robbins, 2008).

The law directs the Homeland Security to “achieve operational control over U. S. international and maritime borders” which includes border patrol and surveillance and the use of equipment and technology to achieve this end as well as physical infrastructure to discourage illegal entry (Thomas Library of Congress web site, n. d. ). The fence is described as a “double-and-triple fence. ” The first layer is made of airplane landing mates while the second is a steel mesh developed by Sandia National Laboratories.

The “third chain link fence” is “topped with barbed wire” (Fletcher & Weisman, 2006). There is a 150 foot of open space between the first and second fences used to station vehicles and surveillance cameras (Fletcher & Weisman, 2006). In addition, there are air and ground border patrol agents deployed. Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) was signed into law in 1996 as a product of different and diverse efforts to address a variety of issues (University of Michigan web site, n.

d. ). The two tragic incidents that led to the drafting and passage of this were the Oklahoma and World Trade Center incidents (Doyle, 1996). Among the other provisions, most salient to immigration is Title IV which refers to terrorists and criminal alien removal and exclusion. The Immigration and Nationality Act, specifically section 241(a)(4)(D) terrorist aliens may be deported, however, these aliens exploit and use “procedural and substantive provisions” to delay expulsion (Doyle, 1996). Thus, the need for a better crafted procedure is imperative.

This law has in fact addressed such problem. In a nutshell, the Federal Rules on Evidence does not apply in these proceedings; evidence in a camera can be admitted by the court; evidence gathered under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act can be presented as evidence; the Attorney General is authorized to detain alien at the start of the proceedings (Doyle, 1996). The law also authorizes the Attorney General to grant asylum only in cases where persons are not threats to national security. Asylum procedures and criminal alien proceeding have been improved (Doyle, 1996).

Right of Police to Question Immigration Status Fears and protestations arouse due to the impression that the police are authorized to inquire into the immigration status of immigrants, i. e. Latinos. However, Los Angeles police clarified that Special Order 40 does not authorize police to inquire into the immigrant status of aliens (Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, 2001). The concern and inquiry shall only be when there is present, a larger criminal investigation involving the alien suspect (Day, 2006).

The pertinent Special Order was already adopted in 1979 and it had negative effect on immigrants considering that it led to abuse both of those who are documented as well as those, undocumented. The Latinos felt that the very police who were supposed to protect them were the very ones who abused them (Day, 2006). In Phoenix on the other hand, a different policy was devised as authored by Governor Phil Gordon (Archibold, 2008). Under this new policy, all those involved in criminal charges will be questioned about the status of their stay in the United States.

Moreover, the police are empowered to coordinate and report to the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (Archibold, 2008). Conclusion With the enactment of Border Fence Act, it has singled out Hispanics with an apparent bias. The border fence which oppositionist calls as the ‘Berlin Wall’ segregates Mexico where majority Hispanic immigrants come from. This decision was largely due to the fact that number of Hispanic immigrants is the largest compared to other groups of immigrants.

The Border Fence has not been effective because reports reveal that the number of illegal immigrants who entered have in fact, increased. Moreover, the success rate of the Government is based on a measure which is not reflective of its effectiveness. Apprehensions are counted to determine success but a person may be apprehended ten times and get through the 11th time. It is also opined that the fence disrupts the movement of migration because people from Mexico travel to the U. S.

for a seasonal work. The AEDPA is also criticized as not being effective. The expulsion proceedings take so much time and can easily be delayed. The most criticized move is the right of the police to question immigration status. To many it violates their right of privacy and which may lead to racial and ethnic profiling because the Latinos are being singled out from the other illegal immigrants. The U. S. is known to be a democratic country with full opportunities for everyone.

In enacting and enforcing its immigration laws it should be guided also by that policy with the end in view of treating immigrants in equal footing rather than singling out a particular race or ethnicity simply because it comprised the largest number of illegal immigrants. It should equally and uniformly enforce and implement its laws and policies regardless of ethinic or racial considerations. References Archibold, R. Phoenix police to check arrestees’ immigrant status. New York Times web site. February 16, 2008. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www.

nytimes. com/2008/02/16/us/16phoenix. html? _r=1&oref=slogin Danilov, D. Immigrating in the U. S. A. Self-Counsel Press, 2003. Day, D. Brief: special order 40 spells out LAPD policy regarding immigration status. Immigration Outpost web site, March 7, 2006. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://immigrationoutpost. com/brief-special-order-40-spells-out-lapd-policy-regarding-immigration-status/ Doyle, C. Antiterrorism and effective death penalty act of 1996.

Federation of American Scientists web site. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www. fas. org/irp/crs/96-499. htm Fletcher, M. & Weisman, J. Bush signs bill authorizing 700-mile fence for border. Washington Post, October 27, 2006. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/26/AR2006102600120. html Immigration web site. U. S. Immigration History. Retrieved on April 13, 2008, from http://www. rapidimmigration. com/usa/1_eng_immigration_history. html Leidermann, M. Latino immigration. Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www. encyclopediaofarkansas.

net/encyclopedia/entry-detail. aspx? entryID=2733 Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. A report concerning special order 40. February 1, 2001. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www. lacity. org/oig/Special_Order_40_708061_v1. pdf Robbins, T. Bush signs border fence Act; funds not found. National Public Radio web site. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php? storyId=6388548 Saenz, R. The demography of Latino immigration: trends and trajectories.

Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www. mexnor. org/programs/TRP/April%20cumbre%20saenz%2004-22-05. pdf Suarez-Orozco, M. & Sommer, D. Becoming Latinos. DRCLAS Newsletter, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University. Spring, 2000: 3-5 Thomas Library of Congress web site. H. R 6061. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://thomas. loc. gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z? d109:HR06061:@@@D&summ2=m& University of Michigan web site. Antiterrorism and effective death penalty act of 1996. Retrieved on April 14, 2008, from http://www. lib. umich. edu/govdocs/pdf/pl104132. pdf

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