Current Debates And Policy On Immigration
Current Debates And Policy On Immigration
Immigration is one of the most controversial issues which could be found nowadays. There are different perspectives in regards to immigration. For some immigration is wrong for various reasons such as immigrants takes the works which could have been hold by a native. However there are those who argue against immigration simply because of certain biases such as nationality, ethnicity, and the like. There are also those who take advantage of immigrants and employ them on lowly job with a very meager amount of salary. This is one of the reasons which anger those who support immigrants.
They believe immigration is a right which should not be taken away from immigrants. Basically I also adhere with those who see immigration as a right because first and foremost we are all human beings created on equal grounds thus prejudices must be left behind and let others pursue their own happiness and the things which they think would better their lives. Finally, below would be a background of what immigration is, the issues surrounding immigration per se, the pros and cons on the issue, as well as my personal analysis of the matter.
Immigration is defined as the settling of people on other countries to which they are not born as natives, in hope of settling there permanently. People’s reasons for immigration vary from person to person. People who undergo immigration usually do so for economic reasons. However, religious and political factors also come to consideration for some people who go through the process of immigration. Immigrants are usually composed of those people who came from third world countries who wishes to have better lives on first world countries. Immigration is a very common phenomenon nowadays and thus it often causes many debates.
Nationalists groups for one wants to restrict immigration and they argues to deport those immigrants on their country. However, there are those who find immigration as a right and thus they support laws which are pro immigration and condemn those people who take advantage of immigrants. Basically, the US was actually built in the hands of immigrants. The United State of America holds the most number of immigrants as compared to other countries. From 1820, 1930, the United States received about 60% of the world’s immigrants. Population expansion in developed areas of the world, improved methods of transportation, and U.
S desire to populate available space were all factors in this phenomenon. Through the 19th cent. , the United States was in the midst of agricultural, then industrial, expansion. (Columbia University Press) Thus as can be seen above the United States have their own reasons for accepting immigrants on their country. One of the primary reasons for immigration is the US’s yearning for inexpensive and untrained labor as well as the profits they could take from immigrants’ importation. One should take note of the fact that immigrants are usually the reason behind the countries past development.
Immigrants are also the ones accountable for the huge increase in the United States population. However, immigrants tend to isolate themselves from the rest of the population choosing to live on communities where their own race or ethnic groups are more abundant. Marginalization in terms of ethnicity and national belongingness are one of the major causes why some people constrain immigration. People who have got diseases, paupers and the like are also constrained from immigrating to a particular country thus there are laws which allows the deportation of the said groups of people.
In 1952 an act had been passed which prohibits racial discrimination as reason for banning immigrants. The said act is called the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, the said act did not lessen some national prejudices, thus in 1965 the said act had been modified in order to put an end to the national origin quota, eliminating national kinds of biases in the process. In spite of the fact that limitations had been set in order to limit the numbers of immigrants it still did little to lessen the escalating number of immigrants which could be found in the United States in 1965.
It is in this regard that it no longer came as a surprise that in the year of 1980 immigration is considered to be at its peak. It is for this reason that in the year of 1986 the Congress voted for a legislation which would limit the number of illegitimate immigrants which would be accepted in the United States. In 1990 another act was introduced which raised the quota of immigrants. The said act goes under the name of Immigration Act of 1990 and it rearranged their choices of immigrants. In 1996 another act was introduced, The Illegal Immigration and Reform Responsibility Act.
This particular act is behind the numerous deportations of illegal immigrants in the country. Thus as can be seen on this paragraph many immigrants plunged America for the past decades up to present. It is primarily due to this reason that a huge amount of people in America felt threatened by this continuous immigration, leading policymakers into action on how to discourage legal and illegal immigrants alike. It is no wonder that immigration is one of the most popular causes for debates nowadays. Immigration has its own share of pros and cons.
As was stated earlier it was primarily the hands of immigrants which built the United States of America. One of the primary reasons for immigration is due to economic purposes which in turn could better their own lives thus in a way immigrants usually help boom the economy of the United States. One should also take note of the fact that the United States has a law in regards of Welfare Services, native usually take advantage of these laws whereas immigrants usually earn their own livings instead of depending on this particular law.
Immigration also helps a country in terms of cultural awareness since most immigrants bring some of cultural aspects of their lives with them. It was usually the immigrants who takes jobs who gives lower salary thus in a way they are still helping in keeping the United States economy in the move. Since immigrants also got their own sets of needs, they also contribute in raising the profits of producers by the amounts of goods and products they consume.
Immigrants are also a big help to US farmers since immigrants help them in terms of planting and harvesting with lesser pays as compared to Natives. Illegitimate immigrants got to pay taxes on sales as well as real states taxes. A huge quantity of illegal immigrants live on areas where no Natives would live thus they give additional profits for renters on the said places. Lastly immigrants have bank accounts which bear interests. However, immigration also has its disadvantages. For one, immigrants are often blamed for lesser job opportunities for the Natives.
Some people even attribute terrorism, pollution, crimes and the like to immigrants. When immigrants do something which is against the law they flee from the state thus causing inequality to those immigrants who abides by the law. Thus, a question need to be asked on whether immigration is indeed to a country’s advantage or not. Basically I am in accordance with immigration. There is nothing wrong with leaving a poverty stricken land in the quest for a much better life. In the end, it was all about survival so what could possibly be wrong with wishing to survive?
However, if there is one thing I could not stomach in all the immigration processes, it is the way some people take advantage of the immigrants in pursuing their own ends. As Kant said, never treat a person as a means to an end because a human being ought to be treated as an end itself on the very virtue that he is human and is endowed with the gift of reason. (Johnson) By this very premise alone one could easily deduct that taking advantage of immigrants is wrong. Sure, they may argue on a utilitarian principle of greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.
They may claim that the value of a person is based on his utility and what distinguishes man from other animals is his sentience or ability to feel pleasure or pain. (Sinnott-Armstrong). They may argue that taking advantage of immigrants would result in a happier nation since they could get workers at a very minimum price and the workers would only be too happy to oblige since back home they do not really have any job to begin with. However, one should ask if taking advantages of immigrants are indeed keeping the nation in a happier state.
If we are to look around ranges of debates and commotions are happening because of immigration thus even the utilitarian principle would be hard put to defend or justify the way others take advantage of other people, thus in this regard Kantian ethics would hold true on their premise not to treat others as a means to an end because if all people would act in accordance to that maxim then everyone would then be rest assured that no one would take advantage of him in order to achieve other’s ends. Moving on, a new act that goes under the name of S.
1348 Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007) which at first glance, seems to protect the rights and help immigrants. S. 1348 may seem to be a dream come true for the millions of illegal immigrants currently living in the United States because the said act could provide them with their long wished citizenship. As the name implies it would help in terms of increasing security on the United States borders. It would also help in closely observing immigrants as well as it would be more open to tourists’ workers on the US.
The bill was sponsored by Harry Reid with the backing of President Bush. The bill would introduce a new set of visa, “Z visa”. The said visas would be handed to illegal immigrants living in the United States along with the benefits it carries. Among the positive aspects Z visa holds is the fact that it would give immigrants the right and the privilege to live in US legally. It would also give them a way in Social Security number. The said visa holders could also get hold of the green card after 8 years.
However, the United States require those applying for green cards to be on their own countries until the application was approved. It would also prohibit chain migration, limiting the people who could have access to green cards to the new citizens’ spouse and children of minor age. Y visa is also considered in the said bill. Y visa would be given to impermanent tourist workers. This visa would allow them to work in the United States for two years. At the end of the said year those tourists would have to go back to their own homes.
S. 1348 would also intensify enforcement on the United States border particularly that of US-Mexico. Employment Eligibility Verification System is also one of the requirements stated within S 1348. Employment Eligibility Verification System would keep records of immigrant employees working under every company in the United States. (AliVeritas). At first glance S. 1348 seems to be pretty harmless and it seems to better the lives of United States Immigrant. However, upon closer inspection the said bill is not as good as it may seem.
A great deal of politics as well as hidden agendas by those who are in power lays hidden within the immigration bill of S. 1348. Whereas it was stated earlier that the United States harbor a large amount of immigrants as compared to other countries, one should still take note of the fact that a huge amount of US immigrants came from Mexico borders. Illegal, undocumented immigrants live throughout the US, but are concentrated in California and in Texas. About 85% of illegal immigrants cross the US/Mexico border, and hail from Mexico and Central and South America. More than 50% of illegal immigrants were born in Mexico.
(White). As was stated earlier US employers take advantage of the immigrants yearning to have a better life and to have a work thus they usually hire those immigrants on back room labor wherein safety and benefits are not prioritized. They also pay less than the minimum wage required on every worker in the United States. The Pew Hispanic center estimates that undocumented workers represent about 5% of the US non-military work force, and a high portion of laborers in certain fields, including 29% of roofers, 24% of agricultural workers and 25% of construction laborers.
Undocumented immigrant workers pay about $7 billion a year into the US Social Security system. Social Security Administration solvency is dependent on receiving contributions from illegal immigrant workers. (White). As can be seen on the quotation above the immigrants do not really have it easy in living in the United States. First and foremost their reason for leaving their country is the fact that they wishes to better their lives and to provide their families with a life much better than what they have left behind.
Immigrants usually leave their country because they are unemployed and they wish to escape the depression which could be found on the countries they left behind. However, instead of getting better lives, those immigrants instead live on depressed areas and were taken advantage of by their employers, making their situations only a little bit better than what they have left behind. Thus, while employers earn higher profits, their workers only get a very pitiful amount from the hard work they have done.
In a way, in this dire situation immigrants may really get to think that they found the answer to their longings in the S. 1348 bill. For so many years the Bush administration never really tried to prohibit illegal immigration even though they are very widespread all throughout America. And now Bush is even supporting the bill which would give immigrants a chance for permanent residency making him look as though he is a savior of immigrants who are living pitiful lives in the US, freeing immigrants from the unequal treatment they received all throughout their stay in the United States.
On May 17, 2007, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) proudly proclaimed of this bill, “Politics is the art of the possible, and the agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders, and bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America. “(White) However, the said bill has its own sets of hidden agenda leading to even more unfair treatments of those who only wish to better their lives: S. 1348 sets a guest worker program for low-skilled labor that creates a separate class of workers with few protections granted to other U.
S. workers and little hope for permanent residency. The New York Times dubs S. 1348’s guest worker program as “massive indentured servitude. ” (White) In a way the said program was only giving immigrants (especially those meant for guest work program) false hope as can be seen on their requirements of the visa holder returning to his own home country for a year while working on the process of his visa. In the range of one year it is possible for those workers to have neither money nor a job which would support his family. S.
1348 also provided immigrants with internment centers which are profitable for the owner of the said centers alone. While inside the internment premises immigrants are treated no better as prisoners are thus basically immigrants do not really have rights and they are constantly in the brink of worrying on when they would be deported and the like. Aside from that the promised citizenship is almost impossible to attain. It should be noted that immigrants are mostly composed of poor people who earn low wages just enough to feed their families.
To think that the government ask them to pay $5, 000 for fines and $2, 000 for processing fees is almost unthinkable, for where are they suppose to get such a large amount of money? The said bill also requires a person to return to his own homeland for a year thus threatening the loss of his job in the process. This said requirement is also problematic because only few could afford to go back to their own homelands and even if they were able to go back, it is almost impossible for them to return to the States. It is primarily in this regard that I do not support S.
1348 because basically S. 1348 is more concerned on profits than family ties. (Krikorian). The said bill give prime importance to those who could benefit the country more in terms of issuing green cards thus engineers and the like are more likely able to get hold of a green card as compared to other immigrants. Thus, in a way the said bill is not really pro-immigrant rather it is pro-corporation, an issue which should not be overlooked. To conclude, many debates arose from the issue of immigration. There are those who support it while there are those who are against it.
In the middle of these controversies there are those who are more concerned about their pockets rather than the betterment of their fellow human beings. For one corporate America or the Bush administration are trying to look as though they want to better the lives of immigrants when what they are really after is profits and they are giving immigrants false hope in the process. Taking advantage of other people is wrong because it goes against their rights thus taking advantages of immigrants should be prohibited. Even immigrants are human beings and thus we ought to respect their rights on the very virtue that they are all humans.
References: AliVeritas. “Immigration Reform Bill S. 1348 as of May 10, 2007. ” 2007. Columbia University Press. “Immigration. ” Columbia Encyclopedia, 2005. Kant, Immanuel and Allen W, Wood. Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition, 1999. Krikorian, Mark. “Opposing View: Limit Relatives’ Rights. ” USA Today 2007. Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Politics And Society in Twentieth Century America). Princeton University Press; New Ed edition, 2005. White, Deborah. “Pros & Cons of S. 1348, Immigration Reform Act of 2007. ” (2007).