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Immigration in the United States has been around since the country’s creation. From the Puritans who left England to escape religious persecution, the Irish who left Ireland to escape the great famine, and now the people of Mexico who are leaving to escape a corrupt government and merciless drug cartels. When a country is having troubles, a lot of citizens from that country see the United States as their beacon of hope. While it seems like a black and white issue, either one is for immigration or one is against it, both sides of the political ideology spectrum have more in common than most people think.
There are two stakeholder groups that are active regarding the immigration issue, FWD and Heritage Action. These two stakeholders seem to be complete on complete opposites when it comes to immigration policy, but there are some similarities they both have that can bring together for a compromise. One of which is the support of the increase of H1-B Visas, which allow more highly skilled immigrants into the country.
Using common grounds such as the H1-B visa, the two stakeholders can come together to pursue stronger borders, allowing undocumented immigrants to pursue citizenship, and allowing more immigrants to come in legally to benefit the economy of the United States.
FWD is a lobbying group founded in 2013 by Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. When Zuckerberg announced his new organization on the Washington Post he said it is, “a new organization founded by leaders of our nation’s technology community to focus on these issues and advocate a bipartisan policy agenda to build the knowledge economy the United States needs to ensure more jobs, innovation and investment.
” (Zuckerberg, washingtonpost.com) Their only focus as of now is on immigration, protection of immigrants, immigration reform, and so on. Their website proudly exclaims, ‘For too long, our broken immigration and criminal justice systems have locked too many people out from the American dream.’ (fwd.com) On the other side of the immigration issue, there is Heritage Action.
Heritage Action, founded in 2010, is the activist wing of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. Heritage Action’s website shows their top issues being immigration, healthcare, employee rights act, food stamps, military ESAs, rescissions, confirm President Trump’s nominee, and Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act. (heritageaction.com) Each of which has a conservative take on why they agree/disagree with the issues. Focusing on immigration, their four principles are: “enforcing U.S. immigration law, securing our border, opposing amnesty, and implementing merit-based legal immigration reform.” (heritageaction.com) The last principle previously stated is the key to the compromise between FWD and Heritage Action. One of the ways this principle can happen is by allowing more highly skilled immigrants to come into the country with visas legally. The main problem with that is there aren’t enough to be given since there is currently a low limit of visas being given by the United States government. Both FWD and Heritage Action agree that there needs to be an increase in the limit; the common ground between these two groups is the H1-B Visa.
The H1-B visa, which provides a work visa for high skilled immigrants (uscis.gov), is the key to the compromise on immigration between the stakeholders. These groups both agree that the limit on these visas needs to be raised; one because it makes it easier for immigrants to come legally, and two, it gives the United States higher skilled workers, thus benefiting the national economy. With this agreement, a compromise can then begin to be made. According to Heritage, “raising the cap to 195,000 visas would increase revenues by a total of nearly $69 billion over eight years” (Nell and Sherk, heritage.com). FWD strongly agrees by quoting Eric Schmidt, former Google Executive Chairman, on their website saying, “I spent the last 20 years announcing that the single stupidest policy in the entire American political system was the limit on H-1B visas” (fwd.us). Raising the visa caps, especially H-1B visas, will benefit the economy not just money wise, but bringing the greatest minds from around the world into the United States will bring amazing advancements and innovations that would benefit everyone.
With this common ground, the two stakeholders can come together, and the compromise can be made. The compromise proposal is this; secure the border, allow hardworking immigrants who came illegally to become citizens if they pay a fee (due to the burden from U.S. taxpayers), and finally increase the caps on visas. The main priority is to secure the border. It isn’t just hard-working people trying to come to the US for a better life, but also those who intend to harm Americans; whether through selling drugs, stealing, or even murdering. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy “More than half of the cocaine on our streets and large quantities of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine enter the United States across the Southwest border. Illegal drugs enter by all modes of conveyance — car, truck, train, and pedestrian border-crossers” (ncjrs.gov). With this fact, the border needs to be secured not to keep out those who are just tired of waiting in the long immigration process, but it needs to be secured because drug traffickers are sending massive amounts of narcotics across our weak border. This helps the ability to come to start the compromise with securing the border since the main issue is not only affecting immigrants but the citizens too who are victims of drugs or the drug war. After the border is secured, the next step involves what should happen to those undocumented already in the country. The biggest difference between the two groups is this step (FWD wants amnesty and Heritage Action doesn’t). There needs to be an agreement that there is a burden Americans face by allowing these illegal immigrants to remain in the country without consequences. According to a study done by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, “illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers about $113 billion a year at the federal, state and local level. the bulk of the costs — some $84 billion — are absorbed by state and local governments” (Martin and Ruark, 2011). Gregory Ball in his thesis, “America’s Broken Promises: Our Faltering Immigration System and a Format to Fix It”, gives the idea that those who haven’t committed any crimes (aside from of course crossing the border illegally) should have to pay a fee for citizenship. If amnesty were just granted, that money would never be made up for. With the fee, however, some of the lost money can be made up and be used to provide background checks and anything else to those accepting to pay the fee for the pathway. While those who haven’t broken the law after coming to the country illegally are given the ability to gain citizenship through the fee, those who have broken the law do not deserve anything and should be deported immediately. If you come to the United States and continue to break laws, you don’t deserve to ever be in the country again. Those who came, worked hard, and helped the economy in some way should be allowed to become citizens. The compromise of getting those who haven’t broken the law to pay a fee for the pathway to citizenship should satisfy both sides’ agenda. It’s not amnesty, but it allows those who deserve citizenship to receive the opportunity to do so. Then the common ground in the compromise brings it all together: work visas. As previously stated, both groups agree that working visas, specifically H-1B, should be raised to allow more hard working and intelligent immigrants to come into the country. The common ground on visas allows both sides to come together and agree on the entire process of the compromise.
With these three steps (border security, fee and a pathway to citizenship for law-abiding undocumented immigrants, and increased number of visas), both groups should come together and agree publicly that this is the best way of solving our immigration problem. In doing so, it will show that both sides of the political spectrum can come together on an issue to benefit not only Americans, but anyone else who wishes to one day call themselves an American as well. They should both continue in their avenue of activism by giving huge amounts of money into politicians who agree with this immigration plan, putting people on the streets with signs and posters supporting this plan, and continue to gain the American people’s support. Both stakeholders aren’t giving up much. A lot of people believe that the American Immigration system is forever broken. Usually this is due to the intense gridlock in a partisan government which only leads to nothing being achieved. However, if these groups can show everybody that it doesn’t matter what side of the fight you’re on, America can finally fix their broken immigration system once and for all.
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