Chuck Hanrahan’s article “Stop Illegal Immigration – Arrest Illegal Employers” is an excellent piece of writing about the problem of illegal immigrants in the United States. The article starts with a reference from The New York Times about the US annual spending on border security.
On September 11, 2001, hijacked planes were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon killing over 3,000 people. The nineteen terrorists involved in the hijacking and killing were allowed entry to the United States through student visas but were not students. Illegal immigration is a sweeping controversy in this nation and it affects the economy, the job market, and national security. The estimates for the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. range widely from seven million all the way up to twenty million with the number growing larger every day.
Many of these illegal immigrants do not pay taxes, but still, reap the benefits of the U.S. government and social security system. The border to the U.S. and Mexico must be strengthened and illegal immigration laws need to become stricter while providing immigrants more opportunities to enter the U.S. legally. The current illegal immigration laws need to be changed, a temporary worker program must be established, and this change must happen immediately in order to protect not only the security of the U.S. but the economy.
Hanrahan’s article explains how illegal immigration hurts the U.S. in many different ways such as the effects on the economy and the job market. The first point is whether or not the immigrants help or hurt the economy. A sharp drop in American jobs lost to outsourcing in the early 2000’s lead to an upheaval of low to middle-class workers that believed these immigrants were breaking laws simply by their presence and were benefiting from a system that they are not paying into. This leads to high job competition, and according to anti-immigrant groups because these illegal immigrants will work for below minimum wage, the illegal immigrants would get many of the low paying jobs and they would lower the wages of the citizen workers that could get jobs.
According to the border control and anti-illegal immigration group, the American Patrol, the costs for services used by illegal immigrants are quite less than the taxes that they pay. Thus, they feel that America cannot provide high-quality education, health care, and retirement security for legal and tax-paying citizens if we continue to allow entry to even more millions of unskilled and poor immigrants.
“Illegal immigration also contributes to the dramatic population growth overwhelming communities across America–crowding school classrooms, consuming already limited affordable housing, and straining precious natural resources like water, energy, and forestland.”
Illegal immigration does not only hurt the U.S. economically but also in the arena of national security. Some groups from the anti-illegal immigrant’s side, like 9/11 Families for a Secure America, blamed President Bush, Congress, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service for not securing our borders. They claim that lax immigration control by the government leads directly to the death of their loved ones and to the easy penetration of the current border. Groups like these believe that securing our borders and increasing the severity of immigration violations will make us better off in the areas of economy, social programs, and security.
Immigration laws in the U.S. are too lax in many areas, and this makes the U.S. easy access for illegal immigrants and leaves us as a large terror threat. Recent attempts by the Houses of Congress to stop illegal immigration have not been thorough enough to solve the problem. The bill H.R. 4437 was a very comprehensive bill that made illegal immigration a felony and tried to strengthen the border of the U.S. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 was enacted October 26, 2006. Its primary purpose is to build 700 miles of new fencing along with the United States and Mexico border with the intention of controlling illegal immigration into the United States of America (Daskal).
These bills are good in that there were no strict laws at the time and it finally showed that the U.S. government was going to step up to the plate and deal with the issue of illegal immigration. The problems with these laws are numerous. With the U.S. now providing fewer visas, closing many immigrant programs, and making immigration very hard, the problems are increasing. With legal immigration being hard to obtain, more immigrants will decide to come over illegally.
They have addressed a few of the problems with illegal immigration, but they have simply pushed to the side the one that matters most. Many U.S. companies rely on immigrant labor to run their companies and businesses, but the U.S. has not yet found a way to allow these workers to come on a temporary basis to work for these companies legally. This is why we need to restructure immigration laws and enact a temporary worker program.
The solution to the problem is to change the immigration laws that are currently active to facilitate immigrant workers while discouraging illegal immigration by having strict border control and immigration laws. My solution is much like the proposed solution by President Bush in his address to the nation on May 15, 2006. It focused on increasing border security, creating a temporary worker program, and a legal pathway to citizenship for select illegal immigrants (Bush).
Border security is a key part of the solution because illegal immigration must be deterred and diminished. Some laws that are already in place should be kept such as the strengthening of the border by adding 700 miles of fence to the highest traffic portions and weakest security areas of the border. What needs to be changed is the lack of a forceful presence on our border. Going along with the President’s proposal, the number of border security agents would be increased to 6000 by 2008. Along with this, these agents would have more advanced training and technology. During the time of this training, 6000 members of the U.S. National Guard would be deployed immediately along the border of Mexico and the U.S. to provide support (Bush).
One of the biggest pieces of the solution is instituting a temporary worker program. This program would create a legal path for foreign workers, namely Mexican workers, to enter our country in a legal and orderly form through a worker’s visa. The visa would be for an allotted amount of time in the country working for a specific employer. After such time the immigrant must leave the country and apply for another worker’s visa in order to possibly reenter.
Worker’s visas would only be given to those who have had a thorough background check and would be given on a monetary need basis. This would allow for the employers that need labor or workers to be able to contact the INS, who could then allot a number of people workers visas to come and work for the employer.
The final part of the problem that needs to be dealt with is the illegal immigrants that are already in the United States. The President said that he is a proponent legal pathway for some illegal immigrants to stay, but that they should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. The solution is to let those that are established residents stay pending a few requirements.
Many opponents to the President’s plan, which is much like my solution, believe that it is too lax and needs to be stricter. They would have it so that the U.S. would discontinue many of the smaller visa programs and severely diminish the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country. Along with that, they would increase the severity of many immigration laws. They would make being an illegal immigrant in the U.S. a felony charge, and call for the deportation of immigrants in the U.S. that are here illegally regardless of social standing or time spent living in the country.
This plan of my opponent would result in absolute disaster. The lack of ability for immigrants, especially immigrant workers from Mexico, to obtain legal entry to the U.S. would lead to even more illegal immigration. Additionally, for every additional immigrant that comes into the country illegally rather than legally, we are more at risk for a terrorist attack. Also, we have one more person that is making money and using the services of being a U.S. citizen, while paying minimal taxes. Allowing less legal immigration is not the solution. As seen by my example, closing the door to many immigrants leads to many more problems, and the real solution is to give these immigrants a legal option.
Another problem with my opponent’s plan is their treatment of illegal immigrants already in the United States. In making illegal immigrants in the country a felony, my opponents believe that they will encourage illegal immigrants in the country to leave. Unfortunately, this will not work. Illegal immigrants that are here have fought against the odds to establish a life so that they can live in the land of opportunity. They are not likely to leave this country to go back to a country where they cannot provide for their family based on a threat of repercussion.
Additionally, my opponents believe that they will discourage immigrants to come over illegally. Immigrants who have been coming over illegally for hundreds of of years are very unlikely to stop now. Cuban refugees risk very possible death to ride the ocean in makeshift boats so that they can get to America. The truth is that America is a beacon of light for those that are impoverished and oppressed, and making these harsh immigration laws is not going to deter them.
Above all, action must be taken to stop this pressing problem of illegal immigration. My solution, as I have proved, is the best way to go about the legislative and social change that needs to take place. So the next issue is how to change my proposal into law. Get active! Write a letter or go to your congressman or senator and tell them the change that your want made. Next, make sure your voice does not get drowned out by telling your friends and family to speak up as well. Consequently, if you want to get more active in the cause you can start a community group to help spread awareness to those outside your circle of friends. You can spread awareness through protests, passing out flyers, or speaking publicly. Finally, if you are truly motivated to stop this ever-growing problem you can run for a political office.
The President once said that “the success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans” (Bush). With this purpose in mind, we move to make this proposal a reality. The reality of this problem is apparent through its massive impacts in the areas of the economy, the job market, and national security. The legislation that is currently in place is not working and is not focusing on the right aspects of the illegal immigration puzzle.
My solution solves this puzzle by combining the pieces of increased border security, a temporary worker program, and possible citizenship to illegal immigrants already in the country. When you finish the puzzle you see a beautiful picture of America under control, while still honoring our beginning and our storied past of being a land of immigrants.
Bush, George W. “President Bush Addresses the Nation on Immigration Reform.” The Oval Office, Washington, D.C. 2006.
Daskal, Jennifer. “U.S.: Vote Against the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act.” Human Rights News 2005. Web.
Hanrahan, Chuck., “Stop Illegal Immigration – Arrest Illegal Employers”. 2005.