The issue of illegal immigrants from Mexico has been a controversial issue that highly heightened after the September 11, attacks. Many of these immigrants undergo impoverished conditions in their search for job opportunities and the cheap labor benefits offered by American businesses. Some conservatives and liberals have advocated for amnesty to be offered to the immigrants for a chance to obtain American citizenship in case of the undocumented immigrants. However, the majority of the conservatives think that these illegal immigrants are lawbreakers who deserve no privileges, instead, to be deported to their native country.
In the public domain, the majority of Americans regard illegal immigrants as invaders, who are involved in drug trafficking take advantage of the medical and social services in America without paying taxes, and above all, take the existing job opportunities away from Americans. The liberals consider the immigrants as the source of multiculturalism in America. Nevertheless, the displeasure of the conservatives towards the illegal immigrants has led to the formation of a wall by the United States government in the southern part of its border to curb illegal immigrants (Chapman 356).
Illegal immigrants in Arizona
Arizona has been dominating in the national debate regarding illegal immigrants. Arizona shares a common border with Mexico and this has created an opportunity for the high number of immigrants to access America, a land they believe holds the key to their future success. Since time immemorial, illegal immigrants have been a controversial topic within the American public domain. A large percentage of the American population objects to the influx of illegal immigrants as they view them as uneducated, poor, lawbreakers, and unlikely to adapt to the American way of living.
In the current American society, tackling the issue of illegal immigrants has become a tall order especially across the US borders. Arizona however has been on the frontline in support of stricter restrictions and crackdowns on illegal immigrants. This is because, geographically, the state of Arizona is normally at the heart of illegal immigrants’ controversy. The Arizona border has been labeled as the most popular crossing point for illegal immigrants.
With the approval of the construction of fences at the United States border with Mexico by congress, the illegal immigrant situation has relatively decreased. In addition to this, the Minutemen project patrols and the tough legislations that are being implemented in Arizona are some of the measures taken to tackle the issue of illegal immigrants in Arizona. In fact, in the Senate campaigns of 2006, the key issue in the campaigns was the blaming game between candidates, with each candidate blaming the other for supporting amnesty (Brezina 24).
Measures of combating illegal immigrants in Arizona
In 2004, anti-immigration activists in Arizona emulated California’s 187-style ballot measures but only this time, they changed a couple of its measures and called it preposition 200. The anti-immigration activists had learned from the failure of California’s preposition187 and decided that the mistake made by preposition 187 of denying the undocumented children public schooling would not be repeated. The residents of Arizona, later on, passed the preposition 200 which sought to deny the illegal immigrants public benefits while at the same time the preposition did not restrict education to their children (Newton 172 &173).
The Minuteman Project was an anti-immigration citizen-manned campaign that incorporated patrolling the borders for the sole purpose of curbing illegal immigration. The project was spearheaded by James Gilchrist and Chris Simcox, anti-immigrant activists from California.
On April 1, 2005, this anti-immigrant group pitched camp in Tombstone, Arizona. In the following months, the group recruited at least one thousand civilians whose main responsibility was to mend fences along the U.S-Mexico border and aid the border patrol by being on the lookout and apprehending the illegal immigrants. According to Gilchrist, the leader of the group, recruited members of the group who were comprised of combat soldiers that had retired. Before the launch of the Minuteman Project, the Mexican government had diplomatically intervened and asked the United States government to ensure the immigrants’ rights were protected.
In the past few decades, the border between the U. S and Mexico has been perceived as a war zone. This is because the levels of military presence have increased and occasionally the beefing up and surveillance by the National Guard. The Minuteman measure to use the citizens to conduct surveillance indicates the decades-long association of Mexican immigration that comprises of invasions.
The use of the Minuteman project however raises various issues that pertain to human rights. The actions of the Minuteman project are believed to originate from the fact that the U.S congress and the Bush administration had failed in setting funds aside for the security mechanisms at the U.S. border. On its website, the group claims that reason behind the Minuteman project was to focus the national attention on the long-term carelessness that has been taking place in the enforcement of immigration laws. In addition to this group also suggested that their formation was partly in defiance of the continued refusal by the government and the congress to address the issue of illegal immigrants once and for all (Chavez 134).
The issue of illegal immigrants is a controversial issue that has never been tackled amicably by the American government. The prolonging of this issue has partly been attributed to the existing standoff in congress between the guest worker and amnesty group and the strict law enforcement group. With this standoff, congress has failed to pass the immigration bill that would reform the immigration system. It is this standoff and other issues that have resulted in civilians taking up their initiatives and coming up with groups such as the Minuteman project patrol. Arizona as a state has taken its initiatives and measures of tackling the illegal immigrant’s menace. Proposition 200 is one of the initiatives that was used by the State of Arizona in tackling the illegal immigrant issue.
In the public domain, the issue of illegal immigrants will linger on for years to come as some of the U.S citizens think that the immigrants have brought multiculturalism to America while the other citizens have a negative perception of the immigrants accusing of stealing their job opportunities. Although there are notable efforts undertaken by the government and the congress in regards to setting up the perimeter fence along the U.S-Mexico border, more and urgent measures are needed if America and specifically Arizona are to succeed in curbing the illegal immigrants.
Brezina, Corona. Arizona: Past and Present. NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. 2010. Web.
Chapman, Roger. Culture wars: an encyclopedia of issues, viewpoints, and voices, Volume 1. NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc. 2010. Web.
Chavez, Ralph Leo. The Latino threat: constructing immigrants, citizens, and the nation. CA: Stanford University Press. 2008. Web.
Newton, Lina. Illegal, alien, or immigrant: the politics of immigration reform. NY: New York University Press. 2008. Web.