Under the Federal Dream Act, should the United States pass the bill to allow the legalization of the immigrants who have not been documented? Is this legalization going to have a positive effect on helping the undocumented immigrants?
America is a country that was born on immigration. Millions of immigrants moved into America not too many years ago. They did this in search of freedom and opportunity. Since that time, after every year there are increased numbers of the immigrants who come into America in search of those same goals that their predecessors once had years ago. Illegal immigration is often the most resented. Many American citizens resent illegal immigrants who get to live freely in the United States. This is because they do not pay income taxes and they do not pay social security to the federal and state governments. These illegal immigrants also get the benefit getting unwarranted health care benefits catered for by the legal law-abiding citizens of the U.S. It has been documented that U.S citizens pay a lot of money that ends up to educate illegal immigrants, keep them in jail, and offer them a living support, food aids and health care. The aliens get all this while they get away paying nearly nothing. These astronomically high costs give taxpaying citizens reason to fuss. Still, the top concern Americans have with illegal immigrants is that they are taking their jobs from them. With a country knee-deep in recession, legal Americans are being dropped from their jobs, leaving them in search of low-income occupations; non-citizens who account for 20% of the work force, however, are already occupying these jobs. On the other side, there are some people who are support illegal immigration.
The contradictory view is that illegal immigrants are innocent, unfortunate people who cause no harm. Many sympathize with the dangerous plight of the immigrants and fear for their health. Since they must sneak into the country and out of their own, they often risk their lives to do so. Many immigrants have died trying to cross the border due to dehydration. Support groups such as the We Are America Alliance, Border Angels, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and New American Opportunity Campaign have made efforts to supply the journeyers with food and water as well as creating immigration reforms to allow the illegal immigrants to earn legal citizenship (Pro-Immigration and Anti-Immigration Groups in the United States). Well known big corporations also tend to support illegal immigration. They do this however for less humble reasons. Following that the workers they hire are mostly not documented, they are able to use them in their factories for less than minimum wage and under compromising conditions. This system makes for overworked, underpaid jobs while making the rich richer and aiding the expansion and success of major corporations (Preston, 2009).
DISCUSSION and FACTS:
Immigration can be explained as the taking refuge in a non-native country or region. However, the issue about immigration is not a simple one. It is an issue that is highly debated by various social groups and even individuals. Both of these groups provide stable arguments about their perspectives in relation to the respective sides of the issue.
For us to fully understand immigration, it is important to cut up the analysis into two counterparts. These are the legal and illegal counterparts. Legal immigrants are those people who got their citizenship based on the grounds of employment or family. As proof of proper residence in the United States, they get a green card. This is issued after a proper routine background check. After that, they are granted the privilege by the U.S government to be American citizens. On the other hand, illegal immigrants lack any proper documentation. They most likely got their entrance into the country by sneaky and unconventional ways. These include border hopping. They might have previously received a visa but refused to leave the country after it had expired. Regarding the issue of immigration, some people only discriminate against illegal immigrants. However, there are a huge number who dislike the idea of immigration as a whole. Whether it is legal or illegal, they do not support it. There are two sides to this controversial issue (Devine, 2006).
Legal immigration is more widely accepted. The fact that it complies with the rules of the government gives it automatic support by those with little or no opinion on the topic. Some believe that immigrants, when migrated under proper and legal circumstances, may actually aid this country. An influx of foreigners may improve international relations between America and the outside country, or relieve existing tensions between the ethnic group already situated in the U.S and the leading nation. Immigrants are a source of novelty. They bring up the thought of new ideas, new businesses and new prospects. Nevertheless, there are those who still oppose all immigration. They have this opposition because they consider it unnecessary and invasive. Anti-immigrant sentiment is rampant in the United States. Many native-born citizens see even legal immigration as a threat to the security of the United States. Worries arise that immigrants may be terrorists with ulterior motives. Nevertheless, the job market is still the largest concern. The decrease in job availability has led Americans to protect each other over immigrants. Natives feel that immigrants have no place taking their work and are encroaching on their deserved opportunities. In dealing with this issue of immigration and trying to neutralize the emerging issues, legislation has gone to all extremes to come up with a solution.
Although currently some American citizens favor paths of immigrant removal, others are more pro-amnesty and improving the current immigration situation. The fact is that it is spatially impossible to admit all individuals that yearn for a life in the United States; there are simply too many. The ratio of those who want to live in America, as compared to those who can live in America is significantly outweighed on the former side. Only a certain amount of individuals may receive permanent residence, a certain amount may receive temporary residence, and the greater amount of people are left with living lives in poverty stricken countries or finding dangerous ways to sneak into the U.S. Nowadays, it has become increasingly difficult for the U.S to gain a firm hold on immigration. Between temporary visas, green cards, and other special permits, it has become near impossible to discern who is a legal immigrant and who is an illegal immigrant, and therefore extremely complicated to correct the probing problem. Furthermore, with advocates of both sides of the issue, the idea of what the necessary protocol this country needs to take in reference to the immigration problem seems to lack certain clarity.
The Immigration Act of 1965 sought to end the quota previously placed on the number of visas administered a year as was established by the Immigration Act of 1924. The Immigration Act granted admittance for 170,000 immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere as well as 120,000 immigrants from the West so as to ensure that people would not merely be admitted by the country they were coming from, but for what they had to offer. The new act also had motives of uniting families who had often been torn apart by the struggles of immigration. While this act initially had good intentions of granting most of the people the chance for a free life in America and leaving no man alone behind, today it is hard for it to be applied. Eventually, prospective immigrants would find a great ancestor to tie themselves to in order to gain entrance to the U.S. After time, it became necessary to place some limitations on this idea to avoid chaos and prevent overcrowding. More recently this “family unification” has been limited to nuclear families so as to lessen the number of familial immigrants and to increase the number of employment-based immigrants (Human Rights Watch, 2006).
Other actions that the United States has taken are to turn the southwestern border into a highly patrolled barricade designed to keep out any unwanted immigrants. The border policy has each day been developing with regards to the growing fence that continues to be out up with each passing day. With the rapid increase in immigration comes an increase in dangers. Now with President Obama in office, we can only wonder how immigration policies will advance. Obama has stated that he intends to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S by legalizing 12 million undocumented aliens. He feels that the already situated illegal immigrants need to find a way to come out of hiding in a place that has become their home. Many people do not accept Obama’s concern for illegal immigrants. They deem it a strategy that neglects the needs of American citizens. Obama, however, promises to keep America’s natives at heart. This step at improving immigration will only legalize the immigrants already living here and will enforce greater security at the borders. Legalization can improve the lives of both immigrants living in hiding and everyday American workers. A greater economy is fueled by the participation of all inhabitants of the country, legal or illegal, working and developing our society as a group. Although Obama claims he will remain firm, the issue of immigration rarely receives immediate acceptance and often faces undying hostility. Americans are reluctant to solve the problem of immigration because they fear the consequences of what will happen if citizens start showing sentiment towards immigrants. Native born citizens hold a generally negative attitude about these people because they are threatened by the possibility of running out of resources (resources being jobs, money, and food). Americans feel that if they legalize and admit aliens, the population of our society will grow much too large and the already failing economy will cease to improve. Many Americans also feel that it is a problem that cannot, realistically, be solved. The idea of immigration is viewed and accepted very differently among various groups in society. Certain ideologies analyze immigration in one way while hold feelings completely opposite.
A group of people with a shared sense of belonging and community, as well as maintain a certain connectedness to each other, make up a nation. A Nation is made up of a group of people with a shared sense of belonging and community that lies as the connection amongst them. Nationalism is the feeling of togetherness spurred by this group. It is an ideology that relies heavily on the idea of being a small part of a larger, more complete whole. Nationalism is functional in the sense that it gives individuals a support system. However, its dysfunction lies in the exclusionary aspect. While nationalism provides group unity, it often does so by forging an alliance against other groups and opposing cultural diversity. One nation can be considered an “in-group”; this means that they have similar ideals and often protect each other. Another nation may be considered an “out-group”; this means that they are their own group with separate ideals that the “in-group” is hostile towards. The simple fact that the two have dissimilar views allows nationalism to take over. “In-group” solidarity leads to “out-group” antagonizing. In this situation, the United States, and its native citizens, is one “in-group”; the immigrants are the “out-group”. For this reason, most nationalists oppose immigration on the grounds that it brings too much diversity and detracts from their tight-knit group.
In American Narcissism Wilber Caldwell quotes Michael Hunt in his book Ideology and U.S Foreign Policy, when he describes his skepticism about the good of nationalist attitudes calling their views of outsiders. He said that an anxious if not uncomprehending relationship with cultures markedly different from our own, and a misplaced fear of revolutionary change boarding on paranoia. Some nationalists accept immigration, but only on the foundation that immigrants be assimilated into their culture. This way, the nationalists are only gaining supporters, not opponents. Conservatism is an ideology centered on the preservation of tradition. The general traits of conservatism rely on the preservation of certain cultures. These are tradition, human nature being unequal and irrational, and authoritative aspects of institutions. Traditional conservatism is opposed to a free market economy and embraces the idea of an active government while contemporary conservatives tend to favor a free market economy and fear government involvement. Traditional conservatism puts up a huge resistance when it comes to change and normally it glorifies the use of institutions. Family, church, and nations have got a role to play in terms of creating comfort and setting up a teaching system that directs individuals on right ways. Emphasis is also placed on paternalism and the idea that these institutions embody an unquestionable authority that is not to be disobeyed. Traditional conservatives focus greatly on the ideas of religion and moral right. This strain of conservatism shuns the fact that immigrants could illegally enter the states. To them it is a betrayal of the higher authority that is not to be defied. Contemporary conservatism is a more modern approach to the ideology (Immigration Lawyer, 2010).
In Philosophies of Exclusion, Miller suggests that conservatives look at immigration conditionally. If the immigrants are of cultures completely different from the national culture, as most are, they feel that it will induce unnecessary cultural conflict that is hazardous to the health of the nation. As it is the conservatives would avoid allowing strangers into their country, they worry about immigrant incorporation taking away their traditions like a national language and culture. A group based on tradition feels little need to expand their horizons and open doors to intruders with their own conflicting traditions. The three strains of conservatism, Libertarianism, Neo-Conservatism and the New Right, maintain variations of the contemporary ideals.
Libertarians are the least like conservatives, supporting capitalism and approving border security. They think that immigrants are necessary for the boom of our economy but in excess, will be destructive. Neo-Conservatism, on the other hand, worries about the lax border security and potential problems with gun control or any other items foreigners could be bringing into the country. The last type of Conservatism is the New Right. This type is most similar to traditional conservatism in the aspect that it heavily weighs religion as a key element in society. Their extreme passion for G-d allows them to believe that illegally immigrating against the law is going against G-d. Although these strains differ in detail, for the most part, they disapprove of illegal immigration on the grounds that it defies authority- a key factor in maintaining society.
A democratic society is one that both includes and welcomes all of its inhabitants. In fact, one of its key factors is that its citizens/ law abiders are the ones that create/vote on the laws that they must abide by. This exemplifies the great room for equality that this society has. Democracy, specifically, is an ideology based on various types of equality. A primary ideal of democracy is that all individuals should be given the same chance to rise and fall in society; it leaves room for tolerance and flexibility. While it does maintain some stratification, it is a person’s responsibility/choice to move freely through the democratic system however they choose. Democracies acknowledge that our world is made up of an array of cultures and ideals. Not long ago, each and every American had migratory ancestors come to America from other countries. Over time, the various segregated cultures blended into a “melting pot”, creating the unique and diverse foundation of America. For this reason, they can understand the hardships that immigrants endure. Just as any native is allowed to practice their religion and cultures that their ancestors brought years ago, so too should the immigrants. Democracy does not fear the admittance of peoples strikingly different from themselves, but rather embraces the expansion of America as the land of the free. Generally speaking, democratic people support a view for more open borders. Furthermore, they do not just feel that immigrants are entitled to live here, but that they should be entitled to a fair say in the law-making of the society in which they live.
Sara Song believes that democracy is divided into two principles: the all affected interest’s principle and the coercion principle. The former means the people who are affected by a government’s laws and policies should have a say in them while the latter means that everyone who the state exerts some kind of force on should have a say in how the state exerts that force. In summation, democratic principle implies that if immigrants are the ones who the law applies to, it is their right to help develop the laws protocol. Although exceptions are always prevalent, for the most part, the democratic ideology favors the inclusion of immigrants in fundamental democratic ideals, such as law-making, as well at the assimilation of immigrants into society to ensure equality of opportunity (Nelisse, 2010).
Socialism is another ideology that emphasizes group unity with a major focus on cooperation over competition. They reject the idea of property yielding status and vote for a more equal notion of collective individuals and social well-being. Socialists feel that immigration is good for the economy because undocumented workers who will work for very low wages can only increase the amount produced and decrease the amount spent .
Personally, I sympathize with the immigrants who have toiled and troubled to reach America. I think that it is simple for United States citizens to complain and criticize immigrants because we are lucky. Born into a free country, our greatest concerns consist of making money and achieving status. On the other side of the world, however, poverty-stricken countries do not even provide their inhabitants with opportunities for education. These immigrants have a high respect for America and we shatter their dreams by allowing them to think that our country is filled with inconsiderate and unwelcoming pigs. We not only oppose these undocumented aliens, but disgrace them by trying to make them feel so uncomfortable that they leave on their own accounts. This antagonizing is unnecessary and unjust. That is, however, not to say that I neglect the severity of the current economic crisis.
Increasing influxes of immigrants at this time would likely allow destitution to run rampant, especially among the newcomers; I do not concede to the idea of an unrestricted border, rather I motion for better treatment of immigrants and acknowledgement of those already among us. There must be limitations on the amount of immigrants coming into the country because overcrowding is at high risk and extremely dangerous to the safety of Americas inhabitants. However, if they are already living in this country, and they have already suffered the unimaginably brutal crossing of borders, they have become one of us (Edwards, 2006).
As a democrat would say, if they reside in this country and must follow its rules and regulations, they deserve the privileges that are linked to the punishments. While I do believe that immigrants should be guaranteed the right to vote, I think that there should be a process of incorporating them into society. The right to vote is something that needs to be obtained after demonstrating loyalty to America, whether by testing, patriotic displays, or any other form of display. Immigrants can feel ties just as strong, if not stronger, to our country than some people who have lived here for their entire lives. I also agree that illegal immigrants should be able to come out of hiding and be legalized. Many have been living here for decades and if they have not caused enough disturbances for us to know they are illegal, what harm could it do to recognize them among society? If anything, the assimilation of immigrants into society and the acceptance of these current outsiders could tie culturally diverse groups together and eliminate racist stereotypes.
Immigration is a major issue in today’s society. While it gains support from many advocates and feels resentment from many opposers, it is unlikely that there will ever be a “common ground” or solution. No matter what government action is taken, there will still be groups of people who feel animosity towards immigrants. As long as the nation is in a state of extreme economic instability, there cannot be any significant improvements made to the issue of immigration. It is up to Obama and future presidents to decide what course of action is necessary, however, no matter what changes are made, they are likely to be opposed and continually modified by future societies.