Immigration has been a key issue in the United States for several decades. Every year millions of people, mainly from Mexico and Central America, migrate north towards the United States searching for higher wages. The United States benefits greatly from the presence of these immigrants, but unfortunately some connotations of their presence, including the reality of the monetary hindrance that they have on US social services because of their relatively low and usually unreported salaries. A fighting attitude is shared by millions of legal and illegal immigrants, and it is now becoming clearer that there is a need for a new policy, one which involves reasoned compromise on both sides, yet one that unquestionably begins to allow amnesty and intelligent pathways to citizenship. Given the current circumstances surrounding immigration, there is no question that a compromise should soon be reached, and if both sides are fair enormous benefits for each will result.
There is no question that the issues surrounding illegal immigration have been a key issue in American politics and are constantly in debate. According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, fully 35% of Americans rate illegal immigration as an “extremely important” issue (“Immigration”). Additionally, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll, 46%of Americans polled believe that immigration helps America more than it hurts it. This poll makes it clear that a large portion of Americans are intelligent, realistic people and realize that, without immigration, our country would be in a far worse situation. It seems that the opinions of the Americans is not even particularly significant, especially given the reality that the entire economy could potentially collapse if illegal immigration were to be enforced. According to a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, “growers’ associations across the country estimate that about 70 percent of farm workers are illegal immigrants and that due to many using false Social Security Numbers “under the new rules, if the Social Security Administration finds that an applicant’s information does not match its database, employers could be required to fire the worker or risk being fined up to $10,000 for knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant,” threatening America’s farming industry as a whole (Foderaro par 5). This is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg—countless other industries could be affected within the United States as well, including the clothing industry and across the service industry. This would be both malicious for the working class and the upper class, because prices and demand for labor would increase exponentially. Americans would have to work harder for what they get, and as their workweeks got longer their debts would increase. The most modern habits of Americans seem to be the exact opposite of this potential trend of outlawing all immigration. Our treasured relatively free economy would diminish to an inflated American nightmare. There is no way that the strong supporters of immigration would appreciate the results of actually implementing the laws. The effects of beginning to truly inflict the effects of immigration laws would be disastrous to America. It is very significant that every economical class and all social backgrounds begin the understand the true effect of particular implementations and stray away from their sometimes bias and outdated opinions of different ethnic roots continually crawling away from a minority to position to a majority.
Despite these indisputable facts, many Americans continue to hold the staunch belief that maintaining the status quo—and even hardening our stance against immigration—is the best approach. They claim that unchecked immigration leads to crime and reduced job opportunities for American citizens. According to the New York Times, “More than 300,000 crimes in America are perpetrated by illegal aliens. Moreover, many bring ties to Mexican organized crime” (Thomason par 3). This is certainly a rational fear, and something Americans should be concerned with. Additionally, many claim that immigrants “remove opportunities from millions of hardworking Americans and impede fair labor practices” (Thomason par 8). The fact that immigrants are willing to work for less money and for longer hours than Americans is something that should also concern Americans, as it goes against American beliefs of fair labor laws and human rights. Despite these conditions, Americans are still ungrateful for the dedicated work that the illegal immigrants provide them without complain of their unfair promotion opportunities and typically hard working conditions. Undoubtedly there are many valid concerns that must—and can—be addressed before any major changes are made to this country’s immigration policy. I do however believe that the sooner these concerns are addressed, debated, negotiated and resolved, the sooner both the Americans and the Latinos can begin to enjoy the multiple benefits that could result from a change in policy.
Unfortunately, the anti-immigration supporters are often scared and threatened rather than convinced by reason and truth. And the effects are being felt. “Eighty-three percent of immigrants from Mexico and 79 percent of immigrants from Central America think there is growing discrimination against Latin American immigrants in the United States, according to a poll conducted by Miami-based Bendixen & Associates” (Montgomery par 9). This kind of discrimination is unacceptable. A healthy, logical debate is one thing, but vitriolic tirades and bigotry is quite another. It is clear that immigrants’ violence and often disrespect for the law roots from indications of inferiority by American citizens towards Hispanics. Yet these forces are having an effect on even our highest levels of government. According to the Kansas City Star, “Thanks to energetic opposition from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, immigration was the biggest topic, at 16%, on conservative talk radio in the second quarter, which many experts agree may have helped shoot down the most recent attempt at an immigration reform bill” (Montgomery par 13). The intolerant tirades by these extremists would hardly be considered reasonable by most Americans, yet they seem to be having a disproportionate effect on America’s progress, even at the highest levels.
I suggest a system that would grant amnesty to the current illegal citizens along with their agreement to pay fair commissions to the government of their salaries. As for new immigrants, a seasonal work program would be implemented with high taxes and fair working conditions, so that both parties can quickly and effectively benefit from the program. Any who do not register or who manage to escape under the radar or who commit crimes or remain jobless will be immediately deported. Secondly any new entries would gain citizenship through a simpler process and be under close radar for the first few years of their citizenship, which of course is contingent on their ability to hold a job and a permanent residence. Again, any who do not abide by this process will be immediately deported. The winners in this case are obviously the immigrants to America, who will be given the opportunity to start a new life. The so-called “losers” would be the citizens of America—however, the benefits of the new tax income would counter balance the old hindered social system, and the country would remain fairly constant. Both the current American and Mexican citizens would benefit greatly from such a program, and if both were willing to take sacrifices necessary to take the next step forward, the problem would come closer to being a minor and insignificant piece of history.
Coming from a minority stand point, I show bias about this topic. I do believe that it is important that the entering new people of this country be more of a benefit than a hindrance, and if at some point it is proven that these citizens are no longer needed and are nothing but a hindrance, than they should be prevented from entering. After my research I began to realize that what the anti-immigration think makes sense in some respects. I strongly support almost any piece of legislation that could decrease the crime rate and help our country. However I believe that the issue is more intricate. If the crimeless, honest, hard working and dedicated immigrants are given the opportunity for fair work, this country can begin to truly benefit from their presence.