The United States has been grappling the issue of illegal immigrants for long now. Each time the debate comes is brought on the surface it is met with either support or stiff opposition from the stakeholders. Illegal immigration refers to a situation where people of foreign origin settle voluntarily in the United States but in clear violation of the immigration legislations. Under the United States laws, unsanctioned entry into the United States is a felony; defaulters are deported back to their country of origin.
Violation extends to the act of entering the United States without proper authorization or settling in utter disrespect of the provisions in such an authorization. The first offense of illegal entry is classified as a misdemeanor while repeated violation is a misdemeanor. Unauthorized entry into the United States for temporary employment even with a planned later exit once the employment is over is also considered as a crime. A person is considered to be an illegal immigrant if he or she is in the United States without proper authorization and over stays the period authorized in the visa, or is in contravention of the immigration laws.
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History of both legal and illegal immigration dates back to the 1850s. It ranged from Blacks involuntary immigrants, the Europeans, Irish and the Mexicans. The law was against the immigration of people of oriental origin. Issue of illegal immigration gained prominence in the 1950’s. It is not clear how many people in the United States are illegal immigrants but the figure is mind-boggling. Estimation in 1990 put the figure to over 3. 5, around 1. 4% of the total United States population. To date estimates puts it at over 10 million illegal immigrants enjoying opportunities and resources in the United States.
Majority of these immigrants are Mexicans, official estimates puts the Mexicans to be 2/3 of the whole population. Georgia and Carolina at the moment holds the record in relation to the amount of illegal immigrants in the United States. There is a general consensus amongst Americans that the issue of illegal immigrants is getting out of hand. Controversy arises on how to deal with the illegal immigrants already in the United States. Of special concern are the employers who give jobs to illegal immigrants aware that their documentations are not in proper conditions.
The debate on immigration every time it arises divides the nation into two, even the congress. The debate has been on and off the public dominion. The major opponents of immigration are the black. Their opposition is understandable as majority are down in the income scale and the limited services, resources, and opportunities are strained by the entry of immigrants especially from Mexico. They are uptight on their stand and want the federal government to root out illegal immigrants. Bush’s voice in the debate is on coming up with comprehensive reforms on the issue of immigration.
He reiterates that it is imprudent to expect the 12 million immigrants to pack up and go as some interests groups have been claiming. The senate has been divided on the issue on the times the bill has been brought to the floor of the house. It is bound to be a major issue in the forthcoming presidential elections. Terry Frieden, Ins: 7 million immigrants United States. February 1, 2003. CNN The total number of illegal immigrants, in the United States has clocked over 7 million; a few millions of those have just entered the country in the past few years. This is according to the Immigration and Naturalization Services.
The officials further claim that a large number of these immigrants originate from Mexico. The recent statistics emanates from the 2000 census and comes after the last release of these figures by the federal government in 1996. According to the agency, in a p of 4 years, from 1996 to 2000, the amount of illegal immigrants in the United States increased by around 2. 2 million, that means that there were over 300,000 illegal entrants per year. Illegal Mexican immigrants have been on the increase by over 70 percent. These figures further indicate that state of Arizona and Georgia have recorded the highest number of entrants.
The authenticity of these figures is not in question, as modern methods have been used to validate them. This is in accordance to Jorge Martinez, the spokesman of the justice department. Temporary immigration, January 12 2004. New York Times According to Bush, the problem of illegal immigration can be tackled through the creation of a new group of workers who are on a “temporary” basis. In this approach, the workers will be permitted to work for a few years in the United States then returning to their country of origin having earned enough. There are many opportunities in the united states that require low skilled labor.
They (immigrants) should be given a chance to work in these jobs, and then with time some of them can be allowed to stay permanently. The proposal however falls short of what is to be done to those who refuse to go back to their home country. It is important that a workable plan be come up with to cater for the immigrants needs. A plan that should be sensitive to their requirements and give them an option of a green card. A plan with enough incentives to entice the immigrants to come forward out of the shadow. It is not clear whether Bush’s contribution to the debate is a part of a strategy to gain some votes from the Hipic community.
The “AgJobs” bill is also another proposal that will secure jobs and guarantee citizenship to over 500,000 people working in the agricultural sector. However, this issue is still dogged with controversy. Andrew Pollack, Two illegal immigrants win Arizona Ranch in Court. August 19, 2005. New York Times. In a landmark case today, the court granted a ranch to two illegal immigrants who were allegedly accosted and assaulted as they tried to enter into the United States. A vigilante group allegedly harmed Edwin Alfredo Mancia Gonzales and Fatima del Socoro Leiva Medina as they entered the United States territory from Mexico.
Casey Nethercott owns the said ranch. It is alleged that he, alongside other vigilant member, amongst them Mr. Dees and Mr. Foote attacked the two immigrants. This vigilante group lives in the ranch known as Camp Thunderbird and had made it a mission to rid the territory of any entry by illegal immigrants. The transfer’s takes effect immediately and is a form of compensation to the sustained injuries and humiliation and what the two said was “post traumatic stress” as a result of the attack. The ruling has resulted to angry uproars from the defendants who referred to it as “poetic justice”.
It is likely to bring a new twist in the already controversial issue of immigrants. It comes in the wake of Arizona and New Mexico being declared by the prospective governors to have a state of emergency to try and curb the massive influx of immigrants and the rising level of border crimes. To many people, this judgment is “ridiculous” and is tantamount to letting the aliens acquire property in the United States. S. Mitra Kalita and Spencer S. HSU, Huge Backlogs: Delays Feared under Senate Immigration Plan. Monday, July 24, 2006. Page A03. Washington Post
Arturo Zavala has survived in the United States from1976 doing menial jobs before his recent granting of citizenship. He has undergone rough times trying to secure entry of his family members in the United States. The current legislations proposed in the senate are likely to see the government as well as the illegal workers go through hard times. It proposes to have more than 10 million illegal immigrants legalize their entry into the United States. It would be a replica of the 1986 amnesty. Then,(1986) the government was amply prepared to cope with the process of legalization but this time round the government’s efforts are in doubt.
There are two related bills or issues in the house. One is the current predominant national issue of border security and the second is the consideration on whether to grant citizenship to immigrants that have stayed in the limited states for a period of two years. Should the senate pass this legislation, it will see the application for legalization by close to 10 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States at the moment. This is bound to be overwhelming to the concerned agencies. Carl Huise, G. O. P in Senate Narrows Immigration Focus to 700-Mile Fence. September 21, 2006. The New York Times.
Republicans in the house have decided to put on hold at the moment the immigration to settle on the minor bills that will see the erection of a 700 miles fence in the border to curb immigrants. The issue of immigrants in the United States cannot be wished away though, but the putting up of the fence will be a boost to the bill, the senator said. The senate has unanimously voted to have the fence put up. The issue of immigration continues to enjoy bipartisan support after president Bush appealed for an overhaul of the immigration laws to give way to awarding citizenship to some of the illegal immigrants.
However not all senate members would be for an amnesty. This comes in the wake of intense public pressure and election pledges of the Republican Party. The measures under consideration range from border sealing, non-permanent programs for immigrants and harsh legal implications to businesses offering illegal immigrants jobs. Passing the fence bill is an indication that the house is handling the immigration issue amicably. A follow up to the legislation by the senate is to have citizenship proof as a prerequisite to voting.
An overhaul of the laws should also take into consideration allowing potential farmers into the United States to boost agricultural sector in the south. Charles Babington. Senate approves immigration bill. Plan offers route to citizenship for undocumented. May 26, 2006. Washington Post. Major changes in the immigration law will be underway after the approval of an important bill by the senate. It will seek to introduce stringent measures on the border and introduce guest worker programs as well as putting up a channel that will see illegal immigrants granted citizenship.
English will also be declared the national language. Members of the senate however appreciate that despite the bill having been passed by an overwhelming majority, there is still a long way to go. This will be especially in the House of Representatives taking in mind the minorities interests. It will see the citizenship of a number of people that work in the U. S and contribute to the economy. Illegal immigrants will be allowed stay if they have been in the U. S for more than 5 years and after they have learnt English. The bill requires 231 republicans to pass.
Michael Levenson and Jonathan Saltzman. Troopers can arrest illegal immigrants in Romney deal. Critics warn of profiling, police mistrust. December 3, 2006. The Boston Globe. In Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney has entered into a pact that will see illegal immigrants in the state arrested. Presently the police have no powers to do that, but from now on they will have the powers to stop someone on mere suspicions and if proven to be illegal immigrants they will inform higher authorities. This however, will be after they undergo intense training to curb any incidences of racial profiling.
Civil rights activists are up in arms over the pact claiming it will make way for social profiling and be a source of intense mistrust between the police and the immigrants. They claim that this is just politicking to beef up the presidential campaigns. This should not be the route to take and the governor should support the proposals laid on the floor of the Congress that aims at strengthening immigration laws. The state police will be usurping the federal powers by doing this. Krissah Williams. An advocate rallies to unify GOP, Monday May 21, 2007. Page A11. Washington Post.
The current debate on immigration is putting the “conservatives” against the business lobbyists. One activist for the conservatives has made it her duty to unite the two groups. The efforts by Tamar Jacoby might lead to the house uniting to overhaul the laws on immigration. Texas and Colorado have the bulk of immigrants in the labor force. Her efforts are mainly supposed to rally the senate members together to support the transformation of the laws to allow the legalization of over 12 million immigrants in the United States. It will also legitimize the actions of thousands of small businesses that depend on the illegal immigrants.
Immigrant workers are needed in the United States to work at the farm plantation. Jacoby believes that immigrants make an important contribution to the economy. She is lobbying for the passing of this bill in the senate. Set back for U. S immigration reform. Friday, 8 June 2007. BBC News The effort to overhaul the immigration laws has been dealt with a minor blow as the senate was unable to pass a vote on the go ahead. The amendments introduced tilted the fragile balance that exists between the two parties. This bill would have seen the legitimization of over 12 million illegal immigrants to the United States.
Bush has been reiterating that he wants to see legislation put in place. However, both parties have vowed to bring the debate back to life in the senate. This has impeded Bush’s chances of legacy legislation on immigrants. The bill has failed to pass because it contains some few elements that both parties were against. The amnesty issue and the worker program were the most unpopular. Only 65 members were required to pass the bill but only 45 members voted for it. The proposed bill would see immigrants pay a fine of $5,000 and employment be used as a criteria to legalize immigrants.
Michael Levenson, Thomson Stars rivals with immigration plan. October 24, 2007. The Boston globe. Fred Thomson, the republican presidential candidate has added his voice on the immigration debate laying down a very strict plan. He wants to see the states denied federal funds if they do not forward cases of illegal immigrants. He does not want to see any amnesty granted to the immigrants. This is in contrary to Bush who is proposing for amnesty. Republican supporters are closely watching the candidates stand on the issue and the candidate that will take the hardest stance will win the day.
Levenson also wants to see strict laws on the employees to be more vigilant on their workers status. He further says that securing the borders is to be the first step and should be a prerequisite to the workers program. It will be interesting to see how the debate on illegal immigrants is going to shape the forthcoming elections. The key candidates have taken the stand and thus debate will be reintroduced in the congress in the near future to finally pass a verdict on the fate of over 12 million immigrants in the United States.
Works Cited Terry Frieden, Ins: 7 million immigrants United States. CNN; February 1, 2003. Temporary Immigration. New York Times; January 12 2004 Andrew Pollack, Two illegal immigrants win Arizona Ranch in Court. New York Times; August 19, 2005. S. Mitra Kalita and Spencer S. HSU, Huge Backlogs: Delays Feared under Senate Immigration Plan. Washington Post. Monday, July 24, 2006;A03 Carl Huise, G. O. P in Senate Narrows Immigration Focus to 700-Mile Fence. The New York Times. September 21, 2006. Charles Babington.
Senate approves immigration bill. Plan offers route to citizenship for undocumented. Washington Post. May 26, 2006. Michael Levenson and Jonathan Saltzman. Troopers can arrest illegal immigrants in Romney deal. Critics warn of profiling, police mistrust. The Boston Globe. December 3, 2006 Krissah Williams. An advocate rallies to unify GOP, Washington Post. May 21, 2007;A11. Set back for U. S immigration reform. BBC News. Friday, 8 June 2007. Michael Levenson, Thomson Stars rivals with immigration plan. The Boston globe. October 24, 2007.
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