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The issue of immigration reform has been contentious in the United States (US) for a long time. It has fueled divisive politics, with different sides either supporting or opposing the given question. Immigration reforms refer to changes in policies and laws that would improve the status and the process of immigrants. Politically, it could mean either an improvement or impediment to the immigration process. This research paper will explore the immigration reform, arguments from opponents and proponents, my position, the level of government where it will occur and its drawbacks.
The first major law that dealt with the given issue o was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 that made it unlawful for employers to recruit illegal immigrants. However, it did not provide guidance to the immigration system on how to use a non-immigrant visa system to hire unskilled and semi-skilled workers (Graham 76). Consequently, unqualified workers have been crossing the borders into the US and are estimated to be about 12 million. The number of the undocumented employees represents about 5% of the workforce in America (Miller 95). In 2005, the House of Representatives passed the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. In addition, the Senate adopted the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006. Both bills failed to become laws since their variations could not be harmonized during the conference committee meetings. The latest reform was the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, which was passed by a bi-partisan Senate. The bill was, however, never tabled in the House of Representatives because of strong opposition from Republican legislators (LeMay 67). They argued that any reforms on immigration had to address the border control along the American-Mexican border first.
The Different Sides to the Issue
The proponents of reforms assert that the current law that prohibits the recruitment of illegal immigrants is not effective because it does prevent the employees from being hired. The need for workers compels employers to engage the immigrants without the knowledge of the government and hence renders the current law inefficient. They also argue that the current immigration situation is counterproductive for various reasons. First, the country loses billions of dollars in taxable income earned by the immigrants. The government cannot tax them because they are undocumented. The second reason is that the costof enforcing the deportation exercise has increased the budget of the Immigration Department exponentially without any benefits accruing to the country. Moreover, the deportation leaves many organizations and employers without labor, which reduces their productivity and contribution to the economy. As a result, the economic recovery expected may not be achieved with the current approach to immigration. Those who support the reforms further argue that the changes in the policy would increase the immigrants’ earnings and their spending power. Consequently, they would spend more than their current rate, thus supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The opponents of immigration reforms cite the security threat posed by the immigrants as a reason not to support the policy change. The border between the US and Mexico is very porous, which increases the risks of criminals and terrorists accessing the country. Firstly, they need the state to increase security patrol on the border before they support the proposed changes. Secondly, they argue that the immigrants take away jobs from Americans and reduce their chances of employment. Therefore, their reluctance is to promote the interests of the natives. Thirdly, they perceive the proposed changes as supporting crime because they would allow the current immigrants to eventually become citizens (Martin 104). Since they entered the country illegally, allowing them residency and citizenship would amount to encouraging others to break the law. Finally, they argue that once the immigrants have been legalized, they would be eligible for government welfare programs such as food stamps (Barbour 23). Consequently, they would strain the local and states governments’ budgets.
My position is that immigration reforms should be implemented because they would benefit the country and the economy. All the money that the state loses in taxable income through illegal immigrants would be gained. Additionally, their profit would increase the amount of products purchased, raising their demand. Companies that manufacture them would hire more Americans to meet the expanded request. Therefore, the changes in immigration policies would improve the lives of Americans. These manufacturers would further remit increased taxes to the federal and state governments. The increased revenues would support the budget for border control that the opponents of reforms demand. Additionally, it would enlarge the power of local and state governments to support the immigrants’ welfare programs.
All the concerns from those who do not support the reforms about security and crime have not been addressed by the current policy. The status quo means the government is still at risk of tthe perceived crimes and tax losses. Therefore, supporting the reforms would be an appropriate start, followed by ways of enforcing border control.
While the current debate may have genuine concerns from the politicians, there are political games being played by both the Republicans and the Democrats. The first ones are worried that when the immigrants gain citizenship, they will support the democrats. The second ones, on the other hand, stand to gain politically from the reforms. The vested interests cast doubts on the politicians’ intentions. However, I support the reforms because they would improve the lives of Americans, especially during this economic recovery period.
Government Level at Which the Reforms Should Occur
The most effective reforms would occur at the federal level. The whole country would, therefore, have unified policies on how to deal with immigrants. Allowing state governments to make their own reforms may not work because of local politics than may hinder the process. Since the issue affects the entire country, it is essential to tackle it at the federal level. The Congress should spearhead the reforms because it involves the representatives of the people (Miller 95). The latter are best suited to produce the changes because they would consider the opinions and wishes of the electorates. However, since the political atmosphere is not conducive, there may be delays in passing of the laws, as witnessed in the past. To prevent injustice in the deportation that is currently underway, the courts should provide guidance on the issue, pending the passage of the reform laws.
The disadvantage of my level choice where the reforms should take place is that it is influenced by politics. The political differences between the Republicans and the Democrats may delay the process for a long time. As such, the reforms required may not be conducted in the near future, which means that tax losses would continue. The deportation is likely to go on, increasing costs and crippling the economy.
The advantages of implementing reforms outweigh the disadvantages. The changes should be effected by the congress, as demonstrated by the senate having a common ground. The country stands to lose without these vital alterations. Politicians should consider the welfare of the country first before their political goals. The opponents should understand that border control continues to be weak while the government is still losing taxes. Therefore, accepting the reforms that allow taxation on immigrants’ income would facilitate border control and benefit both sides.
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