Immigration is a concept as old as the creation of United States of America, in fact, immigration is the concept that the United States of America was founded on. Immigration is when someone from one country changes their permanent residence to another country and obtains, or tries to obtain, citizenship in that country. The original settlers of America emigrated here from European countries. Technically, they were considered foreign immigrants, because Indians had already inhabited America for centuries.
So consequently, immigration should not even have an issue to debate regarding the legality of it. All Americans, with the exception of Native Americans, are immigrants. However, with the presidential campaigns for the 2016 elections gaining momentum and all the controversy regarding immigration in relation to drug smuggling, illegal immigration is becoming a big topic in politics. It has been an issue for many years, but with the influx of Syrian refugees and steady rate of Mexican immigration, the need for it to be addressed is becoming more pressing.
With this need growing, it would benefit America to be informed on the surrounding topics, such as what is the current policy regarding immigration in America under president Obama, what the new presidential candidates have planned on immigration reform, and the pros and cons of immigration and if it should really be so exclusive. The current standing policy for immigration in America is that a foreign born individual must apply for, and receive, a green card to be given legal citizenship and the benefits that accompany it.
There are eleven ways you can receive a green card, with the major four being a family tie, which includes being the relative, spouse, or child, of a person with citizenship, green card lottery, an employment green card, and taking asylum in America from conditions in your home country. However, although that seems like a large amount of options, the number of green cards granted for each option has a set limit and it is not very high. For example, the green card lottery has a set limit 0f 50,000 cards per year for the entire United States, yet it has millions of hopeful applicants applying year after year.
The restrictions on green card applicants are also very rigorous. The restrictions set for them make many applicants ineligible causing them to take illegal measures to come to America. However, under President Barack Obama the DACA and DAPA reforms were enacted, saving more than half a million young immigrants and their families from deportation by 2015. DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, gives minors that have immigrated to America a chance to be integrated into society and the opportunity at a better life. DACA allows young immigrants to pursue more opportunities through jobs, internships, driver’s licenses, bank accounts, and healthcare. These opportunities improve not only the lives of those who obtain DACA, but the broader community and the nation as a whole.
The expanded DACA and new DAPA programs could directly affect an estimated 5 million people. Of the estimated 665,000 DACA recipients, 96 percent are employed or in school, 89 percent have a license or state ID, and overall their average hourly wages increased 45 percent. “Giving the Facts a Fighting Chance: Addressing Common Questions on Immigration. ” Immigration Policy Center. Web. May 2016. Immigrants generally come to America to find the ‘American Dream’ and make a better life for themselves and get a fresh start. But to better themselves and their lives, they must first be given the opportunity, but America is making it increasingly hard. The presidential candidates of the 2016 elections also have their own ideas on immigration reform and how it should be treated.
Most notably, is Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has said if he becomes president he will make Mexico pay for a more expansive and guarded wall, raise fees on visas, and require American businesses to hire a quota of native born and local individuals before they consider hiring an immigrant, whether or not they are here on a work visa or green card. Incidentally, his immigration reform ideas are centered primarily on Mexican immigration. He has made many ill aimed comments toward Mexico and its people.
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. ”–Real estate mogul Donald Trump, presidential announcement speech, June 16, 2015” Maraniss, David, and Robert Samuels. “Donald Trump’s False Comments Connecting Mexican Immigrants and Crime. ” Washington Post. The Washington Post. Web. May 2016.
However, there are almost 200 other countries in the world, all of which can have immigrants coming to America. Other countries, such as the Philippines, India, and China all have a high immigration rate also, yet there isn’t a wall being built around the perimeter of America to supervise all immigration. So it is rather biased to put such strict measures on only one country. Mexicans account for less than thirty percent of foreign born people. On the subject of jobs and immigration, most illegal immigrants that come here are denied a green card or work visa and still come to get a new start.
However, since they don’t have legal citizenship, they take jobs “under the table” and consequently are not given fair wages, any healthcare or benefits, and treated poorly. They suffer mistreatment, hard labor and long hours, and poor wages. They also take the undesirable jobs most people are not willing to do. Some Americans who resent immigrants make the statement “They are taking jobs from Americans, that’s why the unemployment rates are so high. ” Yet, the labor jobs they take are jobs that aren’t being filled by Americans as they see it as degrading or too hard.
They take the positions that no one else tries to fill. “If immigrants actually “took” jobs away from significant numbers of native-born workers, then one would expect to find high unemployment rates in parts of the country with large numbers of immigrants, especially recently arrived immigrants who are presumably more willing to work for lower wages and under worse conditions than either long-term immigrants or native-born workers. Yet there is little apparent relationship between recent immigration and unemployment rates at the regional, state, or county level.
“Giving the Facts a Fighting Chance: Addressing Common Questions on Immigration. ” Immigration Policy Center. Web. May 2016. However, some immigrants come to America and get ahead and do make a better life for themselves and their families. They work hard, earn higher positions, start businesses, and eventually work toward citizenship if they can. Personally, my uncle was born and raised in Mexico and he came to America illegally as a young adult. Yet, he persevered and worked hard, starting out as an ‘under the table’ construction worker.
Now he’s a grown man with a wife and two young daughters, has a contractor’s license, owns his own construction company, and owns a house in LA. Anyone can make it, native born or not, if they try hard enough to reach their goals. Another cause of concern regarding immigration is crime rates and incidents of terrorism. While the 9-11 and Boston bombings were both acts of foreign born individuals and drug smuggling is an issue from outside countries, the problems within America by native born people account for a much higher percent of crime rates.
If anything, immigration causes a decrease in crime because the fear of deportation keeps them in line, and they don’t want to ruin the chance they have. Two decades ago, Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood was nicknamed “Gunset Park” because of its high crime rates. Today, the commercial avenues are bustling, and once-empty storefronts are now full of businesses catering to immigrants from Latin America and Asia and their young families. When a lot of immigrants come to communities, crime tends to drop,” says Philip Kasinitz, who teaches sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
And, of course, it’s quite the opposite of what many people think. ” Police statistics show that Sunset Park is much safer than it was 20 years ago. Homicides are down more than 90 percent. Crime rates have dropped all over New York City since 1990 — but especially in neighborhoods that have high immigration. ” “Does Crime Drop When Immigrants Move In? ” NPR. NPR. Web. May 2016. In conclusion, immigration is a topic, not issue that ultimately has too much speculation attached to it. It needs to have limits but not be treated as a crime or an exclusive award.
America is seen as an ultimate dream opportunity and people that were not lucky enough to be born here are just trying to get a piece of that pie. In all reality, where you’re born is just a game of chance and does not make you any more worthy of a good life. Someone born in America that is against immigration needs to realize it could have just as easily been them in underprivileged immigrant’s shoes. We’re all just playing a game of fate and got lucky with the opportunities and benefits Americans are given, and others want to be a part of the American dream.