The following is the text of my latest academic paper. It’s on the topic of immigration with a special focus on illegal immigration as a social and political issue.
Immigration is a long standing issue in the United States. Over time many beliefs have been formed, held, changed, and withdrawn on the subject. In this paper I will focus on immigration as a modern social and political issue, with specific interest towards the topic of illegal immigration. I will use academic resources and the opinions of political analysts, combine them with my own ideas, and form an independent assessment of the current political and social climate surrounding immigration. Of particular interest to this paper will be the discussion of federal immigration reform, the new Arizona state law dealing with immigration, the source of illegal immigration in general, whether immigration is good or bad in the long run for the US, and what we all can do as American citizens to best take care of our national interests in light of this information.
Let’s start by defining illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is defined as the movement of people across national borders in a way that violates immigration laws of the destination country . Illegal immigrants are also called illegal aliens (Wikipedia). According to estimates by academic and government agencies, ten million illegal immigrants currently live in the US, with some estimates as high as double that number (White). These illegal immigrants are not from random places. They do not arrive in equal number from a huge variety of countries, and there are logical reasons why. Over seventy five percent of illegal aliens arrive across the US border with Mexico . They come from various areas of South America including Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, and, of course, Mexico . Latino is a general term for a person native to Central or South America, because these areas are also called Latin America, since the predominant languages in these areas are Portuguese and Spanish, which are derived from Latin. Latinos, especially Mexicans, not simply Hispanics, are the major propagators of illegal immigration. In fact, over half of all illegals are Mexican born (White). Because of this information, we should realize that, on a practical level, a discussion of modern illegal immigration is roughly the equivalent of a discussion on border control. We should also realize that the people who illegally immigrate over that border are usually Latino, and of those who are Latino, they are usually Mexicans.
Now that we have defined illegal immigration, let’s take the next logical step toward analysis and decide whether illegal immigration is good or bad. There are plenty of experts who have very different views on whether illegal immigration is right or wrong, and they hail from both the left and right. Ben Barrack is the radio name of a local Texan political talk show host. This man has lived in Texas and in Florida for many years. Both of these states are heavily afflicted with illegal immigration. He raises what I find to be a good point in a particular blog entry on his website. The blog entry is called, “Arizona Governor Tells Schumer to Shoo”. In this entry Barrack finds a democrat guilty of hypocrisy. In his own words, he notes that Senator Schumer of New York, “has a problem with citizens in his own country securing its border and preserving their sovereignty but when it comes to Israel shutting down its borders with Gaza, he’s all for it. (Barrack).” He finds that the reason Schumer holds such contrary positions is due to, “votes – votes [that Senator Schumer] won’t get from Palestinians that would be allowed entry into Israel vs. votes his party WOULD get from Mexicans allowed entry into the Untied States. (Barrack).” This was an eye opening point for me. I realized that, if this is true, it means that some members of the democratic party are willing to advocate illegal activity in exchange for power. This parallels the behavior of thieves and drug dealers. The truth of the matter is that illegal immigration breaks laws. As far as anyone in the legal system should be concerned, breaking laws is wrong. As far as I am concerned, illegal immigration is a two part issue. The moral issue and the practical issue. Morally, I believe illegal immigration is wrong because of the same reason I believe not paying taxes or failing to sign up for the draft is wrong, because it is against the law. From an economic standpoint, it is equally as wrong.
According to one web article, between sixty and eighty one percent of Arizonians supported the passing of an anti-illegal immigration law recently proposed in Arizona (Zahn). The law passed. If we follow the money of most Americans, we find the source of the support for such a bill. According to a recent report, last year the cost of government services rendered to illegal aliens was three hundred and thirty dollars for each American (Carl). This is a staggering statistic, and in the same article which I found it mentioned, I also found mentioned a general economic trend. The author, Michael Carl, states, “The message isn’t complicated: The more immigrants, the higher taxes go.” This is a clear indicator that illegals are bad for the economy. Taxes cannot go up indefinitely. The trend is unsustainable. I once heard it said that illegal immigrants to North Korea are given twelve years of hard labor, illegals in Iran are indefinitely detained in prison camps, that illegal immigrants to China are often never heard from again, but illegals in the US are given welfare, food stamps, free education, a job, political representation, and so on. Unemployment right now is terrible, and illegals are taking jobs from Americans by working for illegally low wages.
Even the President is lobbying for immigration reform (PR Newswire). If immigration is reformed at a federal level it will take precedence over state law. Some of the ideas put forth by the White House include, “paying taxes, getting criminal background checks, learning English and paying a fine.” As it stands, being an illegal immigrant is illegal, but punishment is lax. As far as businesses go, Deborah White states that, “the federal bureaucracy clearly knows which companies employ probable illegal immigrant workers, and it even knows which workers are likely illegals. And the government does nothing about it. Not one penalty was levied by the federal government against an employer in 2004 for hiring undocumented workers. (White).” Even if the government had levied a penalty, the current penalty for illegally being in the United States is simply deportation. The penalty for knowingly employing an illegal alien is a meager fine.
Another issue of illegal immigration reform is what to do with the illegals already in the country. The democrats have put forth a compromise by way of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (FAIR). The plan is two part. It consists first of “amnesty”, which is the legal pardoning of crimes, in this case illegal immigration, for all current illegals, and that is followed by a zero-tolerance immigration reform for all future illegals. This compromise has been called a “proposal” by the Federation for American Immigration Reform because it is in fact not a piece of legislation, but simply a statement of potential policy that would be converted into legislation, they hope, later this year.
So this is the current climate and status of the issue in America. After having gathered this information, I believe there are several things people can get started doing to improve and stabilize the condition of America for the long term. First we need to establish what America is. After all, we can’t suit our best interests if we don’t know what we are interested in. This movement toward identity has already started, and it is called the Tea Party movement. Everyone can join in on this movement by attending rallies, listening to Tea Party members on the radio, and reading their various writings which are available both on and off line. Once we establish an American identity, we must take legal action to preserve that identity. Action such as securing our borders. The idea of a zero-tolerance anti-illegal immigration policy is a very good one, but such ideas will not be easily put into practice. Something political advisers, politicians, economists, and political scientists can get busy doing is begin developing a strategy for effectively actuating Senator Reid’s ideas without growing government further. Once the border is secure we can turn and face bigger national issues. Once our citizenship is accounted for, dealing with the economy will be much simpler. Once we have a grip on illegal immigrants and our own identity, dealing with foreign enemies will also be much simpler. If members of the Democratic party would quit playing politics by encouraging illegal immigrants in order to gain votes and would focus on the national social threat of illegal immigration, they would merge in views with the Republican party and the country would gain a bipartisan offense against illegals.
The research I conducted throughout this assignment has helped me to get a much better grip on the ideas behind the issue of illegal immigration. It has lead me to a better understanding of issues ranging from why some Americans have developed racist beliefs against Mexicans to why some politicians actually encourage illegal activity. The ideas of everyone involved in the realm of politics from the politicians themselves, to simple bloggers and talk show hosts, even down to the common American voter, I have realized, all have a huge potential to change these problems we face today. Most importantly, I have been able to piece together actionable items, such as simply tuning into a local radio station or attending a rally, which can contribute to making real changes by generating the support America needs in this important area of policy. I do not believe a nonpartisan way of doing things is the best choice for America in this case, because I believe the Democratic party is tainted with a bias toward allowing illegals into the country so that they can gain votes. I do, however, believe that Senator Reid has had some good ideas. The next step is simply, though not necessarily easily, to create a consensus in the federal government which will lead to long term policy against the well demonstrated wrongs of illegal immigration.
Wikipedia. “Illegal Immigration”. Retrieved on 5/7/2010 from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration).
White, Deborah. “Illegal Immigration Explained – Profits & Poverty, Social Security & Starvation”. About.com Guide. Retrieved on 5/7/2010 from (http://usliberals.about.com/od/immigration/a/IllegalImmi.htm).
Barrack, Ben. “Arizona Governor Tells Schumer to Shoo”. Ben Barrack Radio Blog. Retrieved on 5/7/2010 from (http://barracknow.blogspot.com/2010/05/arizona-governor-tells-schumer-to-shoo.html).
Zahn, Drew. “Arizona’s Immigration Law Spreads”. Invasion USA. Retrieved on 5/7/2010 from (http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=149857).
Carl, Michael. “Look How Much Money Illegals Milking You for”. Invasion USA. Retrieved on 5/7/2010 from (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=141985).
PR Newswire. “Obama Administration to Make Good on Promise to Fix Our Nation’s Most Complex Problems”. Breitbart. Retrieved on 5/8/2010 from (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=prnw.20090409.DC97174&show_article=1).
FAIR. “Democrats Unveil Outline for Amnesty”. Retrieved on 5/8/2010 from (http://www.fairus.org/site/News2/1929724780?page=NewsArticle&id=22899&security=1601&news_iv_ctrl=1012#4).