When we talk about the way the United States developed, the one and always topic that will be at the forefront of the conversation would be that of immigration. Since the United States was founded, men, women and children migrated from all over the world to be a part of the free world. These immigrants came to America to find jobs, buy lands for farming and to start their families. These immigrants also brought with them cultures that helped shape the way the United States is today, rich in cultures from all over the world but all here in one country.
The United States in the late 19th century and early twentieth century had over 25 million immigrants flood their ways to the free county. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) These immigrants filled in the urban areas around cities and became the workforce in industrial labor for industries such as steel, automobile, textile and coal.
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(Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) This flood of immigrants brought the thought that the nation was becoming too populated and that restrictions on immigration must be initiated on immigration.
The National Origins Act of 1921 was enacted by congress to limit the number of immigrants and also assigned numbers of origins that could enter the country based on what country they were immigrating from. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) This act also declared that any immigrants from Asia to be refused any immigration as they were deemed unworthy. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) The National Origins Act of 1921 however did not cover immigrants from Central and South Americas which they could come and go freely into the United States.
The Hart-Cellar Act in 1965 changed the way immigrants came into the country and it took away the quotas that the National Origin Act had placed on immigrants. The Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 once again began a flood of immigrants as was scene in the late 1800’s but this time instead of the immigrants coming from Europe, they were headed from Asia. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) The United States was once again a country that was formed and transformed by immigration.
The problem of illegal immigration has been around since the United States put limits and restrictions on immigration in the early twentieth century. We live here and have grown up in the United States. There are many people throughout the world that want a better life for themselves, their families and especially their children. Many illegal immigrants will illegally enter the United States for this reason alone. However, there are illegal immigrants that will come here for criminal activities mainly the drug world.
When we think of illegal immigrants we mainly focus on those illegal’s that are here after they illegally entered the United States, some by boats from the Caribbean while others from crossing the unprotected borders of Mexico and Canada. But there are millions of illegals that have come here to work on Visa’ and Green Cards that have since expired but they want to stay as they have enjoyed their lives here and that their lives are better than where they originally came from. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) Illegal immigrants also come here to be reunited with family members that have come to the United States.
Many illegal immigrants are hired by companies that have low paying and high physical requirements that many people don’t want. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) These companies have been known to hire illegal immigrants as they can pay them lower than minimum wages as they do not meet the requirements under federal standards. These illegals are hard workers that want to take care of their families and make that better live in the land of freedom and opportunity.
However, they do not have health care and most federal benefits afforded to citizens. In the past decade, these companies have been targeted by federal and local law enforcement agencies for the employment of illegal immigrants. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) These companies face stiff penalties, fines, and can lose federal aid to the company. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) In 2010 the Department of Homeland Security estimated that the number of illegal immigrants in the United States at approximately 11 million.
Over 57% of these are Mexican nationals and 24% from Cental American countries. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) No other country has over 1 million illegal immigrants here in the United States but the largest numbers are from Central America and Caribbean countries. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) With that number in mind, in 2011, there were 641,633 illegal immigrants apprehended and removed from the United States.
Legal Rights with Illegal Immigration Under United States law any foreign national over the age of 14 and will stay in the United States for longer than 30 days must register with the U. S. government and have registration documents in their possession at all times. (Cornell University Law School) Illegal immigrants can be classified as illegal for one of three reasons: entering without authorization or inspection, staying beyond the authorized period after legal entry, or violating the terms of legal entry.
Section 1325 in Title 8 of the United States Code, “Improper entry of alien”, provides for a fine, imprisonment, or both for any immigrant who enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration agents, or eludes examination or inspection by immigration agents, or attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact.
The maximum prison term is 6 months for the first offense and 2 years for any subsequent offense. (Cornell University Law School)In addition to the above criminal fines and penalties, civil fines may also be imposed. (Cornell University Law School) This federal law is fine but it doesn’t seem to be enforced as it was intended to and with over 11 million illegals in the country it is not being enforced enough. With the frustration of state and local governments and law enforcement agencies facing problems with illegal immigration, some states have decided to take the illegal immigration problem into their hands by passing state laws in regards to illegal immigration.
One very controversial law was Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. The SB 1070 went along with the federal law and made it a misdemeanor for aliens to be in Arizona and not to have any required documents on them, which is required for peace officers in Arizona to determine an individual’s immigration status during a lawful contact or lawful stop, detention or arrest when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant.
The Arizona SB 1070 brought on national debate in which President Obama was an outspoken opponent to the law and had the United States Attorney file a lawsuit against Arizona in hope to stop the bill as many thought it was a violation of constitutional and civil rights. (State of Arizona, 2010) The United States Supreme Court ruled on Arizona v. United States and upheld the provision requiring immigration status checks during law enforcement stops.
Since the passage of Arizona SB 1070, 16 other states such as Michigan, Georgia, Texas, Florida and California have introduced illegal immigration bills such as Arizona’s in order to help curb the illegal immigration problem. Illegal immigrants do not have rights to vote, to own or possess a firearm and can be denied citizenship if convicted of a felony and as the government and states list illegal immigrants as violators of the law, they do have some protections under the United States Constitution.
Under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution the United States Supreme court has ruled that the amendment states “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” applied to all persons “without regard to any differences of race, of color, or of nationality,” and to “an alien, who has entered the country, and has become subject in all respects to its jurisdiction, and a part of its population, although alleged to be illegally here.
This ruling gave illegal immigrants protection under the 14th Amendment 126 years ago in Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886). Ten years later, Wong Wing v. US (1896) was also heard by the Supreme Court, under this ruling the argument of the 5th and 6th amendments were given to illegal immigrants as it stated “. . .
It must be concluded that all persons within the territory of the United States are entitled to the protection guaranteed by those amendments, and that even aliens shall not be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. ” ( U. S. Supreme Court, 1896) Effects of Illegal Immigration on Communities Illegal Immigration is a constant topic on crime in the United States and is a public safety issue.
Not all illegal immigrants are involved in criminal activity but some illegal immigrants have come to the United States to be a part of the criminal world. Some come as gang members in urban areas as gangs are infiltrated by illegal aliens. The MS-13 gang is a violent gang with a high Hispanic gang member rate. These gang members are mostly illegal immigrants and participate in crimes to include murder, prostitution, drugs and other criminal activity. (Taylor, 2007) Here in Arizona, there are a high number of illegal aliens that partake in human smuggling. This is done by charging money to smuggle them into the United States.
Although many can’t afford this fee, they are forced to sell drugs or participate in criminal activity to pay off the debt to the smuggler. Other crimes committed by illegal immigrants include identity theft, theft and drunk driving. It is stated that 20% of motor vehicle crashes involving illegal immigrants that are Hispanic and are related to drinking and driving. (Taylor, 2007) Illegal immigration impact on the economy has different views in regards to if it is a bad thing or a good thing. Illegal immigrants usually will fill in the low paying and unskilled jobs such as farming, landscaping and construction.
A positive side to this is that by illegal immigrants filling these positions it helps keep the prices lower as they are being paid less. (Davidson, 2011) If a union job takes that position, the workers would be paid more and the prices of the products would go up. The negative side would be that it takes away from native unskilled workers that would be paid at minimum wages and that these illegal immigrant workers do not pay into social security and taxes but they do use government facilities like schools and hospitals leaving the bill to the taxpayers.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, illegal immigration costs tax payers $113 billion dollars per year with $52 billion of that costing taxpayer’s for the use of public schools by illegal immigrant’s children. (Federation For American Immigration Reform, 2012) This is a high price paid as most state and local economies are in deficits and looking for ways to save money and cut spending. Solving the Illegal Immigration Problem Just build a wall over the borders.
Sounds good but solving the illegal immigration problem is not as easy as one would think. We can seal off the borders but we still have 11 million illegals inside the country. Do we give them amnesty as they are locked in now that the walls are built? This will create the U. S. into giving them citizenship’s and then will bring up the unemployment rates all across the nation let alone the welfare and health care costs. I do think that the first step would be to look at the laws and rewrite them for today’s world.
Many laws were written hundreds of years ago and make no sense in today world. Then we must start enforcing illegal immigration laws to show that we will not sit back and let it happen as we have for decades. Now that we are enforcing the laws let’s get that border secured. Make the wall or ditch or whatever will stop the illegal crossings into this country. Have motion detecting cameras along with armed patrol. Set up a military base and have the armed forces secure it, they do it in Afghanistan and Iraq, why can’t they do it here in their homeland?
Now after all this is done, empty the prisons of illegals and send them back to their country. It would be a cost at first but over the long run of paying for years in prisons we would make our money back. Then start giving amnesty to those who want to work, want to live the life of freedom and have a pride in their new country. These would be the ones that we would want here. Grant amnesty only for the crime free citizens and send others back to fill out requests to come back here. The problem we would have with my entire plan is that there are families here that are here legally and illegally.
It would be hard to send back a mother or father when their children are here. This plan would have to take a long time in order to first find them and then to send the rights ones back without breaking up families and causing future problems within the family and the neighborhoods. So illegal immigration has been a problem for the United States for over a hundred years and I feel that it will be a problem for the next hundred. The problem is a difficult one to solve in a democratic country and one that is based on the rights and beliefs of its citizens.