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Kay West
Professor Nathan Cole
English 2010-074
7 Apr. 2014
Revision B
Crossing the American Line
Immigration is a topic in United States politics that has long been fought over with
changes forecast, but no ground ever seems to be gained on the subject. Some people may think
it is all right to come across the border illegally and remain here, receiving rights and privileges
without the cost or responsibility associated with them. On the other hand, legal, non-resident
aliens, who pay taxes, and contribute to the nations economy, face the grim truth that they may
never hold a green card, and that they may never gain any rights and privileges at all.
Currently the United States government seems focused on the mass of undocumented
aliens that are here illegally using services but are not paying taxes for them. One person in
particular, Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist, filmmaker and immigration activist published an
article in the New York Times entitled, My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant where he
states his grandfather was a proud man, and I saw the shame on his face as he told me he
purchased the card, along with other fake documents, for me. Dont show it to other people, he
warned (Vargas).
Vargas has worked for The Washington Post, The San
Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Daily News and The
Huffington Post. Vargas was even part of the team that won a
Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for their coverage of the Virginia Tech
Photo 1: Caution Immigrants Crossing
Source: kenmcvay.com
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shootings online and in print, and he did all of this illegally with his falsified driver license and
green card. The following is an interview, in both MP3 and print format, that Vargas gave after
he wrote the article.
http://www.npr.org/2011/07/07/137648605/a-journalist-comes-out-as-an-illegal-
immigrant (Gross).
MP3: Coming Out as an Undocumented Immigrant. 7 July 2011. MP3.
Source: npr.org
Illegal aliens are afforded a luxury when they obtain a green card. The green card status
(also known as permanent residency) allows illegal aliens and their families to remain in
America, legally, obtain a drivers license, and employment. Most legal aliens are in the United
States on a work or student visa. Once the visa expires, they are legally required to return to
their country of legal citizenship and reapply or apply for a new visa, or face the chance of not
receiving another visa. At the end of their schooling or employment, they are required to return
to their country of legal citizenship as it is seen as there no longer being a purpose for them to
remain in the United States.
On the other hand, America is missing out on the opportunity to gain legal, extremely
intelligent people that pay taxes, do not break the law, and would help contribute to and bolster
Americas economy. There are students that come here to some of the best schools in the world,
and then have to return to their country of citizenship after graduating and receiving their
degrees. There are highly educated people out there that want to come here to work, but cannot
acquire the proper visa.
Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at Americas colleges
and universities, particularly in high skilled fields. Many of them want to use their
expertise in U.S industries that will spur economic growth and create jobs for
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Americans. When visas arent available, we end up exporting this labor and
ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the
needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help to
grow our economy (House GOP Leaders Standards for Immigration Reform
Document).
Key figures in the
government, such as Senator Joe
Schumer, Democrat of New
York, feel illegal aliens have a
right to be here, have the
privilege to hold green cards, and therefore secure employment, drivers licenses, and Social
Security Numbers. Schumer presented a, legislative maneuver, known as a discharge petition,
would allow supporters of overhauling the nations immigration laws to circumvent the
Republican majority in the House by bringing the measure directly to the House floor, bypassing
the regular committee process (Parker and Weisman).
Schumer was a key player in passing a bill through Senate in 2013 requesting 11 million
illegal aliens be given green card status in the United States. By trying to accomplish having the
discharge petition pass, he would have allowed those illegal aliens to receive their green cards
even faster. Meanwhile privileges legal, non-resident aliens, who pay taxes and contribute to
Americas economy, are denied green cards, and even face deportation from America. Recently
a German family legally here in the United States tried to fight to remain in the United States so
they could homeschool their children, a luxury not afforded to them back in Germany, however,
Photo 2: Americas College Diversity
Source: huffingtonpost.com
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Photo 3: Guarding the Line
Source: dailycaller.com.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that claim last year. The court found that U.S.
law does not grant asylum to every victim of unfair treatment (Ritz).
Many illegal aliens are participating in illegal scams to obtain green cards. Those illegal
immigrants participating in the scams they know are illegal are being considered as victims
and are being bribed with green cards to expose the ones behind the scams.
Prosecutors not only warned Wednesday that immigration scams are increasing, but
launched a drive to persuade victims to come forward to help stop them promising they need
not worry about deportation if they do, and may even obtain a visa for their help (Davidson).
It seems that the government is also considering granting green card status to illegal
aliens with,
limited terrorist contactThe Department of Homeland Security and the State
Department published the new exemptions Wednesday in the Federal Register to
narrow a ban in the Immigration and Nationality Act excluding refugees and
asylum seekers who had provided limited material support, no matter how minor,
to terrorists (May).
Jessica Vaughan, former State
Department official and current director
of policy studies for the Center for
Immigration Studies, pointed out that
in some cases, only the word of the
individual would be used to make a determination (May). In other words, if the individual
states they are not a terrorist, the Department of Homeland Security and State Department may
take their word and grant them legal green card status in the United States.
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In my experience as a former State Dept. (sic) consular official, I know that there
are some qualified applicants that get excluded because we cannot be sure if they
are truly associated with terrorist or criminal groups, but it is better to err on the
side of caution when it comes to national security and public safety, she
explained. After all, there are usually other resettlement options for these people
they dont have to come to the U.S., even if thats what they want (May).
Finding the right balance between allowing immigrants into the country who will work
hard, be contributing members of society, who have a desire for a more equal opportunity for
everyone, will be a difficult road for the American government to tread.
America may maintain this difficult challenge ahead of them as they continue to reform
their immigration policies. The government may try to remain focused, but still be objective
while attempting to allow immigrants into the country that have the desire to help build the
future economy and prosperity for the nation as a whole.


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Works Cited
Americas College Diversity. huffingtonpost.com. 1 Aug. 2013. Photograph. 24 Apr. 2014.
Caution Immigrants Crossing. kenmcvay.com. 18 Jun. 2013. Photograph. 24 Apr. 2014.
Davidson, Lee. Prosecutors Say Utah Immigration Scams are Increasing. sltrib.com. 22 Jan.
2014. 1 May 2014.
Gross, Terry. Coming Out as an Undocumented Immigrant. npr.org. 7 July 2011. MP3
file. 15 Feb. 2014.
House GOP Leaders Standards for Immigration Reform Document. foxnews.com. 28 Jan.
2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
May, Caroline. Obama Admin Unilaterally Changes the Law to Allow Immigrants with
Limited Terror Contact into US. dailycaller.com. 5 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
Parker, Ashley, and Jonathan Weisman. Schumer Offers Long-Shot Option to Skirt House
G.O.P. on Immigration. nytimes.com. 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
Ritz, Erica. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal From German Homeschooling Family.
theblaze.com. 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Vargas, Jose. My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant. nytimes.com. 22 Jun. 2011. Web.
15 Feb. 2014.