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Sam Patz

Roenicke period 4
December 8, 2014
Argumentative speech RD
The United States immigration system is a major problem for this country.
Immigrants flock to the US for job opportunities and better living conditions. As a nation,
we have set the bar high for immigrants to get into the country resulting in millions of
illegal immigrants. It is estimated that there are over eleven million undocumented
immigrants in this country. Recently, President Obama took executive action that gives
some relief to about five million of the undocumented immigrants who have lived here
for at least ten years and have no criminal record. Importantly, this executive action
does not grant citizenship but it does remove the threat of deportation and provides
work permits. President Obama’s immigration reform is one small step towards
granting equal rights to undocumented immigrants. The US must provide a path to
citizenship for the undocumented who have proven to be law-abiding and productive
members of our country. Providing a pathway to full citizenship would have a positive
impact on the United States by taking the undocumented out of the shadows and
allowing them to be a productive part of the economy giving them a better quality of life.

Granting citizenship to undocumented workers who have lived here over ten
years will give immigrants a better quality of life. The current executive order stops
short of granting citizenship which means that these immigrants cannot have full
protections under the law, access to assistance with health care, and guarantees of
equal rights under the Constitution. According to the executive director of the California
Immigrant Policy Institute, eight percent of the California workforce is undocumented.
The executive action will allow some of those eight percent to stay here without the
threat of deportation; however, these workers still cannot access important programs
like Medicare and Social Security. In addition, granting citizenship would remove the
“psychological fear” by giving equal rights to the undocumented. These rights include
the right to vote, the right to run for office, and the right to freely travel and return to the
United States.

Granting citizenship will have a positive impact on the US economy by increasing
tax revenues and stimulating growth. In 2013, the Center for American Progress
estimated that granting immediate citizenship “would add $1.4 trillion to economic
growth, increase tax revenues by $184 billion and create 203,000 jobs over the next
decade.” Professor Everett Nuttle from Washington College estimates that “within five
years of earning citizenship, an undocumented worker would make 25.1 percent more

income per year because U.S. citizens have the best job opportunities and highest
labor-market returns on their job skills.” Such gains would “ripple through the
economy” as the immigrants would have more income to spend and pay taxes. A study
that tracked immigrants who were granted citizenship under President Ronald Reagan
in 1986 shows a 15.1 percent increase in their average wages.
Opponents of granting citizenship argue that these new ‘citizens’ will overload
Federal programs for the needy and that it is unfair for people who crossed the borders
illegally to be granted amnesty. According to Arguers of the immigration policy from
“Facts on File: “A path to citizenship would essentially reward those who have crossed
the border illegally. With full U.S. citizenship comes access to federal benefits such as
Medicare and Social Security, rendering such a plan prohibitively expensive. Even if the
United States were to allow illegal immigrants to become legal residents, it should not
give them amnesty by making them full citizens.”
In conclusion, granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants who have lived
here for at least ten years and have no criminal record would greatly benefit this
country. Our economy could absorb these new legal workers allowing them to come in
from the shadows of low pay. The new citizens would no longer live in fear of their
families being torn apart due to deportation and the new citizens could proudly join the
American Melting Pot. Ultimately, except for our Native American citizens, we are all
immigrants to this country so let’s welcome these newcomers to our country.

Works Cited
“Immigration Policy.” Issues & Controversies. Infobase Learning, 8 Apr. 2013. Web. 3
Dec. 2014.

Fairchild, Caroline. “ Granting Undocumented Immigrants Citizenship Would Boost
Economy by $1.4 Trillion: Study.” The Huffington Post, 22 Mar. 2013. Web. 30
Nov. 2014.
Dann, Carrie. “ Humanity? Practicality? Amnesty? The arguments for and against
immigration reform.” NBC News. 2 Apr. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
Ewing, Walter. “The Sooner Immigrants Become Citizens, the Better it is for the
Economy.” Immigration Impact. 20 Mar. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.