Illegal Immigration 1


The Immigration Debate: A critical Analysis Jason Crews LAS 30012 Prosiminar August 1, 2007

Illegal Immigration 2 Introduction The debate about illegal immigration is not a new one, however due to Congress’s recent failure to pass any law defining the status of the immigrants or establishing a regulation curtailing their flow into the country has forced the issues to the forefront of the news in recent weeks. (Currie, 2007, para.3) As a result many states have taken it upon themselves to solve the problem. Arizona for example has enacted some of the strictest regulations in the country threatening fine, loss of business license or both if a business is caught knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. Arizona has even gone as far as establishing a hotline to report suspected illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants and business alike oppose this and seemingly any regulation. Business claim immigration is a federal issue and needs to be dealt with on the federal level, while the illegal immigrants are making a more emotional argument clamming they work very hard for low wages to earn money to feed their family, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Regardless of one’s views on the issue it is important to evaluate both sides debate. The Anti-Immigration Case The immigration debate is not a new one, but according to Currie republicans and democrats have been bickering over a bill to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. (2007, para. 3). After the legislation failed to pass last month many states have acted on their own to establish local legislations to regulate illegal immigration. There are several reasons people feel so strong about enacting some form of immigration regulation. According to George Weissinger , “Characterizations of the illegal alien range from the sympathetic to the xenophobic (para. 2) .” one of the most common arguments is state that they are an unnessiary burden on our legal system, and with statistics like “In 2002, the INS apprehended 1,062,279 deportable aliens in the United States and 94% of those apprehensions were from Mexico. Between 1987 and 2002, the average number of Mexican

Illegal Immigration 3 apprehensions in New York rose to 18.4% (Weissinger, 2003),” and according to and the Investor’s Business Daily “The U.S. Justice Department estimated that 270,000 illegal immigrants served jail time nationally in 2003. Some estimates show illegals now make up half of California's prison population, creating a massive criminal subculture that strains state budgets and creates a nightmare for local police forces. “(Justice, 2007, para. 4) In response to these and other problems Arizona has enacted some of the most stringent regulations in the nation. The new law contains two features for employers. One is a new prohibition on barring employers from knowingly or intentionally hiring illegal aliens and the other is a requirement that employers use the federal government’s Basic Pilot Program to verify employee work eligibility (Arizona, 2007, paras. 3-4 ). Arizona isn’t the only state to have acted recently. County supervisors in Prince William County, Virginia, voted unanimously to approve a resolution that targets illegal immigrants by attempting to curb their access to public services and increasing immigration enforcement by local police. (Mirnoff, 2007, para 1) These regulations are replacements of previously passed resolution that would have required officers to check the residency status of anyone who breaks the law, no matter how minor (Mirnoff, 2007, para. 5) . Hazleton Pennsylvania required all prospective renters to obtain a residency permit at city hall. If the municipal crews doing background checks cannot confirm they are UNITED STATES citizens or are in the country legally, they will be prohibited from living in Hazleton (Simonich, 2006, para. 5). These new regulations are not without their opposition, however. In a 206 page ruling “A U.S. District Court Judge struck down a Hazelton Pennsylvania law designed to crackdown on illegal immigration declaring it “unconstitutional”. U.S. District Judge James Munley said the city was not allowed to implement the law that would fine businesses that hire illegal immigrants and penalize

Illegal Immigration 4 landlords who rent rooms to them.” (Wilson, 2007, para. 1, 4) In Arizona, businesses have banned together saying that the new regulations will penalize legitimate employers for unintentional mistakes Sunnucks, 2007, para. 3). Two business groups sued the state Friday to block a new employer-sanctions law from ever taking effect. They have also filed a lawsuit contending that the measure illegally intrudes on issues of immigration, which are exclusively the purview of the federal government (Fischer, 2007, a). While no lawsuits have been filed opposing the new regulations in Virginia, protests in the area have already been staged (Mirnof, 2007, para. 9). The Case for Immigration Many, including President Bush and others in congress, have favored the “2007 Immigration Reform and Amnesty “. The proposed bill would allow, amongst other things, immigrants to come forward immediately and receive probationary legal status, and undocumented immigrants could be allowed to adjust status to lawful permanent if they pay $5,000 in fees and fines and their head of household returns to their home country (Immigration Reform, 2007, para 3). After passing the Senate President Bush said “I applaud the House for working in a bipartisan fashion to pass legislation that strengthens border security while recognizing the importance of keeping families together and making America a more welcome society.” (Vlahos, 2007, para. 2002)President Bush’s sentiment seems to reflect that of many of undocumented immigrants in the United States. The say they have “built our homes; they have built our roads.” (Mirnoff, 2007, para 16) Implying they do many of the jobs that documented workers are unwilling to do. To make the debate even more complicated, children born from undocumented immigrants in the United States are considered citizens and, there for, entitled to all the protections and benefits associated with normal citizenry. According to Scholastic News about 3 million kids in the United States who are citizens have either one parent or both who are not citizens. Their parents entered United

Illegal Immigration 5 States illegally (2007, p. 10). This forces authorities to deport the citizen children along with their parents, or deporting their parents and leaving the children citizens here further compounding the burden on social services. Perhaps the biggest problem facing undocumented workers is their undocumented status. Politicians represent voters and those voters interest. Because undocumented works cannot vote they find themselves lacking effective representation for their issues in the various government agencies. This however has not stopped them from attempting to have their voices heard. According to Howard Fischer of the East Valley Tribune, “An organizer of two marches for immigration reform is planning a Hispanic boycott of jobs during next year’s Super Bowl week in hopes of crippling the state’s restaurant and hotel industry.” It is their hope that the boycott will raise awareness of the contributions the undocumented work force makes. (2007 b, para. 1)

Conclusion Both sides of the debate seem to be able to agree on one issue, and that issue is that some changes need to be made in current policy. Their stance dictates how they feel what changes and how those changes should be made. The current situation is not dissimilar to other immigration debates throughout our history as a nation, and in time some form of resolution will be found. Each side of the debate has it‘s own problems, and only with time will we, as a society, be able to look back and determine which side of the debate, if any, was correct.

Illegal Immigration 6 References

2007 Immigration Reform and Amnesty. United States Immigration Support. Retrieved August 1, 2007 from Arizona enacts nation’s strictest immigration law. Business and Legal Reports. (2007, July 11). Retived July 11, 2007 from Cobral, E. (2007, May 7). For some U.S. kids, the big immigration debate is a family matter. Scholastic News. Retrieved July 25, 2007 from EBSCOHost database. Fischer, H. (2007, July 14 a). Business groups sue state over hiring law. AZStarNet. Retrieved August 1, 2008 from Fischer, H. (2007, July 21 b). Immigration reform activist plans Super Bowl boycott. The East Valley Tribune. Retrived August 1, 2007 from Justice Dept. Figures on Incarcerated Illegals. (2006, March 27). Retrieved August 1, 2007 from Mirnoff, N. (2007, July 11). Pr. William Passes resolution targeting illegal immigration. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from Simonich, M. (2006, August 27). Hazleton ordinance aimed at illegal immigrants puts mayor at center stage. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 1, 2007 from Sunnucks, M. (2007, July 24). Employer sanction driver fires back at critics of new state law. The Buisness Journal of Phoenix. Retrieved July 25, 2007 from Weissinger, G. (2003, November 7). The Illegal Alien Problem: Enforcing the Immigration Laws. New York Institute of Technology, Department of Behavioral Science-Criminal Justice Program.

Illegal Immigration 7 Retrieved August 1, 2007 from Wilson, D. (2007, July 26). Hazelton Illegal Immigration Laws Ruled Unconstitutional – Judge Sides Says Employers And Landlords Should Not Be Burdened. Best Syndication. Retrieved August 1, 2007. from ordinance_rule d_unconstitutional.htm Vlahos, K. (2002, March 13). Immigration Amnesty Passes House. Fox News. Retrieved August 1, 2007 from,2933,47758,00.html.