You are on page 1of 13

Immigration Critical Thinking Paper Final Draft

Ian Sauter
Red Group
4/20/16

Illegal Immigration
Due to the economic benefits of immigrant labor, the dangers of central American
countries, and the basic human rights of noncitizens, the US government must grant amnesty to
undocumented immigrants through an organized, simple process. Illegal immigration has
become a rising issue in the US over the past few years, and it will continue to heat up coming
into this year's presidential election. This issue is also very present in the local community due to
its diversity and large Hispanic population. Generally, many people are sharply opposed to
undocumented immigrants, including some of the current front runners in the United States
presidential race. However, undocumented immigration is not bad for the United States. On the
contrary, the United States as a whole benefits from undocumented immigration. Undocumented
immigrants are a crucial part of the American economy, and their presence in the workforce does
not actually eliminate very many jobs, but helps sustain entire industries. In Addition, there are
various dangers that plague Central America that the U.S. inadvertently helped create, leading to
a moral obligation towards the people. Finally, it is immoral to deport noncitizens who are not
violent criminals out of the US.
Immigration has been a large part of American society since the discovery of the North
American continent. The earliest settlers of what is now the United States were actually very
similar to illegal immigrants today. The pilgrims, who we are taught are some of Americas
earliest European settlers, were fleeing a tyrannical government that persecuted them for their
religious views (Crosswalk.com). The United States is a nation founded by, built by, and
maintained by immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Except for Native Americans, all U.S.
citizens are descendants of immigrant families. Immigration continued through the years and
increased significantly in the early 1900s. From 1901-1910 8,795,386 immigrants arrived in the

US (emmigration.info). These immigrants may have faced some prejudice, but US immigration
centers such as Ellis Island openly accepted millions of immigrants, while turning away any
legitimate threats to the United States. This system worked very well and helped boost the US
economy. However, modern day immigration has not had an effective solution proposed.
Due to rising tensions in Latin America and Mexico, massive modern Latin American
immigration began in the early 1990s. Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua all had some sort
of civil war that was going on in the 1980s and 1990s (Foreign Affairs). These wars crippled
each nation's infrastructure and also allowed drug rings and gangs to form in each country. Many
of these issues may have stemmed from the United States own wrongdoings. Former United
States president Ronald Reagan even aided rebels in Nicaragua because he was afraid of the
spread of communism (BBC News). These same rebels, aided by the United States government,
turned into some of the drug cartels that plague Central America today. The combination of
these issues led to massive Central American and Mexican immigration during the 21st century.
This massive influx of immigrants hasnt been met with a viable solution, except for a few recent
ideas. Congress hasnt passed any laws to help immigrants become United States citizens. Most
of the solutions that have been proposed or put into place have been far fetched and temporary.
In 2006 former president George W. Bush signed a bill authorizing a 700 mile fence to be built
along the Mexican border (Washington Post). This was justified as a measure for national
security, but was a complete waste of tax dollars. The fence was only partially built and the
project was discontinued. A similar project was put into place in the 1990s but immigration only
continued, with immigrants instead entering the country from different locations.
The current administration, rather than using punitive measures, has had more success
with programs to help immigrants become legal citizens. President Obama called for major

immigration reform in 2013 in an executive order (Washington Post). The order allowed
undocumented immigrants that had been in the country for more than 5 years to be granted legal
status. The plan also prevented many immigrants from being deported. This plan was a noble
effort and was actually very helpful to many current undocumented immigrants. However, the
plan would still leave 6.2 million undocumented immigrants unprotected - more than half the
current population of undocumented immigrants (Washington Post). This plan also does not
protect undocumented farm workers who are a crucial part of the US economy. A more effective
solution is needed.
Undocumented immigration has plateaued over the past few years, but it is still a major
issue. The current path to the United States is very hard to navigate safely. In order to cross the
border many immigrants have to hire guides, who are often associated with dangerous gangs.
These guides charge a lot of money that many immigrants save up but still struggle to pay for.
These guides may actually turn the immigrants over to human trafficking organizations, or rob
them and leave them stranded (Thinkprogress). The immigrants also have to endure high
temperatures since the area around the border is a desert. The Mexican and American
governments try to provide water to prevent these people from dying from dehydration, but these
stations are often poorly maintained. In addition, when the border patrol does have to rescue
people that are dying along the border, they usually end up deporting them back to their
dangerous countries. There is also an anti-immigrant militia known as the minutemen. This
militia empties out water supplies and tries to prevent any immigrants from entering the
country (Thinkprogress). In 2011 Shawna Forde, a militia member, even broke into a Hispanic
persons house and killed Raul Flores and his daughter. Both of the Flores held American
citizenship, but Forde killed them anyway. Deportations are also still widely carried out even

after President Obamas Executive order. 255,413 undocumented immigrants were deported in
2015 (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Only 41% were considered Convicted
Criminals the lowest percentage in 8 years. Even though the overall number is down, hundreds
of thousands of families are still being broken up each year leaving thousands of children
orphaned. Over 75% of immigrant orphan children report experiencing Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (The Guardian). These orphans are then entered into the already dysfunctional child
care system or the equally dysfunctional mental health system. So in fact, deporting immigrants
actually creates more problems for the United States by violating the immigrants basic human
rights. This issue needs a solution that will protect these rights.
A reasonable control on illegal immigration may put an end to the suffering and fear that
many undocumented immigrants experience today. President Obamas executive order could be
effective, but it needs more components in order to meet all of the needs. One of the main
components would be granting amnesty to unskilled migrant workers as they are a large part of
American industry. While some Americans may claim that these migrants hurt our economy by
stealing jobs, it is actually the opposite. Immigrants are a vital part of the US economy because
of their willingness to work for low wages (Forbes). More immigration reform that protects
undocumented and unskilled workers is necessary. These workers are vital to Americas
agriculture industry and overall economy. President Obamas plan mostly protects
undocumented immigrants in the United States. This plan also includes increased border
protection to prevent more immigrants from entering the country (Washington Post). A new plan
should take money away from border protection programs and reroute this money to address
other identified needs. The US can handle a continuous flow of undocumented immigrants into
the country. Our economy is still in good condition. An overall plan that protects current

undocumented immigrants with amnesty for those who have not been convicted of crimes is
needed.
Congress needs to pass laws that grant amnesty to current undocumented immigrants
trying to enter the country. The current US idea is just to turn away as many Central American
immigrants as possible from entering the country. Congress should authorize a bill that creates a
network of immigrant centers along the border. These centers should be similar to Ellis Island in
the early 20th century. Immigrants that are trying to enter the country should be taken in,
processed, then allowed to enter the United States. The centers should be allowed to turn away
immigrants that have criminal records or are trying to smuggle drugs or weapons into the U.S. If
effectively maintained, these centers could safely process millions of immigrants each year and
prepare them to enter the workforce and improve the U.S. economy. This solution may not be
perfect, but its better than just building a wall that prevents all immigrants from entering the
U.S. Congress should pass a bill that authorizes the creation of these centers all along the border.
In conclusion, due to the economic benefits of immigrant labor, the dangers of
Central American countries that stem from previous US governmental policies, and the rights
that all human beings are entitled to, the US government must grant amnesty to undocumented
immigrants through an organized, simple immigration system. Undocumented immigrants are a
crucial part of the United States and must be treated fairly. They help improve the the US
economy through cheap unskilled labor, and are entitled to basic human rights. There have been
various solutions proposed for this issue with some of them being partly effective, and others
being counterproductive. Central American countries will remain unstable, and people will
continue to try to enter this country. These people are more than just an issue to get people to

vote in this years election, and Congress must pass a bill that will allow immigrants to safely
enter and continue to contribute to the country.

Annotated Bibliography

Arana, Ana. The New Battle for Central America. Foreign Affairs. N.p., 2001. Web. 20
Mar. 2016. <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/central-america-caribbean/2001-1101/new-battle-central-america>. This article taught me about some of the issues that force
immigrants to enter the US today. It was very helpful and the website seemed fairly
reliable.
Bier, David. Low-Skilled Immigrant Workers Are Vital Contributors To The Economy.
Forbes. Forbes, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/09/12/low-skilled-immigrant-workers-arevital-contributors-to-the-economy/#6d3d37c36285>. This article was helpful because it
provided information on how undocumented immigrants improve the US economy,
which is one of my main arguments. It also came from a reliable well known source.
Cruz Immigration Plan. tedcruz.org. Ted Cruz, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<https://www.tedcruz.org/cruz-immigration-plan/>. This website helped me learn about
one of the current presidential candidates views on my issue. It is reliable because it
comes from the candidates own website.
Denniston, Lyle. Constitution Check: Would mass deportation of illegal non-citizens
violate the 14th Amendment? Constitution Daily. National Constitution Center, 20 Aug.
2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2015/08/constitution-checkwould-mass-deportation-of-illegal-non-citizens-violate-the-14th-amendment/>. This
website did help me learn a little bit about the constitutionality of deportation, but it did
not really help me write my essay. The website was reliable since it came from the
National Constitution Center.

Ehrenfreund, Max. Your complete guide to Obamas immigration executive action.


Washington Post. Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/11/19/your-complete-guide-toobamas-immigration-order/>. This Article was very helpful because it taught me a lot
about President Obamas executive order on immigration. It came from the Washington
Post so it was reliable.
Fletcher, Michael A. Bush Signs Bill Authorizing 700-Mile Fence for Border. The
Washington Post. Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2006. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/10/26/AR2006102600120.html>. This article did help me learn
about the current border fence, but it was a little outdated and may have not been
completely reliable.
FY 2015 ICE Immigration Removals. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
U.S. Government, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016. <https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics>.
This article did help me learn statistics about deportation statistics. However, it was
biased because it came from the government organization that carries out these
deportations and wants people to think their just.
Gambino, Lauren. Orphaned by deportation: the crisis of American children left
behind. The Guardian. The Guardian, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/15/immigration-boy-reform-obamadeportations-families-separated>. This article helped me learn about children who were
orphaned by deportation. The site seemed reliable, but it was pro-immigration and not
neutral.

Jenkins, Jack. What Its Really Like To Cross The U.S.-Mexico Border. Think
Progress. N.p., 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2015/02/10/3617896/dehydration-scorpionsvigilantes-really-like-cross-border/>. This article taught me a lot about the dangers that
immigrants face on the way to the United States, but it was a little biased since it was
from a liberal website.
Krayewski, Ed. 5 Reasons to Grant Amnesty to Illegal Immigrants. Reason.com.
Reason Foundation, 7 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.
<http://reason.com/archives/2013/02/07/5-reasons-for-amnesty-for-illegal-immigr/4>.
This article helped me find some major points to base my paper off of so it was very
helpful. The site seemed very neutral and reliable.
Mosteller, Angie. Why the Pilgrims Really Came to America. Crosswalk.com. N.p., 21
Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://www.crosswalk.com/specialcoverage/thanksgiving/why-the-pilgrims-really-came-to-america.html>. This article
helped me learn about some of the origins of early US immigration which allowed me to
write the historic part of the paper. The website seemed very reliable.
Reagan and the Iran-Contra affair. BBC News. BBC, 5 June 2004. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/269619.stm>. This article helped me learn how the
US government was directly responsible for some of the issues present in Central
America today, however the article was a little outdated.
US Immigration Trends 1900-1940. emmigration.info. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.
<http://www.emmigration.info/us-immigration-trends-1900-1940.htm>. This site gave

10

me valuable immigration statistics that I used in my essay. It looked like a pretty poorly
designed website but the statistics seemed reliable.

Works Cited

11

Arana, Ana. The New Battle for Central America. Foreign Affairs. N.p., 2001.
Mar. 2016. <https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/

Web. 20

central-america-caribbean/2001-11-

01/new-battle-central-america>.
Bier, David. Low-Skilled Immigrant Workers Are Vital Contributors To The Economy.
Forbes. Forbes, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/09/12/low-skilled-immigrant-workers-arevital-contributors-to-the-economy/#6d3d37c36285>.
Cruz Immigration Plan. tedcruz.org. Ted Cruz, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<https://www.tedcruz.org/cruz-immigration-plan/>.
Ehrenfreund, Max. Your complete guide to Obamas immigration executive action.
Washington Post. Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/11/19/
your-complete-guide-to-obamas-immigration-order/>.
Fletcher, Michael A. Bush Signs Bill Authorizing 700-Mile Fence for Border.

The

Washington Post. Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2006. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.


<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/26/
AR2006102600120.html>.
FY 2015 ICE Immigration Removals. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
U.S. Government, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016. <https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics>.
Gambino, Lauren. Orphaned by deportation: the crisis of American children left
behind. The Guardian. The Guardian, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/15/immigration-boy-reform-obamadeportations-families-separated>.

12

Jenkins, Jack. What Its Really Like To Cross The U.S.-Mexico Border. Think
Progress. N.p., 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2015/02/10/3617896/dehydration-scorpionsvigilantes-really-like-cross-border/>.
Mosteller, Angie. Why the Pilgrims Really Came to America. Crosswalk.com. N.p., 21
Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. <http://www.crosswalk.com/specialcoverage/thanksgiving/why-the-pilgrims-really-came-to-america.html>.
Reagan and the Iran-Contra affair. BBC News. BBC, 5 June 2004. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/269619.stm>.
US Immigration Trends 1900-1940. emmigration.info. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.
<http://www.emmigration.info/us-immigration-trends-1900-1940.htm>.