You are on page 1of 4


Connor Reese
Mrs. Crouch
English III AP
26th January 2017
The Great Divide
The United States Immigration Policy is an extremely complex issue, one that is a topic
of hot debate, among the common folk, and politicians alike. In this vein, immigration has been a
topic of much contest since the nations founding. Mainly, the modern and historical complaints
have been largely the same, with many claiming that immigrants would steal American jobs,
and leave natural-born American unemployed. Similarly, while today many individuals who
express anti-immigrant sentiment direct their anger towards the citizens of South- and CentralAmerica, in the past, such individuals directed their anger towards the Irish, Germans, and
Chinese. Additionally, it should be noted that there is presently much debate over the ethicacy
and conduct of Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Services Officers, as well as
what should be done about the Coyotes, or people smugglers, and their violent operations
across the U.S. border.
United States Immigration, in its current state, did not begin until 1890, when congress
passed the first federal legislation related to immigration. Not only did it establish a continuing
series of reports pertaining to immigration figures, but it also established a standard for the
passenger limits and minimal supply capacity of sailing ships leaving the United states.
However, congress did not establish formal laws in regards to immigration until 1862, when the
first commissioner of immigration was instated. Additionally, the 1800s were rife with
immigration legislation, with numerous laws banning Asian Immigration, and the first legislation

allowing the deportation of illegal aliens. It should also be noted that, historically, immigrants
mainly emigrated from Europe, and large numbers of South- and Central-American immigrants
did not begin to move to the United States en mass until the 1950s. (
Today, the Immigration policy has remained largely unchanged since 1996, when the
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA, for short) was put into
law. The IIRIRA, in a nutshell, resulted from the process of deliberating on the
recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform established by President
Clinton and the Congress to examine both legal and illegal immigration issues.
( This act contained many drastic reforms, including, not limited to,
authorizing 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents to be hired by 2001, barred legal admission for
removed illegal aliens (for 5 to 20 years depending on the seriousness of the immigration
violation) and permanently barred admission for deported or removed felons, and even
authorized a 14-mile-long triple fence at San Diego, California. (
It should be addressed, as it is often forgotten, that the illegal immigrants themselves are
often in dire straits in their respective home countries. For example, one account details a
number of men attempting to sneak across the United States border to work for a number of
years (as many plantation owners, ranchers, and store managers will employ illegals, either
knowingly or otherwise, as a source of cheap labor), planning to return to their families with
their hard-earned American Dollars. (Urrea) In their home countries, they had planned to use this
money to escape the endless crippling poverty of their homelands. Such goals as improving their
homes, starting small farms, and even opening small stores (or bodegas) in an attempt to support
their households.

In addendum, it should be noted that, although immigration is such a heavily debated and
much conversed about topic, precious little has been done to rectify the many problems,
perceived or otherwise, with the United States Immigration Policy. Similarly, this has been true
throughout most of American history, regardless of the fact that the United States was built on
the backs of immigrants, and that there is evidence to support the positive effect of immigrants
on the economy. However, that being said, unmarked entrants do have the potential to pose a
serious danger to themselves, and american citizens, due to their illegal status.


Works Cited
"American Immigration Council." American Immigration Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 19
Jan. 2017. <>.
"Home | Federation for American Immigration Reform." Home | Federation for American
Immigration Reform. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2017. <>.
"New Immigration Research." Center for Immigration Studies | Low-immigration, Proimmigrant. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2017. <>.
Jeb Bush and Thomas F. McLarty III, Chairs Edward Alden, Project Director. U.S.
Immigration Policy. Vol. 63. New York, NY: Council on Foreign Relations, 2009. Print.
Independent Task Force Report.
Urrea, Luis A. The Devil's Highway: A True Story. New York, NY. Boston, MA. London,
England.: Back Bay . Little, Brown and Company, 2004. Print.