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Immigration Reform 1

Immigration Reform

December 7, 2009

Unit 4 Assignment__HU300 Arts and Humanities


Immigration Reform 2

It is safe to say that America is the home of liberty and happiness. It is also safe to say

that American citizens have the freedom to decide what they consider to be happiness and strive

to attain it. Because of this liberty and happiness America has been a destination of many

immigrants from many countries. A large number of these immigrants are of Latin decent, and

have braved peril and abuse to come to this country illegally to work and provide for their

family. This immigration has created a great debate in the American government that calls for

immigration reform to help these immigrants become American citizens.

Before helping immigrants become legal citizens it is important to understand what is

drawing them to America. What do American citizens have that they don’t? Liberty is one right

that American citizens enjoy because of the Constitution. According to Merriam-Webster Online

Dictionary one definition of liberty is: “the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or

economic rights and privileges, and the power of choice.” This definition says quite a bit about

what these immigrants are looking for when they come to America. Many of the Latin countries

they come from do not offer much along the lines of positive enjoyment in any social areas, let

alone the power of choice.

If 100 Americans were asked “What happiness means to them?” there would probably be

100 different answers. Happiness can be classified in many different ways. Epicureanism,

hedonism and stoicism are some of the philosophies of happiness. For most of the illegal

immigrants entering America happiness is achieved by making money to send home to support

their family. However, this happiness comes with a price. The cost is their liberty and power of

choice.
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Illegal immigrants are not official citizens of America making them unable to seek the

protection of the right to liberty. Many of the working illegal immigrants are subjected to

employer abuse, discrimination and exploitation. In addition to this they can be deported at any

time if caught. A large number of the immigrants accept these risks as they wait for their

applications for citizenship to be processed through the American government. A system that

many politicians and activists believe needs reform and major attention (S.Robinson, 2009).

Immigration reform has become a hot topic in politics and election campaigns. With a

large Latino-American population in America immigration reform has inspired many of these

citizens to unite and vote for candidates that are in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

Some of the ideas that these voters support and have influenced are: to restore order to the

naturalization process and get 12 million undocumented aliens through the immigration system,

penalize employers for unfair and abusive practices, reunite immigrant families by moving them

through the legal channels quickly and create a proactive process to benefit future immigrants

(Comprehensive immigration reform, 2009). It is safe to say that these issues affect more

immigrants than just the Latino population.

In a statement by the National Council of La Raza concerning immigration civil right and

justice:

“Discrimination severely limits the economic and social opportunities available to

Hispanic Americans. NCLR conducts policy analysis and advocacy activities in the civil

rights arena in order to promote and protect equality of opportunity in voting, justice

issues, education, employment, housing, and health care for all Americans.”
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While it is true that immigration reform benefits illegal and future legal immigrants the overall

benefit will be felt by all citizens of America. Making the playing field even with all citizens

protected by the laws of this country; every American would be able to compete for a good job

with good wages and benefits in a positive environment.

To think that immigration to America will decrease in years to come would be

unrealistic. The promise of equal rights and liberties is something that American citizens enjoy

and citizens of other countries strive for. The heartaches and barriers that immigrants endure

today will pave the way for future generations. The immigration reform debate has united Latin

citizens and sparked their desire to speak up and act in a positive way. It doesn’t take much effort

to find organizations and people that are leading the way in the fight for comprehensive

immigration reform. Organizations like: National Council of LA Raza, Campaign for America’s

Future and Latino Americans for Immigration Reform.

America was built by immigrants and their families. The Constitution of The United

States gave these citizens the right to liberty and happiness. The wave of immigration now and

in the future may be from different countries than those immigrants that built America, but the

rights they are fighting for are the same.


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References

Comprehensive immigration reform. (2009). Retrieved December 5, 2009,

from National Council of La Raza:

http://www.nclr.org/content/policy/detail/1058/

S.Robinson. (2009, June 4). The next fight: immigration reform. Retrieved December

5, 2009,

from Campaign for America's Future: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-

entry/2009062304/next-fight-immigration-reform