This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Recently, I have been conducting extensive research in the debate over the illegal immigration policy; specifically what are solutions to slow down the growing number of illegal immigrants in the United States? While investigating the issue, I came across three texts that stuck out to me. The first article came from a state legislative journal titled “Can Utah’s Approach to Immigration Offer a Way Forward for Other States?” by Alan Greenblatt. The second article is titled, “Alabama to Enforce Strict Immigration Laws” and came from the CBS News website. My third and final source is from the Department of Foreign Affairs, written by Edward Alden and Bryan Roberts titled “Are U.S. Borders Secure?” In the article “Can Utah’s Approach to Immigration Offer a Way Forward for Other States?”, Alan Greenblatt, Senior Associate of Governing Magazine discusses the provisions of Utah’s new immigration law and the possible effect it may have regarding immigration policy in state legislatures across the nation. Greenblatt argues that even though some people view Utah’s approach in the fight against illegal immigration as harsh and excessive, it is a necessary step that all states must consider. The recent Utah bill that was signed by Governor Gary Herbert, requires employers to check the legal citizenship status of all potential employees through the EVerify system (Greenblatt 1). The CBS News article “Alabama to Enforce Strict Immigration Law” discusses the strategy that Alabama is taking in efforts to decrease the number of illegal immigrants in their state. Their new laws focus mainly on illegal immigrants in the public school systems by requiring all public schools to verify the immigration status of all students at the time of registration (“Alabama…” 1). The bill was written in response to the huge increase in the Hispanic population in the state, which is reported to have grown by 145% over the past decade
(“Alabama…2). According to the article, this ruling is the beginning of the removal of the financial burdens that illegal immigrants are placing on the backs of Alabama’s citizens. It is good to see that the citizens of Alabama are putting up a fight against illegal immigration and taking initiative, which is important for all states to consider. The article titled “Are U.S. Borders Secure?” discusses the ongoing issue of border control safety and whether or not our current system is effective. The authors Edward Alden, member of the council on Foreign Relations, and Bryan Roberts, former assistant of Borders and Immigration at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, argue that in order to effectively fight illegal immigration, the Department of Homeland Security must publish more accurate figures of illegal immigration so that the policy debate can shape its goals around those statistics. (Alden, Roberts 2). Without accurate data representing the number of illegal immigrants in the country, it is difficult to determine the severity of the issue. Although the three articles all agree that something must be done to reduce the apparent problem of illegal immigration into the U.S., Greenblatt’s and CBS’s articles state that the solution lies in the hands of the states, while Roberts and Alden are looking towards the national government and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for remedies to the problem. Alden and Roberts use different rhetoric by providing suggestion to the government in a very challenging and pressing manner. After reading these articles, it made me realize the severity of the problem we have on our hands and made me question the effectiveness of our current immigration policy and border control system. I was persuaded for the need of stricter, more uniform laws at both the national and state levels.
The CBS article refers to Alabama’s law passed through their state court that allows and requires the following: authorities can question anybody suspected of being an illegal alien and hold them without bond, officials can check the immigration status of any student enrolled in a public school, make it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit themselves for work, make it a crime for anybody to hide or transport an illegal immigrant, forbid businesses from deducting taxes for wages paid to illegal immigrants, prevent illegal immigrants from attending public colleges, and make it a crime for anyone to hire temporary workers along the road side (“Alabama…” 1). I believe that while these provisions may seem harsh to some, Alabama is taking the correct steps in their efforts to mitigate the number of illegal immigrants in their state. To effectively combat the flow of illegal immigration, strong provisions must be put into place. Simply taking a passive approach to dealing with the issue will only allow leave the door open for a growing number of illegal immigrants. According to the CBS news article, opponents to the law include agricultural leaders who fear that it will scare away Hispanic workers that harvest their crops, therefore costing farmers more money statewide. A local Alabama farmer stated, “There are some sweet potato farmers in this state it’s really going to hurt” (“Alabama…1). There is an apparent disagreement between the state of Alabama and the federal government, expressed by the Barack Obama administration through a recently filed lawsuit against the state (“Alabama…”1). This is an example of disagreements between the state and national governments that is preventing the country from resolving the problem of illegal immigration. Some sort of agreement must be reached regarding immigration policy for any sort of serious action to occur.
Alan Greenblatt’s article addresses Utah’s recent immigration laws along with the positive influence it may have in other states’ legislatures around the country. Utah passed a bill that established the E-Verify program soon after Arizona passed their tough act on immigration. The E-Verify program requires employers in Utah to check the eligibility of their potential employees before they can officially hire them. According to Greenblatt, there is a strong chance these two states will have a domino effect on state immigration policies around the nation. He explains how some states may begin to re-consider their immigration policy if Utah’s and Alabama’s laws turn out to be effective. I agree with Greenblatt that there is a strong possibility and need for other states to adopt similar strategies in terms of their immigration policies. He also brings up the point that for many years, Congress has been unable to come up with any way to satisfy proponents and opponents of illegal immigration. While this is true, it is necessary for Congress to consider ideas from both parties and come up with a way to compromise and reach a policy that satisfies both sides. Greenblatt states that “a congress now under divided control will likely make little progress at all” (Greenblatt 2). As long as Congress is in a stalemate, illegal immigration will not slow down. In Greenblatt’s article, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema says, “it’s incumbent upon both Congress and the states to figure out a more comprehensive strategy for coping with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the country”(Greenblatt 3). This statement represents what I believe the best solution to be, and that is that the states and Congress reach an agreement regarding possible solutions to the immigration dilemma. The government cannot begin to start the deportation of the illegal immigrants already in the country until they figure out a way to cut down on the number of immigrants that are crossing the border every day.
In contrast to these two articles, Alden and Roberts’ article, “Are U.S. Borders Secure”, places the solution to illegal immigration in the hands of Congress and the Department of Homeland Security. They question the effectiveness of the current border patrol and immigration policy system due to the record numbers of illegal immigrants. They also question why so many illegal immigrants are still getting across the border despite recent advancements in manpower, fencing, and surveillance. The U.S. Border Patrol has added 18,000 new agents to patrol the border, along with 700 feet of new fencing and new surveillance technology (Alden, Roberts 1). However, they reference a Fox News Poll showing that 75 percent of American citizens view the border as less secure than it was five years ago despite all these “advancements” (Alden, Roberts 1). There needs to be more provisions and different strategies used and put into effect by the federal government and Border Patrol in order to make the public feel more comfortable. Alden and Roberts reported that “since 2005, the DHS has reported how many miles are under its operational control, but it has done so without providing hard data to back it up” (Alden, Roberts 1). They stress that the main solution is that the Department of Homeland Security reports data more often and with more accuracy that directly relates to its mission along with the national government using the reported data to establish its goals and strive to reach them. More accurate figures of illegal immigrants is a necessary first step in order to determine the severity of the problem and how to effectively deal with it. After reading these articles, I have realized how many different views and opinions about solutions to illegal immigration are out there. I now understand why the debate over immigration policy is one that will continue for many years to come because of disagreements between State and Federal government. The only way the debate will end is if Congress and the
state governments reach a compromise on immigration policy that turns out to be effective. Once an effective policy is in place, the public tension regarding illegal immigration will simmer down, along with the debate to a certain extent. After reading about the issue, I’ve questioned whether it should be up to the national government or individual state governments to form immigration policy? Where is the middle ground for states and Congress to agree on solutions to illegal immigration? It is necessary that Congress and the states come to a compromise on solutions to this blatant problem. Why are states in favor of stricter immigration laws, while the national government seems to be taking such a passive route? Illegal immigration is a much more apparent problem at the national level than the state level, so why is Congress not looking to states such as Alabama, Arizona, and Utah for ways and ideas to fix the problem? I strongly believe that something has to be done soon to curb the rapidly growing number of illegal immigrants into the U.S. It is time for the federal government to step up and lead the country in a campaign against illegal immigration. They need to look at what states are beginning to do to fight back, and consider putting such measures in effect. It is vital for both the national and state governments to work together, listen, and compromise with each other’s ideas if we want to see any progress in the fight against illegal immigration in our country. For a start, the government needs to hire more Border Patrol Agents that can monitor the areas containing higher concentrations of illegal immigration more efficiently. There also needs to be stricter punishments for immigrants that are caught crossing the border illegally. If they are simply detained, treated to a free night in a warm jail cell with a hot meal, and then get sent back home with a slap on the wrist, what is going to stop them from trying again. It is possible illegal immigrants are more likely to attempt to cross again knowing that there will be no harsh repercussions involved. The government needs to stop treating captured immigrants as babies
and begin treating them like criminals, with punishments that will lessen their desire of ever attempting to cross again after they return home. If hefty fines were imposed when they are captured, they might not find it worth the money to attempt to cross illegally again. This also might encourage illegal immigrants to go through the proper legal procedures of gaining citizenship. As far as coming up with a unified strategy for immigration policy, the senators representing each state must listen to the desired policies from their home states and in turn voice those ideas to Congress to get a conglomerate of ideas from around the country regarding illegal immigration. Congress could then consider all the ideas and perhaps come closer to a compromise. My own experience has left me concerned about the dangers of not doing more as a country to halt the steady flow of illegal immigrants into the country. I have cousins and family in Arizona that have stated their concern of over-population and unemployment in the state. My cousin is a high school graduate that did not attend college, and is currently unemployed in Arizona. He is capable and willing to do any kind of labor but is unable to find any work, even in the agricultural industry because there are so many immigrants filling those job positions mainly because employers can pay them less for the same work, even though it is against state law. This is one example of the kind of problem illegal immigrants are causing. All states need to start requiring businesses to provide proof of citizenship upon hiring workers just as Utah is now doing. If immigrants knew that they would not be able to find a job because of their illegal status, it could act as a deterrent to crossing over illegally and possibly encourage them to go through the correct legal procedures of becoming legal citizens. These three articles provide their own solutions to illegal immigration, each taking a slightly different approach on what needs to be done. I believe it is vital that all of their ideas be
taken into consideration by the federal government. Illegal immigration is a problem that if left unchecked and lacking a unified strategy, I firmly believe that the numbers will continue to increase exponentially and we will be putting ourselves and future generations in a position that we will never be able to dig ourselves out of. The real challenge is for states and Congress to work hand in hand to develop a strong game plan that will solve the urgent issue of illegal immigration.
Works Cited Alabama to Enforce Strict Immigration Laws - CBS News. Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. CBS NEWS, 29 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 Oct. 2011. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/29/earlyshow/main20113223.shtml>. Alden, EdwardRoberts, Bryan. "Are U.S. Borders Secure?." Foreign Affairs 90.4 (2011): 19. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. Greenblatt, Alan. “Can Utah’s Approach to Immigration Offer A Way Forward For Other States?” State Legislatures 37.3 (2011): 12. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 18 Oct. 2011.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.