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Legal Vs. Illegal Immigration
If one would actually take the time to number the amount of problems and issues surrounding U.S. politics, it would come as a blatant surprise the sheer number of them, many of which are dismissed for future generations and some that appear to be taken care of. As of 2008, illegal immigration is one of the most important issues for us this day since illegal aliens do make up a good amount of unskilled workers throughout the U.S. Also, as of early 2008 there has been no major progress with this issue. Coming from a family of legal immigrants, being a U.S. citizen myself, and having lived outside the U.S. for 6 years, I can see both sides of the struggle for an answer to this issue. After much internal debate I have concluded that the argument of both extremes in this issue are flawed, that a compromise of some sort must be reached.
From the point of view of a U.S. citizen illegal immigration is illegal and therefore should not happen. In theory, those who disobey laws should be sent to prison and punished. According to this philosophy, all illegal immigrants should be captured and deported. Arguments supporting this philosophy are that illegal immigrants do not pay taxes since they are not official members of the country and that they also may take the jobs of some American citizens. These are the most common arguments used against illegal immigrants.
The illegal immigrants see the situation in an entirely different light. They see the United States as a place of opportunity and a new chance to live. As the plaque on the Statue of Liberty states, the United States is asking the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Knowing living conditions in third-world countries from my own personal experiences, I know they definitely qualify to those standards. The grand majority of the immigrants are hard working families that flee their countries due to political unrest and because a decent life in such places is just plain impossible. They are in search of freedom, in search of the American Dream that has through the centuries driven so many immigrants to the U.S. To them, the U.S. is supposed to be a haven for the tired and the poor. So why can't they stay?
There are flaws in both ways of thinking, but from my point of view the anti-immigration groups have more flaws to be pointed out in their way of thinking. People ask illegal immigrants to come in legally. It is true that this is the way things should happen, but many, due to political unrest and/or lack of money, many immigrants cannot find or afford the means to get a Visa (a working or visiting permit for entry into the U.S.) to enter legally. It really does not help the situation that most immigrants know that the life of a legal immigrant is not easy. This is thanks to the fact that legal residents have to pay large sums of money to lawyers for the many applications and legal papers that need to be processed in order to keep the Visas valid and also to be able to get a permanent residency card, also commonly referred to as a green card. Just to give an example of how challenging it is to go through the legal system of this country, take my own parents as an example. One has a Ph. D. in Soil Chemistry and the other has a medical Doctor’s degree (at one point even led the emergency room surgery unit in an hospital in the Dominican Republic) and a Master Degree on Nutrition, this just reflecting the high level of education they have, and to top it off they graduated from Cornell University in upstate New York. Even though are very high skilled workers and have been working in the United States for 7 years, paying all their taxes and dues to lawyers (which currently amounts to well over 8,000 dollars), only my father has obtained his Permanent Residency permit, and that being only about a month ago, 7 years after he began working in the U.S. My mother's papers have been stored somewhere in some filing cabinet in the offices of the immigration department for the last 6 months, this not taking into account the amount of time it took to get all the paperwork together. Although my parents have worked for the last 7 years, my father was lucky to obtain his green card 6 months after his papers finally got through the system. I know of other high skilled workers who have not been so lucky. This over-complicated problem and the bureaucracy of the immigration system are some of the reasons some immigrants decide to come in illegally.
In comparison to the life of a legal immigrant, illegal aliens only have to worry over two things: “La migra,” or immigration, and finding good work (since they do not have a real social security number, which is nowadays verified in order to apply for a good job). An added bonus to their decision is that they do not have to pay taxes so they keep more money to themselves. The immigration system appears to be rather very inefficient and slow. As of today, it is almost easier to be an illegal immigrant than a legal one.
Another reason that illegal immigrants arrive illegally is because they are fleeing from the corruption of their home countries, a corruption U.S. citizens are shielded from by the media. A rather interesting coincidence U.S. citizens are also frequently surprised of hearing is that many of these countries facing horrible levels of political corruption have been at one point or another in history invaded or economically manipulated by the United States. So in a manner of speaking, the United States in the long run has brought this problem unto itself. I know from asking people that they never knew that “interesting coincidence.”
To combat the “job-stealing” argument used by opponents of illegal immigration, illegal immigrants argue that they do not steal any jobs from the populace, due to the fact that they do not have a social security number and must do to work under-the-table. They are paid in cash, so they can only work on local under-table businesses or local community jobs. These illegal immigrants do most of the dirty work around the country, work that the American people will not do. So my question is, where are the jobs the American people are losing? Maybe a couple of Wal-mart and McDonalds jobs, sure, but nothing higher than that. I do not think there are illegal immigrants working in Artificial Intelligence projects in MIT.
As I previously stated, the problem is that both sides have flaws in their arguments. The error in the illegal immigrants' arguments is that they believe they can just waltz into the United States and begin a new life. Sadly, this is not the case (since all they are trying to do is live the American Dream). There is not much that can be done without compromising now because a good share of the low educated workforce of the United States is made up of illegal immigrants. If they were all deported, there would be some sort of economical chaos in the United States, further sending the U.S. down the path to a Second Great Depression, and also there might be political implications. The government has realized this, and now have to correct what previous generations ignored. This is not an easy issue to resolve.
My solution to the problem is geared more towards helping the illegal immigrants but has a little twist to help everyone else at once. The root of all problems began with the interference of domestic affairs by the United States on other countries. If this is the case, which appears to be so, the United States can right the wrong it has done and help fight corruption in the American continent. If the U.S. can fight this corruption in a helpful way, not through arms and more wars, many illegal immigrants will leave the United States for their countries. Also, if living conditions are improved in Latin America, many people will leave the United States because they would actually be able to live in their homeland (many immigrants have an attachment to their home countries and wish to return but instability and corruption in their home countries overpower this desire). There are various ways of resolving these issues. The way I recommend is to create an American Union, similar to that of the European Union, in this case including both North, Central, and South America. Just on marketing alone the entire land can benefit and if the United States really helps get rid of corruption, and the problem will not be illegal immigration, but it will be too much profit. But this solution is rather drastic and in the short term would not economically benefit the U.S. I do not expect it to happen since what the government in the U.S. appears to care is only the economic aspect of the United States.
Another possible solution is to make legal immigration easier. If the hassles of becoming a legal resident were not so tedious and complex, many people would become legal citizens of the United States. Like I previously stated, even immigrant graduated from an Ivy League university have difficulties getting their permanent residency here in the United States. How can anyone expect that someone with less education than that will have an easier time? A solution must be found. Also on another note, illegal immigrants may pay a fine to become legal if that might help the system becomes smoother than it is currently.
It does sound like I support illegal immigration, but I only do so because they are honest hard-working people (they are not the ones eating off Welfare! They can't since they do not have social security numbers!). Many are harder workers than most of the U.S. citizens I have seen. Of course there is the idiot that ruins the picture for everyone, but do not let these idiotic bunch of people darken the view of who these people really are: They are people who in their countries had their rights violated and fled for a better life. I can only hope for a compromise between both extremes. These are my beliefs, that peace can be reached between the two groups of they can put their differences aside and work together. After all, we all live on planet Earth. We are all “Earthlings.”