When the problem of illegal immigration is debated, one fact is often not enough emphasized: the United States of America is a country that was initially founded and developed throughout history exclusively by migrants in the literal sense of the word. Nevertheless, it is also evident that contemporary American society has experienced numerous changes in terms of political, economic, and social conditions, and thus the issue of immigration is considerably complicated in the current circumstances. It could hardly be doubted that the inflow of illegal immigrants imposes several problems. However, it is important to understand that, in addition to socio-economic and political factors, the ethical aspect of the problem should also be taken into consideration. The purpose of this paper is to develop a proposal on the topic of deportation of immigrants, dwelling upon the background of the problem, and to critically evaluate the given issue in order to retrieve a meaningful conclusion.
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Before developing a proposal for the identified problem, it is essential to provide a background for the issue and to discuss how it is treated currently. As it is stated in the introduction, the United States is the country that was initially founded by migrants, and, throughout its history, the perception of America as the state where people can achieve their goals, despite where they came from, has prevailed. However, it should also be mentioned that the policies regulating the immigration processes have changed over the course of time. As of now, there are two legislative acts that are in opposition to each other: the Dream Act promises possible amnesty for the illegal migrants, and the Arizona 1070 Act reinforces strict deportation policies that do not provide newcomers with the opportunity to adapt (Higdon 73). Additionally, it is appropriate to mention a zero-tolerance policy that is widely practiced (Hing 141). Therefore, it could be concluded that currently, society is divided on the topic of illegal immigration.
Since the problem is identified and the background of the problem, along with current legislative approaches to it, are discussed, the proposal should be formulated. As is mentioned previously, the ethical aspect of the issue under discussion is highly important due to the considerably widespread practice of splitting families in the process of deportation. As Hing observes, the current deportation law “is, in essence, a strict zero-tolerance policy” (143). However, it is essential to discuss this question from a more progressive perspective because Hing argues that even aggravated felons should not be treated so strictly (143). Therefore, it could be observed that families that do not have criminal records and only intend to work and live peacefully should not be split by the deportation law. Accordingly, it is proposed that a less strict immigration policy should be implemented in cases where children might be separated from their parents.
Advantages of Recommendation
Several advantages of the implementation of the proposed recommendation should be mentioned. As Steil and Vasi observe, there are numerous examples of local authorities that have passed confidentiality laws in order to assure immigrants that they will not be deported (only if there are no criminal offenses) (1109). As a result, the overall social climate became less fearful and tense in such cities (Steil and Vasi 1109). Additionally, as it is stated in the research by Wright et al., the importance of family ties in the process of adaptation in a new country should not be overlooked, and thus families should not be split (248). In general, the implementation of the proposal will result in the facilitation of the social climate and the development of an adequate immigration policy.
It could also be hardly doubted that there are considerable counterarguments for the recommended proposal. For example, Steil and Vasi mention that, according to social surveys, 46% of the United States population considers the inflow of immigrants as a threat to traditional American values and culture (1105). In addition, Wright et al.state that there is a significant prejudice toward illegal migrants in America because the newcomers often practice overstaying the visa or involve in criminal actions (233). Another aspect that should be taken into account is the economic factor. According to the research by Camarota, the immigrant inflow creates significant competition for workplaces, especially for the ones that require low education and skill (3). Moreover, the study by Hanson suggests that the decrease in the number of illegal immigrants would result in a less heavy burden for taxpayers (22).
Since the advantages and disadvantages of the recommended proposal were observed, it is essential to develop an understanding of the proposal’s feasibility. It could hardly be denied that the counterarguments mentioned in the previous section should be taken into consideration. However, it could be suggested that the implementation of the recommendation would result in the facilitation of the social climate. Arguably, the most important argument for the proposal’s feasibility is the claim by Wright et al. about the importance of family ties in the process of adaptation (248). If the families are not split, it is easier for them to adapt to normal social life and not to engage in criminal actions. Therefore, it is possible to state that the proposal is feasible for practical implementation.
Implementation for Wider Application
Despite the fact that this proposal is formulated for the local-level community in Houston, it is also appropriate to discuss considerations for the wider application of the proposal. Steil and Vasi argue that “throughout the past century, the policy debate over immigration has occurred primarily at the federal level” (1105). Therefore, taking into consideration the authors’ claim about the efficiency of local immigration policy-making, it is possible to suggest that the positive results of such local policies should be employed by the government on the federal level. Hing states that “to be effective, federal efforts must also focus on prevention and reentry,” implying that strict deportation laws should not be applied to every particular migrant despite his or her family status (172). Thus, there is an evident need for a more comprehensive immigration policy on the federal level.
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In conclusion, the immense importance of the problem under discussion should be restated. In this paper, the proposal that would facilitate the condition of migrant families in the United States was formulated. By referencing scholarly literature on the topic, the background of the problem was identified as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal’s implementation. It could hardly be doubted that the solution for the given issue could not be easily found, and it is evident that the controversy surrounding this problem will remain. However, it is of immense importance to understand that there are policies that could significantly facilitate the current social climate in the country.
Camarota, Steven A. Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants and the Employment Picture for Less-Educated Americans. 2013, Web.
Hanson, Gordon H. Why Does Immigration Divide America?: Public Finance and Political Opposition to Open Borders. 2017, Web.
Higdon, Joshua Wayne. Finding a Balance in an Unbalanced System: Analysis of the United States Immigration Laws. Dissertation, Morehead State University, 2015.
Hing, Bill Ong. “Re-examining the Zero-Tolerance Approach to Deporting Aggravated Felons: Restoring Discretionary Waivers and Developing New Tools.” Harvard Law & Policy Review, vol. 8, 2014, pp. 141-176.
Steil, Justin Peter, and Ion Bogdan Vasi. “The New Immigration Contestation: Social Movements and Local Immigration Policy Making in the United States, 2000–2011.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 119, no. 4, 2014, pp. 1104-1155.
Wright, Matthew, et al. “Public Attitudes toward Immigration Policy Across the Legal/Illegal Divide: The Role of Categorical and Attribute-Based Decision-Making.” Political Behavior, vol. 38, no. 1, 2016, pp. 229-253.