Immigration laws are the policies that governments across the world establish to regulate who enters a certain country and the period that such s person is supposed to stay in the host country. The United States of America is allegedly a nation of immigrants as it is characterized mainly by the large-scale immigration of people from different nations around the globe.
For instance, 50 million immigrants especially from German, Ireland, and Britain arrived to settle in the United States between 1820 and 1865. The availability of cheap labor from these immigrants propelled the country economically and by the end of the 19th century, the United States was the most powerful industrial nation across the world. However, there was a need to regulate the immigrants who entered the country and this move lead to the establishment of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1952.
The establishment of the immigration law aimed at safeguarding the American citizens from any kind of external threat; for instance, foreigners like the Nazis and communists were seen as a threat to the national security and could cause harm to the American citizens. Originally, the immigration law only allowed certain immigrants of different nationalities to enter the United States, but this aspect changed in 1965 when the national origin quota system was wiped out (Aleinikoff, 2012).
Since then, several alterations have been made to the advantage of people seeking employment in the country. The enforcement of the immigration law changed drastically following the unfortunate terrorist bombings on September 11, 2001, due to the perception of a possibility of another attack by terrorists within the United States.
President Barrack Obama’s new Immigration Law
Currently, there are around 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States and immigration stands out as the most divisive and controversial issue in the country contemporarily. The Democrats, “due to their liberal stance on immigration, hold that it contributes to cultural diversity as people from different parts of the globe interact and in the process learn about the different cultures” (Casablanca & Bodin, 2010, p.86).
On the other hand, Republicans differ when it comes to immigration, as some hold that it should be limited as “it endangers the cultural future of the country while other pro-business Republicans see immigration as a source of cheap labor and they do not want to see the end of the ‘casual’ migration trend” (Casablanca & Bodin, 2010, p.86).
President Obama, a Democrat, believes that there is a need to fix the broken immigration system and give people an opportunity to earn American citizenship. In his first term in office, his immigration policies led to the record deportation of many illegal immigrants to their respective countries.
However, the introduction of a new policy has granted deportation immunity to some of the immigrants that entered the country illegally as children. The policy introduced in June 2012 saw the suspension of deportation of children brought to the country with less than 16 years for two years. The president believes that these children should not be held responsible for the actions of their parents and instead, they should be given an opportunity to earn their American citizenship.
This new law is important as it reduces the amount of time that parents are separated from their children while applying for legal citizenship. Though the children do not have a direct path to the US citizenship, this element is a great opportunity to the youth who were facing the risk of being deported to their respective countries where unemployment levels may be very high. However, the law only favors those children between the age of 16 and 31 years and have no criminal record and must have finished college or served in the military.
This requirement means that the new law provides an easier way for the younger generation to earn their US citizenship as they have the option of either pursuing higher education or serving in the military to qualify. Those with criminal records are not considered as they have failed to abide by the law, and thus granting them citizenship would be endangering the lives of other law-abiding and hardworking American citizens.
The Republicans oppose this new immigration law by arguing that it will open a backdoor for millions of illegal immigrants and this aspect would affect the country’s economy greatly.
Millions of illegal immigrants will benefit, as they will come out in the open to register and start playing important roles as the other American citizens like payment of taxes, which helps in the improvement of the country’s economy (Weissbrodt & Danielson, 2010). Additionally, this law helps in reforming the immigration system as the immigrants will be held responsible for their actions of entering the country without following the right legal ways.
Failure to secure the American borders effectively is one of the major contributors to the high number of illegal immigrants in the country. Having unidentified people poses a threat to security, social fabric, and economy of the country, hence the urgent need to come up with laws that rectify this problem (Aleinikoff, 2012).
Policy makers in the different political spectrums share a common idea that no one, regardless of his or her race, nationality, or sex, should be allowed to stay in the country illegally. Obama, like his Republican predecessor George Bush, has realized the need to strengthen security at the borders. The new immigration law proposes the strengthening of security patrols at the borders especially the Mexican border as this aspect will be a key step towards reforming the immigration system.
Securing the US borders is easily achievable as the country can acquire the required infrastructure and the newest surveillance technologies such as drones and heat-sensing cameras as well as watch towers. With this kind of equipment and increased number of security guards to patrol the border, immigrants to come to settle in the country without proper documentation will be discouraged and instead opt for the legal ways of acquiring the US citizenship.
Apart from reducing the number of illegal immigrants, improved security at the border will help in curbing the criminal element across the borders, as there has been an increase in drug-related activities as organized gangs smuggle drugs and people to the country (Johnson & Trujillo, 2011).
Therefore, the new law is very effective, especially when it comes to securing the border as it suggests more funding for improving surveillance at the border. Also, it advocates for an improved relationship between law enforcement and border communities so that they can work together in averting illegal immigration to the country. Improved security will not only aid in curbing the problem of illegal immigrants in the country but also in boosting the success of economic activities across the borders.
The new immigration law by President Obama targets employers who tend to employ immigrants without the required documents allowing them to work or stay in the United States. The chief reason why people decide to leave their motherland and migrate to the United States is to seek employment to uplift their living standards.
The unauthorized aliens offer cheap labor as compared to the Americans who are only interested in decent wages and this aspect makes the immigrants particularly appealing to employers. Such employers have contributed to the increasing number of illegal immigrants as the immigrants are assured of a job if they manage to evade the law enforcement agencies successfully.
Even though by working hard the illegal immigrants contribute to the economic development of the country, Obama’s administration is keen on ensuring that all the people in the country are there legally (Casablanca & Bodin, 2010). This aspect explains why the new law targets employers that hire undocumented immigrants knowingly by imposing heavy fines to discourage others who may be interested in perpetuating the same vice.
The law is of great benefit to employers who want to play by the rules and regulations of the state, as they will have an opportunity to verify that employees are allowed to work in the country before they hire them. The law also ensures that employers who hire immigrants abide by the set labor laws.
The law seeks to set up easier legal channels to deal with the hardworking people who have reacted to improving the economy of the country.
This aspect will help in the economic development of the country, as intelligent people interested in starting businesses in the country will be granted citizenship of their businesses leading to the creation of more jobs, uplifting the standards of living of many people, and promoting the American economy (Bray, 2013).
Additionally, the law aims at looking for qualified foreign students who have studied in the country to exploit their skills in the country by looking for employment and not moving to other countries by providing them with Green Cards.
The improvement of the United States’ immigration system is important, as it would aid in ending the immense secretive employers who exploit illegal immigrants’ through cheap labor while depressing the wages of the other American citizens. Thus, the vast differences that exist between the two major political parties, viz. the republican and the Democrats, should be sorted out with the best interest of the country in mind by recognizing the size of the immigration system and its contribution to the overall welfare of the American citizens.
There is a need to come up with a solid plan to help in curbing the problem of illegal immigration that has affected the country for a long period. In the contemporary administration, policy makers from both political parties should have a goal of preventing socioeconomic and population problems originating from unaccepted illegal immigration to the country and spearhead fundamental reforms in the immigration system.
New immigrants who abide by the law should be absorbed and provided with the privileges and respect like any other American citizen irrespective of their race or sex. The Obama new law on immigration is of immense benefits as outlined in this paper.
Aleinikoff, T., Martin, D., Motomura, H., Fullerton, M. (2012). Immigration and Nationality
Laws of the United States: Selected Statutes, Regulations and Forms. Eagan, MI: West Pub.
Bray, I. (2013). U.S. Immigration Made Easy. Berkeley, CA: Nolo Pub.
Casablanca, M., & Bodin, G. (2010). Immigration Law for Paralegals. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Johnson, K., & Trujillo, B. (2011).Immigration Law and the U.S.-Mexico Border: The Mexican American Experience. Tucson, AR: University of Arizona Press.
Weissbrodt, D., & Danielson, L. (2010). Immigration Law and Procedure in a Nutshell. Eagan, MI: West Pub.