One in every 10 Mexicans resides in United States. Mexican-born immigrants account for 29.8% of all foreign born immigrants in United States (Bean & Gillian 2003). This means they are the largest immigrant community in United States. Mexico borders United States to the south and the proximity of these countries has over the years translated to increased border movements and immigration. Civil society and human rights activists have proposed amnesty as a good way to tackle illegal immigration. The debate on amnesty has dominated talks in various forums and has become a key political issue. The following paper focuses on a newspaper article by Tom Head titled “Why I support Amnesty for Undocumented immigrants”. The paper focuses on the need to offer amnesty to undocumented immigrants and workers in the United States to ensure that they benefit obtain human rights protection.
The relations between the United States and Mexico and have existed since the time of American occupation of parts of Northern Mexico that resulted in the hiving off of California, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Most of the people living in those areas remained there after the Guadalupe to the states as laborers to build the railroad. The workers received low pay, worked under harsh conditions and received none of the constitutional protection rights entitled to US citizens (Branton, & Johanna 2009). The leaders of the time made no efforts to improve the welfare of immigrants in spite of the increasing number of immigrants. To date there are about 12 million illegal Mexican immigrants in US (Head 2011). The numbers are increasing and so are the problems associated with illegal immigrants. The workers still form the majority of blue collar workers in United States. In 1986, Ronald Reagan and the democratic congress granted three million Mexican-American immigrants amnesty and placed them under the protection of human rights groups. Though American corporations still wanted undocumented immigrants to provide cheap labor the human rights groups looked into the welfare of the immigrants.
The US government today finds itself in a predicament it was in during Reagan’s era. The government is under pressure from civil society to enact laws to protect the immigrants. The corporations that pay millions of dollars worth of tax want to continue enjoying cheap labor provided by the immigrants (Bean & Gillian 2003). Consequently, immigration has been a key issue dominating US politics. The sheer number of undocumented workers in the United States means that it is not possible to forcefully deport them. Moreover, there is no law enforcement to carry out the deportation (Head 2011). Human rights activists and civil rights movements have pushed for amnesty as a way to ensure that immigrants are accorded human rights like any other American citizen. The civil rights groups want politicians to enact laws to facilitate amnesty as well as penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers. Amnesty means that immigrants will legally become US citizens with rights to elect political leaders. In the 2008 presidential election, 67% of Hispanics voted for Obama. Conservatives fear that an increase in Latino voters will increase the number of democrats in the elected government.
The government has resisted implementing regulations that would see the closure of the border or punish corporations that hire undocumented workers. Moreover, there are no regulations to discourage immigrants from coming into the country.
According to the article, several corporations in the United States have exploited illegal immigrants by paying them low wages, and subjecting them to poor working conditions.The article portrays the failure to enforce amnesty especially for Mexican immigrants as emanating from the fear of the unknown. The writer acknowledges that granting citizenship to more than 12 million people with a culture different from that of the host country nationals is hard and needs to be done gradually (Bean & Gillian 2003). The writer is unbiased and objectively brings out the contribution of immigrants to American economy. He argues that immigrants form the bulk of blue collar workers in factories and industries. They are paid lowly and work for long hours (Head 2011). Granting amnesty to immigrants would ensure that American employers treat undocumented immigrants with dignity. This will in turn strengthen the relationship between the countries involved, reduce the social evils associated with immigrants sich as insecurity and gang wars (Branton, & Johanna 2009).
The media portrays amnesty as posing the threat of forming Quebec-like chunks where people are united by a common language and culture. The places have high levels of unemployment, increased crime, new diseases among other social inconveniences. These issues affect Americans and rate as political issues that politicians need to address.
The media has portrayed Mexican immigrants as being involved in a myriad of crime such as the drug trade, proliferation in arms, robbery among others. The media has portrayed the immigrants as a disruption to social peace and as a source of insecurity. However, the media agitation for amnesty focusing on the benefits immigrants bring to the country will help change people’s perception. Moreover, the acceptance of immigrants as American citizens will offer them opportunities to access education, healthcare among other amenities and services enjoyed by an American citizen. Amnesty will therefore, help in eliminating discrimination and stereotyping of immigrants (Bean & Gillian 2003). Amnesty for undocumented immigrants the welfare of illegal immigrants and recognize them as contributors to the economy of United States by being part of a productive workforce.
Effect on US labor force and economy
Offering amnesty to immigrants will increase the labor force in United States. The debate on amnesty has ranged on for long since 1929. Some politicians have backed amnesty while others have opposed it vehemently it on the basis that immigrants will deny original Americans jobs. The 12 million Mexican immigrants if offered amnesty will require the state and federal government governments to provide social services such as healthcare and education. Offering amnesty will however, pile pressure on the government to offer the services at a time when economy of the country is recovering and stabilizing.
Many employers are facing the dilemma whether to formally recognize the undocumented workers and offer them full benefits. Managers ought to improve the working conditions of employees regardless of their background. This will increase the motivation of the workers and increase productivity. Though no regulations exist to ensure the protection of immigrants, managers ought to raise the wages of undocumented workers and offer them improved working conditions. For instance managers can reduce the number of working hours. Motivated workers are likely to produce more than oppressed workers. The workers can also be encouraged to form unions that look into their welfare.
Branton, R. & Johanna D. (2009) Spatial Proximity to the U.S.-Mexico Border and Newspaper
Coverage of Immigration Issues Political Research Quarterly 62(2):
Bean, D., & Gillian S. (2003) America's Newcomers and the Dynamics of
Diversity. New York:
Head, T. (2011) Why I support Amnesty for Undocumented immigrants.
Retrieved from: http://civilliberty.about.com/od/immigrantsrights/a/amnesty_2.htm