US Immigration Bill: Pros and Cons
Immigration reforms is a political terms used while discussing the immigration policy of a nation. In the United States, immigration reforms are used to promote guest worker legal immigration while taking steps to eliminate illegal immigration. It was during the year 1986, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act made it illegal for the organizations in US to recruit or hire illegal immigrants but the act never worked on existing non-immigrant visa system programme for low skilled work force which allowed around 12 million undocumented work force to enter United States. Since then there has been demand for a strong immigration bill in the US Senate.
Despite of American being a land of opportunities, the immigration has been an important issue and the current Immigration Bill is trying to tackle this sensitive situation. On January 28th, 2013, a bi-partisan group of eight senators announced that the immigration bill should adopt the principles of comprehensive economic reform(CIR) and the policies so formed were envisioned on the following provisions:
- Introducing a path of citizenship to 11 million illegal immigrants residing in United States contingent on visa tracking provisions and South America Border issue. The plan provides a path of citizenship for illegal immigrants who after paying fine and taxes after a certain amount of years can apply for the status of permanent residence only after legal immigrants who have legally entered the US border and are waiting for priority date to receive their permanent residence status. The plan also discuss a seperate path of citizenship for agricultural workers who can attain permanent residence through the agricultural worker programme.
- Introducing new and improved verification system for the employers to confirm the work authorization while hiring or recruiting the immigrant.
- Introduction of new work visa options for low skilled workers on seasonal basis especially for agricultural work authorization.
- Introduction of business reforms where the focus is on reducing current current visa backlogs and fast tracking permanent status for university graduates with advanced degrees from american universities preferably from the fields of science, engineering and technology.
Following their suggestion, on June 27, 2013 the senate of USA approved the new Immigration Bill, 2013 where it is now being debated in the House of Representatives among the democrats and republicans. The new immigration bill is said to have an innovative guest workers programe, a described path for citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, increased number of visa for for foreign skilled workers, thus it is important to acknowledge the pros and cons of the new immigration bill on the US Economy.
Support to Economic Boost:
The eminent economist in US propose that as President Barack Obama will confirm the comprehensive immigration reform, the US Economy will see the boost in economic growth and will add $1.5 trillion to the GDP figures over the next 10 years with estimated 4.5% rise in economic growth and this will start with rise in personal income and taxes revenue of federal government. Also the laws under the new immigration bill will add around 750000 jobs in the US Economy and this includes the undocumented individuals into the workforce and as result, the revenue of US Economy will increase by$700 billion and reducing the deficits by $200 Billion in 10 years. The economic pundits also propose that legalization and programe for guest workers will increase the size of the labor force, providing long term increase in average wages and will boost capital investment and productivity. Thus in all means the US Economy is likely to benefit from the new comprehensive immigration reform.
US Borders will be more secure:
With Border issue being said the most important component of immigration bill, it is said that current immigration bill contains some tough aspects over border issue and this will make the US border more secure which is primarily concerned with securing the border from Mexico. The immigration bill includes provision of doublling the border patrol agents to 20000,18 new unmanned surveillance drones, additional 350 miles of fencing on southern US borders and an array of fixed and mobile devices to maintain strict vigilance on US borders. Thus, with these numbers and proposed efforts we are sure that the new immigration bill increase the security on US Borders and will reduce the illegal entry of people from US Mexico and a strict surveillance on drug trafficking.
A useful Guest Worker Programe:
The comprehensive immigration bill not only aims at low skilled workers but also towards highly talented professionals that can boost the economic growth and increase state and central tax revenues. As for the unskilled workers, the reform is not limited to just legalizing the undocumented but rather it also includes the provisions that would provide help for the agricultural sector. The senate bill duly recognize the need for seasonal workers for this sector and has thus introduced the new ‘’W’’visa for temporary workers. This type of visa will provide a market tested and federal authorized means of hiring screened, seasonal workers to fill up the labor shortage, thus helping the agricultural production to increase and also helps the farm owners to meet their peak season needs.Thus, enactment of comprehensive immigration reform would eliminate any kind of hiring or recruitment of undocumented workforce and will improve the quality of labor productivity as only suitable and related skilled individuals will be hired and that too on legal parameters.
Pool of talented professionals:
Immigration reforms have also introduced provisions for increasing visas hor highly educated professionals and entrepreneurs. Thus, by attracting these individuals to the US land will stimulate new investments in various sectors and will also help in building up innovative entrepreneurial infrastructure.
Reduced illegal and underground activities:
The new immigration bill also deals with concerns over future flow of undocumented immigrants, criminal aliens and individuals involved in drug trafficking. The proposed immigration bill deals harshly with employers who are still hiring/recruting the undocumented workers and has drafted following measures to counter the underground and illegal activities:
- Increasing the number of border agents and wide fencing on US Borders
- Strict penalty on employers recruiting undocumented workers
- Enhanced enforcement of immigration laws
- Detention and removal of illegal aliens involved in drug smuggling, gang wars and other illegal activities.
However, despite of these benefits which are also quintessential for US Economy considering the current state where US economy is on the path of recovery, there are also some cons associated with new immigration reforms which are discussed here under:
Over Population in US- might lead to low quality of life:
Although, US Economy is said to benefit with GDP growth of 4.5% and a significant reduction in budgetary deficit, but the other side of the immigration reports that the once the immigration laws are passed, this will boost the international immigration by 20 million in next 20 years and an additional 16 million because of immigration reform, thus a total of 36 million new immigrants will join the US population.
Also the new US Immigration bill is said to be dysfunctional because it is not responsive to the social and economic conditions of the country. Apart from posing a threat of making US land overpopulated, the new immigration laws allows the immigrants to enter US on the basis of family ties to earlier immigrants who are already living on a mere living income. Thus, the new immigration laws will only contribute to already existing abundance of low skilled labor, increasing job competition and on account of large supply of labor, will drive down the living wages and living conditions. This is a serious threat to the quality of life of labor workforce as more labor work force supply, low wages and degraded working conditions will discourage the domicile(American )workforce to seek jobs and this will force the employers to recruit/hire illegal and undocumented workforce or legal immigrants who are ready to work at substantially low cost. In nutshell, the mere essence of immigration bill to benefit the US workforce will end up in disturbing their quality of life and living standards.
Intense Job Competition:
This is the major concern for US Economy citing that legalizing immigrant workers and allowance on new visa policies for skilled workers will lead to intense job competition and thus would threaten their jobs and thus the assertion of President Obama that immigration rules will create more jobs through the process of economic growth seems into a disagreement with American Voters.
Not fair to Legal Immigrants:
Over past years many high skilled professional from off shore countries legally entered US on the basis of H1-B visas. As per new immigration rules,t his type of visa makes the professionals eligible to work in US under the condition of renewal of visa every 3 years through a long legal process, associated with high amount of uncertainity being H1-B visas capped at low number of 85000 at present. Thus, the high skilled professionals who have worked hard and have contributed to America’s GDP are being treated in an unfair manner as compared to illegal immigrants by offering them promising shortcut of ‘’13 year special path to citizenship’’. Thus it is a major disadvantage for the legal immigrants who entered US by following long legal process and with significant amount of time and money.
Associated Press, CNBC News. Senate Immigration Bill Boosted by Border Deal. 21 June 2013. Web. 5 December 2013.
Federation of American Immigration Reform. Immigration, Poverty and Low-Wage Earners: The Harmful Effects of Unskilled Immigrants on American Workers. n.d. Web. 5 December 2013.
Hirsch, Mathew. It's finally time to reform immigration laws. 2 December 2013. Web. 5 December 2013.
Plumer, Brad. Here’s how the U.S. population would change under immigration reform. 20 June 2013. Web. 5 December 2013.