America is an independent and sovereign state that has recorded a tremendous growth and transformation in various facets of the society, especially in economic, political, cultural and social spheres. As a developed and superpower nation, America understands the importance of the rule of law that is premised on the international convention policies, and societal values, and principles to enhance national integration, identity, and spearhead economic, political, and social development. Over the years, the American government has delegated the duty and responsibility of formulating and implementing laws and policies to the Congress, House of Representatives, and other arms of the government. The Congress and House of Representative have formulated and implement laws, and policies, which not only aim to promote economic development, address national interests, but also maintain social order, status quo, and strengthen America’s foreign relations. The American constitution is the supreme law that provides the legal framework and provisions, upon which, the Congress, House of Representative, the Judiciary, and Executive arms of the government should operate within.
Scholars articulate that America’s tremendous growth and development is premised and enshrined, rooted in the country’s proud history that has paved way for movement of immigrants into and out of the country. Initially, America did not restrict movement of immigrants, but it was until in 1920s, that the government embarked on formulating and implementing immigration policies, which aimed to restrict and reduce the number of immigrants. The Immigration Act of 1924 commonly referred as Johnson-Reed Act and Immigration Restriction Act of 1921 coupled with the Emergency Quota Act were the first pieces of immigration policies enacted to reduce the number of immigrants admitted annually (Immigration Quota Act of 1924). These Acts articulated the basic limitations of immigrants, and revised the National origin formula that was used to calculate the number of immigrants from one country in relation. Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, Immigration Restriction Act of 1921 and Immigration Act of 1917 governed immigration policies until the enactment of Immigration and National Act of 1952-that forms the body of the immigration law and policy in America. Since the enactment of Immigration and National Act of 1952, the Congress and the House of Representative have amended the act several times and formulated and implemented the newly introduced clauses and policies with aim to enhance efficiency of America’s immigration policies (Hing 67). However, what implications does the immigration policy have on the America’s economy, foreign relations, and homeland security, remains the question to be addressed.
Immigration policies positively and negatively influence the economy, foreign relations, and national security, but the diverge views and argument predisposed on this argument depends on one’s perceptive. However, the enactment of various and existing immigration policies play a crucial role in building and improving America’s economy. First, the enactment of immigration and naturalization Act has played a crucial role in increasing the number of immigrants who have devise and technical skills in different disciplines and line of production thus increasing the workforce. Based on the immigration and naturalization act, the government has devised ways of providing temporary and permanent visas for immigrants and non-immigrants with technical skills to come into the country and contribute in national development (Task Force Report 1). In essence, the federal government has been able to hire and employ immigrants and non-immigrants who have technical skills, advanced academic qualifications and expertise in art and science related profession including medicine, nursing, education, and accounting. Second, the act allows multinational companies to hire the semiskilled and unskilled immigrants to work in different lines of product thus reducing the cost of operation and increasing the company’s revenue and profit margin. In essence, high revenue translates to high taxation thus increasing government revenue collection, and the government uses the money to provide essential services in healthcare, education, security, and improve infrastructure.
The enactment of immigration and naturalization act has improved and strengthened America’s foreign policy and relations with other nations and homeland security. The fact that the act allows the America government to hire, employ and safeguards the rights of the immigrants and non-immigrants promotes cordial and foreign relations between America and other countries. In this respect, other countries would reciprocate America’s generosity, compliance with human rights standards, and the move to hire, employ, and safeguard rights of immigrants by allowing American citizen to work and reside outside America. Immigration and naturalization act promote foreign policy and relation because it is premised on safeguarding rights of asylees and refugees.
The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”, commonly as S.744, coupled with The Immigration and Naturalization Act of articulate that the government should protect rights and provide refugees and asylees, and vulnerable populations with basic needs, thus upholding the conventional human rights provisions (Immigration Policy Center 1). These two acts have enhanced homeland security because they allow legal immigrants, permanent immigrants and immigrants with green card to reside, work, and own property. Using this legal provision, the American government train and employ immigrants as military officers thus enhancing national security.
Although the immigration policies promote economic development, strengthen foreign policy and relations, and enhance homeland security, they equally and negatively influence America’s economy, homeland security, and foreign policy and relations. Enactment of immigration and naturalization Act and Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and immigration Modernization Act has increased unemployment rate and exerted pressure on social amenities. Initially, people thought that immigrants worked as unskilled and semiskilled employees in the formal and informal sectors, but this is not the case, as immigrants are employed and hold senior position in different organization. This move has increased unemployment rate among the Americans and increased government’s expenditure on provision of social and essential services thus reducing economic development. The enactment of DREAM Act under the Obama administration has affected America’s economy because it has increased government budget and expenditure in the education system. Dream Act articulates that all registered and documented immigrant children should be financed and accorded equal rights in the education sector; a move that increases government budget and expenditure (U.S Visa Policy 1).
International laws permit a country to draft and enact immigration and deportation policies and procedures, but it does not grant any country the discretion to violate human rights laws and policies. As a country, America fails to uphold and observe the human rights laws in its immigration policies by treating and exposing immigrants to unfair treatment, unlawful detention, sanctions, and arbitrary freedom under the law enforcing agencies. Such policies and inhuman acts negatively affect America’s foreign policies and relations, and contravene the international convent and civil political rights and refugee convention treaty, in which America is a signatory member (Napolitano 1). Investigation reports indicate that America detentions 400 immigrants annually, but majority of the detainees are unlawfully charged, denied human rights and detained for long period with a court hearing thus violating the human rights convention treaty. As a member, America should led by example by formulating and implementing immigration policies, which uphold rights of refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable group and promote regional integration through the enactment of viable foreign policies.
The current immigration policies, especially immigration naturalization Act restricts the number of immigrants to 675,000 annually, but the enactment and passage of S.744 policy would affect homeland security. The S.744 policy would increase the number of undocumented immigrants and this move would pave way for criminals and terrorists to enter the country illegal. In 2012, the number of immigrants increased from 1.8 million, but the margin would increase to 2.8 million, as a result of enacting the S.744 policy.
In order to address the existing shortfalls and gaps in the current immigration policies, the American government should reform the immigration laws and policies and articulate all immigration process starting from enforcement and boarder issues, change employment and family-based migration visas, to promote registration and documentation of immigrants and non-immigrants. To enhance homeland and boarder security, the government should deploy more patrol and military officers along the boarders, increase government budget on military and defense departments, introduce e-verify and computerized system and 24-hour surveillance on the boarders. The homeland security department should introduce a computerized system to notify the immigrants on the visa expiry matters and carry out deportation proceedings to immigrants who fail to renew and comply with immigration policies. Based on this assertion, reforming immigration policies would enhance boarder security, foreign relations, and improve America’s economy.
Immigration Policy Center. "Special Reports." Immigration Policy Center. Version 1. Immigration Policy Center, 4 Feb. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/guide-s744-understanding-2013-senate-immigration-bil>.
Napolitano, Janet. "USPolicy." Homeland Security's Napolitano on Immigration Reform. Version 1. USpolicy, 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://uspolicy.belgium.usembassy.gov/headline/homeland-securitys-napolitano-immigration-reform>
U.S Visa Policy. "U.S. Visa Policy." U.S. Visa Policy. Version 1. U.S. Visa Policy, 6 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. http://travel.state.gov/visa/questions/policy/policy_4433.html
Hing, Bill. Defining America through immigration policy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004. Print.
Immigration Quota Act of 1924. S.l.: Great Neck Pub., 2009. Print