There is a high likelihood for the developed countries such as the United States, Australia and Canada among others to attract immigrants who are looking for a place where they can have a better life. However, the trouble is that, many of these immigrants do not follow the right procedure to get in to these countries. Taking the case of the United States, this country is facing a problem of illegal immigration because people, for instance, move in to the country illegally across the U.S-Mexico border, or they enter the country and stay for a longer time than required. Currently, “the United States Immigration Reform is specifically targeting the problem of 12 to 20 million undocumented workers in the United States”(“U.S Immigration Reform”, Par. 1).
Having a large number of illegal immigrants in the country indicates that the current immigration laws have not been effectively enforced and also, there is need to carry out the immigration law reform. Since this is a very serious issue affecting a large number of the American people, it should not be taken lightly. The federal government seems not to be taking the most appropriate and effective measures to reform the immigration law. Therefore, this implies that individual states should be given the right to govern immigration law reform.
Immigration Law Reform
There is need to have immigration law reform in the United States. This issue is indicated by Kelley, Fitz and Cardenas where they present their view that “the nation’s broken immigration system undermines our core values, disserves out economic and security interests, and diminishes our moral standing in the world” (Para.1). Reforming the system is as well crucial for attaining success in “addressing other key issues such as health care and the economy” (Kelley, Fitz and Cardenas, Par. 1). Over a period of many years, the Congress has overseen a sudden increase of “expensive and ineffective enforcement policies that have wasted large amounts of taxpayers’ money, enriched criminal syndicates, disrupted communities, and battered local economies rather than confronting the failed policies with common sense solutions grounded in what is best for the nation” (Kelley, Fitz and Cardenas, Par. 2).
In the face of this crisis, the U.S is left to make a choice from three possible options in regard to dealing with the problem of illegal immigration. The first option is to maintain the status quo. This is a choice that would not be taken by any responsible policy maker. The second choice is to “drive millions of workers and families out of the U.s communities, which the CAP estimates would run over $41 billion annually” (Kelley, Fitz and Cardenas, Par. 2). The third available option is to consider tough but fair realistic solutions. Considering the first option, which is preserving the status quo, this is untenable. More so, the second option which involves having “mass deportation”; this is against the national values and interests of the country. Therefore, the third option proves to be the only viable move to take and that is, carrying out “comprehensive immigration reform”. The reforms should be carried out to ensure that immigrants register and “become legal, pay taxes, learn English, and pass criminal background checks” (Kelley, Fitz and Cardenas, par. 3). Where it is seen that the federal government is not ready to carry out the immigration reforms, the individual states should be given this right and this will ensure the problem of illegal immigration is effectively dealt with.
The Arizona State recently took an initiative to reform the immigration law in the state. This has brought in a debate; with some people supporting the reform, while others strongly opposing it (Archibold, Par.2). This new law “makes it a state crime to be in the state illegally….it requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires the police to question people if there is reason to suspect they’re in the U.S illegally” (Stone, Par. 1). This law is also directed towards those people who employ the illegal immigrants knowingly or brings them in the country. Those people who are against this law say that it will lead to “racial profiling”. However, as it is pointed out by Stone, “the law has safeguards against racial profiling and the law in many respects just parrots federal law” (Para. 3). The states should be given the right and go the Arizona way to reform the immigration law if they feel the federal government is neglecting its duty. Many people in the country are in support of this.
Basing on the poll results conducted by Rasmussen, it was established that there is great support among the people of the “Arizona style state immigration law enforcement as long as the feds willfully neglect the job” (“Rasmussen Reports”, para. 1). Apparently, the American people are willing to see some necessary measures carried out because they are tired of the “border anarchy” and also tired of seeing millions of illegal immigrants taking up the American jobs. The survey carried out by “Rasmussen Reports” over the telephone revealed that “67 percent of likely U.S voters think a state should have the right to enforce immigration laws if it believes the federal government is not enforcing them” (“Rasmussen Reports “, para 4). It is only a small percentage (22 percent) that disagrees with this, opposing the idea that the states need not to have such a right.
Considering the case of the Arizona state, this state is seeking “reimbursement in its suit against the federal government, and nearly half (49 %) believe the federal government should reimburse states for expenses incurred as a result of illegal immigration” (“Rasmussen Reports”, Par. 5). Thirty percent of those surveyed are of the opinion that the federal government is not supposed to reimburse the states. The remaining 21 percent are not decided on the issue. More so, the survey revealed that, 57 percent of voters go on to support passing of a similar law as that of Arizona in their own state. Only twenty eight percent oppose passage of such a law in their states. The remaining 15 percent are not sure concerning this issue (“Rasmussen Reports” Para. 8).
According to “Rasmussen Reports”, “most voters continue to believe the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration, but voters are now almost evenly divided over whether it’s better to let the federal government or individual states enforce immigration laws” (“Rasmussen Reports”, para. 9). 87 percent of the Republicans and 74 percent of those voters who aren’t allied to any of the main political parties are of the view that the states are supposed to have the right to carry out the immigration law enforcement if these states have a belief that the federal government is not enforcing these laws. Considering the side of the Democrats, these ones are “almost evenly divided” on this issue (“Rasmussen Reports”, para.10).
More so, a larger proportion of the Republicans are in favor of the idea that the federal government is supposed to carry out reimbursement of the expenses that states have incurred following illegal immigration and at the same time the Democrats and those who are not affiliated to any of the major political parties are “more narrowly divided” on the issue. 57 percent of those who are not affiliated to the major parties are for the Arizona-like like law passage just the same way 77 percent of the Republicans do. “A plurality (49%), of Democrats is opposed to the passage of the same law in their states”(“ Rasmussen Reports”, Par. 11).
As it is always the case, a wide gap exists between “the political class and the mainstream voters on these questions” (“Rasmussen Reports”, Par. 12). 75 percent of the political class do not support passing of a law like that of Arizona in their own states and at the same time 69 percent of the “mainstream voters” are for the passage of the law. More so, 84 percent of the mainstream voters have a view that the states are supposed to carry out enforcement of immigration laws in case they have a belief that the federal government is not carrying out its responsibility of effectively enforcing the immigration laws. But on the other hand, 69 percent of voters in the political class believe that the states should not be given the right to enforce the laws (“Rasmussen Reports”, Par. 12).
In addition, 65 percent of the total number of the “likely voters” has a view that “gaining control of the border is more important in terms of immigration legislation than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United State” (“Rasmussen Reports”, Para. 13). It was only 28 percent of voters who were on the side of the “Justice Department” in regard to its challenge of the Arizona’s law at the time the announcement of the law was done. A larger percentage of the voters (64 percent) has a view that the federal government is the one to blame for not being able to enforce the immigration law that has brought in a controversy concerning Arizona’s new law instead of the state officials for passing the law ((“Rasmussen Reports”, para. 14).
These results generally indicate that, to overcome the problem of illegal immigration in the U.S, the states should be given the right to govern immigration law reform. This can be clearly seen basing on the above statistics, showing that the majority of the people in the country are not comfortable with the way the federal government is enforcing the immigration law. This issue is a serious one and should not be politicized because it greatly affects the American people. The many people of the political class opposing the implementation of a law like that of Arizona are only doing this for their own political interests. The mainstream voters here are the ones who are genuine about immigration reform; supporting the idea that the states should be given the power to enforce the immigration law and carry out the necessary reforms basing on the situation in the states.
The state governments should have the power to govern the immigration reform. The increasing number of the illegal immigrants indicates that the federal government has not been effective in enforcing the immigration law. Basing on the results presented by the Rasmussen Reports, many people in the U.S support the idea that the states should have the power to enforce the immigration law and carry out the necessary reforms. The federal government has shown reluctance in carrying out the reforms to ensure the states overcome the problems that are brought in by the illegal immigration. The states should go the Arizona way and should be compensated by the federal government for expenses they have incurred resulting from illegal immigration because it has neglected its duty to enforce the immigration law effectively.
Archibold, Randal. Arizona enacts stringent immigration law. 23 April 2010. Web. 30 March 2011.
Kelley Maria, Fitz Marshall, and Cardenas Vanessa. Principles for Immigration Reform. 24 June 2009. Web. 31 March 2011.
“Rasmussen Reports”, Rasmussen Poll: 2/3 Agree that states should enforce immigration laws. 18 February 2011. Web. 2 April 2011.
Stone, Ralph. Arizona has about 1.7 million residents of Hispanic or Latino origin. 06 may 2010. Web. 02 April 2011.
“U.S. Immigration Reforms”, usaimmigrationreform.org. usaimmigrationreform, 2010. Web. 30 March 2011. < http://www.usaimmigrationreform.org/>.