Executive Action Plan for Immigration Reform
The immigration laws in the United States are in need of an update. This country is originally made up of immigrants, and immigrants today contribute to our economy. Citizens of the United States have varying views on immigration and the laws that should or should not be upheld. Being an immigrant myself, I feel that immigration is of a large to concern to myself and my family. I would not have been able to come here, receive an education and start a family if the immigration laws were stricter. The Republican Party is upset at President Barack Obama for pushing for a different approach to immigration law reform on his own, without the help of Congress and the House of Representatives, who seem to be taking their time on making any decisions. There needs to be a united plan of action to take place, from both the Democrats and the Republicans, to make an initiative to work together to reform the immigration laws, regardless of their own personal opinion on the matter. Regardless of their opinion, all republicans and democrats are the products of immigrants too. Immigrants should not be judged on whether or not they came to the United States, they should be judged for the basis of why they came to the United States.
The CAP Immigration Team at the Center for American Progress states that immigrants are “taxpayers, entrepreneurs, job creators, and consumers”. The American economy benefits from having immigrants in the country, contributing to sales numbers at stores, car dealerships, and even owning a home. The CAP Immigration Team reported that around half of the immigrant population are homeowners, that’s roughly 20 million additional families paying taxes to the United States government. By allowing these immigrants to stay within the country and continue paying taxes and boosting the economy is a win for the United States. Others would argue that because of the added people, they are taking away rights from American citizens. The Center for American Progress also reported that over two-thirds of undocumented immigrants living within the United States have been residing here for ten or more years (Fitz). Immigrants and their families are “well integrated into our communities” (Fitz). The countries that these immigrants come from may not have had anything to offer their own citizens, and they have migrated to this country to pursue something better for their families.
Throughout the Obama administration, there have been some 2 million illegal aliens removed from this country, and some 4 million removed since 2001 (Fitz). A comparison of what 2 million people look like, would be to wipe out “the entire combined populations of Boston, Miami, Seattle, and St. Louis” (Fitz). Needless to say, 2 million people is a lot more people than it seems like. Deportation is an issue within itself, and usually deportation affects much more than just that one person. “An estimated 200,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were deported” between 2010 and 2012, in turn leaving 5,100 children in foster care since they are U.S. born citizens and they’re parents were not (Fitz). That’s a horrifying statistic to say the least. By deporting these taxpaying immigrants, now tax money will be used to place these children in foster care, which is a losing situation. The deportation of people that is splitting up families is an unjust plan of action on the government’s part. It is not the fault of a child born in the United States to have a mother and father ripped away from them because of a piece of paper.
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his new plan of immigration reform with a series of executive actions to better help immigrants currently residing in the United States with families and who are here to better gain opportunities for themselves and their families (Executive Actions of Immigration). The president plans to “crack down on illegal immigration at the border” and to help to safeguard families that can pass a background check from deportation (Executive Actions of Immigration). This background check will help screen out felons (Executive Actions of Immigration) and persons intending to commit crimes; those that are only harming themselves, others, and the economy, and making sure those wrongdoers are deported rather than deporting people deserving of a chance to better their futures. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is taking initiative in the preparation of implementing future guidelines for immigrants to gain access to living within the United States and learning about how to become a citizen. Children that were brought to the U.S. before 2010, and before they aged 16, would be eligible for deferred action and employment authorization for three years, as would parents of any U.S. citizen, as would spouses and children of U.S. citizens (Executive Actions of Immigration). Even though these have not been implemented yet, pending Congress, the future of “modernizing, improving, and clarifying immigration programs” will help create jobs in our economy (Executive Actions of Immigration).
Conservatives view immigration as a threat to American economics. According to The Heritage Foundation, the steps in creating a better plan to immigration reform is as follows: firstly, border control needs to be amped up; second, the United States government needs to enforce the laws already in place regarding immigration; third, the government must utilize the tools necessary to remove all illegal aliens from the country; fourth, the U.S. needs to empower both the state and local law enforcement agencies to help better control immigrations and the amount of illegal aliens; fifth, President Obama needs to be the leader in enforcing illegal immigration laws; and lastly, the executive branch needs to use honest and true statistics when determining how well immigration enforcement is doing (Morgan and Inserra). In all fairness, these conservatives do have a point, the laws and enforcers of those laws need to all be on the same page, however, they make it seem like immigrants are not people, they make it seem like immigrants are just tangible objects with barcodes attached to them. The U.S. government spends nearly 18 billion dollars in one year for immigration and border control (Fitz), a staggering figure. If immigration laws were reformed and technology was better utilized at the borders, taxpayer money could be saved.
Currently, there are 18 states filing a federal lawsuit against Barack Obama for implementing his executive immigration plan this November (Caputo). Obama’s plan made it so roughly 5 million illegal immigrants would not be deported if they could pass a background check (Caputo). Of the 18 states involved in the federal lawsuit, all of them have either a Republican governor or attorney general (Caputo). Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald states that the lawsuit is not about immigration per say, it’s about the fact that President Obama “is circumventing Congress” and has been “overstepping the power granted to him by our U.S. Constitution”. Immigration issues have been on the table for a long time now, and since Congress chose to sit back and do nothing to help the process, Obama took it upon himself to help those in need, families and people in this country with good intentions. Obama is allowing illegal immigrants that have resided within the United States for more than five years with no serious criminal activity to stay within the country without the fear of being deported (Caputo). The fact that President Obama acted alone and changed the law enraged Republicans, who feel he has gone too far in trying to avoid Congress (Caputo). President Obama was right in promoting the wellbeing of those people in our country, being a citizen or not.
Citizens of the United States need to become more aware of the immigration issues that surround them. Immigrants are all around us; they are business owners and employees of local restaurants, gas stations, and convenience stores. They are contributing members of society. They have come to the United States to better their opportunities in life. The president’s new Executive Immigration Action Plan will hopefully force Congress and lawmakers to contribute to the decision they are so enraged about. President Obama made these decisions based on his compassion for people. People cannot help what country they are born into, and should have an opportunity to live in what location suits them best. A suitable step by step immigration plan is in the near future; the government has been forced to act because of the executive actions taken by the president. Border control is necessary, but by utilizing technology and saving taxpayer money. Immigration laws need to be overhauled and enforced based on what is best for the individual, not the entire immigrant population as a whole. Humane means of detaining and deporting illegal aliens with a criminal record needs to be enforced. Congress and the House of Representatives need to back the President as he is enforcing immigration laws. Lastly, immigration enforcement statistics do in fact need to be taken into account, but the statistics of undocumented immigrants should include their name, their profession, their family members as well as any criminal history. Any deportation of immigrants already established in the United States should be based solely on those observations and should deportation be necessary, the lives of children and other family members should be taken into account. There definitely needs to be a new initiative for better immigration law reform within the United States and both positive and negative view points must be assessed to come up with a clear concise way of dealing with immigration.
CAP Immigration Team. (2014). The facts on Immigration today. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/report/2014/
Caputo, M. (2014). Florida joins 17 other states in lawsuit against President Obama’s executive immigration plan. Miami Herald. Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/
Executive Actions of Immigration. (2014). The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Retrieved from http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction
Fitz, M. (2014). What the President can do on Immigration if Congress Fails to Act. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/
immigration/report/2014/07/01/93042/what the-president-can-do-on-immigration-if congress-fails-to-act/
Morgan, D., Inserra, D. (2014). A Conservative Pathway for Immigration Reform. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2014/11/a conservative-pathway-for-immigration-reform