From reading several scholarly articles on the immigration policy, we came to the conclusion that the four main categories of the immigration problems are economic factors, children, stereotypes, and laws. Each source had many contradicting and agreeable statements with other scholarly sources, which affirmed and outlined our argument on the immigration process. Within these four categories, the authors look at education, labor, state and federal laws, border patrol, and health care. From this synthesis, we are able to conduct an effective argument on Immigration Reform.
Illegal Immigrants contribute to and hurt the economy in many different ways. For one example, these unauthorized citizens add to the work force by taking undesirable jobs. Nadadur identifies many contributions that undocumented immigrants bring to our society. Immigrants provide a cheap and hardworking labor force to many large companies. There is an increased demand for cheap labor from these companies because they depend on the minimum wage salary. Immigrants occupy many secondary jobs that U.S. citizens would not take because of the grueling work expectation or simply because they are too educated. Without this cheap labor, companies could outsource their production which would hurt the economy. There are no real laws that stop the companies from hiring the illegal immigrants from working. Employers need to check for legal residence, but they are not required to look for the authenticity of these documents. This makes it very easy for illegal immigrants to come back with fake identification (Portes 362). Since the immigrants know they can make a living while being illegal, this entices them to illegally cross the border. Labor can also create negative affects on the economy, which Porter and Nadadur also show.
On the contrary, Gonzales believes that economic factors affect both illegal children and adults. He says that immigrants grow up with little to live on and have major dangers when living without insurance or proper identification. Nadadur agrees with this statement by showing how illegal immigrants are becoming a burden on the U.S. citizens who do pay taxes because they end up indirectly paying for their medical expenses through these state taxes. Many of the jobs that immigrants are taking on have many health risks because the labor is so demanding. This forces the state to take on many unexpected medical costs. Immigrants also seem to get a free ride on social services like free education. Undocumented immigrants improve the economy by adding to the work force, but can also effect it negatively depending on the dependance of medicare that the government has to offer.
Over the past 30 years the number of undocumented children in America has been steadily increasing. Many scholars have concerns about how this growing number of children will effect our schools and society as a whole. They also express their concern for the well being of these illegal immigrant children as they transition into adulthood.
Gonzales brings up the point that, until the 1980’s, undocumented immigrants were mostly seasonal labor migrants who left their children and families in order to make a better living. Over the past three decades, however, this once circular migratory flow across the southern borders has turned into migrant settlement in the U.S. This has lead to a dramatic increase in the number of illegal immigrant children in America. “Undocumented settlement has picked up its over the last 20-25 years, leaving a growing population of undocumented children with limited avenues as they transition to adolescence and adulthood” (Gonzalez 420).
The undocumented children that come into the United States are given free education from public schools, scholars have concerns over this for a few reasons. Lakeisha Porter points out that illegal immigrant children were becoming such a burden on states that they started adopting laws to protect themselves, so they were not stuck with the bills. Nadur also points out another key concern of education. Immigrants who are granted free education often struggle, and are passed without sufficient grades.
In the United States, many misconceptions are made by citizens toward unauthorized immigrants. A numerous amount of current citizens do not understand the reasons the immigrants are here in the first place or the circumstances they are in. To show this, Nadadur claims that people are quick to blame illegals bringing up questions that are sometimes unanswered about illegal immigrant’s incarceration costs, taxes they pay, and crime rates. He goes on to share that immigrants actually pay taxes out of paychecks, gas taxes, and sales taxes and prison minority categories have been decreasing throughout the recent decade. Portes agrees with this point and also explains that third world “invasion” by the poor and down-trodden are thrown into stereotypes that are bias to their education, labor sense, and low quality of being (68). In order to refute these generalizations Ewing claims, “Out of the 700,000 illegal immigrants crossing into the United States each year, it is found that most immigrants have a history in an education system and most are relatively skilled workers” (115). He goes on to say, “family-based immigrants compared to employment based immigrants, have higher rates of entrepreneurship, earnings growth, and upward occupational mobility” (116). By representing unauthorized immigrants in this way, it is easy to see that the stereotypes American citizens form are purely based off of personal uneducated views and not off of substantial facts and studies. Lastly, discrimination has been formed off of all this meaningless stereotyping of legality and race. In Plyler v. Doe (1982) this discrimination swayed the public in not allowing undocumented children into public schools. To put this to rest, courts silenced the public showing that the 14th amendment protected the rights of education for all citizens legal or not.
Over the last half century Congress has adopted laws that allows immigrants to permanently reside in the United States. Porter brings a couple different laws into view, the first is the Amnesty of 1994. This law offers de facto amnesty to two different groups of undocumented immigrants. The first group of immigrants that were pardoned were immigrants that came here illegally, and were allowed to stay in the country. The second group of immigrants that Porter points out are the immigrants who came with visas, but then overstayed or violated those visas. After these amnesties were granted, President Bill Clinton extended these pardons till 1997. Many scholars questioned these laws, wondering why immigrants are being rewarded for being in the country illegally.
The law that has been in the news most recently is Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070. The intentions of this bill are to discourage the unlawful entry, the presence, and economic activity of illegal immigrants. State and local officials have the right to investigate and determine immigrants status, in a reasonable and ethical way. Immigrants may be detained without a warrant and can be transferred to the United States immigration and customs agency. This bill goes beyond detaining and identifying aliens, it is now against the law for employers to hire illegal immigrants. Even though it has always been illegal, this bill now has more severe penalties for employers. They may be fined, shut down, or the employer could face jail time for breaking the law.