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The political issue surrounding immigration has been around since the mid-19th century. During the 1840s and 1850s, the Irish Roman Catholics became the main topic and focus. After the wave of immigrants coming from both Europe and Asia between 1880 and 1930, it brought awareness among other immigrants and citizens of the United States, thus raising concerns and debates centering on immigration. Next, Congress passed the 1924 Immigration Act in hopes of sustaining and keeping the American race alive in America. Illegal immigration came into existence by the 1980s when immigrants came flooding into the U.S from Central and South America. In addition to this first 1924 law regulation act, Congress initiated the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 in response to this increasing population of immigrants. In spite of that, this 1986 Control Act produce any effect or changes in stopping illegal border crossings, which causes a greater number of immigrants of about 100,000 to come in monthly by the year of 1988. Up until today, illegal immigration of inhabitants and dwellers with no proper working papers to the United States has exceeded from an estimated 4 million in 1986 to11.2 million in 2008. With the growing amount of illegal immigrants, immigration has become a very important topic in American politics, creating a large public discussion involving different viewpoints and disputes opposing sides of the argument (Kim, Carvalho, Davis, and Mullins, 2011).
Illegal immigration could be defined as a crime problem for some individuals or groups because it brings concern about public safety for our citizens. Our attention are directed towards the media through daily news reports and observations that everyone is exposed to shows that immigration arouses interests and worries relating to employment, yearly income, our access to public services and the quality of those services provided to us. It is feared that the immigrant's settlement in the United States will put more limitations on the already scarce resources, and that it will also contribute to further lessen those resources and reduce their effectiveness. The media's attention and curiosity on crimes and its rates raises concern that the media can encourage and support a stereotypical perception that there is an existing link between crime and immigration. This will create racism, discrimination and other stereotypes about immigrants. The framework of how news are reported and communicated makes important suggestions and implications in political discussions and debates. First, the media can affect the way the audience views the issue, and influence their judgment. Second, the way the public presents the issue can affect their support or disapproval for particular policies regarding immigration. Most media portray negative consequences of immigration by making associations with drugs, crime, human trafficking and smuggling. In addition, there is a general perception that immigrants, both legal and illegal, create economic pressure for citizens as they competition against them for jobs. Citizens also view immigrants as being a burden on government services. On the contrary, it is relatively hard to find the media announcing the contributions and special donations that illegal immigrants can actually make to the U.S. economy, such as the cheap labor subsidizing consumer food and housing costs (Kim, Carvalho, Davis, and Mullins, 2011).
In society, there is often a general state that immigrants are an indication of probable trouble to our economic well-being and our citizen's safety than supplying us resolutions of the social problems that arise in our communities. Groups that are saying immigration is a problem are usually against illegal immigrants, pointing out that the big entry of immigrants will bring trouble to our social programs. This includes our school systems, Medicaid, and law enforcement. National security is another concern. An anti-immigration group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) claims that immigrants coming in illegally jeopardize the national security through an increasing demand for making false identification documents and creating networks or connections in helping potential terrorists and outsiders gain entry into our country. (Kim, Carvalho, Davis, and Mullins, 2011).
Those who express opposition to immigration are concerned with the nation's economic costs which includes job competition, education and placing burdens on social services. Others reasons are the fast population growth, higher crime rates and the confusion of national identity. When the immigrants come here illegally, groups who argue against immigration primarily focus on the negative economic and environmental impact that immigrants have on American citizens. Today, Americans fear immigrants for they can threaten their job security. Immigrants often are illiterate of the English language, or do not speak English at all. This can strain the American education system, especially if many children do not speak English. Since Immigrants come from different cultures, they may not want to participate in American assimilation. Immigrants tend to join communities who share their similarities and cultures, thus creating ghettos in various sections of the city. Sometimes, the high-unemployment rates within these minority groups may cause more crimes to be committed.
People who support immigration disagree that it is problematic. We must try and remember that immigrants give America many advantages. The diversity of their cultures and their willingness to work diligently and take on jobs that Americans may refuse are all examples. They provide labor for industries which are in need of workers and they will be able to fulfill those roles. Offering assistance to these immigrant families and helping them see the light by coming out of the shadows and granting them access to good working conditions and learning opportunities, we can help even the most vulnerable young children of illegal immigrants have an equal chance to thrive and flourish in their early development, education, and adulthood.
Both the liberal and conservative views are opposite ends of the political spectrum. Liberals believe that the government has responsibility in helping everyone gain equal opportunity and equality. It is their duty to provide help and to protection in regards to individual and human rights. They believe it is the role of the government to solve problems. As for the social issue regarding immigration, liberals support legal immigration along with amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally. This is because they believe that illegal immigrants have rights to all educational and health benefits that every citizen receive, regardless of legal status. Financial aid, social security, welfare, and Medicaid all fall under these benefits. On the other hand, Conservatives value personal responsibility with little interference from the government. They also believe in individual liberty, and a strong national defense. This group of people feels that the government should provide individuals the freedom that's required for them to fulfill their own goals and dreams. Conservative policies mostly stress to empower individuals to solve their own problems. These individuals support legal immigration only. They are against granting amnesty for those who enter the United States without legal documentation. They feel that those who violated this law by coming to America illegally do not deserve the same rights as those who obey authority and get naturalized. They emphasize that the borders are safeguarded and stable before deciding plans to deal the illegal immigrants that are already in the country. The government should place security around the borders and impose immigration laws on illegal immigration.
Immigration does contribute to the large population growth in the United States. Immigration brings over 2.25 million people to America each year. More than 1.2million legal immigrants and illegal immigrants combined in 2001-2002, and now with an estimated higher population of immigrants over 1.5 million in 2009 (Batalova and Lee, 2012). The immigrants both suffer and benefit from immigration. Since America granted everyone the freedom to work and succeed here, a large number of U.S. residents and immigrants forget that our country was first inhabited by immigrants who were in search of a better life. The immigrants benefit from the new opportunities they would be eligible for in the United States such as education, healthcare, welfare and decent jobs in the workplace. Suffering means the challenges that the immigrants go through as they choose to make a new settlement in the United States. The immigrants are not only leaving their own country and its culture but are also away from their community and friends. They found a new home with a completely different culture and society. Communication and language becomes a barrier, both written and spoken language because it was unfamiliar to these migrants. Making new friends and adjusting to this new social environment becomes a challenge for some of the immigrants. Along with the communication issue, the psychological stress that illegal immigrants go through as many of who work long hours, being paid low wages and living in poor, crowded apartments can be transmitted to their young children. The sufferings among parents, both economic and psychological, can have a bad influence in a children's learning by reducing the parent's engagement with their children, as well as their warmth and responsiveness. Poor cognitive development can result in a decrease in school performance, which in turn causes higher drop-out rates, an increase in unemployment, and lower economic productivity (Semple, 2011).
One of the causes to immigration includes the weak economy in Latin America, especially in Mexico. Immigrants originating from Mexico can earn about twice as much in construction and manufacturing jobs compared to what they would be paid in their home country. Another cause comes from the blame that some people have on the restrictive legal immigration process.
They felt that the process of becoming a legal worker or resident in the United States is very slow and complicated that many foreigners rather take the shortcut and cross the border to North America illegally rather than applying for a legal status. Just as people opposing immigration think that crime is linked with illegal immigration, they feel that drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other violent crimes are consequences of illegal immigration.
Possible solutions that experts thought about were a plan to promote economic development in Mexico (Pettigrew, Wagner, and Christ, 2007). They mentioned that although the plan will not end illegal immigration, it will aid Mexicans to think about their future in their own country rather than escaping to the U.S. Other individuals agree that the process for gaining legal entry in to the U.S. needs improvement. They believe that adjusting the process and making it reasonable, simple and affordable can reduce illegal immigration.