Arguments For and Against US Immigration Policies

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2nd Apr 2019 International Relations Reference this

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Every day thousands of refugees flee the war torn country of Syria. With the fear of terrorism on the rise, a nation built on the ideals of immigrants, started to shift to a paranoid state. This led to the immigration policy, a controversial topic that still resonates fear into many. Many say it is wrong and that America welcome the refugees with open arms. And there those who believe in a secure structured nation, that defends against the growing correlation between terrorism and immigration.

Immigration, a word that holds the keys to a new life and a new beginning. Immigration for some is not only a beginning, but it’s an end to their lives that they once knew. Immigration is often a second chance, but this can be overshadowed by the looming threat of terrorism. In recent years terrorist groups like Issis, have used immigration as a gateway to America. Isis used the refugees to infiltrate a nation still feeling the effects of terror. This alarming realization caused the U.S to respond with the immigration ban on Syrian refugees. This sparked great controversy, that led to a divided nation on an issue that needed unity. The immigration ban was a solution devised by President Donald J. Trump it opted for a complete ban of refugees coming from Syria. Many were outraged, but with this surreal decision there is truth to this madness. In recent a study compiled by a senate committee in 2016, “revealed that seventy-two individuals with terroristic backgrounds” (creating a threat 72). These seventy-two individuals were from the seven countries covered by President Trump’s executive order, making the ban justifiable.

In order understand this hidden threat, we must first know the process of how the U.S deals with terrorism. Terrorism is a very wide scale problem that correlates heavily with immigration. It should by all means, be dealt with as soon as possible. President Bush took actions in 2002 by creating Homeland Security, the main department that deals with terrorism. Their motive and main job is to search and identify people to get various clues on certain pertaining threats on the United States. Terrorism is taken very serious by this department. One of the members stated the severity of terrorism and how there are endless threats that people usually ignore. He said, “The threat of terrorism and the threat of extremist ideologies has not been dealt, this threat has not evaporated, and we can’t turn the page on it” (Sullivan 23). It is very true; people shouldn’t turn their backs on terrorism. It would be devastating to have our country go through a turmoil like 9/11 again. Since the moment that this program has been in progress, the United States has been able to capture and kill America’s most wanted terrorist through many countries and continents.

A new problem arises, with immigrants and terrorisms blending. The lines of immigrant and civilian has been blurred.  This has led to some controversial means by the government, to address the hidden threat imbedded in our system. The process of protecting citizens from the extremity of terrorism also includes a set of government guidelines to follow. The United States government adopted a set of laws in order to control a terrorist situation in a more orderly fashion. One of the most important bills that came out of congress was right after the 9/11 attack. This bill was called the USA Patriot Act (2001). Simply, this bill gives permission to the government to search any individual personnel of suspected threat to the United States. The results of passing such a bill helped to identify and eliminate many Issis extremists. Without this permission by the government, these people could have done some serious damage while not paying attention. In a time period of 10 years (up to the present day), this bill has gone under various renovations. In 2001, there were immediate amendments that were added onto this bill. For example, an amendment having to deal with foreign intelligence and illegal immigration turned out to be a main focus for Homeland Security. A local online article supplies the amendments of the first renovated copy of the Patriot Act. It states: “When the matters involve foreign intelligence or counterintelligence, or foreign immigration, to any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense or national security official, there must be supplied assistance of the official information in the performance of his official duties” (Ashcroft). The initiative that government officials have to take now are a lot more prestigious and uphold a lot more responsibility in their roll. In 2005, they readopted this bill in order to have the right to search the internet to prevent cyber terrorism of any sort from occurring. They also were given the right to search a person’s home without a liable search warrant. This really upset citizens because, as stated before, they were being violated of their personal privacy. Although there were riots against the fact that their democracy wasn’t being called for, the government could not comply because they haven’t been more successful in obtaining evidence of terrorist threats. Later, in 2011, when Obama was president, he authorized the most recent renovation of the bill with an extension of the same laws until 2013. He created a controlled system of search warranting that would have no effect on terrorist identification and it would also put people at ease. Some of the regulations to the bill are as follows: “Modifies reporting requirements for national security letters to require a breakdown of the types of persons targeted and whether such persons are subjects of authorized national security investigations this changes the federal criminal code to reduce from 30 to 7 days the period for giving delayed notice of the execution of a search warrant in a criminal investigation when the warrant permits the giving of such delayed notice” (Conyers). The law states that it is required to have a national security letter in order to take further actions in pursuing a suspect of possible terrorism. In other words, it’s a more structured version of a warrant. The second part of the law states that an individual can only hold onto a record for seven days until it is unreliable, whereas before this improved law, thirty days could have given a terrorist enough time to plot out a strategy and followed through with it. These actions taken by the government are overall taking a great effect on citizens, but is worth the case of preventing terrorism.

Ever since 9/11, Terrorism has a major concern for the country since many individuals were directly affected by the destruction of such a devastating event. The government has been trying new ways to improve their ways of finding data towards possible threats to the harm and safety of others. The government’s actions have left both positive and negative effects on citizens and their personal privacy. Without the help of such a beneficial system of terrorist searching, the United States would be in terrible danger and risk of having another 9/11 event occur.

The first counter-argument states that a nation cannot label migrants as terrorist. Many people want to look past the hate and accept each and every immigrant. Many nations want to openly accept migrants and offer them safe haven. But the reality is terrorism is like a cobra. If we let our guard down it can strike with such ferocity that leads more separation between the U.S and immigrants. Labeling an entirety of immigrants, leads to the effect of fear that the terrorist wanted to instill in each nation. But how can a nation combat an enemy if one can’t identify it first, people need to acknowledge the fact that immigration is the window of opportunity for terrorism.

This problem was addressed famously by Ronald Reagan who quoted “A nation that cannot control its border is not a nation.” This quote embodies the dream of a secure unified nation. If we look at the current state of our borders, they are withered like the policies that created them. It is time to re-engineer a system based on security and opportunity. An example that helps envision the problem faced today, is the object of a door. Imagine the past border policy, as an open door undermining our security. With this new policy, we have closed that door leading to more awareness of rising threats. But with every action there are consequences. This means the ban of migrants; each nation has to come terms with every positive action has negative consequences. Why are people willing to sacrifice our national security for migrants?  Yes, America is a nation built on immigrants, but where is the line drawn between security and acceptance?

The second counter argument is that the United States should be involved more with immigration. Many people want to admit as many possible refugees. Refugees flee from the chaos caused by the war broken countries like Syria. People feel a certain personal responsibility, to help everyone in need. But the cost to maintain immigration each year is quite staggering, in an article by Washington times “Mass immigration costs government 296 billion a year.” That number continues to rise with each new country we accept in, we cannot sustain a working country with an outflow of money like that. We are already a nation in deep debt, yet we try to continue to take on new expanding costly problems. Picture this problem this way, the U.S is a ship being sunk down by debt. And when we add immigration, sooner or later, the money attributed will bring us to rock bottom. We need to prioritize the needs of U.S first, and once we are at a stable self-efficient level, then we can start to provide the necessary care the migrants need.

Fear, a word that repels a feeling of safety and creates a world based on paranoia. This fear of terror started on the day the nation stood still. September 11th “a series of suicide attacks committed by 19 militants associated with Islamic extremists, led the deadliest attack on American soil”. This feeling of fear still resonates with us today, the terrorist wants to create a sense of paranoia in such a vast country. These attacks are what fuel the hate, and modern day stereotypes of today’s immigrants. We need to remove this fear, because when we convey fear it only strengthens the terrorist to act. In an article Washington Times polled Americans if they feel safe, “42 percent of Americans say they are less safe from terrorism The physiological scars left by 911 are irreversible, but we can start to dismantle this fear if we acknowledge the threat and work for a secure nation.”

The third counter argument, is that immigration does not create fear. Being a nation that has a long record of welcoming refugees and immigrants, they say there is no cause for concern. But the truth is we need to become aware and more knowledgeable about the people we let in. 

The factor of not knowing who these people are, creates this fear in each U.S citizen. This sense of breach of security, has a ripple effect in the U.S. As addressed before, many view immigration as a threat. If we address this dividing issue and start to dismantle stereotypes, we can create a nation not driven by fear. But a nation driven by the strengthen and sense of security, which redefines and unifies the country.

Immigration poses a threat to a nation’s security and is a hidden that that divides a country already on the edge. The balance of security and acceptance needs to be addressed. This will ultimately create a structured nation. The hidden threat needs to be addressed, creating a nation not driven by fear, but rather of strength. The U.S should reevaluate the policies but the U.S needs to still maintain the core ideals built from immigration. Immigration is here to say, it’s a matter of how well the U.S can adapt to this ever-changing problem.

Works Cited

  • Vaughan, Jessica. “Study Reveals 72 Terrorists Came From Countries Covered by Trump Vetting Order.” Center for Immigration Studies. N.p., 09 Feb. 2017. http://cis.org/vaughan/study-reveals-72-terrorists-came-countries-covered-trump-vetting-order>.
  • Ashcroft, John. “USA Patriot Act.” American History ABC CLIO. Gov’t and Court Documents,
  •  Morgan, Gregory W. “Global War on Terrorism.” American History. ABC-CLIO. N.p., n.d.
  • Sullivan, Eileen. “Homeland Security Forecasts 5-Year Terror Threats.” Associated Press [Austin, TX] 20 Dec. 2008: 21-25. SIRS Issues Researcher.
  • USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011. 14 USC. Sec. 1805. 2011. The Library of Congress. Rep Conyers, John, Jr., 29 July 2009. <http://thomas.loc.gov/>.
  • Radio address “A nation without borders is not a nation” (Ronald Reagan) http:://www.presidency.ucb.edu
  • Vaughan, Jessica. “Study Reveals 72 Terrorists Came From Countries Covered by Trump Vetting Order.” Center for Immigration Studies. N.p., 09 Feb. 2017. http://cis.org/vaughan/study-reveals-72-terrorists-came-countries-covered-trump-vetting-order>.
  • Taylor, Adam. “Poll: 42 Percent of Americans Say They Are Less Safe from Terrorism than before 9/11.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 22 Aug. 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/22/poll-42-percent-of-americans-say-they-are-less-safe-from-terrorism-than-before-911/?utm_term=.e9fb70133571>.

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