The "gang of eight", a bipartisan contingent of US senators, has just released an outline of their long awaited comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill concentrates on three broad components: a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized migrants, border security, and America's outdated visa allocation system. The most important component of the bill removes the threat of deportation for most of the 11 million unauthorized migrants presently in the country.
Unauthorized migrants who entered the US before 11 December 2011, can apply for provisional legal status after they pay a $500 fine and any back taxes they owe, provided that they have not committed a felony. A pathway to legalization is critical not only for immigrant communities and families but also for America's economic growth.
America's white population is aging and is projected to decrease to less than 50% by 2050. Concurrently, the Latino populace will double, from 17 to 29% of the population, making the US a minority-majority society. Latino population growth will come from the American born children and grandchildren of immigrants, not from Latino immigration. Thus, it is imperative that the American-born children of immigrants have the high education levels that are needed in an increasingly information and technology-based economy, especially as the baby boomers, the most educated generation in history, retire en masse.
Research has shown that legal status fosters social mobility (pdf) in part because it provides parents with access to less exploitative and better paying jobs, the financial benefits of which stream down to their children. The adult children of immigrants who legalized under the 1986 Immigration Reform Control Act have higher levels of education, earn more money, and have better jobs than those whose parents were unable to adjust their status. My own research on the rise of the Mexican-American middle class demonstrates that parental legal status, especially if attained early in a child's life, helps families enter the middle class.
While the "gang of eight" got it right by including a pathway to legal status, migrants will have to wait up to 10 years, and likely much longer, to apply for full citizenship under the condition that the US-Mexico border is secure measured by the fact that 100% of the border is surveilled and apprehensions increase to 90%. This condition is troublesome as it is based on the fallacious argument that the US receives a continuous stream of unauthorized Mexican migrants.
The US-Mexico border is more secure than at any time in the nation's history. Unauthorized Mexican migration is presently at net zero, a result of factors on both sides of the border. On the US side, the Great Recession decreased demand for low-wage workers. On the Mexican side, the economy and educational opportunities are growing at a rapid pace prompting young people who might have migrated a decade ago to stay in the country.
Equally important is shrinking family size. Mexico's birth rate was once one of the highest in the world, with 5.6 children per woman in 1976. How many children on average do you think a woman in Mexico has today? Only two. The pool of available Mexican migrants is thus dwindling rapidly due to massive economic and demographic changes. The era of mass unauthorized migration from Mexico is over. This means that the billions of dollars that will be poured into further militarizing the border by building high-tech fences and surveillance drones and by hiring border patrol agents are a huge waste of taxpayers' money, especially in an era of sequestration and declining tax bases.
The final major provision of the bill seeks to overhaul the categories under which immigrants can qualify for entrance visas. The bill places greater emphasis on worker visas, rather than family ties. Politicians are overwhelmingly supportive of earmarking more visas to high-skilled workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, but lawmakers also need to ensure that enough visas are set aside to meet the economy's demand for low-wage workers, especially during periods of economic growth. This will help forestall unauthorized migration from Mexico in the unlikely event that Mexico's economy takes a colossal dive.
It is unclear how politicians will determine the number of visas that are needed to meet the requirements of America's economy. Rather than having a fixed number of work visas, it is imperative that the number of high and low-skilled work visas be adjustable on a yearly basis and tied to the growth, or contraction, of the economy.
Time will tell whether the bill will receive broad bipartisan support because Republican lawmakers, who are notorious supporters of anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric, are reluctant to back a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship. But after their disappointing loss in the 2012 presidential election where Latinos' record turnout helped Obama win, Republicans would be wise to support a bill that is crucial for America's social and economic future.
Granting Illegal Immigrants Citizenship Essay
An illegal immigrant, who works for their keep in an unknown country, contributes to taxes, stays out of trouble, and just wants a better life in a foreign country, on unknown land should be recognized for their contribution to that particular society. An illegal immigrant is a person who migrates to a different country in a way that is in violation of the immigrant laws of that country. Immigration has been a divided topic for many years in America- illegal immigrants are sometimes seen as a burden to America, but others view them as an economic savior. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and many Americans have mixed views about where there stance should be regarding citizenship. Illegal immigrants should be granted citizenship based on the United States need for e legalized workforce, the increase in tax revenues that would decrease the nation’s debt, and the boosting of America’s economy.
Various housekeeping jobs and yard work is done by immigrants, both legal and illegal. Immigrants are a necessity in the United States Labor Market; between 7 and 8 million of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States are working, contributing to the economy and contributing to America’s growing work force (Jacoby 22). Unemployment is above 8 percent, and some American’s would argue that these jobs could be filled by U.S. workers, but they can’t. The reason being that unemployed United States workers are usually selective as to which jobs they are willing to take, and many of them do not want to be dish washers or housekeepers. Americans have also become more educated over time, and they strive for higher positions with a larger income. The lower positions do not disappear and unskilled workers are still needed. Without the unskilled illegal immigrant workers, the jobs of the highly skilled Americans would be difficult to juggle. In a restaurant for example, if the owner was forced to fire all of the illegal immigrant workers and they were the ones to clean the dishes, make sure the floors were cleaned, prepared the necessary ingredients for the chefs to make the food, then the workload would be doubled for the owner and the chefs and it would be difficult to juggle such a high workload now being mandatory and the restaurant would suffer. Our current immigration system is faulty, with holes and gaps that are not being filled quickly enough. Undocumented workers have no safety net and are not protected by their labor laws of the United States. They are too scared to complain about workplace issues such as low wages, dangerous working conditions, a lack of benefits, and other challenging topics. There should be a larger number of work visas issued by commission. This system will accomplish the labor movement’s policy objectives- to ensure that workers enjoy the full protection of law- as well as satisfy legitimate needs of employers- a readily accessible pool, of foreign workers when legitimate marker-tested...
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